Friday, July 17, 2009

From Alsace to Grindelwald

Don't you love the name Grindelwald? To me, it sounds like the name of a witch in a fairy tale, but it's the name of one of the prettiest places I've ever seen. The region is called the Berner Oberland, and it's in Switzerland, perched on one side of a valley. The view from our hotel was down the valley, across a river and up toward the fabulous peaks of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.

The hillside opposite our modest hotel was dotted with traditional Swiss farmhouses. They were simple and beautiful in their perfect adaptation to their environment. Many contented-looking cows grazed on the hillside, each wearing a bell around its neck.

Each of us had ideas for this leg of the journey.

David wanted to take trams and gondolas to get as high as he could. Being a skier, he loves to ride up high in the mountains. He also wanted to try the alpine slide above the town. He wanted to visit the Schilthorn, which is featured in the James Bond movie, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."

I wanted to hike, and to ride the beautiful cog railway that made its way up and over the hill across the valley, down to the next valley and its towns. Gregg was happy to be there and do any combination of the above. So we did a little bit of everything...
David rode the gondola up to the Schilthorn.

We rode the trains many times, up and down the hills, out of one valley, over a mountain pass and into another valley. I never tired of riding those beautiful, hardy, reliable little trains.

We rode a gondola up, and hiked down to the Kleine Scheidegg;

we hiked from Murren to Gimmelwald and back;

we hiked from Murren down to Lauterbrunnen, passing many of those cows with the huge bells clanging around their necks.

We visited with our friend Tim Cunningham, who is living & working in Switzerland, and had dinner with him in Interlaken.

We rode in other gondolas, including the Pfinstegg,

which we caught in Grindelwald. This is the view from that gondola.

It took us up to the alpine slide and back. This is the view from the alpine slide, looking down towards Grindelwald and up to the mountains behind the town.

We saw wildflowers, surviving & bringing delicate beauty to a rugged landscape.

It was all breathtaking and enlivening. I hope these photos will give you some of the joy that we felt, being in that clear mountain air, eating local food, drinking local wine and simply walking on this beautiful earth, in another country, together.


AnnDeO said...

I am so jealous. I was at Grindelwald when I was 19. My friend and I stayed in Klosters and a family we met there showed us all around

Busy Bee Suz said...

Karen, these pictures are just gorgeous!!! The landscape, your descriptions and of course seeing your family all smiles is a blessing too.
Oh, I want to go here!!!!
I love that you are in Europe and your friend Tim is drinking a Corona...from MEXICO!! too funny.
Glad you had a great visit.

karengberger said...

Suz, it's so funny that you noticed that beer - we let him choose the restaurant, and he chose a Mexican restaurant! He is obviously missing the flavors of home. The rest of the time, we ate local food. =)

Kay said...

So beautiful... sounds like a lovely trip. I'm so glad you're sharing it with us! : )

KBL 2 ORD 2 SAN 2 LUV said...

Wow Karen,that first picture is breathtaking. They're all gorgeous, but I'm in love with that first one.

I've never had a hankering to visit Switzerland. No reason in particular, I just never had a "pull" to go, I can't even explain how badly I'd love to see Ed and I in those very same pictures. Thanks for sharing a little bit of your family with us. I'm so happy you had a such a beautiful time.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for the loss of their 1st born, heartbreaking and ever so heart wrenching I will keep them in our prayers. The wedding pictures are absolutely beautiful ! As are all of your pictures, would love to travel with you , sounds like you enjoyed it all. God Bless