Interlaken; Saturday, 02 August, 2008

A day spent travelling today, without actually changing locations. Part of the reason for stopping in Interlaken was to explore more of the alps in this region, and with the masses of cable cars and funiculars that are dotted around the place, this is what I set out to do.

My first call of the morning was Schilthorn. It’s billed as the rival to Jungfraujoch (which is the highest station in Europe) as being the place to get the stunning views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau that you don’t get from Jungfraujoch as you are too close.

The journey up had several legs, firstly the train to Lauterbrunnen, then a cable car to Grütschalp, then the train along a ridge with stunning views down into the Lauterbrunnen valley, to Mürren. From the station in Mürren it was a pleasant, and flat, 15-minute walk through the town to the cable car station and on up to Brig, there it’s another change onto the final cable car up to Schilthorn.

At several moments on the way up I feared that the cloud would spoil it, as we kept passing into large banks. But, by the time we emerged at Schilthorn, we were well above the clouds and I had a simply amazing view across the valleys to the three peaks. I took in the views for a while, both from the terrace, and from the revolving restaurant where I stopped for an early lunch. I had a quick look around the rest of the station at Schilthorn, which is mostly made up of memorabilia and exhibitions about its use as the set for the 007 film “On Her Majesties Secret Service”. I then retraced my steps back down to Mürren, briefly diverting to go up the Allmendhubelbahn to Allmendhubel to take in the views from there, and then on down to Lauterbrunnen.

From Lauterbrunnen I hopped on the train up to Wengen, to catch the cable car up to Männlichen. Männlichen forms part of the series of peaks that separate the valleys of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. When I got to the top the cloud was starting to descend and at times there were short periods of whiteout, but you could still make out the views of the Lauterbrunnen valley (and the bizarre site of Wengen station looking as though it was next door to Lauterbrunnen. They are almost at the same location, just a couple of thousand feet apart in altitude. From Männlichen you can also see across the Mürren and on the opposite side down to my next destination, Grindelwald.

The aerial gondola between Männlichen and Grindelwald (or to be more precise, Grund which is the bit of Grindelwald properly in the valley) is the longest in Europe, and it is certainly spectacular. The journey took the best part of 35 minutes with stunning views all the way down.

From Grund I caught the train up the hill to Grindelwald, and then took a diversion to go back up to First as I had done the previous year. Once again the views are spectacular, but I also knew there was a nice restaurant up there and sitting on the sun terrace with a cold beer, looking across to the Glaciers and peaks of the alps is certainly a pleasant way to end an afternoon.

It was back onto the cable car to Grindelwald and then onto the train back to Interlaken and a chance to rest my feet!


Sunny Sunny
Hot (20-30C, 68-86F)