I’ve been calling Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland my alpine home for the past 15 years. Tucked away and hidden from the mega-tourism of Switzerland, Lauterbrunnen is a sleepy little jumping off point for savvy outdoor enthusiasts looking for a laid-back village with lots of outdoor recreation.
I’ve spent the day wandering around the alpine terrain and villages above Lauterbrunnen. The entire region is connected by a series of railways, trams, lifts and funiculars making transportation a breeze. One could effortlessly experience a lot of the countryside by taking public transportation, but for me, I want to get out for some exercise. I’m visiting here in March and it appears the ski season is still going strong. Unfortunately, I never tried snow skiing and I’m too old to begin now, so I’ll trust my adventures to my own two feet and get out for a good hike.
I began my day by taking the lift from Lauterbrunnen to Grüutschalp, a ten minute ride and elevation gain of more than 4000 feet. From Grütschalp, I walked on a fairly easy trail for 1.5 hours to the resort village of Mürren. It is loaded with swanky alpine hotels designed for skiers and outdoor enthusiasts. Mürren is an alpine village with no vehicular traffic (except farm and service equipment) and requires a lift and a train to reach its hotels and chalets. I believe it is a bit on the expensive side, but I enjoy the ambiance for lunch and poking around.
After touring the town, top to bottom, I decided to have lunch at an outdoor café with a view of the Alps. I ordered raclette, which is a sinfully delicious mixture of melted Swiss cheese, boiled potatoes, pearl onions, Gherkin pickles and a few garnishes. Wash this rich and gooey dish down with flask of the local brew and you’ve got a tasty meal.
From Mürren, I hiked downhill to the quaint farming village of Gimmelwald . Up above town I found a comfy bench with a grand view of the glacial mountains where sat and I updated my journal and finally, laid down for a peacefully nap. Later, I took the cable car back down to the valley floor and walked along the river to Lauterbrunnen.
This was a `great day, but I’ve experienced many such days in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. In the past hour I’ve enjoyed broad sweeping alpine vistas from my hotel balcony while putting the finishing touches on this blog entry. Now, it is getting dark, and I am getting cold. I believe we have the two Swiss favorites of fondue and rösti on the menu for dinner. It’s days like this that reminds me of the wonders of exploring Europe!