2021 Europe: Day 8 – St. Moritz to Interlaken, & an evening in Gimmelwald



I slept a good 7 hours, up a little after 5am. Ash got up about 6:30. I got Saturday’s blog posted and we went out in search of coffee. There aren’t patisseries on every corner here as we got used to in Paris and even Zermatt. Ash found something close that opened at 7:30 so we made our way out.

Hanselmann’s was just about a block away. While the name didn’t do anything for us, we recognized it immediately from our walk the evening before. The plan was just to go in for coffee since we were going to have leftover pizza for dessert. Somehow we forgot all about that by the time we walked in.

It had just opened and we were the only ones here, and that remained true for our whole stay. Ash got a cappuccino and I got a latte. I loved that they had this gold cup holder shown above for the glass without a handle. It always baffles me when places serve hot coffee in regular glasses without handles so I was impressed by this simple addition. (I mean, why not just use something with a handle? But it looks cool, don’t it?)

3 plates layered on a copper tray 3 stories high

Ash ordered something called the Mountain Breakfast and I ordered muesli. They brought his first. When we saw it was a literal mountain of food we cancelled my cereal. This was more than enough for both of us.

Our waitress was lovely and had this very dry sense of humor that we enjoyed. Seems like almost everyone here speaks English, French and German so language isn’t a barrier. All public announcements (like on trains) are done in all 3 languages. The Swiss don’t have their own language. Italian is also common, and menus so far are all in multiple languages also (all on one menu).

Our view at breakfast.

Our train wasn’t until 10am so we got some steps in since we would be on the road most of the day.

We made our way back to the other side of town again (it’s a small town).

This river is crystal clear.

Ash on an escalator

We went back for our luggage and made our way downhill to the train station. On our walk the evening before we discovered the easier ways the city had for navigating the hills, which we’d missed the day before.

The first part of our train ride took us back through the Alps region we’d been in the day before.

I couldn’t resists a couple of more shots. Focus on that lightly snow covered mountain in the distance and you’ll get a sense of how huge this valley is. And of course a little church just right of center.

It was 2 hours to Chur and then a train change to Zurich. This is a lake called Walensee. It’s pretty big and the train ran beside it for awhile. After about 90 minutes we had another train change in Zurich and in another 9 minutes were at the airport.

We’d made arrangements with Europcar for a rental. Meet Vanessa. She was lovely and listened to her co-worker’s suggestion to “give them the convertible” despite us asking for the cheapest thing they had. Our story is: the co-worker, not pictured, was gay and decided to do us a solid. That’s our story anyway. It continued our good luck with rentals – in Paris they’d upgraded us to an Audi because it was Ash’s birthday!

Here’s the cute Fiat convertible we got for the week. Due to construction, an accident, and a wrong turn, we had a terrible but hilarious time getting out of Zurich but were finally on our way. This was about 2 hours after we left the airport and stopped for a much needed break which included restroom, a sandwich we split and a Coke Zero.

Dining on the left, stairs on the right, living room in the background center.

We made it to our apartment in Interlaken by about 5:15pm. It’s wonderful.

kitchen

We are here for 3 nights.

This is huge for a European apartment.

A lovely balcony; if it were warmer right now I’d be sitting there, currently 57. But it was 81 when we got here so I’m sure I’ll get a chance. By the way, it was 37 when we woke up in St. Moritz this morning. Very glad I found the hoody!

bedroom

There are 2 bedrooms upstairs but this is the one we’re sleeping in. The other wasn’t made up so we’re using it essentially as a closet.

The view from our window.

There are 2 full bathrooms, this is the one upstairs.

The other view of the living room. By this time I’d gone around the corner to the Coop for a few groceries while Ash was showering, etc. so was enjoying a lazy moment.

We were back on the road by about 6:15pm, headed to Gimmelwald, a little town of about 130 people, at about 4500 feet on that mountain in front of you.

The views here are just breathtaking.

Just a random waterfall on our way to dinner.

We parked the car in a little town called Stechelberg. You can’t actually drive to Gimmelwald – the only way in is a gondola. Why dinner somewhere so remote? We were on a mission.

Those of you who’ve been following for a few years may remember the Europe trip I did by myself in 2018. I’d returned via New York City for a few nights. When sharing the plans of my trip with my friend Art, we discovered we were both going to be in NYC at the same time, and each had a full day with no plans. So we made them – and had a great day of Downtown Abbey, the Empire State Building, and a show, which you can read about here.

So a few months ago when Art and I were sharing upcoming travel adventures, we discovered that we were going to be roughly in the same part of Switzerland at the same time, so we decided to had to figure out a way to meet up. Originally we were just going to meet for lunch in Interlaken as he made his way from Gimmelwald to Lucerne. But the idea of dinner in Gimmelwald was much more appealing, so that lead to the change in travel plans I’d mentioned a few entries ago which resulted in only one night in St. Moritz (which was more than enough) and us renting a car so we’d have more flexibility. It all worked out great in the end.

Our ride up the gondola. These guys were talking about doing jumps off the mountain.

The view out the front of the gondola.

Art took a little video of us arriving. Gimmelwald is the first stop the gondola makes on its way up the mountain. What you’ll see in the video is how perfectly timed the cars are: we’re arriving from the bottom, and the car coming from Murren above is arriving at exactly the same time. When we were leaving that happened again, and the folks from Murren simply had to walk across the platform to quickly continue their journey down the mountain. Brilliant.

Art made dinner reservations at Pension Gimmelwald for 7pm.

Art was kind enough to let us have the seats with the view. What a view, eh?

photo of Ash and me with the mountains in the background.

We changed seats for this shot

Art described this place as “eating at someone’s house.” There was no menu, you got what they were serving. First course was a bean salad with barley.

No idea was this was called but it was delicious. Herbed rice with pork in a stroganoff sort of sauce with some spice tomato something on top. It was a wonderful mix of flavors.

Dessert was a simple brownie with some whipped cream.

There was a young couple from Albuquerque dining there as well and they took this photo. We’ve encountered a lot of Americans on this trip.

Art showed us around Gimmelwald a bit. We were able to get decent photos despite it being almost dark at 8:30pm.

You could hear that water flowing down that mountain from here.

We went to a barn that had a self-service refrigerator where you could buy fresh milk and cheese – the primary goods made here on the mountain. Art said you hear cowbells all throughout the day.

Said milk and cheese which we’ll have for breakfast this morning. I’ve never had milk this fresh before so looking forward to it.

We have 2 full days in Interlaken and not a thing planned which makes me terribly happy. “Interlaken” translates to “between 2 lakes” which it is, so I’m sure we’ll come up with something fun and beautiful.

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