Europe 2021: Day 10 – A 10 mile walk down a mountain, and the Top of Interlaken. And cows.

I slept good, still just about 6.5 hours. I’d gotten Monday’s blog up Monday night which is rare but was glad it was done. I had a teeny bit of work to do for my job so took care of that while Ash had his first cup of coffee. We went for a about a 1.5 mile walk first thing and then came back to the apartment for breakfast.

In the pan: eggs, potatoes, the Alp cheese we got from our visit to Gimmelwald with Art, and leftover chicken from the night before. And of course bread and butter. We ate on the balcony again.

We left after 9:30 to go pick up Art. We’d offered to pick him up at 10am from Stechelberg where he gets off at the gondola from Gimmelwald, and give him a ride to the Interlaken train station. His next stop is Lucerne. It was fun to meet up with him on this trip and, as our friend Jon said, have our blogs collide.

We decided to go back to Grindelwald and make good use of the passes we bought the day before, which are actually good for 3 days. While not only for that reason, we also decided to stay here an extra night, cutting out a quick trip we were going to do to Lugano – a recent add to the itinerary that I’m now very glad is gone. It would have been beautiful but would have added lots of extra driving. Our time here is so relaxing this is much better. Plus we can use the passes through tomorrow if we choose.

We took the gondola back up to the first stop at 7600 feet. Our big plan for the day was simple: walk back down the mountain. We’d packed water and food in our backpack and were ready to go. The sign said it would take 3.5 hours but we knew we’d be slower (we were) due to photos and stuff. Plus we just weren’t in a hurry.

This is the valley you see coming out of the railway center where the gondola drops you off to catch the trains up to the “top of Europe” if you wish. We walked down to that little hut left of center just to look into the valley.

Ash standing next to a pole with directional signs on it.

Walking this mountain is apparently a popular activity around here. We saw quite a few people out and about – a few of them actually coming up the mountain! – and there are plenty of signs to keep you well oriented.

That’s the back of the peak called Monch we think, maybe Eiger, but the point of this photo is the cows grazing in the meadows at the bottom.

Here’s a closer shot just so you can see there were quite a few of them. We could hear the cowbells from where we were way up the hill. In fact, we heard cowbells for most of the day.

A clearer shot of that back valley. There’s a little town on that center cliff, I haven’t figure out yet what it is for sure.

From there we took a right and started the trek down. About an hour into it we came to our first and only big stop, those buildings that Ash is looking towards. He’s actually probably looking at the train coming in from the left. Before we left after lunch we had a quick chance to rethink our plan and take the train instead but we were committed. How many people get to say they walked down a mountain? Neither of us had done it before for sure.

We sat outside the train depot at one of those picnic tables.

We had water we’d bought the other day, and stopped at the Coop in the gondola terminal to get the sandwhiches and chips. Ash had chicken on baguette, I had roast beef on a very rustic seedy wheat.

I just love the look of this valley and enjoyed looking at it for the at-least 10 mile trek down.

This is Eiger, specifically the north face of Eiger, apparently a climber’s dream challenge. It was first climbed in 1938 and took that party 3 days to get to the top. Experienced climbers do it today in 2.5 hours.

More cows grazing in front of a ski lift.

The cowbells they wear are Huge and pretty loud – no wonder you could hear them all over the mountain. I had to take this video several times. Ash kept messing with the cows and apparently at one point one was about to charge at me! (Too bad my back was turned, THAT would have been a fun video…)

There’s that valley again, with the town just a little bit closer. It was right at 2pm here.

Eiger again, with a covered railway running alongside it.

Map of Eiger mountain.

The blue line shows the trail climbers use to scale this.

This is 3:23pm. We started about 11am. I’m pretty tired. Ash is practically skipping down the mountain. (He finally felt it later this evening.) And emphasis on down: that’s what made it so tiring. It’s 10 miles of downhill slope easily 95% of the time. Some flat here and there but not much, and a fair amount of it is pretty steep. Ash kept saying he wants to do this again tomorrow but uphill. I told him he was welcome to do that and I’d be sitting at the restaurant at the top waiting for him….

Last cow pic I promise. But aren’t they pretty? Today took my concept of “pastoral” to a whole different level.

We were finally down the mountain around 4:20pm. We had one more thing we wanted to do, which was also on the pass, and it was back in Interlaken, so we got in the car and made our way to that direction.

We still haven’t explored much of the town itself and I’m hoping to do that tomorrow. This is the first time I’ve seen the river, Aare, which is the longest river in the Swiss Alps. Here is connects the two lakes on either side of the town, Thunersee to the west nd Brienzersee to the east.

We had to go up in a funicular for our next stop – a very slanted railcar that’s able to climb steep slopes. That’s the track below us just after we started. And it’s high – over 4200 feet.

The place is called Harder Kulm. Essentially it’s a restaurant and an observation deck and that’s about it. But it was definitely worth the stop.

Yesterday we were at the Top of Europe, today merely the Top of Interlaken! But all part of the great system they’ve put together here for enjoying what’s referred to as the Jungfrau region, named for the highest peak in the area.

From this angle you can clearly see Interlaken is in a valley just like Grindelwald was.

The observation deck jets out over a cliff from the restaurant.

Lake Thunersee – the sun was 5:32pm so the sun made it a bit murky but you get the idea. If you look closely you can see a yellow parasail left of center.

Lake Brienzersee on the east side.

And the center of town. That field is the same you saw yesterday where the parasailers were landing.

A better view of the restaurant, etc. There’s also more of s snack bar outside, which is where we chose to sit, under those red umbrellas on the left. We didn’t want dinner but shared a coke and fries and that hit the spot.

Price of Ben & Jerry's pint: 9.95 francs.

We were so ready to be done by this point. We stopped by the Coop one more time (there’s one in the same building as our apartment so we only park once) to pick up some things for dinner. Ash suggested I share with the folks at home the cost of Ben & Jerry’s here. That’s $10.82 if you’re wondering.

Dinner was salmon, cauliflower and tomatoes. And a chocolate almond bar we shared while watching Billy Elliot.

Tomorrow is our last day in Interlaken. We’ll see what we come up with. I have a feeling that will be determined by how we feel after today’s hike!

4 thoughts on “Europe 2021: Day 10 – A 10 mile walk down a mountain, and the Top of Interlaken. And cows.”

  1. So spectacular, just gorgeous mountains and views. When I was little one of my favorite books was “Heidi” and I always imagined the scenery to be just like what you are seeing. Thanks for bringing us along. Safe travels- Karen

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