Adventure in the Swiss Alps

Earlier this summer Dan and I started planning a big hiking trip in Switzerland.  We had planned to do 4 full days in the Jungfrau region of the Alps hiking up, along the ridge, down and from hut to hut…well that was the plan until we got back from Asia…In my last post you may have read that I came down with an illness after our Cambodia trip.  Well this illness was unlike any other illness I’ve ever had.  I was completely out for 3 full weeks and now a month later, am still seeing some of the after effects.  Leading up to this trip I still had limited energy and very weak muscles.  So we had to tweak our trip quite a bit to accommodate…

Luckily, we still have an incredible time! With Dan’s master planning skills, we were still able to see and do a lot!

We flew into Zurich very late Thursday night.  We didn’t arrive until almost midnight.  We headed to our first campsite just outside of town along the shores of Zurich See.  We set up our tent and crashed for the night, and woke up to the most beautiful setting!  It was so fun waking up to such a picturesque setting, as we arrived in the dark having no idea where we actually were!  We packed up and headed over to Interlaken.

Just a half an hour into our two hour drive, we decided to take a pit stop for some breakfast in Lucerne.  It was such a beautiful little town!  The river is the most perfect shade of blue, and the main bridge is unlike any other.  We enjoyed our coffee and breakfast pastries by the water before continuing our journey to Interlaken.

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After a beautiful, scenic drive, we arrived in Interlaken.  First stop: Swiss chocolate!  We headed directly to the chocolate shop to grab some chocolate fondue.  I don’t know how the Swiss do it, but their chocolate is truly the best! We definitely took advantage of it and indulged in copious amounts of chocolate throughout the weekend!

IMG_1105After filing up with chocolate for the morning, we drove over to Mürren for our first adventure activity, the Via Ferrata [Klettersteig auf Deutsch]!  This is essentially hiking along the side of a mountain using steel cables and holds to move along.  It was so cool!  I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time!  I kept waiting for Dan to get annoyed with me because I kept stopping to tell Dan how cool the views were; but he was just as excited as I was! 🙂  We both agreed that our favourite parts were the cable bridges!  We’re both a bit of adrenaline junkies and loved the feeling of the waterfalls rushing below us while bouncing on a little cable above! [have fun trying to spot us in some of these photos!]

That evening, we made our way back to Interlaken where we set up our tent at a campsite on the western lake, Thunersee.  We had a wonderful fondue dinner in town, before enjoying the sunset over the lake.  One of the things I love about adventure/camping trips is going to sleep so early 🙂  I love going to bed just after sunset and waking to the sunrise.  It’s so rejuvenating!

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On Saturday, we had our second adventure activity, white water rafting!  Neither of us had ever done this before [surprising!] so it was something we were really looking forward to.  We rafted on the Lütschine river, which had mainly class 4 rapids.  As the water flows down from the melting glaciers, it was freezing cold, so the weather was absolutely perfect for this adventure, 80 degrees and sunny!   We were  put at the front of the boat to be the leaders, which was really fun and challenging! We both absolutely loved this experience, and can’t wait to do it again! [Thank you Alpin Raft!]

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That evening, we drove back into Interlaken to check out the Unspunnenfest.   We were super lucky to have caught this, because it only happens once every 12 years!  Think of the festival as the Swiss Olympics…stone throwing, wrestling and yodeling!  We didn’t get to see the actual games as we didn’t have tickets, but we were able to enjoy the outer festivities and we even made friends with a yodeling group which we hung out with for awhile!

After getting our yodeling  fix, we drove over to Grindlewald to camp in the valley of the area we would be hiking the next day.  It was another beautiful campsite.  We couldn’t believe how quiet the whole area was – it was such a nice change from busy London.

IMG_1229Sunday was our big hike day.  Adventure number three began in Grindlewald and ended at the Gleckstein Hutte – 2,317 m high up Mount Wetterhorn.  We had researched a lot of hikes and there are so many in the area.  As our initial plans changed, we decided to let the locals help us with what to do!  We wanted a hike that was very secluded, picturesque and particularly one in which no cable cars could get to to keep the tourists away.  SO we ended up with this hike as the locals recommended it would be perfect as not many people do it and the hut at the top is one of the best views in the area.  Little did we know how difficult the hike would be! We quickly found out it was a very steep ascent on very rocky ridges! [picture on the right shows what the terrain was…!]  After hours of heavy breathing and strategically placing each foot, we rounded the corner to the most beautiful sight – our mountain hut for the night!

The hut was adorable.  There were about 8 other hikers staying there with us for the night.  Some of the hikers were locals that told us this was in the top 3 most difficult hikes/huts to get to!  The hut owners provided us with a delicious, hearty dinner and breakfast which was much needed after a long day of hiking.  After dinner we had a lovely surprise with a heard of Steinbock’s visiting our hut!

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The next morning we started adventure number four…making our way back down to the valley without falling face first. It was a beautiful hike down, as the air was much cooler and the descent takes so much less effort!  We enjoyed scampering down the rocks, taking in our last views of the mountains.

We rewarded ourselves with one last fondue and raclette meal in Grindlewald then made the drive back to Zurich.  We decided to stay in the same campsite as we did the night we arrived because we loved it so much.  As we arrived in the afternoon, we were able to swim in the lake and enjoy the sun and relax for the afternoon.  We cooked a lovely pasta camp meal before crashing early in the night for our 7am flight back to London in the morning.

I was so proud of myself for being able to do everything we did.  And so thankful my health is finally almost back to normal!  We absolutely loved this trip.  Every moment was perfect!

 

 

 

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