Montreux to Lauterbrunnen
May 12, 2008
|Day 15 – Montreux to Lauterbrunnen
We had another lovely day here in Switzerland, and we were looking forward to traveling through the mountains.
After our delicious breakfast in the dining room, we went down to the main road to catch our bus to the Montreux train station. Although it didn’t go to the station itself, the way was marked well enough, and we walked only about five minutes before we got there.
True to form, the Swiss Bahn was helpful and efficient, and the ticket agent gave us a printout of what trains to catch to get to Lauterbrunnen. We would head south then east to Visp, change trains and head north to Spiez, change yet again and head east to Interlaken Ost, then change for a final time and head to Lauterbrunnen. It sounds more complicated than it was, because we didn’t have to wait more than five minutes between trains, and the tracks were fairly close together so we didn’t have far to walk. Also, having the Swiss Pass, giving us unlimited travel on the trains, ferries and buses, was so convenient, and we only had to show it (and sometimes our passports with it too) to the conductor, and it was no worries. We had left Montreux train station at about 9:30 am, and got to Lauterbrunnen at around 1:00 pm, and the time went by so quickly. I’m not sure whether it seemed that way because of all the time we spent on the coach in Germany, but I was glad anyways.
The scenery was so pretty. Leaving Lac Leman, we headed into the mountainous region, with pastureland in the valleys. There is still snow on top of the mountains, but the weather otherwise is like summer for us. Apple trees are in full blossom, and the leaves are bright green on all the trees, in between the dark green of the pines.
When we came finally to the Lauterbrunnen valley, I was not disappointed. It is indeed one of the loveliest places I’ve ever been. It is a huge v-shaped cleft, and waterfalls pour over the sheer cliffs. The valley itself seems so protected by the mountains around it, nestled in a green belt with a river running through it. Architecture is typical alpine Swiss – dark, timbered houses with balconies and pretty flower gardens around.
The train station is quite small, really kind of an outdoor sheltered platform, but had several tracks. It is a hub for the mountain trains that go up the cog wheel tracks to the villages above, and also the cable car. On the mountains above us, we can see snow, and I think even a glacier on the one at the end of the valley. It must be cold, but it is so hard to imagine in such a green, lush place as Lauterbrunnen.
I’m glad I studied the location of our apartment/flat on Google maps, because I kind of knew that there was a bridge over the river beside the station, then our flat was quite close in a residential area. It is the top floor of a chalet-style house, only 50 m from the fast-running stream, and on a slope. It is nestled in a little hollow, and a better, more scenic location I couldn’t imagine. We have a stunning view of the mountains and the impressive 300 m Stubbach waterfall from our wrap-around balcony.
We met the owner, who introduced herself as Christine. She apologized for her English, so Doug found that speaking to her in French seemed to work better (Swiss must officially learn both German and French fluently in school). She showed us around the flat, and then left us to settle in.
We needed groceries, but since it was a holiday, that might prove difficult. We thought we might go back to Interlaken, which is only 20 minutes by train, and there are two trains per hour, so we walked back to the station. We had a bit of time before the next train came, so we decided to walk along the main street and check out what was there. We discovered there was a Co-Op (spelled Coop, which we call it for fun), but it was closed. There was a bakery, however, that was also a kind of convenience store, so we decided to pick up our groceries there and save us the trip into Interlaken, as we were ready to settle in.
We also found a little internet location, and checked our email. We had checked for wireless internet back at the house, but as expected, there was none. I sure miss not having the unlimited, high-speed internet that I have at home, but I had anticipated this and luckily had most of the information we needed off the net.
Before we went back, we decided to have a late lunch at a restaurant on the main street, on the patio. We both had rösti, which is a very artery-snapping Swiss dish that is grated potato with onions and cheese melted on top. Yum! (Good thing we are doing lots of walking…)
We went back to our flat, then decided to do some much-needed laundry. Christine explained to Doug how the washing machine worked, so we did a few loads, and hung them out on the line to dry.
For the rest of the day, we just relaxed, read, watched BBC Prime, and turned in early, to the sounds of the rushing water of the river. It is so peaceful here.