Beautiful mountains

A childhood dream was fulfilled in 2006 when we first visited Switzerland. I then had an opportunity in 2008 and now here we are again.

It was just I had imagined it to be and I just love the country. Probably Heidi was my inspiration but a young lady named Nadia Briner came into our lives in 2005. She came to South Africa as an Exchange Volunteer Community Worker and spent some time living with us so, when we decided to go to Europe in 2006, we just had to meet her family who live between halfway between Zurich and Basel. They are wonderful people who opened their home to us for 3 days and spoilt us unbelievably. We saw them on this trip as well.


Beautiful mountainsMountains around Interlaken with the Jungfrau centre left

Switzerland must be the cleanest place on earth and the most obedient people. If a pedestrian just looks at a road everything stops – cars, bicycles, scooters and all. It is also very efficient in the way everything is organised. Also, it is probably the most democratic country in that it is actually a federation of 26 states (Cantons) each of which is independent. Somehow Geneva, to me, is not quite Switzerland as it is so cosmopolitan, but Interlaken (between lakes) definitely is.

We were booked into a youth hostel for 2 nights and it was almost across the road from the station. When we spent time here in 2006 we did not have much time and so had taken the local railway around one of the lakes. This time we spent our 1st day walking around most of the town and came across a most interesting walk. It began with a model of the sun with a write up about its place in the galaxy and then a direction arrow indicating a path to follow to learn about the planets. We did about half of the walk and then gave up as it was very hot and there was an ever increasing distance between the ‘planets’ and we then walked through what is known as Extra Terrestrial Park which was really quite fascinating. It has since been closed.

For dinner, the hostess of the youth hostel told us of a really nice restaurant in town where we could get Swiss meals. It was a beautiful evening and we walked there and back, about 2kms each way. At breakfast the following morning she directed us to the train from where we could go up the Schilthorn. It was a beautiful day as we ascended the mountain in the small train, also covered by our Pass. The train stopped halfway up the mountain at Murren and we got off. We took the funicular higher up the mountain where there was a restaurant and a lovely flower trail filled with Spring flowers which had just opened. What a gorgeous display.

Bed of petuniasBeds of Petunias in Murren

Funiculat tunnelTunnel through which the funicular travels

Passing funicularA descending funicular taken from our ascending one

EdelweissEdelweiss along the trail

There was a path which we followed all around the area which would have been used for skiing in Winter as there were ski lifts behind the gardens and restaurant. We watched a shepherd guide his sheep to a spot next to a stream and, no sooner, had he decided where they should spend the day and leave them, they all crossed the stream again and made their way to another spot. It was really quite funny because it made the saying, ‘follow like sheep’ very real as soon as one decided to move to another pasture all the others followed.

Trevor looking at the viewTrevor looking at the view from the top of the mountain

Sheep on the mountainSheep wandering on the mountain

Ski lift gondolasThe ski lift at the top of the mountain

After spending a couple of hours at this spot and having our lunch just admiring the mountains, we decided not to go any further up the mountain and so walked down to Gimmelwald at 1367m from where we used the cable car to descend. It was amazing because at one point the car swings out into mid-air over an incredibly steep cliff.

Gimmelwald gondola stationThe top station for the gondola

Steep drop via gondolaView of the lower gondola station as we came over the steep drop

We were really glad that we did not spend more time on the mountain because, on arrival at the bottom of the ride, we discovered the Trümmelbach or underground waterfalls – 72 of them. These really are impossible to describe. The noise, the smell and the sheer beauty of it is impossible to absorb and take in. A once in a lifetime experience! If ever you are in the area of Interlaken, this is a must see for anyone.

Cascading waterfallA cascading underground waterfall

Trevor on viewing deckTrevor on the viewing deck of the Trummelbach

WaterfallA waterfall near the Trummelbach

We were so glad we spent 2 full days in this beautiful place.