At Lauterbrunnen, singing ‘The Hills are Alive’
A weekend in Lauterbrunnen. When Maureen asked if we would like to join Paul and her for a weekend of walking in the hills, I accepted gladly, even though both my good man and I could have done with a quiet weekend at home. We had been to the region for a day trip a few years back; that had whetted my appetite for more.
On Friday evening we had some Russian guests for dinner and the better half decided to keep up with the hollow-legged Sergey and downed one Vodka after another. This left the good man decidedly fragile on Saturday morning, and it took a lot of prodding before I could get him to move out of bed. Every time I wasn’t looking, he found a convenient spot to be horizontal in and my temper was quite frayed by the time we left on that Saturday afternoon!!
Thankfully, the drive to Lauterbrunnen was easy and we checked into the centrally placed hotel Silberhorn. After unpacking, we went for a stroll around town and a cup of tea. The better half perked up finally and we had a relaxed dinner at our hotel (good food, medium service) and sought our beds and slept well inspite of the strangely flat pillows.
On Sunday morning, we took the cable car to Grütschalp and then a short train ride to Murren. The plan was to do the Mountain View hike from Murren back to Grütschalp, a 4 hr walk normally. The first section was a steep climb of about 30-45 mins but it was well worth it as it opened into a high meadow strewn with wildflowers. There were a few cattle sheds and we sat leaning against one of them to drink in a superb view of the Eiger, Munch and Jungfrau mountains. Though there was a freshness in the air, the sky was a brilliant blue and Maureen flew about the slopes with Paul singing ‘The hills are alive with the sound of music’ 🙂 Paul sings very well and Maureen showed great style in her flitting through wildflowers 🙂
At this stage, we had reached the snowline. Our track was covered by snow but we continued on valiantly. Maureen, who would like to be reborn as a mountaineer (and well qualified for it too, seeing her courageous charge up precipitous slopes I must say !!!) led the way and I, the last always, carefully put my feet in the much bigger footsteps of the others. I still kept sliding and/or sinking; I shall most definitely not be reborn a mountaineer 🙂 After about 45 mins or so, we rested a while regarding the slopes ahead with dismay. The snow seemed much deeper and it didn’t seem possible to go on. Maureen and Paul went on a mission of reconnaissance but returned soon saying that it didn’t look good. So, tail between our legs, we retraced our steps. My good man did a fair bit of this on his backside and left a trail visible from afar 🙂
Back at the cattle shed, we ate the packed lunch we had taken from the hotel and then found another path to take us down towards Winteregg. It seemed rather tame to walk down a well-cleared track after our little mountain adventure !!! From Winteregg onwards, the trail was broad and full of the very young and the geriatrics, given that it is a particularly easy track to walk. We took the cable car back down and after a short rest, went in search of refreshments. A good hour was spent under a tree with terribly useful knowledge transfer from Paul to us on pollarding, horse chestnut trees and beech trees; the man has a useful knack of making almost anything on earth sound interesting 🙂 Thus intellectually enriched, we made our way down the valley to admire the many waterfalls on either side, the biggest being the Staubbachfalle. We walked back along the stream admiring the flowers, the birds and Paul’s stories.
Dinner was a bit charged, veering between the hysterical (Paul’s take on English accents 🙂 and hysterical (my reaction to my good man opening up old wounds!!). The food tasted good and I was introduced to some strawberry wine as aperitif by the young man who served us with food and amusing stories. The walk back to the hotel reminded us all of our age 🙂
Monday morning my body reminded me once more that I should get at least a bit fitter and I told it firmly to stop nagging me. We went off to see the amazing sight of the Trümmelbach falls which drain the glaciers of the Eiger, Munch and Jungfrau. These falls are accessed by a tunnel-lift into the heart of the mountain. The icy cold water thunders down ferociously beating down the age old rocks into submission, and submit they do. The water has sculpted the granite into extraordinary shapes and one can stand and marvel at the beauty of it all for hours. After a short stop for a nice cup of tea, we left the area surreptitiously looking out for boulders to kidnap for Maureen and Paul’s garden but we made poor boulder-thieves. After stopping at Gruyère for a very nice lunch, we made it in time to fetch the apple-of-Paul’s-eye from the airport and that was the end of a very nice weekend.