Sunday, August 2

High on a Hill . . . in Gimmelwald, Switzerland

We headed to those white peaked majestic beauties in the distance this weekend! After months of hearing that Switzerland is everyone’s favorite place to visit, we finally know what all the talk is about! I must admit my trepidation traveling to a hiker’s Alpine heaven with our kids, but it was truly a great vacation. GASP! Did I just say “vacation” and “kids” in the same sentence? Tis true, tis true! Ryan and I kept getting excited about every breathtaking, therapeutic mountain vista in every direction, around every turn and that’s not even the half of it!

Before we got to the mountains, we passed by two lakes by Interlaken. All the boaters enjoying the great weather made us itch to be out there too!

But we ventured off the hard beaten path to Gimmelwald, a small Swiss village hanging on the edge of a mountain above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. We parked the car at the cable car station and rode up the steep mountain face passing many waterfalls. There is a green-ness here that just doesn’t compare to anything we’ve seen in the states. Since we are lovers of fireworks and seeing a bit of life as a local if we can, Ryan timed this visit to coincide with Swiss National Day – August 1.

For a great snapshot of Gimmelwald, read HERE.

How long does it take to walk from Gimmelwald up to the next village of Murren? Depends. Do you have a three year old? Locals said it takes 25 minutes.

Our initial walk up to Murren seen here in the distance took us a little over two hours. Murren is more tourist-oriented with more restaurants and a grocery store. We’d settled in at the Pension in Gimmelwald by 3pm and wanted to take a look at the village and the scenic path up to Murren with the remaining daylight hours. As you’ll see from the pictures below, we certainly enjoyed the sights in between un-photographed tantrums and bribes.

A snapshot in the heart of Gimmelwald. You can’t help but want to try yodeling up here! Ryan and I both would bust out in the yodeling song from “The Sound of Music” now and then. Easton even took a stab at it!

The Alpkase hut in Gimmelwald where a local farmer woman sells her cheese after a hard day’s work harvesting her hay crop. It was the first time I’d seen old hiker boots used as flower pots. Each time I saw them used, they made me think of leprechauns or Harry Potter’s portkeys. Ahhh, a pot of gold would be nice about now after how expensive everything is in Switzerland! YIPES!

One family gathering their hay crop. I’m not sure how they load this big tarp of hay into the small truck but I'm guessing they do it the same way another family does later in this post.

Poor cow was besieged by flies and flappin’ her ears and tail to shoo them away to no avail.

The boys liked imitating the cow’s flapping ears.

We passed this family both days gathering their hay. I must say they’ve gotta have the strongest ankles in the world to work those steep hillsides! These guys were joined by two others the next day to move all the gathered hay UP to the road where their truck swept it up into the back of the truck. Another three farmers worked the hillside above the road bringing hay down the hillside to the road for the truck to sweep up. The truck was driven by the cutest long white-bearded, weathered old man. I even saw a couple of tanned, curly haired toehead blond kids that could have been Swiss poster youth! You have to feel a bit silly and guilty watching and snapping pictures as these people do such back-breaking hard work to eek out a living!

You can’t help but love the stillness up here! I’d smile to myself all the time as I’d hear the clang of nearby cows' or goats' bells. Bells feature as decoration on many houses or barns we passed in Gimmelwald and Murren - just look for them in any shot I’ve taken. The size of these bells greatly varies and Ryan and I both knew our souvenir would be a bell. At each European destination, we’re always on the lookout for what might be a good Christmas tree ornament to commemorate our visit.

Once we made it up to Murren, we’d worked up quite the appetite! You can’t be in Switzerland and not try their fondue. [We haven’t had fondue for many years since an anniversary date to DC’s Melting Pot . Pricey, but well worth the chance if you come across one!]

After browsing many mouth-watering, exorbitant menus, we ate on the large outdoor terrace of the Bellevue hotel to enjoy the fabulous weather, views, and good grub! Such stillness up here was not really conducive to our rowdy, hungry kids. Ryan and I were a bit weary of having to shush them so as not to disturb the ambiance for others eating nearby. Perhaps we should have stuck to the more rustic, rowdy hiker joints.

We rode the Schilthorn cable car back down to Gimmelwald and put our weary crew to bed. We didn’t bring the port-a-crib with us, nor did the Spartan pension have any, so Ryan and I were pleasantly surprised and amused with Morgan’s blanket-wrestling routine as she settled in for the night. I need to video it one of these days! Ahhh, to sleep with the windows open to the fresh mountain air, cow bells, and mountain hostel partiers 50 feet away. Okay, so we could have done without the partiers, but those mountains were an awesome sight to wake up to! More tomorrow when I have more patience to load pictures!