Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gliding Through the Swiss Alps

By Claire
Yesterday the rain would not stop so we stayed in and read a book apiece. Today looked a little more promising so we put on our rain gear and headed out for a hike to Stechelberg, about 2 miles away. We visited some friendly folks along the way.

I noticed that it was getting brighter and I could see patches of blue sky and the fog was thinner and higher. Why not take the gondola to Mürren and hike down to Gimmelwald, a place I’ve been to twice before and loved?

The views of the valley were great, made even more exciting by the many paragliders passing by.

We wandered through the small resort town of Mürren only to find everything shut tight—either because it is a Sunday or because we are between seasons. We didn’t see a soul other than like-minded walkers.

It started snowing while we were strolling, but no matter, we were dressed for it. It was kind of fun even if snow was not what we expected to find in May.

Catwalk--we think the big ladder is for the dog.

This roof is typical for Austria and Switzerland. The knobs keep the snow on the roof which acts as an insulator.

We found the Wanderweg (walking trail) to Gimmelwald and enjoyed the sights as we wandered. I would like to do this in my garden.

The traffic-free village of Gimmelwald has a population of 100, two streets and you can tour it in 15 minutes. It’s so quiet, you can hear the cows chewing. It also happens to be on a spectacular site with magnificent views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Led by a visionary schoolmaster, the farming community managed to reclassify its land as an “avalanche zone”—too dangerous for serious building projects. So while developers gnash their teeth, sturdy peasants continue to milk cows and make hay, thus surviving in a modern world only by the grace of a government that subsidizes such poor traditional industries. -From Rick Steves' Switzerland

I stayed in Walter Mittler’s Hotel Mittaghorn 10 years ago and first visited it 21 years ago. It was fun to see it again.

Little lambs grazing next to the hotel

Avalanche prevention

Heading to the gondola station in Gimmelwald, I noticed the temperature.

We walked back towards Lauterbrunnen and noticed a family herding their cows. These are the same ones we took a photo of earlier. I guess they move them to different areas.

These huts are similar to what we saw in Austria. Our friend Pat found some information on what they are for. The hay or "honeymoon" huts are used by the farmers for storing hay, but many say that they are used for some extra-curricular activities by the farmers and their wives or girlfriends. The joke among Austrians is that "you go into the honeymoon huts as two and come out as three!"

I've always wanted to go to Switzerland to see what the army does with those wee red knives. ~ Billy Connolly

1 comment:

Elisabetta said...

First, I'm on-my-feet cheering in the bleachers for the farmers who wore the tricky-pants for a change, beating the developers!

And I'm sooo plagiarizing that phrase, "avalanche zone," as in, "Yeah, my life has pretty much been an avalanche zone.." It's so Dimitri Martin.

This day seems so much more special than all your other Sound of Music scenarios. Did you feel that? Paragilders, catwalks, studded roofs and snow, + the long-ago hotel 2 deja vu's...

WE ARE ALL freezing here in Umbria and walking in the rain. People have been good sports but this weather is totally ridiculous.

Aufwiedersehen! E*