01.06.2015 - 01.06.2015
We headed over to the Oberland Hotel at about 8.00am for our free breakfast. It was a continental breakfast – but quite substantial. We all ate up big. The only hot things were coffee/tea and boiled eggs.
After breakfast Andrew wanted to hire a mountain bike and Bill wanted to rest his feet due to blisters and also get his photos in order. So I decided to walk up the valley as far as I was able to do. Andrew rode first in the same direction but then went up the mountains towards Gimmelwald and then came back. After he came back Bill took the bike for a ride and rode up the valley and back again.
It was a sunny day – a great day for walking so I set off. I followed along the Weisse Lutschine. It is one of two branches of the river Lutschine – the other branch is in the next valley and is called Schwarze Lutschine. “Weisse” means white and “Schwarze” means black. There was a joke between the two valleys. The people living in the white valley said that the river in the other valley was black because the people in that valley were so dirty. The people living in the black valley said that the river in the other valley was white because the people in that valley never washed at all. I found this quite amusing.
Anyway the Weisse (white) Lutschine does have a white colour. It flows fast and is quite voluminous and the water is cold. In fact it creates a cool breeze as you walk along beside it. The walk up the valley was pure joy. There are massive cliffs on both sides and there are many waterfalls. It is claimed that the whole valley has 72 waterfalls. Because they flow down the massive cliffs they are very high and very beautiful. As I mentioned yesterday the waterfall in Lauterbrunnen (the Staubbachfall) is the highest free falling waterfall in Europe but a bit further up is Murrenbachfall which is the highest waterfall in Switzerland. It is not a free fall waterfall as the water cascades against the cliff face – but the water falls 417 metres! It is beautiful to watch.
All along the valley are delightful meadows – many covered in wild flowers and very enjoyable wooded areas. Some of the meadows did not have wild flowers and that is because they have been mown – I guess to make up fodder for winter. Livestock spend the winter in barns ion this area. Apparently in the summer the cattle are taken up into alpine areas and this is the reason for the bells – it enables the owners to quickly find them in the high country. Barns and chalets dot the meadows which creates what could be described as typical Swiss scenery – very impressive. Everything is so neat – it is quite amazing to see. Even the forests are neat and I suspect dead logs and branches are cleared out of them every now and again. From a distance the meadows have an almost manicured look – it is very appealing. There is the constant sound of jangling bells which the cows wear. They seem to be totally accustomed to it and just go on feeding without being distracted by the jangling. If you get a herd of cows together and they are feeding, they create quite a sound. It adds to the joy of the walk. Up to a place called Stechelberg the walk was quite level - it was easy going. But then the path started to climb. It follows the river and starts getting up into Alpine country – massive snow covered mountains towering above you. I walked up to a place called Trachsellauenen (which comprises a hotel and a restaurant and a few other buildings). I had walked 9.2 kilometres – but I did not feel tired because of the wonderful surroundings. On the way I passed a cascade that falls 840 metres (it is called Mattenbachfall) – I really enjoyed looking at this and it does show how high the cliffs are.
I then returned. I enjoyed the return journey as much as I enjoyed the going up the valley. As I had walked over 18 kilometres I was starting to tire when I got back to our Hotel. After I got back (at almost 3.00pm) Andrew went out again for a ride – he rode up a very steep mountain where the chair life is – there is no way I could have managed it. It would have been quite a climb – and after he got back he then did a ride down the river.
I had a good rest and a bit of a sleep when I got back.
The prices in Lauterbrunnen are very high, so we decided to buy dinner from a super market – Bill did the shopping. He bought bread, ham and Swiss cheese. When he got back we sat on the veranda which looks up the valley and enjoyed the sandwiches (and they were very nice). The outlook is just beautiful with the waterfall right in front of you and the great cliffs on both sides. We sat for a while, relaxing and enjoying the outlook and the very mild weather.
We have been blessed with good weather. Someone in the town told Andrew that up until the day of our arrival they had four weeks of cold wet weather. I am so thankful we have had such good weather - sunny and pleasant.
It was a most enjoyable day.