Breakfast at 10,000 feet

Our final morning in Murren, we decided to have a special breakfast at the Schilthorn above our little mountain town.  Baby girl was exhausted before we even left the room.

Here is the map again so you can see where Murren and the Schilthorn are for reference.

We had to take another cable car to reach the top where the restaurant is.  This restaurant and area are even more special because they were featured in a James Bond movie in the late 60’s.  In the building at the top they not only have a restaurant and gift shop, but there is also “Bond World” dedicated to the filming of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

The Schilthorn restaurant from below.
We enjoyed our champagne breakfast at 10,000 ft.

Breakfast was great and the views were stunning.  The restaurant rotates 360 degrees so you really get the full panorama while you’re up there.  After lingering over coffee and croissants at breakfast we took more time to take in the views and explore the James Bond exhibit before heading back down the mountain.

We stopped again at the station at Birg which is between Murren and the Schilthorn.   More beautiful photo ops and scenery all around.

Looking down at Murren from Birg.

Laron practicing his National Geographic wildlife photography.

Back down in Murren we still had gorgeous weather and the whole afternoon.  So we started wandering from Murren down to Gimmelwald to check it out.  As far as the different towns were concerned I thought Murren was a wonderful place to stay.  Wengen seemed to be a little more established/commercialized.  Gimmelwald seemed much more quiet and didn’t have as many restaurants or shops.  Murren was right in the middle, didn’t feel overrun with tourists but still had plenty of restaurants and amenities to keep you happy.

Swiss bunnies with their own little house complete with miniature Swiss flag!
Dad trying out the Ergo.

We hiked down to Gimmelwald but opted to take the cable car back up.

A paraglider taking off.

That wraps up our adventures in Switzerland!  We had a wonderful time relaxing, hiking, and taking in the magnificent views.  We loved being able to drive fairly short distances to each place.  It really let us explore different areas and parts of Switzerland without making us feel like we spent half our vacation in the car.  And for the record we did find an authentic cowbell which now resides in our living room.  Ellie (our dog) is not a fan.

Until next time!

Kleine Scheidegg

Our next morning in Murren, we decided to set out on what Rick Steves describes as his favorite hike in the area (it had to be good).  We got an early start with a leisurely 45 minute stroll from our village to Grutschalp where we would catch the cable car down to the bottom of the valley.

Little Miss enjoying her morning nap underneath the mountains.
Clear view of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau.

We took one cable car down to Lauterbrunnen, then a train from there to Wengen, and the another cable car up to Mannlichen.  These names and descriptions are hard to picture, so here’s a map of the area so you can kind of follow our path.

Source

The cable car we took up to Mannlichen was packed.  Not much room for a nervous mom scared of heights with a baby that was getting a little fussy.  While we were in there the pressure of the altitude made our pre-packaged sandwiches pop, startling everyone in the car…oops!  When we got out, we were surrounded by blue skies and gorgeous scenery.

The cable car station at Mannlichen.
Ready to start out.
Snow in July!

We hiked about halfway before stopping for a picnic.  We had a great view of these famous mountains and were able to find a secluded place for just the three of us to eat lunch on top of the world.  Even tough we were only eating pre-made sandwiches and juice, it was one of the dining experiences we’ve had.

Picture time from our picnic stop.

 The clouds really roll in in the afternoon, so eventually we got up to finish our hike.

Sky reflecting perfectly in the water.

 We paused again at the Kleine Scheidegg for a glass of wine and to hunt for authentic cow bells like the ones the cows wear on the mountains.  No such luck.  But we did encounter a 9 month old St. Bernard puppy named Scarlet, she was a cutie!  While we made it to our destination we still had to get back down to Wengen.  So we hiked a little further to Wengenalp before taking the train the rest of the way.

The views we had on this hike were surreal.  It is amazing to be amongst these massive mountains and secluded villages.  Pictures can not do it justice but it is definitely one of the most beautiful places we’ve been in Europe.

One last look at the cable car up before heading back to Murren for a lovely dinner in the rain.  It was pouring by the time we got back so we ran to the closest restaurant we could find.  Luckily they had very good italian food :).  One more day left in the mountains, and we were in  for a special agent breakfast…

Murren

Murren was our final destination in Switzerland.  It is a tiny mountain village that has to be reached by cable car.  It sits in the Lauterbrunnen Valley just outside of Interlaken.  We parked our car at the bottom of the valley in Stechelberg and then loaded up our bags onto the cable car, and up we went!  Our hotel was a cute little alpine lodge, and unbeknownst to us, it was recommended by Rick Steves, hooray!

On our way to lunch before the hike.

 We made a stop at a nearby restaurant for some rosti which is a delicious swiss version on hash browns with cheese.  SO good!  Next we made our way to a little train to take us up to the next village higher to start our hike back down.

They really do live here!  Although he was missing his miniature keg of brandy around his neck.
The Monch peeking through the clouds.
The Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau (hiding behind the clouds a bit).
Beautiful scenery on our hike.

Way-ward cow on the path.

We hiked down to a town nearby Murren, then caught the train back before the weather turned south.

Hiking buddies.

 While we were walking back through Murren, we spied some wing suit divers ready to jump off the mountain.  I can’t imagine why people would want to do this, but Hubby thinks it looks really fun.

Successful day one!  These villages are so idyllic.  You can’t ask for better scenery and it is so relaxing to be up away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Lucerne

After two days trekking through the mountains, a leisurely city day was just what I needed.  Luzern or Lucerne is a gorgeous Swiss city sitting right on a beautiful blue lake.  The star attraction of the city is this 13th century wooden bridge.  Part of it burned down in the 90’s but it has been restored back to its original glory.  It’s decorated with vibrant flowers all the way down both sides and elegant swans swim all around in the water.

Some of the hotels and restaurants from the bridge.
Baby girl and I enjoying the view.

After exhausting our picture possibilities with the bridge, we stopped for a treat from Starbucks and some sandwiches.  Then we walked over to another famous Luzern site, the lion statue.  It was made to honor members of the Swiss guard who were killed in the French Revolution.  It is much bigger than I thought it was going to be.  It would be a very nice, peaceful spot to sit and take a break if it wasn’t for all the tour groups :).  Most tour groups have a guide who speaks quietly into a microphone and all the members of the tour wear headphones in order to hear what the guide is saying.  However, there was one group where the guide was carrying around a speaker broadcasting information for everyone to hear and disrupting the peace…rude!

For scale I had to jump in there 🙂

 Next we tried to make our way to a wall that outlined the city to walk on top of it for some good city views.  We found the wall but also found it wasn’t really accessible with the stroller, so we wandered into a city park instead.

We still found some pretty good views.
Giant clock inside a clock tower.

We continued back down into the main city center, grabbed some snacks at the grocery store and ducked back into our hotel for a little break and regrouping before dinner.  The next morning we were getting back on the road again for a short distance to finish our trip in the Berner Oberland.

Mt. Pilatus

We spent the day after hiking Mt. Rigi back up on a mountain. This time it was Mt. Pilatus.  We drove to a little town called Alpnachstad where we took “the world’s steepest cogwheel train” up to the summit.  The train has a 48% grade, pretty steep.  Makes for a very interesting and dramatic ride.  The summit is almost 7000 feet (about 1000 feet higher than Mt. Rigi).  Unfortunately we didn’t have great weather this day, but the views were still pretty amazing, despite the clouds.

There is a very nice welcome center at the top with restaurants, a gift shop, information, etc.  There is even a hotel you can stay in. We came up by the cogwheel train but you can also take the cable car on the other side of the mountain.

Lines for the cable car.

 There are a few short hikes/walks at the top to get different views out from the mountain.

Hiking up.
Going down.

Imagine going to church here, hard to tell but it’s sitting on a cliff.
View of the train we took up.

Walking through the rock tunnels, there are some old legends about dragons living in the mountain but we didn’t see any.
Afraid of heights.

In his happy place.
Pretty flowers.
A view of those rock tunnels we were in earlier.

After exploring the top for a while and having some lunch, we figured out our grand plan for the rest of the afternoon.  We were going to take the cable car down to the next station so Hubby could do the luge, then hike an “easy” 2 hours down the rest of the way to a little town and take the train back to where our car was parked and be in Luzern (where we were staying the next 2 nights) for dinner.

View from the cable car.
Did I mention I’m scared of heights?
Ready to ride the luge!

And so we began out on the trail.  Now even though it was a downhill hike, it wasn’t as easy as I had pictured.  It was a really steep downhill hike with a lot of roots, rocks, and paths that weren’t always very established.

Huge snail we found on the trail.
We went from hiking in this…
…to this.
Trying to hide my frustration.

There were some points where we thought we had gone off track and were hiking to a different town than we intended.  Sometimes the trails weren’t clearly marked so we weren’t sure if we were going the right way or not.  What was supposed to take 2 hours took us at least 3.

Finally!  The town was in our sights!

After that long hike, I was looking forward to a shower and some dinner.  But there was one more set back, we had left the lights of the car on and our battery was dead!  UGH!  Luckily Hubby was able to flag down a couple nice ladies who didn’t know how to jump a car, but were willing to help us anyway.  Thank goodness because it was about 8 PM and most of the cars in the lot were gone.  We could’ve been sitting there a long time if it weren’t for them.  We ended up having a 10:00 dinner that night but it was really good Italian food, with really good wine! Thank goodness because I needed a glass after that afternoon!

Mt. Rigi

Instead of spending another day in the city, we decided it was time to get out into the mountains and see what Switzerland is all about!  We drove not far from Zurich to Mt. Rigi.  We took a train up to the top of the mountain and hiked part of the way down.

At the summit.
View from the top.
Working on our wildlife photography.
First glimpse of alpine cows.
Alpine sunbathing.
Just casually taking in the view!
I love this sign, you have to decide if you want the young  man’s trail up (steep) or the old man’s trail (easy)
This cat came out of nowhere and ran out from behind us, I about jumped out of my skin!

We stopped for lunch at a small cheese farm on the mountain.

Some of the cheese farm employees.
Hubby couldn’t resist trying the house buttermilk, he said it tasted like “cheese milk”.
Lunch, an array of fresh cheeses from the farm.
Hiking is hard work.
It’s amazing how close you get to the cows, they are literally scattered all along the trails with no fences to separate you!
My friends, the cows.

This was a pretty easy downhill hike.  It was a beautiful day and really peaceful.  We were pretty much the only people on our particular trail most of the day.  It was fun to stop at the farm and try the fresh cheese and to listen to the chorus of cowbells all day.  A great day in the mountains!

Zurich

We left my friend’s house fairly early the next morning to catch the ferry across the Bodensee to Romanshorn, Switzerland.  From there we would finish the short drive to Zurich.  The ferry was a nice, relaxing way to travel.  We just drove on, had a little breakfast and cappuccino, enjoyed the view, and then we were there!

Daddy and baby girl enjoying the ferry ride
Arriving in Switzerland a little windblown

 Once we arrived in Zurich, we got settled into our hotel and then started out.  First stop was the grocery store to pick up food for a little picnic. We went a little overboard with how much we picked up but it made for a nice afternoon.

The view for lunch.
Our picnic on a bench.

After wandering around the beautiful city a while, we decided to go for a cruise around the lake.

Another boat and beautiful lakeside scenery.
The cruise was very relaxing.

 After the boat cruise we made our way to a famous chocolate and dessert shop.  We sampled some macrons, including a champagne flavored one (our favorite).  Then we continued wandering through the shops and streets.

Figuring out where to go.

 We made our way up to the Lindenhof which is a small park on top of a hill that has great views of Zurich.

Wishing he could get in on this game of chess.

For dinner we found a restaurant that specialized in traditional fondue.  I’ve never had it before, and since it was a local Swiss dish, we had to try it.  It was good, but very heavy…one try was enough.  The restaurant had a funky cheese smell from all the fondue pots but it was all a part of the experience I guess!

Our 4 cheese fondue with bread and potatoes for dipping, and Laron’s 13 CHF beer (AKA a $14 beer!)

We had our fill of the city, so that night we planned out a day trip to get us out of the downtown and into nature!