Category Archives: Alpine Journal

Day 26 – Two Opt Out

After the Hawaiian incident, Lauren was not looking forward to another long flight. They played some mediocre movies though, and in the end, it wasn’t as terrible as feared. Raul enjoyed the movies and did not find them mediocre.

After landing in Atlanta, the next several hours reminded Lauren that she really does still hate flying. Even though one already clears security before coming into the United States, another checkpoint is present before any connecting flights may be taken. Raul and Lauren both opted out of the body imager and received the enhanced pat down. Then they tried multiple times, without success, to get a free change to an earlier flight to St. Louis. Sadly, they were forced to wait six hours, including the extra delay to their flight, and arrived in St. Louis shortly after 8pm, 21 long hours after they had woken up in Zürich.

Raul’s parents and grandmother picked them up from the airport, and they all met Emanuel and Olivia for dinner at π. Grandmother is leaving to return to Romania in the morning, so it was the last chance they had to get the family together.

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Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 26 Sunday 10 June St Louis
09:35 Depart Zürich on Delta flight 67, seats 25AB
Duration: 10h 30m, Total: 16h 2m
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
14:05 Arrive Atlanta
17:59 Depart Atlanta on Delta flight 1834, seats 17DE
Duration: 1h 54m
Aircraft: MD-88
18:53 Arrive St Louis

Day 25 – Back to the Beginning

For their final day in Switzerland, Raul and Lauren decided to take advantage once more of the Swiss Pass, as well as the conveniently compact size of the country, to return to the first Swiss town they visited, Appenzell. It took less than two hours to reach the town by train. Here they hoped to find a non-touristic store selling cowbells, since this is cow country. They were assured by several people that local farmers bought their bells at a certain shop on the main street. Despite these assurances, they decided not to buy a bell from this souvenir shop and resigned to returning home without one.

After a traditional Appenzeller lunch featuring the smelly regional cheese, they returned to Zürich. Ahead of them lay the daunting task of organizing and packing their bags one final time. They were somewhat glad to be leaving their hostel, as Lauren noticed during her shower that the bathroom ceiling was covered in mold.

They ate dinner at an Italian restaurant, and, as luck would have it, Lauren found a dark chocolate gelato at a stand next door. Although the texture was perhaps not quite as right as the gelato in Lugano, the “darkness” of the flavor was delicious. Raul and Lauren strolled the restaurant district, the Niederdorf, eating their gelato and stopping here and there to watch the Germany vs. Portugal soccer match that was playing on all the TVs.

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Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 25 Saturday 9 June Zürich
08:17 Depart Murten platform 1 on S5 15829 to Zurich
Total duration: 1h 41m
Saved S₣27
08:56 Arrive Bern, transfer to platform 4 on IC 817
09:02 Depart Bern
09:58 Arrive Zürich, stow bags
10:15 ▲▲Swiss National Museum, free
13:00 Self-guided walk
14:00 Zürichsee cruise
16:00 Uetliberg, Zürich from above
17:30 Check in to City Backpacker Hotel Biber, S₣78 including sheets, no breakfast, free Wi-Fi
Tel: +41 044-251-9015
  • Self-guided walk or 2 hr paid tour, S₣20 or half with Swiss Pass
  • ▲▲Swiss National Museum, S₣10 or Swiss Pass, Tues-Sun 10:00-17:00, closed Mon
  • River/lake cruise covered by Swiss Pass
  • Bicycle ride
  • Uetliberg, Zürich from above, good at sunset, 1.5 hrs


  • Zeughauskeller, Swiss, S₣18-33
  • Restaurant Swiss Chuchi, cheese dishes, splittable S₣25-30 fondue
  • Commihalle Restaurant, Italian, S₣17-25, or S₣25 4 course
  • Manora, cafeteria, S₣10-15, closed Sun
  • Confiserie Sprüngli, old-fashioned pastry shop on Bahnhofstrasse, by Zeughauskeller

Day 24 – Delicious Luxemburgerli

Raul and Lauren left Basel in the morning for Zürich…and arrived to yet more rain. They stowed their bags in the convenient lockers and went across the street to the Swiss National Museum, a good rainy day activity. They saw many artifacts that used to decorate the Catholic churches and cathedrals before the Reformation swept them away. It really is a shame to see the grand buildings sit so starkly devoid of artistic distractions.

By the time they left the museum, the rain had let up, and the travellers began the town walk, roughly following the Limmat River to Lake Zürich. Near the end, they stopped to purchase some Luxemburgerli: one-inch cream-filled, macaron-meringue hamburgers in a variety of delicious flavors.

By this time, it was of course raining again, so they took a handy tram back to the train station, picked up their bags, and went to the dumpy hostel to check in.

They had fondue and rösti for dinner one last time and went to a tiny little room for a dessert of hot chocolate. The interior of the cafe was comfortable and rich, unlike the hot chocolate. After the drink, it was raining again, so they decided to turn in for the night. Lauren is reading an adventure book about rabbits, Watership Down, and Raul is getting a new high score in Bejeweled. The hostel is cheap (in an expensive city), and that’s the only good thing one can say about it.

Day 23 – No Cowbells

With so many activities they had planned being rained out at some point during the trip, Raul and Lauren acquired a free day to use. They thought about visiting France but ended up choosing Basel, Switzerland.

Before going to Basel, though, they took a train to a small town near Bern in an attempt to procure some cow bells. They wanted the same that a farmer would buy and not the touristic kind, so they sought out a hardware store. Since no tourist would ever have cause to be in this area, nobody spoke English, but they managed to convey their intent to one of the employees, and she dutifully started them on a wild goose chase which they had the good sense to ignore. As the young lady made some calls to try to help them, another employee and several customers got involved, each trying to aid Raul and Lauren and throwing in the few English words they knew to boot.

Their failed mission complete, they travelled back to Bern and on to Basel. They brought with them only their daypack, for in Bern, they had taken advantage of a useful railway service that allowed them, for a small fee, to ship their large backpack on to Zürich, where it would be waiting for them the following day.

Since Basel does not figure among the cities in their guidebook, Raul and Lauren stopped at the very helpful Tourist Information in the train station and there, made a hotel reservaion and got information on various city walks. When they arrived at their hotel to check in, they found it was a “proper” hotel, lacking the charms of a family-run pension. That said, it was one of the most comfortable places they had stayed in during the whole trip.

When they left the hotel to explore the city, it was sunny and warmer than anywhere else they had been. They followed two of the well-signed city walks. The most enjoyable portions were the ferry crossing of the Rhine and the promenade along the river.

It was just beginning to rain as they neared their hotel, so they decided to stay inside for the rest of the evening. Raul napped, and Lauren waited for the rain to let up to visit Coop and buy their standard picnic fare for dinner.

Day 22 – Save the Best Bite for Last

More clouds and rain prevented further cycling. The day was thus spent running errands, shopping, shipping, and resting. After visiting the only place of Internet access in town, Raul and Lauren took the train to Bern. Here, they took shelter from the rain under the arcades while they shopped. The only shopping they did, though, was at a giant Coop. Their intent was to stock up on their favorite Swiss products and ship them home to be enjoyed later. They purchased soaps, syrups for juices, large jars of Nutella, and several kinds of chocolates. They looked for a hardware store in which to purchase a cowbell, but the tourist information person sent them to a “software” store instead–Apple. They spent a while at the post office packing their purchases into two large boxes and wrapping everything carefully in newspaper. They hope the boxes make it home.

Before returning to Murten, Raul got the location of a real hardware store 20 minutes from Bern by train. They plan to go there tomorrow. While they waited for the train to Murten, Lauren bought a chocolate muffin, and Raul said he did not want any of it. As she normally does, Lauren ate all around the muffin, saving the icing on top and the chocolate cream in the middle for one last, delicious bite. Then Raul greedily snatched it away and swallowed it whole. Stinking Raul!

In Murten, they strolled on the ramparts some more before finishing the night with dinner at an Italian place. It was a bit of a challenge with the drink orders. Lauren asked for tap water, and Raul wanted a bottle of carbonated water, as well as a glass of water with mint syrup. They were given a glass of still water with mint syrup for Lauren, and a glass of carbonated water with mint syrup for Raul.

A final note: Raul and Lauren are the only English-speaking tourists they have encountered in Murten. It’s nice to be away from the popular places for a few days.

Day 21 – Lauren Likes Tea for the First Time

After a visit to Coop to purchase picnic supplies, Raul and Lauren went to the train station to rent a bicycle for the day. They wanted a tandem because it has always looked fun. They did a few practice runs in the parking lot. They were hilariously inept at balancing, and Lauren failed to overcome the feeling of constantly being on the verge of crashing. Riding a bicycle is about finding equilibrium with one’s own body; with two bodies on the bicycle, it was like trying to learn how to balance all over again. They took the bicycle out to the street and rode a few blocks. The straightaways were fine, but Lauren, sitting in the back, was nervous because she couldn’t see around Raul. Raul was also bad at the unnatural practice of communicating things like stopping and turning. Lauren was in full shut-down mode, so they decided it would be better to switch to individual bicycles. Having enjoyed the electric bicycles at the Transport Museum in Luzern so much, they were keen to take them out again. They made the switch and were finally on their way.

They followed the sign-posted bicycle trails to Avenches. This small town was once the bustling Roman city of Aventicum and shows the remains of an ampitheater, a sanctuary, a tower, a wall, and a theater. The ampitheater is Switzerland’s largest Roman ruin. There were few tourists in the town and the theater was particularly nice, being situated outside the city in the midst of large fields. They chose this ruin as the place to have their picnic. Swiss children have the best field trips: there were no less than two separate groups here, a French-speaking one and a German-speaking one. The kids were running, climbing, and having fun all over the natural playground of the ruins.

After visiting the Roman city wall, Raul and Lauren continued clockwise around Lake Murten. It is one of the flattest areas they’ve been in, but hills and mountains are always visible in the distance. This region has been very fertile since Antiquity–that’s why the Romans settled here.

The cyclists were especially grateful for their electric bicycles when they had to climb the 653-meter Mont Vully, a small mountain covered in vineyards across the lake from Murten. They rested and enjoyed the views from the top of Mont Vully. They crossed paths with a number of cyclists, some tourists like themselves and others the serious, spandex-clad kind. Serious, because they never smile and always look pompous, since they don’t rely on the electric assistance. All told, they rode about 30 miles over six hours.

This evening, they dined at Restaurant Anatolia, a terrific Turkish eatery. Once again, they found that the best service comes from immigrants. They had a pleasant conversation with their waiter, whose parents own the restaurant and immigrated to Switzerland from Turkish Kurdistan. They particularly enjoyed the dessert with sweet apple tea. Lauren, who dislikes all teas, actually loved this one, since there was no “tea” taste.

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Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 21 Tuesday 5 June Murten
08:30 Ride bike or train to Avenches
10:00 Tour Roman ruins and museum, all free
13:00 Return to Murten via bike or train
14:30 From Murten, continue around or across the lake on bike or ferry, to Praz
16:00 From Praz, hike or bike up Mont Vully

Day 20 – Cute Bears

The original itinerary called for another night to be spent in Gimmelwald, but Raul and Lauren decided to leave a day early owing to the poor weather forecast. During breakfast, they could confirm that it would be another cloudy, rainy day around Lauterbrunnen Valley; indeed, the forecast even predicted heavy snow on Jungfrau.

They departed not knowing exactly where they would end up for the night. They had reserved a room in Murten, near Bern, for three nights starting on the 5th, but they weren’t sure if they could get their room a day earlier. While they waited for the cable car to whisk them away, Lauren made a quick phone call and confirmed that they would be able to sleep in Murten at Hotel Ringmauer tonight.

Raul and Lauren travelled without incident to Switzerland’s capital city, Bern. They spent a few hours strolling the beautiful city’s arcades. The arcades are covered, outdoor storefronts that evolved from the medieval practice of merchants setting up their wares along the streets. These temporary shops were eventually immobilized and expanded, becoming the arcades that exist today. They were grateful for the city’s plentiful medieval fountains, and Lauren finally was able to drink free tap water to her heart’s content. These colorful fountains (one of which features a child-eating ogre) were created by local artists after the Reformation when they lost their main patron, the Catholic Church. Their walk terminated at the city’s lovely bear park, where they spent a while watching four brown bears frolic, swim, eat, and nap. So cute.

The travellers took the next train to Murten from Bern’s huge train station. The departure board can’t display more than the next 20 minutes of departures because of the large volume the station handles. Once in Murten, they checked in to Hotel Ringmauer (“Ramparts”). It is thus named because it sits just a few steps away from the city’s medieval ramparts that served as its fortification, particularly in a battle against the Burgundian Charles the Bold in the 15th century. Nowadays, Murten is still a small town of 5,000 inhabitants overlooking Lake Murten. Its other medieval features, such as a tower, a castle, the city gates, and the fine main street, are well preserved. As in Bern, the main street is lined with arcades.

After viewing the town and walking along the ramparts, Raul and Lauren dined on fondue at Freiburger Falle. They both agreed it was a delicious fondue, due in part, perhaps, to the inclusion of Alpine herbs in the cheese. Lauren was also delighted that they served potatoes, as well as bread, for dipping. Raul loves to scrape the fried cheese from the bottom of the pot, and Lauren always tries to dissuade him. Just as happened in Luzern, Raul scraped it too hard, and a piece of cheese went flying out of the pot. For dessert, they had a stiff meringue, similar to that of Ebenalp, served with ice cream and warm berries. Supposedly, the meringue at this restaurant is baked for three hours in a wood oven by an 88-year-old grandmother. Delicieux!

Raul and Lauren walked down to the lake-front. There, they spent the rest of the evening watching a dog with a Frisbee and a young man flying a kite-surfing kite. He was almost dragged along the ground several times, so it was entertaining to watch.

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Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 20 Monday 4 June Murten
08:00 Depart Gimmelwald for Bern on cable-car to Schilthornbahn station near Stechelberg
Total duration: 1h 52m
Saved S₣29,40
08:12 Bus 14108 to Lauterbrunnen
08:33 Depart Lauterbrunnen on R 130 to Interlaken Ost
08:54 Arrive Interlaken Ost, transfer to platform 7 on IC 962
09:00 Depart Interlaken Ost
09:52 Arrive Bern, leave bags in lockers at train station, self-guided walk
13:00 ▲▲The Berner Swim and Marzilibad if warm enough
14:30 ▲▲Museum of Fine Arts (Kunstmuseum), free, closes 17:00
Saved S₣7
Bern Sights
  • Self-guided walk or 1.5 hr paid tour, S₣20
  • Bicycle ride
  • ▲▲The Berner Swim and Marzilibad
  • ▲▲Museum of Fine Arts (Kunstmuseum), S₣7 or Swiss Pass, Tue 10:00-21:00, Wed-Sun 10:00-17:00 closed Mon
  • ▲▲Paul Klee Center (Zentrum Paul Klee), S₣18-22 or Swiss Pass, Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00, closed Mon

  • Tibits, self-service buffet, S₣20
  • Gourmanderie Moléson, French bistro, S₣30 two-course lunch, closed Sun
  • Restaurant della Casa, traditional Swiss, S₣22-36, closed Sun
  • Ristorante Luce, Italian, S₣20
  • Housi’s Brot-Loube, bakery, closed Sat-Sun
  • Restaurant Rosengarten, city views, S₣20-40
  • Brewery Restaurant, S₣16-24 lunch
  • Schwellenmätteli Restaurant, Mediterranean, S₣28-40
16:08 Depart Bern platform 12A on S5 15560 to Murten
16:42 Arrive Murten, check in to Hotel Murtenhof & Krone, S₣160/night (2 nights)
Tel: +41 026-672-9039
17:00 Self-guided walk, lakeside promenade
Lake cruise PDF timetables

Murten Sights


Day 19 – Too Much Hiking Today

A dubious sky greeted Raul and Lauren this morning, so after breakfast, they decided to skip the cable car trip up Schilthorn to Piz Gloria. Instead, they departed with 1,5 L of H2O for perhaps a four-hour hike, a hike to a glacier field that is supposed to be good for a rainy day.

Since they weren’t going to hike all day, they didn’t pack a lunch but brought an apple, a granola bar, and some delicious Swiss chocolate bars. The sky continued its deliberation, with periods of light sprinkles, but it mostly seemed to be clearing up. They set out from Gimmelwald toward the Sefinen Valley and Chilchbalm, the glacier field, heading downhill for half an hour but then moving ever uphill. They passed several waterfalls, for the snow is melting on top of the mountains and making them full. They more or less followed the course of a raging river down below. As they neared the end of the trail, a huge pile of snow and forest debris covered the way forward. It looked as though an avalanche or landslide had destroyed the path, and a sign warned that further passage was prohibited.

From here there was a choice to make: return to Gimmelwald the way they came or try a more challenging hike up and around the valley, with an approach to Gimmelwald from above. The loop is said to take approximately five hours, and they had already covered at least an hour and a half. Halfway or so, the map showed a mountain refuge that might have provisions for the travellers. They set out with high spirits, but the steep climb was beginning to take its toll on Lauren.

The views of the valley and surrounding mountains were quite naturally magnificent. The mountains, covered in pine trees and wildflowers, were breathtaking. The weather was great as well, with cool temperatures and periods of cloud cover to protect them from the sun. They kept climbing for about two to three hours, and at points the trail was only recently dug out, so they weren’t sure if they were supposed to be on it at all. Raul, of course, always felt “fine,” but with the endless steep climb, the difficulty of the trail started to outweigh the beautiful scenery for Lauren.

By the time the mountain refuge was in their sights, Lauren was weary and of low spirits from the steep climb. The hut was still far off, and they almost gave up when they came upon a section of the trail which was obscured by about 50 yards of snow. They scrambled over the snow and persevered over the next ridge before deciding it was best to just return to Gimmelwald the way they had come. Even if the hut was open (not a certainty), they still had not reached the point at which the trail would turn back to Gimmelwald. By this point, they had literally climbed a mountain and made it just past the tree line. To conserve water, they even drank a few drops of rainwater caught in some leaves on the mountain. The return trip took almost three hours, and the last 40 minutes were in light rain, which they were prepared for with their sweet rain jackets.

Back in the room, they were too tired to do anything but take a nap, and the rain made outdoor activities unviable anyway. Lauren had forgotten her Lenten resolution to “not say anything at all” if she didn’t have anything nice to say and thus had complained about the difficulty of the hike. She felt much better back at the pension and played Bejeweled to relieve her stress, while Raul napped. It was an early evening, and they got a good rest for the next day of travel.

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Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 19 Sunday 3 June Gimmelwald
08:00 ▲▲▲The Schilthorn and a 10,000-Foot Breakfast, take cable-car from Gimmelwald, S₣37 from Mürren, 2 per hour, 30m
10:00 Take cable-car down to Birg
10:15 ▲▲Birg to Gimmelwald via Brünli hike, only if clear of snow, 4 hours

Day 18 – No Hikes Today

After breakfast this morning, Raul and Lauren descended by cable car and crossed Lauterbrunnen Valley to the town of Wengen. Their first stop was the Coop grocery store where they purchased picnic fare: salami, Manchego cheese, baguette, butter, yogurt, croissant, and pastry. The plan was to take a lift to the top of a cliff overlooking the town and hike from there to Kleine Scheidegg, which is the train stop between Wengen and Jungfraujoch. Before taking the lift, they dropped by the Tourist Information and were dismayed once again to learn that the hike they planned to do is closed due to recent heavy snow in the region.

The travellers continued with their plan to reach Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe at over 11,000 ft. It is difficult to imagine that the railway line was built more than 100 years ago.

The weather today was perfect, which was good for Raul and Lauren, but also good for everyone else. The entire excursion from ascent to descent was very crowded. Similar to their experiences in Austria and the rest of Switzerland, it is readily apparent that prosperity has reached beyond the West. Whereas in the past, most travellers would have been from the U.S., Europe, or Japan, now there are more travellers from China, Korea, and India. At Jungfraujoch today, most of the tourists were from India.

At the top, they took in the views, particularly of three large mountains with an interesting storyline: Mönch (the Monk) protects Jungfrau (the Maiden) from Eiger (the Ogre). The viewing platform also allowed them a look at Aletsch Glacier, the longest in Europe at nearly 11 miles.

At this altitude, one can have fun in the snow all year round (it was in the 20s at the top today). Raul and Lauren did not ski, but there is a zip-line that crosses the slopes, which they both enjoyed immensely. Lauren did not cry this time. She knew one landed directly in the snow at the end of the line, but until she experienced it, she did not realize that one actually plowed into the ground at full speed. Luckily, they were wearing lots of layers, and they walked away unbruised.

Another activity at Jungfraujoch was a literal walk through a gallery of ice sculptures. They passed through a series of tunnels made completely of ice–floor, ceiling, and walls.

They stopped at one final viewpoint, and as they were heading out, Raul noticed a group of Indian travellers posing for a photograph and offered to take a picture of the whole group. After taking the picture with several of the group’s cameras, a couple of them were so grateful that they wanted to pose with Raul and Lauren. Not knowing what else to do, they acceded. It all happened so fast. One of them even took a headshot of Lauren, commenting how beautiful she looked in the sunlight. Perhaps it was her snow-white complexion. He asked for their email address, and they were glad to give it.

Descending to Lauterbrunnen, they decided to attempt a hike on the Gimmelwald side of the valley. The trailhead is at the top of a funicular from Mürren which had stopped running for the day only shortly before they arrived. Foiled once again.

They resigned to returning to their pension in Gimmelwald from Mürren following the service road that connects the two towns. It is a rather short walk, but they were in no hurry, so it took them about an hour. They were amused on the way down by munching cattle and prancing lambs. Raul led them through someone’s backyard where they saw some guinea pigs and rabbits.

At the pension, they enjoyed dinner on the terrace with fantastic views across the valley to Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger.

Confœderatio Helvetica
Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 18 Saturday 2 June Gimmelwald
Jungfrau Rail Timetables PDF
07:30 Self-guided walk
▲▲▲Männlichen-Kleine Scheidegg hike & ▲▲▲Jungfraujoch
08:00 Depart Gimmelwald for Wengen on cable-car to Schilthornbahn station near Stechelberg
Total duration: 51m
Saved S₣16,20
08:12 Bus 14108 to Lauterbrunnen
08:37 Depart Lauterbrunnen on R 343 to Wengen
08:51 Arrive Wengen, purchase picnic food across from station
09:15 Take gondola from Wengen to Männlichen, every 15 minutes, walk 10 minutes from lift station to peak
09:40 Begin hike to Kleine Scheidegg
Duration: 1h
11:00 ▲▲▲Jungfraujoch, take train from Kleine Scheidegg, sit on right side, S₣87 round-trip
Duration: 1h
Saved S₣29
12:00 Return to Gimmelwald, S₣18 through Wengen
Saved S₣22,20
15:00 ▲Hike from Gimmelwald Up Sefinen Valley to Kilchbalm, good for rainy day, don’t do in snow, 2 hours

Day 17 – Ballenberg Folk Museum

Today, Raul and Lauren took a series of trains from Lausanne to Interlaken along the fourth scenic rail journey, the Golden Pass. For the segment starting in Montreux, they decided to ride in one of the classic Belle Epoque cars since they had enjoyed it so much the previous day on the Chocolate Train. It was a great deal because it was covered by their Swiss Pass, and, unlike other scenic rail journeys, a seat reservation was not compulsory.

At Interlaken, the travellers deposited their bags in a handy train station locker and left for the Swiss Open-Air Folk Museum. It is shameful that in the U.S., luggage lockers have all but disappeared from airports and train stations due to “security risks.”

The Museum is actually 50 acres of over 100 transplanted traditional Swiss buildings. Many of these can be likened to museums in and of themselves, displaying traditional clothing, tools, trades, and crafts: watch-making, farming, hat-making, textiles, etc. So this complex is actually a series of museums in one giant museum. The Museum has physically relocated centuries-old buildings to their property, grouping them according to their region of origin. Visitors can enter into almost all of these buildings, which consist of farm-houses, town-houses, granaries, barns, storage buildings, and those dedicated to handicrafts or other occupations. In addition to the structures and many gardens, the Museum is also home to every kind of native Swiss farm animal and even some endangered breeds. The animals are not corralled off in a separate space but rather are integrated among the farmsteads. This fact, along with the live fires burning in the hearths and the actual production of honey, bread, and other goods made it feel like a truly living community. Raul and Lauren had time to visit only about one quarter of the area, but they may return in the next few days if the weather isn’t conducive to high-mountain excursions.

Their destination for the next several nights was Gimmelwald, a tiny village perched high above Lauterbrunnen Valley on a cliff. To reach it, they took a cable car from the valley floor. After checking in, they socialized with a few Canadians at dinner (they were not as animated about hockey as the other Canadian Raul and Lauren know) and explored for a short time a daring path that leads to what is called a via ferrata–a suspension bridge, exceedingly narrow and precarious, requiring the use of a harness and carabiners to traverse safely. This is beyond the scope of Raul and Lauren’s sojourn.

Confœderatio Helvetica
Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 17 Friday 1 June Gimmelwald
09:01 Depart Lausanne platform 3 on S1 12123 to Montreux
Duration: 30m
Saved S₣5,20
09:31 Arrive Montreux, transfer to platform 5 on D 3118 to Zweisimmen
09:45 Depart Montreux – Golden Pass, reservation S₣15 front-row VIP seats, S₣5-10 other seats
Duration: 1h 47m
Saved S₣49
11:32 Arrive Zweisimmen, transfer to platform 7 on RE 3118 to Interlaken
11:38 Depart Zweisimmen – Golden Pass
Duration: 1h 11m
12:49 Arrive Interlaken Ost, stow bags, transfer to platform 4 on IR 2223 to Brienz
13:04 Depart Interlaken Ost for ▲▲Swiss Open-Air Folk Museum at Ballenberg
Duration: 45m
Saved S₣5,60
13:22 Arrive Brienz
13:37 Depart Brienz BE, Bahnhof on Bus 215 to Ballenberg West, Museum
13:49 ▲▲Swiss Open-Air Folk Museum at Ballenberg, closes at 17:00
Saved S₣20
17:30 Return to Interlaken and pick up bags from train station
18:05 Depart Interlaken Ost platform 2A on R 181 for Gimmelwald, trains 1/hr
Total duration: 55m
Saved S₣17
18:35 Depart Lauterbrunnen Bahnhof on Bus 14143 for Schilthornbahn cable-car station
18:55 Take Schilthornbahn cable-car to Gimmelwald
19:30 Check in to Olle and Maria’s B&B, S₣130/night (4 nights), cash only, free Wi-Fi, breakfast S₣20
Tel: +41 033-855-3575