I’m here and am not disappointed – except for the lack of snow at lower levels… They say here that climate change is definitely happening – the amount of snow in the village here at about 4,000 feet is a couple of inches and it should be three or four feet. There is plenty higher up on the mountains, but the valleys are completely clear.
For those who don’t know Switzerland, Wengen is in the Alps, half way up a mountain called Mannlichen. It is ‘traffic free’ – only electric vehicles and small council trucks. Each hotel has one or more little trucks with a seat at the back, so that when they collect you from the station your luggage goes in the truck and you sit on the back.
I am staying at the Sunstar, and my room has wonderful views over the Lauterbrunnen valley to the mountains beyond. The valley is a very steep one, glacial, with almost vertical sides, and I look across at snow-capped peaks. The hotel is lovely – informal, with excellent food and a well-thought-out room.
Getting here did not go perfectly to plan! The plane was late and they did not give us the gate until 10 mins before it was due to take off. Bearing in mind that the advertised time from the central bit to the gate was 15 mins, and that I have trouble walking, it did not make for a stress-free time!! I spent the rest of the day similarly just managing to catch connections. Swiss trains are NEVER late – except that day! But I got here in the end and was able to crash to recover.
The weather has been mixed with some days quite cloudy and others full sun. I came to ride the trains, cable cars etc, some of which go very high. So on Monday, although it was very foggy here, the webcams showed me that it was clear higher up, and I went over the mountains to Grindelwald.
The top of the line is Kleine Sheidegg, the starting point of many downhill ski runs and the starting point of the Jungfraujoch railway (more of that later in my stay I hope!). Here the skies were clear, and the views of the mountain tops incredible, with the sun on the snow and the cloud billowing up from the valleys.
Another train takes you down the other side of Mannlichen to Grindelwald – very steep gradients and fantastic views of the North face of the Eiger – oh so very close. There was less cloud in this valley, but what there was made for ever-changing scenes of mountains, snow and forest. In Grindelwald I had the right amount of time to find a chocolate shop before making the return journey.
To be continued…!!