Welcome to Switzerland!

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.

My balcony ringed, with the Lauberhorn and Mannlichen range behind the village

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.

View from my balcony across the Lauterbrunnen valley - note train bottom right

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.

View from my balcony looking down the valley towards Interlaken

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.

Mannlichen range from the Grindlewald side

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.

Train for Wengen at Kleine Sheidegg

To be continued…!!

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11 thoughts on “Welcome to Switzerland!

  1. Gee, I think we got more snow in the last week than that Village!! Here on the wet coast of BC, we’ve been having HUGE dumps of rain, hail, snow & rain. Dunno about Global Warming but it’s wilder than usual around here!! Some of us in Vancouver normally wear shorts all year round. Is this just a vacation?? Aren’t you pretty close to all that German Woolmeise???

    1. I haven’t seen sghit nor sound of yarn, or even a knitted anything in the shops – it is all high tech ski stuff!!… I have found a couple of German knitting/handicrafts mags, but nothing Swiss.

  2. Elizabeth:

    Just a suggestion: Don’t hesitate to tell the airline you need assistance getting to/from gates. At one time, my job required a lot of air travel and I had a broken ankle. I learned all about the assistance one can get. Even now my ankle is not as it once was and I cannot run (else I will be sprawled on the floor of the terminal). If I believe the connection is too short for me to make it at a normal walking pace, I request assistance. I am neither shy nor embarrassed. It’s then the carrier’s job to get me to the gate.

    I love both the mountains and the sea. The views from your balcony are spectacular. Mountains always make me feel how really old the earth is.

    Patricia

    1. Yes, one can ask for Assistence. But you have to ask ages in advance, and usually I take things slowly, as there is usually plenty of time… But I suspect the time is coming when I am going to have to book assistence – it does depend on the airport.

  3. THANK YOU for sharing! I was in Wengen in 1988. It was fabulous and appears not to have changed much. Wonderful.

    I was lucky enough to visit Lake Geneva in 2009. I liked Wengen better! Then again, I have this thing for snow. Lucky because here in Cleveland, Ohio, we get a lot.

    1. It seemed very much as I remembered ot from the 1960s! There are more chalets on the outskirts, but it has not been spoilt… On the other hand, the Grindlewald area has become covered in houses half way up the mountains – very haphazard.

      Liz

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