The other side of the valley

I have had two trips down to Lauterbrunnen and then up the other side of the valley.

Across the valley from my balcony in the early morning

The first was by cable car from Lauterbrunnen straight up, then a train along to Murren.  This route is under valued, as it does not have the romance of the other route to Murren further up the valley.

I last did this route over 35 years ago!  The train is the same, but the cable car is new, having been replaced only last year.  As this side of the valley is usually in shadow at this time of year, and as some bright spark decided to paint the cable car black, it isn’t easy to get photos…

The cable car station at the top of the cliffs - note black car arriving!

The valley has very, very steep sides, often sheer, and the train wends its way along the relatively flat ledge between the drop and the slopes above.  It goes mainly through trees, so again very pretty but not conducive to good pix!

Looking across the valley to Wengen from the Murren train
The train to Murren

There is more snow on this side than in Wengen.  Murren is also traffic free, but has a very different character to Wengen – not sure why – perhaps it is because there is not one centre to the village, which is a long string of houses and hotels, with the train station at one end.

Murren from the cable car

At the other end is the dramatic route up and down.  The Schilthorn cableway.  Which starts at the valley floor and makes its way over 4 stages to Piz Gloria, the revolving restaurant right on the summit of the Schilthorn – and made famous in the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  I did this route in fantastic weather at the end of last week.

Piz Gloria looking across to the Eiger

Once in Lauterbrunnen, you get a bus along the valley floor for about 20 minutes.  You then take the first cable car up to Gimmelwald.  At this point the valley sides are sheer rock, and the ride is spectacular (read petrifying if you happen to be afraid of heights!!).  Then there is another car to Murren – very pretty with the snow sparkling in the sun.

Straight up the sheer side of the Lauterbrunnen valley to Gimmaldwald

On the third stage things really start to get interesting.  This one goes high over the ski runs up to Birg, with that station being set on the very top of a pinnacle of rock, with stupendous views down the valley and over to the Wengen side and the Jungfrau range.

Eiger, Monsch and Jungfrau from Birg

But the thrills are not over yet, as the fourth and final car takes you higher still to the very top of the Schilthorn.

The cable car from Birg to Piz Gloria

This is high enough to make you adjust your breathing.  Here, as well as that restaurant, there is a viewing platform where you can see right over many of the lower mountains to Bern and on to the Black Forest in Germany.  I spent ages just standing and looking….

The view roughly North - with paraglider

But having got this far, one must visit the restaurant!  It revolves a full circle in about 45 mins – exactly the time it takes to order and enjoy a chicken ‘sandwich’ and a hot chocolate.  This place is hyped up a lot, and I must admit I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was painted – but I was wrong – it was even better!

8 thoughts on “The other side of the valley

  1. What a spectacular trip. Love the photos. Makes me think of the archive work I did at Airfield in Dundrum back in Ireland. The 2 ladies travelled regularly to Switzerland in the winter time. They had their favourite spots high in the valleys and the mountains. This would have been back in the 1920’s and ’30’s.

    1. My grandparents used to come over here each year back then – it was through then I met my Swiss friends and came over as a teenager and in my twenties. The only thing I have against Wengen is that it is full of the English!!

  2. You make me want to go to Switzerland, too! I was there last in September 2001, it has been too long… Thanks for sharing, it’s a lovely trip.

  3. oh that’s spectacular but I’m hyperventilating just looking at your pictures. I’m a little afraid of heights and that is one nailbiter of a trip up the mountain. However, it looks like it’s worth it!

  4. Wow, amazing photos! I’d love to go there – I was (and still am!) a huge fan of the Chalet School stories, the later ones are set in that area, so the names are familiar. One day I’ll get there.

    1. Funny – I have never read any of them – I don’t know how I missed them! I really must look them up – thanks for reminding me.

      I loved Heidi and was thinkning the other day I haven’t reread it in ages.. That is set in a different area, but could be anywhere here.

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