Dear Mum... my new address is...

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Wednesday, June 7, 2006

We booked into at the Valley Hostel which is by far the best hostel we have stayed at so far. It has the most amazing view from the balconies, big kitchen and eating area where all the backpackers socialise, a lovely garden, extremely helpful hosts and best of all free wireless internet. Our first night was in a dorm room with four Asian girls, two of them rising at six am to get the early train up the mountain. This was not really a problem because the beds were so comfy and the view was so fantastic. The sun was shining and the sky was blue making for crystal clear views of the mountains.

The BOSS and I poured over brochures to decide what to do among the fifty available activities. The BOSS was rather keen to try paragliding, but not so keen to test the freezing waters of the canyon swimming. The trip up to the top of Jungfrau cost approximately AUD$200 each so we settled on a lesser trip up to Schillthorn from which you can view the Jungfrau for a third of the price.

First we decided to go and see Trummelbach falls which is a fifteen minute motorbike ride up the valley. Unfortunately the sun hadn't reached our part of the valley so our fifteen minute ride left us shivering. Trummelbach falls are quite incredible as the water has eroded its path inside the mountain. What is even more incredible is that somebody has managed to build walk ways and stairs inside the mountain and virtually inside the waterfalls.

A lift takes you to the top and from there you walk down to see the ten separate waterfalls. The power of the water and the noise as it rushes through the tunnels is really amazing.

Tip #17:
When you are doing a one hour trip inside a mountain to look at the stunning and spectacular Trummelbach Falls - make sure you take a very slight detour to the amenities and pee BEFORE starting the climb. Thousands of litres of water rushing down a mountain is not good psychology for your bladder.

Tip #18: always check the night before that the batteries for both cameras are fully charged

Just as we were leaving the falls to head up to Schillthorn we discovered that the video camera battery had run out. It would be really stupid to pay a lot of money to go up the top of a mountain and not be able to film it. So we returned to the hostel were Stefan our wonderful host told us if we went up Schillthorn after 3:30 we would get a discount. So we changed our plans once again and decided to fill in the rest of the day with a trip to Grindelwald which is in the next valley over. We put the battery on to charge and went shopping for some lunch.

Everyone is right - the prices in Switzerland are horrendously expensive. Milk is nearly $3 per litre, meat is at least $22 a kilo and even Swiss chocolate is more expensive than you would expect as it's considered one of the food groups over here.

The ride to Grindelwald was my first real taste of mountain roads in Switzerland. Compared to both Greece and Italy they are rather tame. They are well sign posted, well maintained, with good crash barriers and good surfaces. Grindelwald is much bigger and far more touristy than Lauterbrunnen so we drove straight through it and up the mountain to see how far we could get. About 20kms up the valley we were stopped by a barrier as the mountain pass was closed so there was no alternative except to stop for a hot chocolate. The Grindelwald valley is stunningly beautiful with better views of Eiger and Jungfrau than its sister valley, but it has lost its village appeal. We returned to our little valley, still with the intention of going up in the cable car to Schillthorn. However when we got to the tourist office, the live webcam from the top of Schillthorn showed that it was all closed in with cloud. The live webcam of Jungfrau showed perfect clear skies and fantastic views.

We drove to the end of the Lauterbrunnen valley, again to see how far we could go. Not that far and nothing exciting when we got there. With Schillthorn not an option, we had nothing planned for the rest of the afternoon, so we lazed on the sunfilled balcony and caught up with emails and reading etc. It's summer time over here and it is still light at 9pm. We also planned our next night's accommodation to be in Gimmelwald (not to be confused with Grindelwald) which is only accessible by cable car.

I have an incredible view from my balcony.

I have free wireless internet!

The question is ... should I ever leave?

Please vote now!

01 Sunrise over the ridge
Sunrise over the ridge
02 Sun touching the peaks
Sun touching the peaks
03 View from my balcony
View from my balcony
04 Looking back down the valley
Looking back down the valley
05 A stunning mountain
A stunning mountain
06 Inside Trummelbach falls
Inside Trummelbach falls
07 Inside Trummelbach falls
Inside Trummelbach falls
08 Inside Trummelbach falls
Inside Trummelbach falls
09 Inside Trummelbach falls
Inside Trummelbach falls
10 Yes it is cold here - even in summer
Yes it is cold here - even in summer
11 Grindelwald Valley
Grindelwald Valley
12 Grindelwald Valley
Grindelwald Valley
13 Grindelwald Valley
Grindelwald Valley
14 The BOSS decorates my helmet
The BOSS decorates my helmet
15 Mmmmmm Hot chocolate
Mmmmmm Hot chocolate
16 I want one
I want one
17 I really want one
I really want one
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