Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 7 - Hiking around Murren and Lauterbrunnen

You won't even believe this. Remember that converter we bought from the electronics store yesterday afternoon? Well, before Matt got in bed, we (as in I) tried to use it to plug his phone in. And guess what happened? Yep. Loud pop, and the whole room went dark. That makes my count three hotel rooms in two countries so far on this trip. Unbelievable. We had to go call Denise after 10pm, and of course she came up (I think she lives somewhere down the mountain) to help us. Se had to physically put a new fuse in, not just flip a switch like we do back home. We both felt awful. How does this keep happening to us?! Yesterday was seriously not our lucky day, haha.

Oh, and after that, there was a pesky fly in our room that Matt was determined to kill. So at almost 11pm, once we had already woken everyone was with the blown fuse, he decides to grab a magazine and slap the ceiling as hard as he can. (Everything is smaller and lower here - doors, rooms, ceilings.) It was ridiculously loud. I mean it made the loudest POP ever. On top of it being so eerily quiet here. I'm pretty sure it echoed through half of Murren. I'm also pretty sure everyone trying to sleep at Chalet Fontana hates us. He just stood there with shock on his face looking at me for some sort of reaction (I think waiting for me to yell at him), but I just busted up laughing. Again, probably not one of our best decisions yesterday. ;)

Needless to say, it wasn't our earliest bed time. I think we got to sleep around 11:30. And we were tired before 9! We both slept a little better, but when our "weather check" alarm went off at 7:15, neither of us were too pumped to get up and open the window. I eventually did, and nothing but clouds today. :( A little disappointing but its still really pretty here. We went back to sleep for another 30 minutes or so, and then went down for breakfast. More cereal (or muesli, I guess - kind of like granola), toast, and oj.

Since we have to check out today from Chalet Fontana, we had to be out of our rooms by 10am. So we went up to shower (I finally washed my hair, haha) and pack up. We were out the door by 9:30, and it was surprisingly a nice day. A little chilly, but not bad, and the clouds were starting to burn off a little bit. We decided to go straight to the cable cars to see if they were running up to the top of Schilhorn....and... CLOSED due to bad wind. Still. :(

Leaving our room at Chalet Fontana in Murren (notice how low the ceilings are...)

I don't know if I've mentioned this or not yet, but you don't hear cars or people here when you're outside here in Murren. Only water trickling down the mountain and lots of cow bells. It's the coolest thing ever. Oh, and we haven't seen a tv the whole time we've been here! I don't even know if there is cable up here...

So anyways, on to plan B for the day: hike back down to Gimmelwald, on down to Stechelberg, then over to Trummelbach Falls...

It was a nice walk down to Gimmelwald. About 30 minutes or so, with some stops for pictures. When we got there, we asked at the cable car station if they were running up to Schilthorn yet...just by any chance. No, of course it was still closed. We figured as much. So off we went for our adventure further down to Stechelberg.

I just LOVED this wall outside of Murren...

Not far out of Gimmelwald, just around a few (very steep) turns, we saw two waterfalls, and I went nuts. Even from a distance. I literally took off running down the mountain. Then we noticed two more. And I was happy then. Little did I know, about an hour later, we were all the way over there. I mean hiking right over/through them. It blew my mind. Easily the most gorgeous hike through the mountains I've ever been on. Every turn we kept saying, "No way! Come on! Are you serious?! This is ridiculous!" And it just kept getting better. I can't even describe it. I mean, you can't even put it in to words. The pictures are amazing, but still don't do it justice. We just kept coming up on more and more waterfalls (my favorite), and eventually all the way down to and along the river. Definitely our favorite day of the trip.

(WARNING:  Picture Overlaod)

Stechelberg down in the valley below

It took us almost 3 hours to get all the way to Stechelberg. And by then we were beyond hungry! It was an even smaller and more quiet village than Murren. We went in Hotel Stechelberg, the only place we could find open that had food, too. It was SO quiet in there. One hotel worker was sitting there reading the paper, and one little old lady, who spoke about two words of English, were the only ones there. We motioned to her "2" and said, "lunch?" She just motioned for us to sit down somewhere and grabbed the bread off another table for us. She just stared at me, seriously, until it was awkward, and I finally asked for a menu. She brought one menu over to me, pointed to the top section, and said, "soup?" Ha, that must of been one of her English words she knew. Not wanting to argue with her, we just said yes, and pointed to the ghoulash soup. Ha, it was interesting. We chowed down on bread until the soup came. We were ravenous, so of course I took a mouthful of it when it came. It was nuclear! I opened my mouth and let it all run right back out into the bowl. I had to. Matt was not impressed, haha. I'm such a lady. ;)

(Before I put nuclear soup in my mouth...)

We finished our soup, which was actually really good, and she wrote down on a piece of paper 19 CHF. And she let us take a little pastry treat off the table for free! Not bad compared to what we had been paying for food!

After lunch, we decided to keep on hiking on over to Trummelbache Falls. We had already been hiking almost 3 hours, and it was hard to believe how far down we had come. From the valley, Gimmelwald looked two miles straight up! It sprinkled on us just a little, and my knee was killing me, but we made the easy 45 minute hike to Trummelbache.

While I was previously really excited for this, I was pretty sure nothing was going to top that ridiculous hike we had just done and the waterfalls we saw. And I was right. It really was cool - it's 10 waterfalls that roar through a canyon (inside). We took a couple quick videos just to remember how loud it was. It's kind of hard to describe. Kind of like the rest of this day, ha. We walked through it all, and tried to take some pics, but again, you just can't really tell how huge it all is and what's going on.

My knee felt like it was broken by that point. Running down the mountain this morning really wasn't a good idea. But I just get so excited over waterfalls! It was a rough hike after that. I was actually in some pain, but we had to keep going. I refused to take the bus back to Lauterbrunnen (you had to pay for it). So we kept walking. Instead of walking back to the trail, which was backtracking, we snuck around a house and barn and went through a green field - making our own path. The view was spectacular, of course.

We met up with the trail along the river again, and trudged our way on in to Lauterbrunnen. We had been walking for over 6 hours and our bodies were feeling it.

We decided to try and find our Chalet Im Rohr, where we were supposed to stay that night. We knew it was across the street from the church, so it wasn't too hard to find. The place looked cute from a distance, but when we got inside, it was pretty dumpy. And not a soul was around. Sooooo...we jetted. We decided to try and find somewhere else to stay. On top of it looking a little sketchy, the church bell, that rang every 30 minutes, was MUCH louder and longer than we thought it was going to be. (Trip Advisor warned us of that, but it was just worse than we expected.)

We were officially hotel shopping. Only using Im Rohr as a backup if we couldn't find anything else. First stop was directly next door, Hotel Staubach. The lady told us to go check out the room and THEN we would talk price. The room was really nice, so we knew it was going to be too much. We got her down to 155 CHF. (The place next door we already had reserved was $45!) We really liked it, so kept it as an option, but hoofed it on down the road to see what else we could find. Hotel Oberland was next, and it was 190 CHF. No way.

Further down the road, we found a little shop and went in just to check it out. I found a super cute Switzerland picture frame that I couldn't pass up, and the little lady working told us to try next door for a decent place to stay.

My new Switzerland picture frame!

Third place, Valley Hostel. 75 CHF (half price from the first place!), free wifi, nice clean room, shared bathroom. Done deal. We took it.

Valley Hostel

Sitting on our little deck off our room
Once we got checked in, we went straight up the cable car to get our bags from Chalet Fontana in Murren. It was now after 5pm and our bodies hadn't really stopped all day, aside from a quick lunch. My knee was seriuosly done. Which is weird, because I'd never had problems with it before. After I sat on the cable car for 10 minutes, it had stiffened up enough to where I honestly could barely get up. It was actually kind of embarrassing. I had shooting pains and Matt had to help me off, haha. I decided not to sit anymore after that! I stood and did mini-squats to keep it moving!

We race walked back to meet the train down from Murren, and walked back to our hostel down in Lauterbrunnen. It really is perfect for this one night. It's close to the train station, and we kind of have our own little front entrance. Way better than paying double for the church bells to keep us up.

Since I've had such amazing luck with outlets here, especially at night, I thought I would try our adaptor one more time here - when it was still light out - to see if we could charge our phones.

POP!! Ha. It's not even funny or surprising anymore. We expected it this time. Make it 4 times in 2 countries. No power. Back down to reception to tell them what we did. We brought everything with us this time for them to check it out. And we found the solution! Well, for this hotel anyways. The actual phone charger was black. It had either just fried, or it had been fried the whole time. Either way, when we tried mine, IT WORKED! Hallelujah. We have an adaptor and a phone charger that works!! But what we don't have is towels! And neither does the hostel, ha. Well, they have little mini ones. Better than nothing I guess. Shower time in the morning might be interesting.

We were both pretty hungry by that point, so we looked in Lonely Planet and on Trip Advisor for recommendations, and decided on Hotel Oberland. It got great reviews from both. Along the way, we found another shop to look in. I almost walked out with a super soft / fuzzy purple jacket, but somehow talked myself out of it, after much deliberation. Mainly because I don't have room for it and I still want to get a dirndl for Oktoberest in Munich. (I still might go back for it though...)

On to Hotel Oberland...and it's closed on Wednesdays. Today is Wednesday. How convenient. So we kept walking. Ended up in a little wine and cheese shop (I love this little village), and the lady recommended Hotel Steinbok, right next to the train station.

We both ordered pizzas. How Swiss! ;) I got a four cheese pizza - amazing - and Matt had ham and cheese pizza. They were giant, but we were so hungry from walking God knows how far today, that we each almost ate all of ours. We weren't the best company at dinner though. We both just kind of sat there and stared at each other, too worn out to converse. It really was an exhausting day.

Excited for my cheese pizza!

A cute dog IN the restaurant that I just had to play with on our way out...
The worthlessness continued after dinner. Back in the room, we just sat around and looked at train schedules for tomorrow. We're thinking of heading to Interlaken for the day, then heading to Bern via train where Christa is going to pick us up for some sight seeing there. We will stay with her tomorrow night in Sumiswald.

That's all for today. We're exhausted and going head to bed soon. And it's 9pm. My kind of night! :)


  1. I really enjoyed reading this blog post plus the previous ones dealing with Murren. I am planning a trip there in mid-September. You are a very entertaining blogger so thank you. I laughed when you guys were so hungry you just ate and stared at each other with no conversation. One question: you mentioned how loud the church bells were in Lauterbrunnen and how you switched where you stayed because of it. Was the new place quieter than the original place? Also, were church bells ringing in Murren? We originally were going to stay at Hotel Staubach but they warned us about the church bells since we are light sleepers so now we are thinking of going up to Murren or Wengen instead. Do you recall church bells in Wengen? I don't mind church bells but not when we are sleeping. Thank you for any insights you can give us on this.

    1. Hi Susan! I'm so sorry I just now saw thsi comment! The new place we swtiched to in Lauterbrunnen was much quieter - hardly heard the bells at all. I just wouldn't stay within a block or so of that church. They are LOUD and they ring ALL the time! No church bells in Wengen or Murren. Murren is the quietest spot I've ever been to - all you hear are a few cow bells and rushing water. It's so amazing. :)