Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Third Day in Switzerland: Gimmelwald

Our trip was filled with trial and error.  In Interlaken we barely jumped onto our train before it left the station.  No moss growing on Swiss trains.  Ten minutes later the conductor came by, took our tickets and looked at them.

"You're on the wrong train,"  she said, stoically. 

Lisa and I looked at each other.  I did my usual panic dance while Lisa murmured, "Oh dear."  Throughout our stay in Europe Lisa was Dean Martin to my Jerry Lewis. 

 I was the one to have nuclear meltdowns when things went wrong, while Lisa would ponder the situation wearing a far off look on her face.  Guess who normally came up with the solution to our predicaments?

This time the conductor had the solution.  "This is no matter," she said smiling.  "We will simply let you off at the next station.  Cross to the other side and push the button on the wall of the building.  This will alert the oncoming train to make an unscheduled stop.  It will take you back to Interlaken where you must get on the correct train.   Voila."
And off she went to the next waiting tickets to punch.

We disembarked at the next station.  Lisa found the button on the wall of the little station house and pushed it.  She then walked over to a bench and sat on it.  She wore a contented, peaceful smile on her face as she enjoyed the beauty of the valley.  I whiled away the time by pushing the button several times just in case the train hadn't been adequately alerted.

A group of teenage girls were milling about across the tracks a ways off.  I noticed that their conversation escalated in volume and was punctuated by lots of wild giggling.  It occurred to me that perhaps this was for my son's benefit.

And did Derek notice?  Of course not.  He was too busy perfecting his karate kicks and jumps.  Maybe the girls thought he was showing off.  Maybe he was.  Maybe he was oblivious. Knowing my son, my vote was for the latter. 

View outside our dormitory window.  We shared a room with sixteen other girls. Derek and Ethan stayed in another room with the guys.   The bunk beds were cheek to jowl, making me feel as if I was sleeping on one big bed with a bunch of strangers.  I learned that exhaustion will enable you to sleep soundly anywhere.

After I frittered away the time by imagining all sorts of scenarios that included sleeping on the train platform overnight, the train did finally come and  stop for us.

Then our trip was a simple matter of getting on the right train which took us to Lauterbrunnen.  We arrived in time to see our bus leave without us.  We were starving so we ate at a guesthouse across the street.  We ate our sausage and kraut to the background noise of some very drunk Australian men who weren't discriminating in their language.  This made me mad since there were children in the restaurant. 

I'm not saying that if I were a man I would have had a "discussion" with them outside to teach them some manners.  But I am saying if there were only one of them I would have.
If that one was a woman.  A midget woman.  Suffering from anorexia.  Recovering from back surgery.

Instead I ate my meal in cowardly silence and fantasized about hurting three rude Australian men who don't have any better manners then to yell and swear inside a family restaurant.

Lisa's and my dormitory

After we finished we got the next bus to a cable car station.  We then took the cable car up the side of the mountain to Grimmelwald.  Our hostel was not far from the small platform where the car let us off before making its way up to the next village on the mountain. It's exciting to travel up a mountain this way.  The other people in the car were simply going home from work.  Can you imagine commuting like that? 

Looking outside the dorm window.

Our hostel called, Mountain Hostel

The following is from an email I sent to friends and family.  I've left some of the errors in so you can see the challenge in using a computer word document designed for another language:

Hello again.  Sleeping in a hostel with 16 other girls on the top of the mountain was not so bad.  There was a lights out all quiet rule so I was able to sleep.  This morning I made my way around a million other young men and women and got breakfast.  My only faux pas was helping myself to a guy's orange juice.  It was his own personal bottle but I thought it was for everyone.  I gave him my coffee token to make it up.  I still had my cappuccino this morning.  I canät get by without it.  I even composed a poem about it.  I call it Ode to Cappuccino. 

Ode to Cappuccino

Cappuccino, cappuccino
Cappuccino in the morning, cappuccino in the noontime
Cappuccino, cappuccino
Cappuccino when the sun goes down.

Like it?  I've written another for espresso.  It goes like this:

Espresso, espresso
Espresso in the morning, espresso in the noontime....

Today we take a tram up to the highest mountain in Europe and will then hike down it.  Then we go to Interlaken.  We'll spend tomorrow there and move on to Paris.  Take care.

We chose not to take the tram after all because the weather was iffy.  Instead we walked up the mountain to the next village, Murren.

If everyone decorated their houses like the Swiss, the world would be a more beautiful place.


The Swiss remind me more of the American culture than the Italians (although I'm not sure people in New Jersey would agree).  They look like Americans, act like Americans...the only difference is that they speak better English.
Will write more later.  Very tired...going to bed.

The following photos are of a walk we took from Gimmelwald up the mountain to the next village, Murren.  

It took about an hour to walk.  Not that we were in any rush.  The scenery was breathtaking and we did  our best to savor every bit of it.

As you can see it was a steep climb.

These posts were put in to help slow avalanches.

Murren and Grimmelwald are nestled in-between three mountains:  Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau.

Notice how we're looking down at the clouds?

More barriers to halt avalanches.

Cow:  "May I help you?"

Someone likes to hunt.

I took so many photos that I only have room for the walk up the mountain.  My next post will show our bike trip down the mountain.


  1. I have a persistent fear of getting on a wrong train even on railroads that I have traveled on multiple times. If I did so in Switzerland....

    Everyone should decorate their houses like the Swiss.

    These pictures are great too.

    1. Brian: Getting on the wrong train (or bus) was something I did a lot when I lived in Chicago. I got to see quite a lot of the city that way.


  2. Breathtaking photos. Looks like you guys are having a great time.


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.