Mürren

June 26, 2016

We were moving on to Mürren today, and since check-out time was 9 am (!) we packed our bags before having breakfast. We were in no rush today because Mürren was only a short distance up the hill, so after breakfast we sat in the dining room and checked e-mails and generally did nothing. The hostel was pretty empty, except for the base-jumpers, so nobody minded us being there.

Finally at about 10:30 am we decided that we might as well head up to Mürren, although the weather wasn’t very good, with clouds obscuring all the mountains. As we headed out the church bells were ringing across the street. To get to Mürren we first caught the funicular railway to Grütschalp and then transferred to the little mountain railway to Mürren. Neither was especially crowded today, perhaps because of the weather.

Chalet Fontana

Chalet Fontana

So we arrived in Mürren at about 11 am, quite a bit before check-in time, but our hostess Denise was happy to see us. We were staying at Chalet Fontana, and we had the attic room. That sounds small and dark but it was actually very spacious, with beds for three people. Although you did have to watch your head in some parts of the room. It didn’t take long for our room to be ready, so we moved our stuff upstairs and unloaded our packs. We had some tea and then ate our lunch before heading out for a walk.

Village of Allmendhubel

Village of Allmendhubel

The weather wasn’t getting any better, so we decided on an easy low-level walk which would have us take the funicular up to Allmendhubel and then walk gently down to Grütschalp, where we would catch the train back to Mürren. At Allmendhubel there were a lot of alpine flowers; we recognized some of them which we also have at home, and others looked vaguely familiar, like the large gentians. The variety of flowers was amazing! Besides seeing the flowers we could also hear a lot of birds singing, but unfortunately the ones we could see were hidden in the mist and we couldn’t identify most of them.

Alpine anemone

Alpine anemone

Our trail went gradually downhill, with only a few steep sections which were hard on Rosemary’s knee. As we descended to Grütschalp we passed through several pastures with Simmental cows munching happily on the grasses. They all had cowbells of various sizes around their necks. As with most cows we have met, they stared at us but didn’t seem too perturbed about our presence. But we did have to go around some of them because they were standing on our trail.

Simmental cows

Simmental cows

Then as we arrived at the station a small herd of goats accosted us. They bounded ahead of us, went around a closed gate, and trotted onto the tracks! A couple of them made a beeline to the geraniums and started munching away, until the station attendant came out and tried to chase them away. After that he got out the broom and dustpan to clear up all the goat droppings from the platform, meanwhile radioing the approaching train to warn the driver about their presence.

Herding the goats

Herding the goats

We sat at the station viewpoint for about half an hour, looking at the view. Rosemary spotted a kestrel which flew in and sat in a nearby tree. When we got back to Mürren it was raining a bit, so we went back to our room right away to change out of our hiking boots. For dinner we went just down the road to the Hotel Blumental where we both had lasagna, which was very tasty.

June 27, 2016

Last night it was raining but this morning dawned much brighter; we could see snowy peaks from our window which hadn’t been there before. There were still clouds hanging around those peaks but we had our plan for the day, so we were fine. After breakfast we made up a lunch and then headed to the train station. Today’s journey would be back down to Lauterbrunnen and then via the cog railway to Kleine Scheidegg. Denise had told us that tomorrow’s weather forecast was even better than today’s, so we decided to make the trip to the Jungfraujoch tomorrow.

Mürren from Kleine Scheidegg

Mürren from Kleine Scheidegg

The whole process took most of the morning, including a half-hour delay in Lauterbrunnen when we weren’t paying attention and went down the wrong tunnel and as a result missed the train to Kleine Scheidegg by seconds. It was after 11 am when we arrived there, and the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau were still hidden by clouds with only occasional gaps. But at least we were finally having good weather.

Yellow-billed Chough

Yellow-billed Chough

There were a lot of restaurants and cafés around the station there, and they didn’t have House Sparrows as scavengers, they had Yellow-billed Choughs. A much higher class of café scavengers they are, although the squeaky calls they make are rather embarrassing for a member of the crow family. Anyway we sat down on a bench and ate our packed lunch.

Kleine Scheidegg station

Kleine Scheidegg station

Jungfraubahn in the meadow

Jungfraubahn in the meadow

There were a lot of trails around Kleine Scheidegg, and we decided to hike up towards the Eiger. Following a wide tourist track we climbed steadily for a couple of kilometers, with meadows full of spring flowers on either side. Never before had we seen such a variety of flowers. It didn’t take long before we reached a small lake, where there was a little museum which showed the different routes taken by mountaineers up the Eiger between 1938 and 2008. From there the trail continued up steeply until it reached the Eigergletscher station, which is where the Jungfraujoch train enters the tunnel.

Moraine Trail

Moraine Trail

Here we had a great view of (naturally) the Eiger Glacier and the high mountains, and we could see back across the valley to Mürren. We decided to return a different way, down the Moraine trail. This went down one of the largest glacial moraines we had ever seen. We had to walk carefully going down the moraine, but anyway we had to keep stopping to look at birds or photograph the flowers, and finally we arrived back at Kleine Scheidegg at about 4 pm.

Koch’s Gentian

Koch’s Gentian

Mountain Avens

Mountain Avens

We bought delicious apple pastries at one of the cafés, to go with our tea, before taking the long way back to Mürren. First we took the train down to Grindelwald, to see what it looked like. In one way it’s a typical ski resort but it’s still somewhere we wouldn’t mind staying. After walking through the town for about half an hour we travelled back to Lauterbrunnen via the valley route, changing trains at Zweilütschinen.

Plaza in Grindelwald

Plaza in Grindelwald

We had decided to go to the pizza place in Lauterbrunnen for dinner, but we had forgotten that it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. So we headed back to Mürren, where we ate at the Stägerstübli restaurant, just across the street from Chalet Fontana. We had a nice meal, ox tongue for Paul and pork schnitzel for Rosemary, and then back at our place we made some tea.

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