Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

Warning: Lots of pictures!

Over Memorial Day, we went to the Bernese Oberland, an area in southern Switzerland. The scenery was phenemonal! What an amazingly beautiful place. We stayed at the Hotel Eiger, which is named after one of a few prominent mountain peaks in the area. The area is criss-crossed with mountain trains, gondolas, funiculars, other trains, and chair lifts. These forms of transportation are the best way to see the area, so we parked our car and got on the train!

Here's the view from our hotel balcony. This is the southern edge of Eiger.

The first day, we decided to avoid the crowds (large groups from Japan and Amway delegates from India) and take the mountain trains down into Lauterbrunnen, a little town in the neighboring valley. From this picture, it's waaay down there, in the middle of that very narrow valley.

After two trains, a bus, and two gondolas, (all meticulously planned by Jon!) we arrived in the town of Murren, which is only accessible by gondola. (no cars allowed) We ate lunch and started on our first hike. Just to give you an idea of the magnificent scenery, here's Jon, taking pictures from an overlook.

The girls, enjoying the walk downhill from Murren.

The next day, we took the train to Jungfraujoch, the highest point you can go in Europe. (Also called the Top of Europe.) It's 11,384 feet high and amazing! This is a picture of the biggest glacier in Europe, stretching toward Italy. Actually, that is Italy.

Back down from Jungfraujoch, we ate our lunch and the girls admired the pretzel man. He was welcoming visitors outside one of the restaurants. A few days ago I asked Kate if she missed being in Switzerland, she thought for a moment and said "I miss the pretzel man." So he made the blog.

After lunch, we went on another hike, from Kleine Scheidegg down to Mannlichen. Well, it was mostly downhill. :) Here's Jon, hiking on the ridgeline, carrying Kate.

As she did the previous day during our hike, Ellie fell asleep during the hike. It was so funny to hear her snore while we walked!

Resting in Mannlichen before taking the gondola back to our homebase, Grindelwald. Kate is playing on a playground and you can see me in the background, sitting down, with Ellie still conked out in the backpack. (I've covered our heads.)

Kate and Jon, playing at the playground. Yet another stunning view!

I thought the girls might be a little anxious about the four-seater gondola we took down the mountain, but they LOVED it. Ellie still likes to tell us "I love gondolas!"

Here's Jon and his two little helpers, taking our stuff back to the car on the day we checked out.

The last day in Switzerland, we drove down to Interlaken and walked around before catching a boat. The girls enjoyed looking at all the touristy stuff to buy. Jon ended up buying two carved models of Brown Swiss cows and a cowbell. (All the cows we saw had big cowbells around their necks and so the clanging of bells rang ceaselessly during our stay. It was fun to hear!) Another thing about Brown Swiss cows, Jon's mom's family is known to have brought the first herd of Brown Swiss cows from Switzerland to America. His maternal grandmother was raised on a dairy farm. Seeing some of them really brought that home!

On the boat, touring the Thunesee. (Tun-a-Zee). The alpine views never stopped. The girls charmed everyone on the boat--making friends with a couple from Darbyshire, who were on holiday. They did a great job going to and fro all the activities!

This is the town of Spiez, where we got off the boat and walked around a bit. There was this amazing castle (of course) with an incredible church--dating back to 700 AD. To get back to our car, we hauled everyone up a BIG hill all the way to the bahnhoff (train station) and took a fast ICE train back to Interlaken. All in all, an incredible weekend, and we are so thankful to have been able to see such amazing examples of God's beautiful creation.


b.niel said...

woohoo! first comment! what AMAZING pictures and what a beautiful trip! Ellie is so funny sleeping in the carrier! Georgeous, gorgeous Alps. Even though I just saw her, kate is looking so grown up! thanks for sharing, the trip looks like it was a breath of fresh air. love you guys.

Mom said...

Hi JjKE,
What amazingly beautiful country. I loved the fact that you got some cow bells and got to see a bit of your grandparent's family business. The girls are really turning into great travelers! You are really taking advantage of your new location and we can't wait to be with you! Thanks so much for such a detailed review of your trip. We loved it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys- These pictures are just fabulous!! You need to get serious about a career in photography work!! The girls are going so fast!! So happy that you are getting out and exploring. It looks like you are having so much fun!!
Love you,
J & A

Jenny said...

Oh my word, we were in the same places, ate at the same restaurants and played at the same playgrounds! I can't believe we didn't run into each other! We went up to Jungfrau on Sunday, and did a walk from Mannlichen (sp?) to Winteregg on Monday. We were also pretty amused by "pretzel man!" So glad ya'll had fun!

Betsy said...

Oh my word! Totally incredible and fascinating. No wonder the beauty is simply hard to describe! Everyone looks to be having a great time. Loved each pictures and seeing the Pretzel man! Each part of the trip a real trip. Such blessing and joy. Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful moments in your lives. We love it. We love all of you...G+P

Irishdrums said...

Wow. How beautiful! I so want to go there. All I can think of is the movie Heidi and the kids and the goats running around the mountains. Glad the girls got to run around the mountains a bit -- love the pic of the two of them on the hill :)

Shari Baker said...

It looks like a lifetime of memories in just one trip! You saw so many beautiful things, and I'm sure there's more beautiful things yet to come.

Erin said...

Amazing! LOVE the pictures! And that gondola scared me!!! You all are brave!

Irishdrums said...

p.s. I used your second picture down (with the valley and mountains) as our desktop background for this week and just changed it today to this last picture with the water in the foreground and houses on the hill with mts behind -- God is a great artist!

Jen Luminati said...

So glad it made your desktop, Kristin. He is indeed an amazing artist!

Tom said...

From Grandpa Tom:

Hooray! We made the blog not only once but twice. We loved reliving our wonderful trip through these pictures and videos. Thanks Jen!

By the way, we are available for autographs from anyone!