Grindelwald, This town is for Rock Climbers

(The photo I wanted to find for yesterday.

Can you imagine crossing this bridge?)

Day 5

I woke up to the mountain snow reflecting a pink cast into our room. I’m happy the breakfast room is just off of our hallway room. Latin music plays this morning at 7:30.

The alpine style was hiking shoes, tight thermal pants with lots of zippers and turtleneck fleeces. Phil and I were under dressed for the occasion.

When looking at a map, Grindelwald does not look large, but from town, the mountain sides creep up in the North and South direction, creating an East to West crease along which the main street spans over a long distance. There are many streets perpendicular from the main street which creep up into North and Southern mountains.

We decided after morning laundry in the bottom floor of a hotel (where we played name that place on a world map), we’d take lunch at one of Grindelwald’s overlooks – The PfingStegg.

There was the Jungfrau pass that we didn’t purchase, and it may have been worth it to get a discount on some of these gondolas, but we learned about it too late. We paid our amount to ride and rest our legs.

I wrote and Phil drew, then we took turns filming the shimmering layers of spruce. We located FIRST, the first location we’d take a gondola to tomorrow, then walk from there to Schynige Platte. Once there, we’d take a  cog train down into Interlaken.

From the lunch deck where we had soup and beer I looked out over the town. Grindelwald is it’s own stream collecting to form a strong spine of a chalet ridden city. This town is for rock climbers. Eiger’s face is the sheerest vertical face in the world.

After lunch we took a short walk to hug the mountain path -an even cut into the side with no elevation change. We needed to rest our bodies for tomorrow.

The weather felt like the end of fall. The brooks coming down the mountain were so clean, they ran over stripped dolomite rock making them turn beautiful gold and green colors. Behind us was the beautiful peak of the mountain we’d taken the sunset pictures of the night before.

We strolled along, Phil always wanting to see where the next turn lead to. We came back to the gondola and decided to try and find a chalet in the town that was perched on a green knoll of perfect grass. We walked south once we landed back in town. The difference between riding a lift and walking changed the impact of the view. It was better when you earned it.

Mysteriously, my sister noticed that the couple looks exactly like my parents from behind… I think we were being followed!

Trying to find that chalet lead us into a church graveyard. The pristine plots were well-tended. Like around town, there were constant free-flowing troughs where people would cup their hands and drink or fill their canteen to water their garden plots surrounding their loved ones.

The church was closed. The prayer chapel a few 100 feet from it was a more modern glass building. It felt like a set. Everything was perfect and placed.

(I found this photo on Google Earth)

We passed Onkel Tom’s Hutte – a delicious smelling pizza joint where we decided we’d come back for dinner. The quaint,  10 x 10 out-door seating arrangements were contained in garden pods with old sewing machines and water mill sculptures setting the mood.

The sun was strong, it was setting a piercing sunset already. It felt good to be warm on our faces. I was glad it had begun to open the sky just as we were finishing lunch.

We decided to check out what it would take to transport ourselves up to “FIRST” and found it would take 64 swiss francs! With food alone we were spending a fortune in Switzerland -not to mention the train/ bus transportation costs. Everything was so expensive, yet everything had been so easy to plan in advance from the U.S. Everything here was so clean, well-kept and timely – but 64 francs to go 10 minutes? We gave them an ‘ok’ sign and decided we would walk.

This was now our proposed path.

Phil was able to track our hike with Google Earth and what we’d end up doing tomorrow would be to date our most difficult hiking challenge – 14 miles and a vertical climb of 4922 feet from Grindelwald to Schynige Platte.

We went back to The Downtown Lodge to refresh and rest before dinner with this new information swimming in our heads. We got our quick showers and dressed for dinner in our usual fare -hiking pants, cuddle duds for me and an orange long john for Phil and we headed back to Toms to discuss our plan of attack!

The restaurant was crowded and full except for one large table under the stair. A German couple who we could not converse with sat at the other end. Phil and I ate salads, drank a recommended wine and split a pizza. Both of us were quiet. The place was so warm and comfortable, – it was very romantic. We looked at maps and I’d brought my Italy language book because Phil was feeling the need to have a purpose. Our purpose would far outreach the time we were living – as for example now, almost three months later, I was able to recall moments of each day better than I could tell you what I did last Wednesday. Later in our trip we would quiz one another on meals, and maybe because we were familiar with our path of cities, or the fact that it changed every day, something make it easy to remember each moment and meal.

We determined a direction from Grindelwald. We had bought gummy bears and snacks to pack for our hike and a huge water to fill the camelback. We felt prepared as we climbed into our white sheet sacks next to one another in our pushed together twin beds.

Where the Jungfrau pass could take you cheaper!


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