Of all the places we have stayed so far the family consensus is that Lauterbrunnen, in the valley of the alpine Bernese Oberland region, has been the best. It’s a far cry from the busy squares of Venice, and although the mountains give quite a strong reminder of home, this area is very much quintessentially Swiss.
We took another scenic train from Montreux to Interlaken, where the weather cleared up enough for us to take a funicular train up to Harder Kulm, where you can look out over the Interlaken area. We then took the 20-minute train ride to Lauterbrunnen, which is nestled in a tiny valley bordered by shear mountain cliffs on either side.
This area is apparently famous for BASE jumping (ie. free-falling from cliffs, often with a wing-suit, and then pulling your parachute in time to land safely — YouTube it). On our first day we saw four Australian BASE jumpers descend from the cliffs and land right near us as we were walking past the town towards the very impressive TrÃ¼mmelbach Falls.
The next day we took a cable car and did a fairly easy hike along the top of one of the cliffs (not right along the edge; don’t worry Mom). The weather was decent but there were still some low-hanging clouds which obscured some of the tallest mountains. By the evening though these clouds had moved off and the views were amazing.
We stayed at the Valley Hostel, which has been our favourite place to stay. Our room had a loft area where our girls slept, and we also had our own balcony with amazing views of the mountains.
On our final day here we took a series of cable cars up to the Schilthorn peak, one of two ultra-high viewpoints in the region. It was at this site that they shot a good portion of the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service — something not lost on the proprietors, who have set up an extensive James Bond exhibit. In fact, the whole thing is Bond-themed, including the revolving restaurant.
We stayed four nights here — the longest that we are staying anywhere on this trip, and it was well worth it. Next up: Lucerne in central Switzerland.