Lauterbrunnen

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.

The view from Harder Kulm, overlooking Interlaken

The view from Harder Kulm, overlooking Interlaken

The Valley Hostel and Lauterbrunnen; both highly recommended

The Valley Hostel and Lauterbrunnen; both highly recommended

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 Trümmelbach Falls.

Trümmelbach Falls, where the rush of water is cutting away at the rocks

Trümmelbach Falls, where the rush of water is cutting away at the rocks

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.

A great view of the Jungfrau mountain. If you look very closely in between these two peaks you can spot the Jungfraujoch train station, the highest train station in Europe (and quite possibly the most expensive to reach)

A great view of the Jungfrau mountain. If you look very closely in between these two peaks you can spot the Jungfraujoch train station, the highest in Europe (and quite possibly the most expensive to reach)

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.

The view from our balcony at the Valley Hostel in Lauterbrunnen

The view from our balcony at the Valley Hostel in Lauterbrunnen

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.

A bright and sunny morning at the Birg viewpoint on the way to the Schilthorn. The mountains in the background are three famous peaks in this region of Switzerland: the Eiger, the Mönch, and the Jungfrau.

A bright and sunny morning at the Birg viewpoint on the way to the Schilthorn. The mountains in the background are three famous peaks in this region of Switzerland: the Eiger, the Mönch, and the Jungfrau.

The view from the top of the Schilthorn, where it was about 10°C. We were very fortunate with the weather

The view from the top of the Schilthorn, where it was about 10°C. We were very fortunate with the weather

A splurge: lunch at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Schilthorn

A splurge: lunch at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Schilthorn

Everything is 007 up here, even the coffee

Everything is 007 up here, even the coffee

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.

Panoramic view of the alps on a spectacular day

Panoramic view of the alps on a spectacular day

Posted from Isenfluh, Canton of Bern, Switzerland.

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