Just like what you have read in the books. It is a tourist-orientated place. Most people would suggest that you stay high up in the mountains (Wengen, Lauterbrunnen) to avoid the tourist scene. If peace of mind and natural beauty is what you seek, then you should stay in the mountains.
My itinerary on the other hand, required a day trip to Berne and also some shopping, furthermore, I had to try out a few recommendations for eating out in the area, so Interlaken was where we chose to stay.
As the name suggest, the town itself lies in between two lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. I would suggest at least a boat trip on either lake if you have the time.
There is a specific channel on the local TV that shows the weather condition on top of the mountains. So if you are seeing a lot of clouds, then stay away from any mountain activity for the day. After having the last day in the Vaud Canton being washed out by the rain, we were apprehensive.
One of the easiest hike is from Mäanlichen to Kleine Scheidegg
“Looks like it’s all clear this morning,” I said.
With that in mind, we chose to have our first ever Swiss mountain hike (wanderweg) from Mäanlichen down to Kleine Scheidegg on this day.
“How are we getting there?” asked Mom.
This is the slightly tricky part, coming from Interlaken, you need to choose the correct train carriage to sit in. There are signs on the platform but if you are doubtful, ask. The train to the mountains will break up into two at Zweilütschinen, with one heading towards Lauterbrunnen and the other towards Grindelwald.
For today’s trip, we will be dropping off at Grindelwald. To our surprise, the station at Grindelwald was packed with tourists and locals, all deck out in hiking gear and also for the cold weather, for those who are heading towards Jungfraujoch. Another compliment for the really wonderful Swiss train system, by just waiting for another 3 minutes, we were on the short train towards the gondola that would bring us to Mäanlichen.
Coming out from the Grindelwald-Grund train station, it is a short walk towards the gondola. The Grindelwald-Mäanlichen gondola is the third longest ride in the world, it departs every minute and takes about half an hour to reach the top, making it all the more worthwhile to have sat on it. The Swiss Pass gives us half price on the gondola tickets (2013: CHF15.50).
“How do you know which is which,” queried Dad.
“It’s easy if you know how, the Monk is between the Ogre and the Maiden,” I replied nonchantly.
“Show off!” QS shouted.
The Grindelwald-Mäanlichen gondola ride is the third longest in the world!
Swiss engineering is another priceless wonder of this small country. Once you’re inside the gondola, you won’t feel a thing, unless you have a fear of heights.
“Imagine waking up to this every single morning, the Swiss are really lucky people,” quoted Mom.
“Yes. Agreed.” came the reply from GC.
“Never a dull day.”
Clouds were beginning to form when we arrived at Mäanlichen. It was a bad sign but we were already here. So we are going to hike no matter what.
“How high up are we?”
“How much is that?”
This is how much.
Yes, that was how high up we were. Wengen and Lauterbrunnen were just mere dots down there. There is nothing much at Mäanlichen, except for the gondolas and a restaurant. Please make sure you have a visit to the restrooms before the start of the hike, it will be another two hours before you reach another one, unless you’re one of the naturalists.
(to be continued)