The small hamlet — Kleine Scheidegg, is actually a last stop before the ascent into the Jungfrau mountains. You get your tour groups milling around waiting for the next train, and some who have already seen the Jungfrau, on their way down. The weather is cold up here and everyone was in their jackets and layers of warm clothing for those doing the Jungfrau.
“Why aren’t we going up?” asked QS.
“Haven’t you seen the amount of fog surrounding the mountains?” I replied.
“It’s a pity.”
Weather will play a major role when you’re in the Bernese Oberland. Because most of the activities here involves the outdoors and not a lot of alternatives for indoors.
If you’re planning on visiting the Jungfrau, if the ticket price doesn’t put you off, I would recommend that you at least give yourself three days here. They must be really flexible days because if the weather is good, you can head off to see the mountains. We were on a tight schedule so that means we would have to give that a skip.
“Where are we going next?” asked Dad.
Remember the town we took the gondola? This is the town. Grindelwald. Most of the town lies on the main street — Dorfstrasse. It is a smaller version of Interlaken, catering for the tourists. You have a fair share of souvenir shops, your Swiss watches could also be bought here and also some decent dining options. It was still early in the afternoon, so we took an hour to survey the area. Here you will most likely bump shoulders with a fellow foreigner rather than the locals. It is also a cheaper option for a place to stay if you’re planning on a few days in the area.
I just have to praise the way the Swiss government works. They saw the profit in the tourist industry and they maximised it to their advantage. Counting the number of buses ferrying these tourists around, it’s a booming business.
We were back at Interlaken just around 5pm. Time to explore this tourist town. Interlaken is basically the hub of the tourist trade for the Bernese Oberland. You have your shopkeepers that speak basically every language on earth. All they need to do is just switch the salesperson accordingly to the arrival of the various nationalities. So don’t be surprise to see or hear someone speak your local dialect while shopping.
“Talk about efficient. They have tailored made salespersons.” I said.
As with most towns, they have that particular main street that cuts across town and it is also an easy landmark to follow. On both sides of the roads, you will encounter shops selling almost everything that can be sold. You have your hiking apparels, Swiss watches, souvenirs, Coop, shopping centres, jewellery shops, etc. The Champs-Elysée it is not, but who cares?
Along the many alleyways stemming from the main street lies quiet street corners and places where there are lesser tourists. We found one interesting alley with a theme of cows. Count how many cows you see here:
We were having Swiss food for almost a week now, and since we were in a cater-for-tourist town, it wasn’t too hard to find something from back home. Although we are not from Thailand, Thai food could easily be found where we came from. So we stumbled onto this shop called Little Thai, which is also a backpacker and outdoor adventure planner, my parents just couldn’t wait to satisfy their stomach with some much needed Oriental food.
The place is own by a couple, with one half hailing from Thailand. So you can be assured of its authenticity. The only difference between the Thai food here and back home is the spice levels. To the Swiss, it could have been extra spicy but to our much exposed palate, it was just low levels of spicy. But that didn’t detract us from the quality of the food. We ordered some familiar dishes and was quite surprised that they turned out exactly the way we were expecting it would be.
Swiss Knife Center
A little shoutout for this standout shop on the main street — Swiss Knife Center. This is where you go and buy your Swiss knives. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that he is the best but looking at the displays and the dedication the shopowner has for knives, I just had to get one of my Victorinox from here. And so I did.
If you’re going for the authentic Swiss knives, ask him to show you the Swiss Army knives. That is the original, and it is also the one without the corkscrew. The Swiss Army aren’t allowed to drink while on duty.