Hiking does not get old here in the Bernese Oberland, at least from a sightseeing standpoint. My legs might beg to differ, but each day has brought surprising diversity to our trip.
Yesterday, we took a cable car to Pfinstegg, which consists of…wait for it…a restaurant. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but each hike, train, gondola, funicular, cable car, or God knows what else ends at a restaurant. One cannot stay hungry in this place–well, except for the fact that we don’t care for German food–but I digress. I will write more on our food challenges another time.
Anyway, from Pfinstegg we hiked for about an hour and a half with a 1,200 foot climb ending at…a restaurant. The point of all of this is to view a glacier on Eiger Mountain up close and personal. I was wimpy that day, with my legs bits of rubber underneath me, but the locals who zipped by me, some of whom are MUCH–even decades–older than we are, awakened my competitive streak.
From time to time we hear strange booming sounds, and we realized on this hike that these are the sounds of portions of glaciers breaking off (a normal and expected occurrence). On this hike, the sounds were particularly loud.
As an aside, we have learned that the glaciers are receding at an alarming rate…not trying to get political here, but I’m just sayin’…this made hearing and seeing them this close even more extraordinary.
We headed back down and skipped a second, and easier, hike, since it was a work day for Henry, and I needed to wash some clothes. We ate lunch in Grindelwald, then ate the leftovers for dinner (the food’s not great, but there’s a lot of it).
Today took us in yet another direction. Thankfully for our sore legs, we chose a more passive activity. That is, we took the train to Interlaken, then an hourlong boat ride on Lake Brienz, then a steam train to the summit of Rohthorn. Lake Brienz is an odd, milky turquoise color from the glacier silt. Clouds and rain gave the distant mountains an eerie feel. The clouds lifted enough at the summit to allow us plenty of photo ops. We ate lunch at the summit…yes, another restaurant. Then we took the train down, rewarded ourselves with apple strudel (okay, not all the food is bad), wandered around Brienz, and came back.
Tomorrow is our last full day in Grindelwald, so we are headed to Bern to get a taste of Swiss city life.