2019.04.20

Switzerland travel alps Lauterbrunnen grass barns view

Saturday morning I strolled over to the Hotel Metropole to get the rental from Europcar. The drive back to the hotel was a bit circuitous due to one way streets, construction, and pedestrian areas. Navigating + following unfamiliar road rules + avoiding vehicular 187 is a lot to do at once. But outside of town, driving was easy.


Short drive from Interlaken to Stechelberg.


Switzerland travel alps Lauterbrunnen grass barns view

The short drive from Interlaken to the Stechelberg gondola was simply breathtaking, I could see why we saw so many bikers the day before. We had planned to do a hike on the valley floor, but the trail was nowhere to be found, so we just took the gondola up. The wait wasn't too bad, but it looked like the station could get pretty crowded.

Switzerland travel alps Lauterbrunnen view Schiltorn gondola

The gondola ride to Murren was as scenic as it was frightening.

Switzerland travel alps Lauterbrunnen Schilthorn gondola cable

I neglected to mention to Jes that our return from Murren would be the last day before the cables were scheduled to be replaced.

Switzerland travel alps Hotel Jungfrau April view mountains

Hotel Jungfrau was on the opposite side of Murren from the gondola, so a four minute walk. After dropping our bags, we decided to hike 1000' down to the town Jes had originally been most interested in, the Car Free Town of Gimmelwald. Wait, is it really called the Car Free Town of Gimmelwald? Yes and no. It's simply Gimmelwald, but in Rick Steves and elsewhere, this factoid pops up frequently. And it's something that I really didn't believe based on the road shown below and general unsuitability of gondolas and helicopters to support entire towns. Okay, yes there is a train as well.


Some dashed line from the valley to the Car-Free Town of Gimmelwald.


But sure enough. Rick was right. There are simply no cars in CFToG:

Switzerland travel alps Gimmelwald car free no cars at all unreachable by car

Misnomers aside, the entire Murren/CFToG scene is spectacular, whether you're hiking the car free roads or having a campari on the patio. The alpine panorama is simply majestic.

Switzerland travel alps Gimmelwald horses view

Being (just) off season and a holiday, CFToG was completely shuttered, save for the gondola station and probably the hostel we didn't check out. Jes had envisioned a town-size farmers' market with cows roaming freely, wearing large bells. Alas, there were just some closed shops and a horse that didn't like her. Oh and I guess in the low season they spray the hillsides with rather pungent manure.

Switzerland travel alps Gimmelwald grass mountains

Still, even without alpcheese vendors or cows, the area has a lot going for it.

Switzerland travel alps beer liter view

Back up in Murren, we settled down to a pint at Jungfrau and met an interesting local and his dog. Dinner that night was at one of the few open establishments, the Hotel Eidelweiss.