Friday, January 18, 2019

Schilthorn

Our patience paid off.  After our second night in Stechelberg.....we awoke to clear skies.  Time to go up into the mountains.

Getting up to the Piz Gloria (the top of Schilthorn) requires four gondola rides.  Here's the first, a five minute ride from the base of the Lauterbrunnen Valley up to Gimmelwald.

The village of Stechelberg

The "end" of the valley.  We stayed at a guesthouse in that cluster of buildings.


The second gondola is another short (6 minute) ride from Gimmelwald to Murren.  Then the dramatic gondola from Murren up to Berg.


Approaching Berg Station. You'll notice that on the rockface below is the glass floor walk.  We did that on the way down.

Piz Gloria, named for the hideout of villain in the James Bond movie, "Her Majesty's Secret Service."

The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.  This is what we came to Switzerland for.


Looking south.

Looking west.


The view to the north.

Piz Gloria celebrates its James Bond connections with an entire exhibit devoted to the movie.  This is a replica of the helicopter from the movie.....

.....and the bobsled.  I guess its time for me to see the movie.

We splurged for the James Bond package, which included a discount on the brunch buffet.

The restaurant has a rotating restaurant, and for an hour and a half, we just sat there and went around and around!




As we were leaving, the clouds began to roll in.  Here are the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau again.

Looking down towards the Lauterbrunnen Valley.



Back down at Berg, the challenge walk.




On our way down, we stopped and took a stroll through the town of Gimmelwald.

Rick Steves LOVES this place, and it's pretty charming.





The houses on the upper road of Gimmelwald



After leaving the amazing Lauterbrunnen Valley, it was off to Zermatt.  Turns out the most efficient way around the Alps...is to go through the mountains on the car train. 



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Luzern and Bern

Leaving Appenzell, we drove through Luzern on our way to the Bernese Oberland.  Here is the famed wooden bridge.

We spent an hour walking around the central part of Luzern.  Our drive through Switzerland was dictated by the fact that we didn't want to spend the 40 CHF to purchase a pass to drive on the Autobahn.  Therefore we had the GPS route us on roads without tolls.  We therefore drove across Switzerland and around 40 miles per hour.  The scenic route for sure.






Swans somehow became a theme of our trip.


That afternoon, we made it to the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the mountains were out.  Our plan was to take the cable car to the top of the mountains the next day.

Here's the view when we got up.

Complete whiteout at the top of the Schilthorn.



We therefore decided to practice some patience and wait until the NEXT day, so we spent this snowy day in the mountains visiting the town of Bern.  The highlight was climbing to the top of the church spire.




An original cuckcoo clock!  Still working, too.

Hello, Mr. Einstein!  He lived here in Bern at the turn of the 20th century.

As we headed back into the mountains, the skies were clearing.  Good news for our hopes for the next day.

The Bernese Oberland and Lake Thun


Driving back to our guest house in Stechelberg, the Staubbach Falls in Lauterbrunnen were lit up!