Day 192: Eastwards to GrindelweldAugust 25, 2017 in Switzerland
Lots of driving today, again! We left around 9am and headed east again along the shores of the lake, though this time on the freeway rather than the local roads and the highway. Still nice views of the wine terraces, though we didn't stop!
First stop for the day was near the end of the lake, just outside Montreux, where our only UNESCO site for the day was located. This site is part of the Le Corbusier listing, and it's a villa he had built for his parents in the 1920s. It was quite small, only 16m x 4m, but quite adequate for older folk, and it was perfectly aligned along the lake shore, with fantastic views across to the mountains.
We looked around for an hour or so, and had a good chat to the friendly staff as well. Also had a very quick peek at Nestle's enormous global corporate headquarters which were located just nearby. They were a troublesome client of mine at times in a past life, so it was interesting/annoying to see their global HQ. Didn't go inside though.
Back on the road where we drove east for a couple of hours, stopping finally at the small town of Spiez on another lake. It's apparently a very pretty spot, with a nice lakefront area and a castle but today they were having some sort of festival and the entire town was blocked off. We bought some supermarket bread & cheese and found a panoramic view-point just off the main road where we sat and ate our lunch. It's such a picturesque country, certainly in the south, and you can pretty much stop anywhere and find a good view.
Back on the road, we drove past the ski town of Interlaken (so named because it's wedged Inter Between Two Lakens), then drove south into a long narrow valley. There's a whole area down here that's on the UNESCO list, as it's the largest glacial area in Eurasia (the Aletsch glacier). Although we were staying in a different valley, we wanted to see the far edge of it first.
But our first stop was at the small town of Lauterbrunnen, where several waterfalls cascade down. This time of year the water is particularly ferocious, as the warm summer sun melts the snow high up the peaks and it all floods down. We walked for about 30 minutes to reach a vantage point behind one fall, though passed on a couple of others (including the Reichenbach Falls which is famous as the setting for a Sherlock Holmes story).
Next stop was another vantage point called Schillthorn, where we did a short hike around roaring mountain rivers and underneath soaring peaks. But it was too hot and we were too poorly equipped for a proper hike, so we retreated back up the valley a bit to where there was a cable car.
This had an outrageous price to take you up several thousand metres to some peak or another, but we opted for the cheap option that only included the first cable car. We hopped out, had a good look around and enjoyed a beer in the sunshine with an amazing view of craggy mountains across the valley. It's amazing how much your view changes after ascending a few hundred metres, even when the scenery still towers over you!
Back down, where we drove out of the valley back to Interlaken, then headed down the next valley towards Grindelweld and our destination for the night. Our B&B was basically a mountain guesthouse (very common in Switzerland) where it's basically a five room hotel with a shared bathroom, plus an attached restaurant and bar which are both open to the public. We settled into our room, a little rustic but OK, then headed downstairs to the restaurant for dinner.
Since we were 10 minutes drive from town, we decided to eat at the restaurant and endure the typical Swiss prices. I had sausages with onion gravy and rosti, while Shandos had a schnitzel and fries. Two beers plus a home made cake and you don't any change from 50 francs (about $65 AUD). Good food, but nothing fancy. We also bought our tickets to ascend Jungfrau in the morning, so it'll be a very early start!Read more