Day 9 - 2013 Europe Trip - Lucerne to Lauterbrunnen Good times afoot at the Sherlock Museum and a Risky Visit to Reichenbahfall

5:41 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

Well that's it. We both, unanimously, wholly agree that we are moving here. We woke up in Lucerne, opened the metal shutter as we shutter ourselves in worry as to what we might find on the other side. Wet streets.....but wait! No umbrellas are up, no windshield wipers are employed. No more rain! 
No need for umbrellas anymore!
Spoiler alert: by the end of the day there were....blue skies. Ahhhhh. Danke, Switzerland.
Breakfast was the best my veggie bf has had this trip so far because there were scrambled eggs. Finally, a cooked meal, as he puts it. Of course, I have had a boiled egg every day but he poo-poos that. He really shouldn't though because the eggs here are amazingly fresh. I had the usual, which seems to include Ovaltine now. 
The first Swiss brekkie
We packed up, skirted the curry stink and filed into the lobby for a little interneting. I posted my blog and he downloaded then uploaded some music for the driving.

As we left the hotel I saw we were dangerously low on gas. We sort of drove around like crazy, wasting even more gas trying to find the nearest station. I forgot we were no longer in Germany and the gas pumps look completely different so I left a perfectly good station thinking it was only diesel. I am used to green signifying diesel. Not so here. We finally found one but there was no attendant to help us. A motorhome pulled up and I asked in German for help. The old man tried to help me but explained to me that his wife spoke French. We both laughed because it turns out A. They are from England and B. Neither of us knew how to get gas out of the pump. I went first. It was only natural since I was there first. I got not very far when it asked for a pin number for my Visa. I do not have one of those. I bit the bullet and paid the extra fee to use my debit card that does have a pin number associated with it. It wanted me to then give them a number. I was not sure if it wanted the amount of money I was willing to spend or the amount of gas I was looking to have. I figured forty was a safe number for both. It worked! I pumped some forty seven liters of gas for some seventy Francs. So.....why did I enter the number forty? We will never know I fear.
Some views along our drive to Lauterbrunnen
We drove an hour to our next hotel, here in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. We are staying here for two glorious nights. The hotel is called Hotel Scheutzen and has the finest view in all the land and certainly in town. Lauterbrunnen is my favorite town in all of Europe, I guess it's tied or slightly surpasses Hallstatt. Don't make me choose! It is like Yosemite valley here if you fed it nothing but steroids and crack. 
Entering Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

The valley lies between massive, sheer cliff faces upon which lies tiny towns out of sight to us valley dwellers but their secrets are revealed by a funicular or steep railway. The jewel of this valley is Stubbach Falls which crests one of the aforementioned sheer cliff faces. One can watch the trail of water as it makes the long journey down. Poems have been written about this waterfall and for very good reason.
Hotel Schutzen, best hotel in town.
Our original plan was to park the car and, as it is far too early to check into the hotel, walk to the train station and climb up to the Schilthorn. Turned out, as we could see from the very handy live video streaming in the ticket house that the visibility was bill at the top. We nixed that plan and decided to do tomorrow's activity today. That involved doubling back twenty minutes to a town called Meirengen where the meringue was invented and where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote of Sherlock Holmes' final journey. It was here we found the Sherlock Holmes museum. 
We skipped having a dessert in favor of some literary fun time.

The statue was engraved with all sorts of puzzles. Hence my puzzled look.
We took photos along our way towards the museum and arrived at a locked door. Our hearts sank. I know for a fact that the museum is closed tomorrow but I had hoped it would be open today. But that was hopeful thinking since it is a Sunday and most things are closed in Europe. We turned to leave when a little old lady's face appeared and made me jump. She was opening the museum for the day! We were the first to arrive. We got an audio tour that showed us artifacts that would have belonged to Watson and Holmes. It was so realistic, I felt taken back to any of the tales. The tour ended with a perfect rendition of what the living room of 221b Baker Street. The Sherlock Society from England read and studied everything written by Doyle to accurately and precisely reconstruct the room. The audio explained each detail. I was so enthralled, as we are both enamored with the Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch, that I stayed to listen a second time.
The perfectly, painstakingly constructed home at 221B Baker Street.
With our purchase of the museum entrance we also bought round trip tickets up to the Reichenbachfall which is where Sherlock Holmes and the crafty, evil Professor Moriarty had their final battle and both presumably fell to their deaths. Of course, years later it was discovered that Holmes did not fall after all....oh, spoiler alert haha. It's your own fault if you didn't already know that. 
A photo from the museum.
We boarded the cute, bright red funicular and climbed the really steep canyon wall to the upper part of the falls. I have visited these falls in the past, two years ago but it was nothing like this. This time it was booming like a constant hurricane and earthquake all in one. 
Aboard the funicular.
We rushed past the first landing because the mist coming off the falls was so heavy we were getting soaked right through. We found safety as we rounded the corner and climbed the steep trek to the top of the falls. Each level they provided for photo opportunities was dry after that but not safe from the thunderous booming the massive amount of water made as it crashed through a space illprepared for the volume. After many photos of the falls and the panoramic views of the valley below we took a walk towards the town of Faulchern.
A view looking down the falls and across the valley. In about the upper center of the photo there is a little white star that marks the place on the rocks where Sherlock and Moriarty fell.
I initially intended to walk the whole way down which takes a couple hours but the bf had caught a cold ( I told him to wash his hands more!) And he needed to take it easy. We, instead took a small stroll down and back. We looked at the spread out little chalets with the flowers spilling out of the window sills, listened to the bells on the nearby livestock and smelled the sweet mixture of fireplace smoke and manure and agreed that there is where we want to be. We want to have a chalet up on the hillside with cows and goats and sheep and I want to make cheese and he wants to sculpt and paint. Sigh. We had to be content on being there and boy were we.
Along the path leading down from the top of the falls.
We turned around, reluctantly and headed to a hotel and restaurant that lay directly at the top of the main part of the falls, before it sank into the Alps it is born of. We cozied into a booth and ordered a hot sandwich of deliciousness. It was a thick brown, soft bread that was dipped into some white wine then ham, a tomato for the bf, was added before raclette cheese was melted over the whole thing. It was topped off with fried onion bits. We thought we died and had gone to food heaven. 
Eating heaven perched on top of the clouds.
We got info about staying at that hotel because next time, we are deffo staying there. The waitress, whose name I wish I had gotten, lit up when we mentioned we were staying in Lauterbrunnen. Turns out she worked at the very hotel we are staying in and lived up the mountain in the tiny village of Wengen. She was homesick. She called living in Meirengen too big city for her. The population has to be like five thousand max! It added to our wish to make this our home. Then a dog came in. She was very old and named Abby. She barked at me a lot as I tried to say hi. I only got to touch the whiskers. The waitress said Abby is not friendly to strangers but we all tried to let me pet her. All the staff were laughing. I was too. I could not have felt more happy and content than when we were up there. Alas, we had to catch the funicular down, so we did. 

It was when we sat down on the train that I noticed I was in a lot of pain. I woke up this morning at six am in too much pain to sleep. I guess my luck (and adrenalin) is running out on me.
The view from room #29 in the evening
We drove back to Lauterbrunnen, marveling at the patches of blue sky above us. We checked into the best little hotel and got the keys to room 29. The room that has THE view of the unobstructed Stubbach Falls. It really feels like the falls are there solely for me and the bf. I went next door and picked up a bottle of white wine for me and some sparkling apple juice for the bf. We filled our wineglasses and he painted the scenery as I wrote this.

We didn't make it past the hotel restaurant for dinner. I made a promise to myself that it is OK for me to order fondue every single night if that is what I want because two years ago, when I was last here, I didn't and I regretted it. You just don't get it like this anywhere else. So, that being said, guess what I ordered. That's right, a half litre of wine.....oh, and fondue. I got the herbed cheese this time. It was great, but too much herbiness so now I know to stick with the classic. The bf discovered Rosti. 
Rosti is basically a big hash brown patty with cheese and other foods on top.
Turns out he just loves Swiss food. When we were atop the falls earlier he asked that waitress about all the cheese dishes that are native to Switzerland. I wish I could aptly describe the delight on her face as she told us dishes, especially some cheese cake thing. Rosti potatoes are really just hash browns with various toppings like cheese, bacon, ham, veggies or egg. The bf got the herbed cheese and tomato. He loved it except for the small fact that it tasted a little reheated. If anyone had ever tried to reheat french fries would understand what that is like. A little tough. Nonetheless he was happy and I was very happy as I basically had just drunken a whole bottle of wine. My wine of choice here,with my fondue is Fondant. It is a light, white wine with relatively low alcohol content (like 12%). I'm glad for the latter it I may have had to be carried up to the room. After stuffing ourselves we further hurt ourselves by both ordering dessert. The bf got an apple streusel with vanilla sauce, which is like a warm pudding. I got a trio of ice cream balls; Walnut, Tiramasu, and Caramel. Each was better than the last.
We came upstairs to our room, admired the view, turned on some Dr. Katz that I have on my computer and crashed out.....at 9:00pm. I was excited, all night about waking up to sunshine in this wonderful valley. Read the next blog to find out if it happened!

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