Day 12 - A day in Bern - Meiringen, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken and Grindlewald

1:38 PM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

We slept with the door slightly open on our deck. Hubs had washed every single item of clothing he brought yesterday so there were things hanging from every possible surface. Pants, shorts and shirts were all hanging from the curtain rods. Socks and more hung from the hooks and shower rods. The items that were hanging on the deck were still wet only now they were very, very cold. The sun was coming out and there were zero clouds in the sky. The highest mountains were crisp and clear, covered in snow. The sun was hitting only the largest, highest peaks when we woke up at 8:30am. The bed we slept in has a headboard and a foot board so Hubs didn't sleep too well because his feet hit the foot board. We tried to sleep diagonal but I don't think it was enough to get Hubs fully rested. He was in high spirits nonetheless.
Views as we were driving around today.

The breakfast room has to be the most spectacular of all the breakfast rooms of the whole trip. It is inside but the walls are all glass. It is like having a breakfast picnic on the edge of the world. We looked down into the green valley dotted with chalets. We looked down at the town of Meiringen. Speaking of Meiringen, if the name sounds familiar at all it may be because the dessert called meringue was invented here. Meringue is whipped egg whites folded with sugar then baked. It is very sweet and a little crunchy and very airy. Five years ago I had a meringue in the very cafe it was invented. They told us the story of how it came to be made. Apparently, there was not much ingredients left over one evening when some sort of dignitary arrived asking for dessert. They took the left over egg whites from some other dish, whipped them up, added sugar and baked it, hoping for the best. Boom. Meringue. I forgot to mention that last night we split a dessert that was two massive lumps of chocolate meringue and two scoops of ice cream, one strawberry and one vanilla. Everything was covered in whipped cream.
More views from the car.

I also forgot to mention that while in Grindlewald yesterday we bought some chocolate. There was this one store in Lugano that had chocolate in the windows. There were all these varieties displayed in smooth slabs. It looked so darn interesting and delicious that it stayed on our minds. In Grindlewald we saw the same store so we decided not to pass it up this time and bought a little bag that held 2x1 inch bits of each flavor of slab. Normally I like dark chocolate the most but the milk chocolate in Switzerland is just incredible. I had dreams of it last night. Later on in the trip we will go to a chocolate factory. The chocolate in Switzerland is just the best possible.

Back to breakfast....It was pretty much the usual spread. The bread was slice yourself and it was fresh, brown and wonderful. The butter, even though it comes in little prepackaged tubs it is fresher than any butter I have ever had. There were three or four types of local Swiss cheeses and a couple meats, one was a salami and one was a sliced ham. There were yogurts and a big bowl of fruit. There was orange juice, milk and coffee. They had two home made jams as well, apricot and cherry. We sat next to the window, ate and planned our day. We decided to head out to the various towns in the region and then maybe try to have dinner away from the hotel then come back to rest before bed. There were only 4 of us staying at the hotel and the food was limited so we thought we would give the chef and waitress a break.
The morning view from our balcony in Meiringen, Switzerland

We first hiked down the falls all the way to the top of where the funicular goes to. As we hiked on this sunny, clear, perfect weather day, we came across some workers. The workers were clearing away the old vegetation and rocks. They had chainsaws and were hacking away at whole trees. We hiked down to the main landing and were all alone besides the workers until a bunch of little school kids started piling off the funicular. The train went down and came back up with a while load more of them. We were surrounded by kids so we decided to head back up the falls to the car. As we got half way up we heard this beg crash. We looked up and saw all these rocks and big ass boulders coming down over our heads. The workers were tossing all the loose scree off the slope and into the basin of water below. It was a spectacular sight to see, a bit scary but looked like fun fore them to do. We had felt the urge go throw rocks off as well but we weren't getting paid for it!
Stubbach Falls, Lauterbrunned, Switzerland. 

We got up to the hotel and had a little cappuccino on the patio before we got in the car and headed out. We had the idea to go to this big city in the area called Interlaken. I have been to so many towns in the area that are really small and adorable but never bothered to go to the big city so we headed for it first. I have never really wanted to visit Interlaken because it was so big and crowded. It was just as I had figured it would be. There were loads and loads of tourists taking photos in this big field that is in the center of town. I don't know why but this trip there has been a huge amount of Muslim people here. The men are all walking several feet ahead of their women. The men are all going to Hooters and stuff while the women have to be all wrapped up so you can only see their eyes. It is so different to see for me. The city itself is dirty and the shops are pretty much gross. There are lots of watches and jewelry stores and some crappy clothing stores. The restaurants are all Chinese, Korean and Indian. Hubs wanted to do some shopping but once we walked around a bit we found that there was nothing worth looking at. He got hungry so we found a hot, over priced Kebab place. I was not hungry so I didn't get anything but he got some falafel and fries. We sat in the park and watched all the bazillion hang gliders and parachuters landing in the park. There must have been a few tour buses in town because there were just crowds and crowds of Chinese people taking photos in the park. The buildings in Interlaken are all dirty and covered in soot. There are a few giant hotels and casinos that just look sad because they seem to have seen their day. There are rich Muslims walking around and the lobbies are all expensive and opulent but it was just ugly and sad to me and I wanted to get out right away. Next we drove to Lauterbrunnen
A photo taken from Interlaken, Switzerland

I usually stay in Lauterbrunnen when I come to this area. Lauterbrunnen is my favorite town in all of all of Europe. We always stay at a hotel called Hotel Schutzen where we get a perfect view of the Stubbach falls. The town is situated in the base of a flat little narrow valley. Either side of the valley you see sheer clif faces that rise straight up several hundred meters. You can take a train up one side to the town of Wengen and then from there you can take more trains up to the top of the Jungfrau and the Piz Gloria where a Bond movie was filmed. The Jungfrau is the highest peak in the Alps, I am pretty sure. The other side of the valley you can take a funicular up to the next town of Murren. There are very few little towns up on the steep cliffs on that side. That is the same side that the Stubbach falls fall from. We drove through the tiny town and parked near the falls. It has been a dream of mine for a long time now to hike to the back of the falls. I only learned a few years ago that you could even do that. So I was super excited to be able to do it today. We parked and I ran up to the base of the falls. We hiked up the switchbacks. There were little goats with little bells around their necks grazing nearby. I tried to call to them to get them come close to me but they didn't. We got to a big tunnel made of corrugated metal. At the end of the tunnel we got to some rough stairs carved out of the rocks. The rocks were all wet and slippery but there were handrails to help us get up. The excitement was mounting. The water on the ground was increasing. We were walking along a little cove cut out of the rock. There was some water falling from the rock above to the rocks below. I could hear the falls getting closer and closer. We were so close now. There were to men taking photos that we had to squeeze by and I knew after we passed them we would be right behind the falls. We slid past the men and the path abruptly ended. What? I thought the path led right behind the falls! Maybe it was because there was not a lot of water falling today. Maybe it was the wind blowing it in the wrong direction. Whatever the reason is, there was no wayt we were behind the falls. I was a bit let down. No matter, we were still in my favorite little town in Europe and there was shopping to do!
Having a beer in the shadow of the Eiger in Grindlewald, Switzerland
Our strudel with vanilla sauce and a yummy cream of fennel soup. The bread was fantastic as well.

We hiked back down the hill and walked the darling, darling town. I found my favorite shop and bought all sorts of things. I got some stickers for my car, a belt because my pants were falling down, some magnets and pins. I was super energized and took all sorts of photos. I just love this town!! After a while of enjoying the darling town we got back int he car and drove to Grindlewald. We drove about 15 minutes to get there. We parked on the far end of town and walked down to the cafe called C und M. It is my favorite place to have a snack or a beer because it has unobstructed views of the major mountains of the area, the Monch, Eiger and Junfrau. We split an apple strudel with vanilla sauce and a cream of fennel soup. I got a giant beer. We sat in the sun and basked in the views of the mountains. It was nice and relaxing. We shopped a little more after that but I felt like I has spent enough money. Switzerland is very expensive. A magnet costs 7 dollars, a spoon or thimble cost 10 dollars. We had time to kill so we stopped again and had more drinks. I had a little wine and he had a watery hot chocolate.

Our second stop for drinks in Grindlewald
At this point is was a reasonable time to drive back to Lauterbrunnen and have dinner. I really wanted to eat at the hotel Schutzen because I have stayed and eaten there so many times in the past. We were met at the hotel restaurant by a super friendly man. He sat us down and was talking to us in excellent English. I was looking forward to having fondue and Hubs was excited to have the rosti potatoes. The menu looked very similar to what he remembered. There were four types of fondue, all of which I have tried. There was a tomato one, an herb one, a garlic one and a regular one. I was all ready to order the plain one when we saw on the menu that you could only order for two. That meant that either I had to get something else or Hubs couldn't get his rosti. I just ordered the raclette instead and he got the Rosti. Rosti, if you don't know, is a big, flat pile of hash browns that are cooked to a crisp then topped with all sorts of good things like cheese, egg, tomatoes...whatever you might want. I talked to the nice waiter man because I wanted to know why they changed the menu like that. I also told him that we have been coming here for years and years and we love this hotel. He explained that the family who has owned the hotel for so many ears no longer are there. A Chinese owner now has the place and things are different. He didn't seem too pleased with the new owners. So far neither were we. I noticed that the place which is usually the center of the local hubbub was empty. In the past we have always seen meetings of various local groups like marching bands, rotary and more. It was totally deserted now. There was one group of loud Americans out front in the cold but that was it. They usually have a big roaring fire lit inside but it was just pain and cold. When I got my Raclette I was also disappointed. It normally comes with cornichons and baby onions and loads of little boiled potatoes. I got four tiny potatoes, not nearly enough. I also got a bowl of then little onions, some GIANT pickles and then it was also filled with baby corn like the kind you get in a stir fry. I hate those little corn things so I just didn't eat them. The Hubs' rosti was awful too. It was not crispy but rather soggy and watery. We were so so sad. I don't think we will be coming back to this town to stay anymore. When we went to pay the nice waiter he became a little less nice. He made a point of telling us that tip was not included. He basically asked us to tip him so we did. He did not seem like he was going to be working there much longer.
A blurry shot of my Raclette. Pretty pathetic.
Saddened, disheartened, and disappointed, we drove the dark roads back up to our nice hotel. We watched tv until 11 and went to bed

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