This country is BEAUTIFUL! Lucerne looks like the illustrations from a children’s fairytale book and the mountains surrounding Grindelwald are breathtaking in both a figurative and literal sort of way.
We spent an evening in Lucerne before continuing on into the Alps. The lake is ringed by restaurants, shops and hotels with plenty of public places to relax and enjoy the view.
The next day we took two very expensive trains to Interlaken then Grindelwald. I tried to think of it as a scenic excursion train, and it did have spectacular views. It also had a family of 24 that took up the adjacent rail car. They yelled excitedly the whole way and the kids ran wild between the cars.
The lakes here are such a unique shade of blue.
We had two full days to hike in Grindelwald. It is known as a ski resort town, but the summer hiking is well worth it. The houses are all wooden ski chalets with colorful shutters and gardens.
The first day we hiked the Southern and Eastern range and completed 16 miles. The second day we headed North and hiked 23 miles. Both days had spectacular views with threats of thunderstorms in the afternoon. We finished day one early to be safe, but the storm gave up after a single clap of thunder and a single drop of rain. Day two we ignored the forecast but watched the clouds. We got back to the the hostel at 7:30pm and the heavy rains began at 8pm.
Our itinerary for the first hike was very loose. It was like the Cheshire cat response that if you don’t know where you are going, it doesn’t matter what path you choose. We just had to keep our bearings to get back to town in the end.
Day two we had a destination of Shynige Platt and a trail to follow. It was useful for making decisions at junctions, but scary when we lost the trail and found ourselves free scrambling up an increasingly steep slope. It also added a few miles to the itinerary.
We reached the summit in the clouds, and for a brief second, we were able to see the lake far below before the full cloud coverage resumed.
There were a few herds of ornery cows on the mountains. We had to open and close their gates to keep them in their fields, but a couple of times the cows got too close to us and we had to jump the fences.
The way back down was hard in different way. The trail was steep with loose rocks and gravel and we slipped as we walked. It is easier to run downhill. So we did! Trail running is so much fun and feels like a much more efficient way to descend a mountain.