Wednesday, 3 August 2011


There must be thousands of tourists in the Swiss Alps daily, even just in Interlaken, and yet the feeling I get from the mountains is peace. Somehow it is impossible to feel stressed when you're already feeling awed by the mountains, breathing in the fresh air and hearing, well, nothing really, it's quiet.

Here, unlike Horst where the tourists all spoke German, there is a real mix of people of all ethnicities and languages - enclosed areas like cable cars provide a nice (although biased) sample of the population for this observation.
Today we made our way up the Schilthorn, which has one of the best views of the three monks, a view that is commonly associated with Swiss products. The journey started from Stechelberg at 900m. This is in the lush, green valley with giant mountains either side and log sheds and houses next to the winding river which appears white from the rushing.
Heading up past a cliff waterfall on the way, Gimmelwald is the first cable car stop: 1367m, 22 degrees Celsius. There are a couple of places to stay at this level, but it's a fairly quick stop as the next cable car is weighted with the first. A couple of para-gliders got off with their giant packs at the next stop, Murren: 1638m, 21 degrees Celsius. This area was still really lush, but harder to farm, as evidenced by the truck on a giant lean in a tiny field (about the size of a big Australian house block). The next cable car ride took a bit longer and took us up more than 1000m - Birg: 2677m, 12 degrees Celsius. The transition over this leg was from green farming land to mossy cliff faces. It's around this point that it really sinks in how hard it would have been to build in the first place. On the way up I had thought this was it, but no, one more cable car up to the summit - Schilthorn: 2970m, 11 degrees Celsius. At this level there are still odd patches of snow, but mostly it is a dark-coloured slate with some very hardy alpine flowers. At the very top is a viewing platform as well as a 360 degree view rotating restaurant. We were lucky to have a crisp, clear day and London had prepared me well, as it was warm enough in the sun in my skirt. The view was just spectacular. Having seen little kids walking up we decided that we would be ok to walk the leg back to Birg which is recommended to take 1h. We took 2 due to frequent camera stoppages. I'm glad we took that route as it resulted in our best shots.

We made it back in time for the last cable car of the day back to the bottom of the mountain. We finished off the day with a self-cooked pasta, some photo catchup and planning for tomorrow.

We had moments throughout the day where we realised and reminded ourselves just how lucky we are - to be here, to be with each other, to be fit and healthy, to afford to visit Switzerland, to both have the inclination to be here.. The list goes on.

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