Wednesday, October 09, 2019

The Swiss Chronicles: Lauterbrunnen

Go back in time 10 weeks with your minds eye when I was talking to my co-worker Joel about our upcoming trip to Switzerland, and imagine the look on my face when he mentioned that there is a valley that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien to create Rivendell, the valley of the elves.

Do you have that mental picture of my face?

If it was complete joy, you know me well.  Congratulations! (if you thought otherwise, we have some bonding to do).

During that trip to Switzerland, just a few shorts days ago, I went to that valley. Yep, I visited Rivendell (tho the locals call it Lauterbrunnen).
Lauterbrunnen is a valley in the Alps known for its waterfalls, and one of the highest peaks in Europe.  Some of these waterfalls allow one to climb up behind them.  At least one is actually contained inside a mountain (but thats next post, this is about the outside stuff).
One of the first things we did (we, cause there was 4 of us) was climb up a steep hill, through a tunnel, and walk behind the waterfall.  If you look up and then down in this post you will see the start and ending point of this adventure.
 One of the things I love about wandering thru Swiss countrysides is that there are cows everywhere.  They all (mostly) have bells around their necks (so farmers can locate em on the mountainside) and often paths go right by their fields.   It gives the whole country a folksy "down on the farm" feel.
 Since it is October, and the climate is quite cool - high in the low 60s - I was quite surprised to see that there were a lot of flowers in full bloom in the valley. 

 This cow became my friend.  I call her Ermine The Devine Bovine.
 Since I knew I was going to visit Rivendell, I brought along a Gandalf action figure.  I took this shot while crossing a creek:
My creative muse complete, we went to the place where the waterfall falls inside the mountain (yeah, I know, next post!) then kept moving down the valley.

We then took a cable car up the mountain to a nice town at its peak, where the views were spectacular.
 I particularly enjoyed how the peaks caused the clouds to form interesting and unique shapes that one doesn't see a lot of in my home country.
 We finished off our day of hiking with a nice beer on a patio overlooking some of the most spectacular mountains I have ever seen.
After this we took a train back to Zurich.  Another awesome adventure in the books.