The Schilthorn +

The Eiger and his sibs were still a bit sulky on Monday.

But the weather gods promised to smile, so we embarked on another multi-modal, multi-village, multi-elevation day. 

First leg: chalet to bus (down the you-know-what) to catch the train to Lauterbrunnen.

Next leg: cable car to Gruitschalp and cog train to MĂĽrren.

We strolled through MĂĽrren en route to the Schiltzhorn gondola.

This time we took the gondola up to the top of the Schilthorn (instead of down to Gimmelwald, like last visit).

Some of the passengers were canine, others concrete.

The first leg of the gondola replaced a funicular line in 2006. The funicular had a 50 ton capacity, and the gondola holds 100 people. Everyone wants to go to Bond World.

At the Birg transfer point we entered the clouds.

Emerging into bright sunshine – and Bond World.

We viewed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service the night before. Alright, full disclosure: some of us fast forwarded through 140 minutes of bad movie and your correspondent bailed after 20 minutes. It was seriously bad.

Bond and Bond Girls curling on the Schilthorn viewing platform.

The 360 degree views, on the other hand were seriously fabulous.

Six of our crew ventured out across the icy slush to views at the edge of the ridge. Others stayed behind to photo-document the crossing.

The revolving restaurant.

I don’t think Bond shot him.
After lunching in the company of the Great Horned Beast, we descended back into the clouds to Birg, the gondola’s midway point.

The views were a bit more challenging at Birg.

Nonetheless, some our our crew dared the icy cliff walk – and lived to tell the tale.

Taking our leave of Bond World, we descended, once again, out of the clouds to MĹ«rren.

The Gang of Six headed off for the next of the multi-stage, multi-mode extravaganza: gondola to Steckelberg, bus to Lauterbrunnen, cable car to Männlichen, panorama walk to Kleine Scheidegg, train to Grindelwald, bus and walk back to the chalet. Don and Barb had a flight to catch next day, so they traveled as far as Männlichen, then took the ersatz bus to Grindelwald, picked up luggage at the chalet, rode a taxi to the bahnhof and caught the train to Zurich. (Editorial note and foreshadowing: the bus is “ersatz” because the cable car from Grindelwald is being reconstructed and the bus is temporary – thank god, because the bus has no business being on that road. It is a “harrowing” ride, per Dominique, who has reason to know, occupying the outside seat on our bus ride up two days later.)  

Dominique and I opted for sanity and spent the rest of the afternoon revisiting MĂĽrren and Gimmelwald (which are well worth a revisit and were on the way back home anyway). 

After a village wander, we plopped ourselves by the tennis court and spent quality time enjoying the paragliders and views.

Paragliders here are like Where’s Waldo – look hard enough and you’ll always spot one.

Refreshed by the soaring views, we re-boarded the gondola and descended to Gimmelwald, perched at the other edge of the plateau.

Cats are the primary form of wildlife here – we seem them everywhere, mousing in the meadows. They are, for the most part, exceedingly friendly and polygamous in their affections. (Emerson, take note.)

Gimmelwald is Rick Steve’s favorite, and I concur. It’s a marvelous blend of traditional architecture and lifestyles, with stunning views up two valleys to looming peaks…and lots of cats.

The cowbell story

We picked up a hunk of local cheese at an honesty box.

We spent a pleasant hour in the biergarten of the Hotel Pension Gimmelwald, brewers of that glorious Schwarz Mönch dunkel beer.

We schlepped a few beers home with us, along with the cheese.

More cliffside excitement on the the gondola ride down to Steckelberg.

We bussed back to Lautenberg (retracing the path of our walk two days before) then trained back to Grindelwald.

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1 thought on “The Schilthorn +”

  1. WOW! Stunning! I’m curious about the mountain hostel. Do you know if it was used as a safe harbor/rest site for people escaping the nazis in WW2? I read a book The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, and there was a high mountain farmer in Switzerland helping people as they crossed to safety.


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