Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Swiss Spendor

We left Pinswang and headed to Lauterbrunnen,Berner Oberland, Switzerland to enjoy for a few days.
Here is a lake that once again I didn't write the name down of, but it was on the way and was a beautiful color from the glaciers.

The Lauterbrunnen valley is FILLED with beautiful waterfalls and is a classic glacial carved U-shaped valley. To be honest I could have stayed there for a good year or longer!

My fascination with native dog breeds continue, here is Appenzeller Sennehund, one of the herding/working breeds native to Switzerland. (the others are the Entlebucher Sennehund, the Bernese Mtn. Dog and the Great Swiss Mountain Dog).

We stayed in a great little hostel, there in Lauterbrunnen, the Valley Hostel. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. If you had any questions about where to go hike there was lots of excellent advice. We were there before all the snows had melted off so unfortunately some of the places we wanted to hike were still closed.

We basically just parked the car, as it was unnecessary to use to get anywhere. The rail system is a short walk and you can go anywhere.

We decided to take the train up to Kleine Scheidegg, which is a high mountain pass between the Eiger (remember the Eiger Sanction?) and Lauberhorn peaks.

What's this???? A Saint Bernard? In the Alps? With a keg around his neck??? We should probably sample what in it to make sure it's not stale.....:)

Hiking trails in Switzerland are like paths beautifully maintained and easy to walk on. The high mountain air definitely gives you a workout though, if your hiking up! We decided to hike down to Grindlewald, so it was more like a stroll. :)

A photo opp along the way....

As you're hiking, the impressive Alps envelope you and take your breath away. The main Mountains on our right as we were hiking was the Eiger (Ogre), Monch (Monk), and the Jungfrau (Young Woman lit. which translate to Virgin or Maiden). The Monk is in between the Ogre and the protect her of course! :)

The rocks on the roof in the photo above are to keep the roof in place when the enormous winds whip down through the valleys. We saw this kind of roof set-up in many locations.

The Eiger is 13,025 ft and it was first ascended in 1858 on it's West Flank. The Norwand (North Face) towers over 5,900 feet above the Valley and it was first ascended in July 1938. A portion of the upper face is called "The White Spider", as snow-filled cracks radiating from an ice-field resemble the legs of a spider. During the first successful ascent, the four men were caught in an avalanche as they climbed the Spider, but all had enough strength to resist being swept off the face.

Since then the face has been climbed many times, and today is regarded as a formidable challenge more because of the increased rockfall and diminishing ice-fields than because of its technical difficulties. In summer the face is often unclimbable because of rockfall, and climbers are increasingly electing to climb it in winter, when the crumbling face is strengthened by the hard ice present.

Since 1935, sixty climbers have died attempting the north face, earning it the German nickname, Mordwand, or "murder wall", a play on the face's real German name Nordwand.

As we approached Grindewald the scenery became more bucolic.... goats? sheep? I have to get pictures!:)

Once we reached Grindewald, a popular tourist destination for skiing we decided to continue hiking down the valley towards Lauterbrunnen. On the way I saw a beautiful red fox in the woods, but was unable to get a pic he vanished as quick as he appeared.

I was able to get pics of the stealthy Swiss bovine though! :)These crafty creatures are known for their bloodlust.....(just kidding....)

Here is one that caught our scent, and was calling out re-enforcements....we were lucky to get out with our lives!!!

There were also some beautiful Bernese Mountain Dogs but they were more interested in having us for lunch, rather than inviting us in for lunch, so I didn't get a pic of them either. It was great to see them in the native countryside where they originated though.

At one smaller home we noticed a fellow that we believe was a immigrant from a Scandinavian country.....

We had definitely built up our appetites and by the time we got back to Lauterbrunnen we went and enjoyed some cheese fondue and Rosti, which is fried potatoes (similar to hash browns) with your choice of additions, I liked the local cheese and ham.

Next post will be a continuation in Switzerland!


Joanna said...

That's some of the best photography that I've ever seen, are you a professional? and you must have a good camera.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

It's so breathtaking in pictures, I can't imagine what it must have been like in person!!!

Susan said...

Despite the breathtaking awesomeness of your photos and the rich flavor of your words, I know (without having ever been there) that it can't possibly compare to actually having seen all of that in person. These recent posts have made me long to be in those places. Thank you, Tammy, for taking us there vicariously.

Wrensong Farm said...

Wow! Joanna, thanks for the compliment (blushing profusely). I WISH I was a professional photographer...and it is a cheap (well $200) camera....just great locations, hard to go wrong! :)

I need orange said...

Wow, more great pics!!!!

Thanks for sharing them.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Those mountains, glicial fed lakes and waterfalls were just stunning. I'd have never wanted to leave.

But I wonder how brutal their winters are. Many feet of snow at a time?

Such a wonderful trip of a lifetime. Do you wish to go back again someday?

Happy News Year to you!

New Mexico