The Swiss Alps

Switzerland is definitely one of the highlights of my travels thus far. The green pastures, the beautiful lakes, and of course the magnificent Swiss Alps, which were far beyond what I imagined. We were in the Berner Oberland region of Switzerland, just south of Interlaken, in the Lauterbrunnen valley, staying in the tiny town of Stechelberg. It was pretty rustic, but charming. We had the treat each morning of watching the cows being lead from the barn to the open pasture across the road, following a simple call from one of the farm hands, but otherwise walking on their own, with the young calf typically following at the end. Animals have a great life here, with the most beautiful green pastures you can imagine. Nothing like the commercial farms in the U.S. These were indeed happy cows.

On Saturday, we took a gondola up to the top of Schilthorn in the Swiss Alps, climbing above the clouds into the alpine heavens, where the skies opened up for us enough to get some amazing views of the peaks around us. This location was in a 1969 James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and there is Bond World 007 exhibit in the Skyline View building at the top. It was incredible to stand in the freezing alpine wind, and look out at the Swiss Alp peaks, and the valleys below. They have a rotating restaurant, similar to the Space Needle in Seattle, that is solar powered; gotta love the Swiss engineering.

This was the photo highlight of the trip, and it started off well until my camera battery died, when I realized that I had left the camera on overnight, so I had to switch to my iPhone for most of the photos, but I still got some great shots, and more importantly, I put the camera down for a while and just took it all in.

I took the gondola down first to Birg, then to Murren, getting out for a while to walk through the quaint town and have lunch with a view of the mountains, and watch the skydivers glide through the mountain valley from the mountain hillsides of Murren to the Lauterbrunnen valley floor below. After lunch, I took the trail from Murren down to Gimmelwald, and then rode the Gondola back down to Stechelberg, walking the trail back to where we were staying.

To see photos of Switzerland before this trip and wonder if the pastures are really that green with cows and sheep wearing bells, are the lakes really that beautiful, are the alps really that majestic — and after being here I can say an emphatic, “Yes!” It’s incredible. Definitely on the list of places to visit again.

Now on to France!

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