Plan for the next two days
The next two days would be very relaxing days for us. We planned to relocate our stay from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen just 12 km south and explore a couple of interesting sights nearby. Though staying a Lauterbrunnen was more costly than Interlaken and did not cut down our travelling tremendously we thought Lauterbrunnen village was too pretty to miss.
At the end of the day
Our “stay” at Lauterbrunnen came with a fantastic view from the balcony of our room and it made our relocation to Lauterbrunnen so much worth the effort and cost. The beautiful valley and surrounding more than made up for the “smaller” room we stayed in. The places we visited in the two days included a very unique waterfalls, Trummelbach Falls and Schilthorn. The thrill walk at Birg of Schilthorn was even more exiting than our experience at Grindelwald First Tissot Cliff Walk.
We left our “stay” at Interlaken at about 10.20 am after a nice breakfast and was in Lauterbrunnen in 20 minutes. Lauterbrunnen was a very pretty village, less built up than Grindelwald Village with a more rustic atmosphere.
Our stay “Valley Hostel” was located at the beginning of the street and nearby just at the edge of the village we spotted a small Coop supermarket. We had already brought with us two days worth of grocery which we had bought at a larger supermarket at Interlaken town but it was nice to know that there was a supermarket within 200 metres of our new “stay”. We turned left into “Valley Hostel” and ended up in its carpark. Wow! From the carpark over the roof of our car we could see the famous “Staubbachfall Wasserfall”.
The name LauterBrunnen meant “many fountains” which was just the right name for a place in a valley with as many as 72 waterfalls with the most famous one being Staubbach Falls. Staubbach Falls was a 300 metres high free falling waterfalls standing at the edge of the village, it was the third highest waterfalls in Switzerland. The water falling from such great height turned into water droplets spraying out like dust (staub) at mid height.
From our stay in Lauterbrunnen to Trummelbach Falls was only 3.2 km. Just before the turn into a road that led to the falls was a huge carpark (co-ords: 46.572826, 7.912697). It was beside a big brown hotel/restaurant and parking was free.
We parked our car and walked to a short distance to the ticketing station and bought two entrance tickets (CHF11 per person) to Trummelbach-Falls. Our Swiss Half Fare Card could not be used to half the cost of entrance tickets.
We were very surprise to see an elevator near the entrance which was sort of like a cave. Trummelbach Falls was divided into 10 sectors from the its top to the bottom. The elevator would transfer visitors to a point between sector 6 and 7. Visitors could trek up to sector 7, 8, 9 and 10 and then trekked down from sector 10 to 1.
Trummelbach Falls was a glacier waterfalls. Melted water from the Jungfrau glaciers ran through the falls down to the valley at up to 20,000 liters of water per second. The water craved its way down through gaps, tunnels, twists and turns. It carried with it over 20,000 tons of boulders and scree per year. To facilitate visitors to view the waterfalls. The Trümmelbach Falls was the world’s only glacier waterfalls that was accessible underground by lift, galleries, tunnels, paths and platforms.
The roars of the water rushing through was loud and we could hardly hear each other voice. At some sectors the temperature in the tunnel was pretty chilly and at other sectors water droplets splashed all us.
On our second day we visited Schilthorn peak which was located at a height of 2970 metres. At Lauterbrunnen there was a train that went to Murren and from Murren visitors would need to ascend to Schilthorn via gondola. For our case, since we had a car we drove to Stecheberg(Schilthornbahn) and ascended Schilthorn via gondola.
The drive from Valley Hostel at Lauterbrunnen to Stecheberg (Schilthornbahn) was only 5.5 km and was completed in less than 10 minutes. Schilthornbahn (Stecheberg) was the valley gondola station to ascent to Schilthorn. We parked at a huge carpark beside the station. The charged was CHF7 for the five hours we parked there.
After showing the ticketing staff our passports and Swiss Half Fare card we were allowed to purchase two return tickets (gondola) to Schilthorn at half fare and they costed CHF52.50 per person.
The trip up was made of three stages. The first stage stop at Murren and the theme was “Chill”, the second stage stop at Birg which stood for “Thrills” and the final stage stop at Schilthorn for “View”.
Murren was a car free village and the starting point of several walking trails. We supposed there were cafes and restaurants in the village for visitors to “chill”. We did not explore the village after we exited the gondola at the Murren stop but moved to the next gondola going up to Birg for “Thrills”.
Birg at 1677 metres above sea level was all about thrills. There were Thrill walk, Skyline Snow Experience, Thrill your feet (we wondered what was that?) and Mirror Lake to look out for.
At Birg the thrill walk took on a more “fearsome” mode as compared to that at Grindelwalf First – Tissot cliff walk. It was fun walking through “steel net” path and crawling through the “net tunnel”. Lucky for us not many visitors wanted to experience the steel net walk/crawls so there was no queue for this “fun” at all. Unfortunately once we started more people joined in and soon a long queues were formed.
The “thrills” at Birg was available to all visitors with no additional admission fees. We supposed the cost was already covered in the expensive gondolas rides. Visitors could also hike from Murren to Birg to skip paying the gondola tickets but that would mean 6.5 km journey (one way).
The cliff walk had two levels and we had a great time exploring the entire length of the walks above and below. After Birg we took another gondola up to Schilthorn for the “View”.
Schilthorn was at 2970 metres above sea level. There was several viewing decks at Schithorn and we went from one to another. We generally felt that Schilthorn did not live up to our expectation.
We probably came up to Schilthorn not at its best time. It was neither green or white. It was more black with patches of white (snow). Schilthorn was famous for it being one of the locations where a 007 movie – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed. So all over the ground we saw erected remembrances of the movie.
The ground of Schilthorn peak was full of black shales and the path was not easy to walk on. The near view consisted mainly of black rough and uneven terrain was not as nice as it would be if it was covered fully in thick snow.
Coffee and Cake Break
Our first coffee break was at the base of Trummelbach falls, at a hotel/restaurant just by the carpark. We loved the cheese cake it was very very yummy!
Our 2nd coffee break was at the 360% restaurant at Schilthorn. It was a place with 360% of glass windows so that the guests could enjoy the entire circle of alps view. When we were there the view came with lovely live music from a cellist and two accordian players.
Our third coffee break was a Cafe Base, a sister cafe of our stay, Valley Hostel and we got 10% off our bill!
Our accommodation in Lauterbrunnen
Our stay at Lauterbrunnen was “Valley Hostel” which we booked from booking.com. It costed CHF172 for two nights for a small room with two bunk beds. Toilet/shower rooms, kitchen and dining room were all shared facilities. Parking on site was free.
Valley Hostel consisted of a couple of buildings half surrounding its open air car park. Access to the buildings were through card keys given to guests only. To keep the place clean, we were given indoor slippers and informed not to wear our own shoes in its premises.
Though our room was small it was spotlessly clean, modern looking and comfortable and best of all we had a balcony with a great view!
Our view was fabulous and being able to enjoy it from our room was fantastic.
There were two shared shower rooms and two toilets on our level and they were just outside our room. They were kept spotlessly clean and we felt very comfortable using them.
The shared kitchen was on the first level (our room were on the 2nd level). It was a big kitchen with two sets of ovens, hobs and hooks. Like all other rooms of the hostel it was spotlessly clean. A basket was designated to each room for food that required no refrigeration and a shelf (for each room) in a big fridge for food that need to be kept cool. It was one of the most orderly hostel that we had came across.
The shared dining room was just beside the kitchen and it was cheerfully decorated, bright and clean. The dining room had a door that opened into the car park and access into the dining room was through card keys given to guests staying in this particular building.
During our stay at Valley Hostel we cooked two breakfasts and two dinners. The spacious kitchen made cooking a bliss. Each “Valley Hostel” building had its own set of shared kitchen and dining room and it was probably the reason why the kitchen and dining rooms were never crowded.