Whenever I travel for more than a week, I like including a ‘downtime’ to avoid burnout. Switzerland was my vacation from vacation during my 3-week trip to Europe.
From Salzburg, I briefly changed trains in Munich to get to Zurich. Now that I think about it, I wish I pushed through with my original plan of staying in Munich even for 3 days. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to save that for another Euro trip. 😉
I arrived in Zurich on a gloomy afternoon, but after emerging from the train station and having a glimpse of the Old Town, I immediately regretted my decision to just stay for a night.
I stayed at a hostel in the heart of Old Town. And while I almost died carrying my luggage up several flight of winding stairs, I couldn’t complain about the medieval surroundings.
I was craving for Asian food, and found there’s a Thai restaurant not too far from the hostel. I knew Switzerland was expensive, but I wasn’t prepared to shell out CHF15 for a plate of Pad Thai. 😐 My only consolation was the serving size can feed two people, so I saved half of it for next day’s breakfast.
I wanted to see more of the Old Town the next day, but it was raining. Alas! I had to catch the train to Interlaken.
I met two Filipina nurses working in Saudi Arabia on the train to Interlaken.
We initially planned on exploring Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen together the next day. Unfortunately, the plan didn’t pan out, so I went on my own…as usual.
The hostel provided me with a stub so I can take the free shuttle that runs every hour, but I didn’t want to waste time waiting. I decided to just take a 20-minute walk to Interlaken Ost Station under the rain.
I actually hate walking, but walking in Europe, specifically in Switzerland, is a very different experience. You’re surrounded by nature, friendly people, clean surroundings, fresh air, and beautiful sights.
From Interlaken Ost, I took the Bernese Oberland train which services Interlaken, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. The line indulges passengers to a scenic route passing by misty mountains, streams, and chalet-dotted villages with cows freely grazing the grass – a quintessential Swiss view.
When our train pulled up in Grindelwald, there were barely any tourists in sight. Couldn’t blame them for staying in because of the dreary weather.
The rain didn’t stop me from exploring though. I just had to be super careful negotiating the slippery roads.
As much as I wanted to see more of Grindelwald, the downpour prevented me from doing so.
I went back to the train station to then go to Lauterbrunnen Valley. I just had to take the same train heading back to Interlaken Ost, then change trains at the Y-junction of Zweilütschinen.
Compared to Grindelwald, there were more tourists flocking to Lauterbrunnen.
The tour groups went the other way upon alighting the train though. They probably went to Mürren first.
Lauterbrunnen is flanked by gigantic rock faces with some of its (72) waterfalls visible in the village. Some say the name Lauterbrunnen means ‘valley of thundering waterfalls’.
Like Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen seemed devoid of tourists, and most of the establishments were closed. I know I went during shoulder season, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this quiet. And once again, I had the whole place to myself. LOL
With Switzerland’s natural beauty, it’s no wonder the Swiss are very outdoorsy people. Hey, I’d be one too if I lived there. 😀
The Jungfrau Region, in particular, is home to several extreme sports like skydiving, paragliding, skiing, snowboarding, canyoning and more. Would have loved to go paragliding again, but I’ll just have to wait for the day when I get to come back (hopefully during the summer season).
I was on my way to Trümmelbach Falls, but the fog was quickly looming over the valley.
With no other human in sight, I had to turn back lest I be stuck ’til sundown.
When I got back to the hostel, I checked the next day’s weather forecast. It said it would be sunny. 😐 I wanted to stay longer, but my hostel reservation in Florence was already past the free cancellation period. huhuhu
Oh well, onto warmer land I go.