Joan's Trip Report - September 2000

Part 2 - Urach to Wengen

All too soon the Great Gathering was over and the "morning after" arrived with slightly overcast skies. Our spirits were high though we were all sad at leaving our new found friends. Roger and I had breakfast with Jane, Jerry, and Bob. Soon Val (Fadoinka) and Ed joined us and a little later Val's friends Carson and Michele made their way down to breakfast. After much laughter and reminiscing of the last two days, we loaded up our rental cars and headed out to our various destinations.

Roger and I had decided to go into Switzerland for a few days. We headed south out of Urach on Highway 500 toward the border. The further south we drove, the darker and drearier the skies looked. Even with the threatening skies, the drive through the southern part of the Black Forest was really beautiful. The leaves of the trees were beginning to change to their wonderful yellows, oranges, and reds. Roger commented that in another 3 days they would be at their peak.

By the time we reached Basel and the Swiss border, it was raining. We headed south on the E-25 toward Bern and then over toward Interlaken, driving along the south shore of the lake. By this time, it had stopped raining, though still cloudy.

The drive along the lake was just beautiful and we headed up into the mountains toward Lauterbrunnen,

- - - -

where we left our car parked at the train station. A short train ride took us up to Wengen where we planned to stay for the next three nights. I had chosen the Alpenruhe Hotel

Alpenruhe Hotel in Wengen, Switzerland

based solely on their web site. They were smart enough to add a link with a picture of the view from the hotel. All it took was one look at that link and I was sold. It is absolutely a breathtaking site of the Alps and the beautiful waterfalls in the distance.

Just as we got off the train it began to sprinkle. By the time we got under the cover of the station, it was raining very hard, the wind was blowing and lightning and thunder began. The hotel web site said they provided free transportation between the station and the hotel. So I called and asked them to send the transportation down. In a few minutes, our "transportation" pulled up. It was a small little motor driven cart about the size of a golf cart. It was flat as if it was intended to haul "things" and not people. Since there was no awning or covering of any sort on the cart, the driver had a huge umbrella over his head to protect himself from the heavy downpour. He did have a tarp to put over our luggage so it wouldn't get wet. Roger and I sat down on a little narrow seat facing backwards on the cart and tried to stay dry under our umbrellas. I was adjusting my coat to cover my camera equipment when the driver took off. Not having a tight hold on my umbrella, it went flying and I was sitting in the pouring rain. So after yelling for the driver to stop, I hopped off and retrieved my umbrella, all the time the seat where I had to perch was getting wet. Finally I was adjusted and we went on our merry way at a break neck speed of maybe 2 or 3 miles an hour; no threat of whiplash there. I only wish someone had gotten a picture for posterity as we wound slowly through town, riding backwards on our little cart, holding umbrellas over ourselves and trying in vain to keep from getting totally drenched.

Finally we reached the hotel and it is really lovely. It has evidently recently been renovated and everything looks brand new and clean. Both of our rooms had balconies which faced that wonderful view shown on the web site. We were happy campers.

We found an Italian restaurant and had a pizza (yes, I do remember what we had that night). It was pretty good but the crust was about the thickness and crispiness of a cracker. After dinner it was back to the hotel and bed.

The next morning was still overcast and dreary, but it had snowed in the mountains during the night. It was so beautiful to look out at the peaks with the fresh white snow crowning them.

Alps near Wengen

We walked back to the train station and bought a 5 day train pass which gave us unlimited travel all over the area for 5 days. Since we had purchased it and it wouldn't cost us anything extra, we decided to go further up into the mountains. The snow along the way made beautiful views.

- - - -

The more we traveled, the clearer the skies became. By late morning it had cleared up and was beautiful. We went to Grindelwald, which is such a lovely little town, even if it is a very touristy place.

Later in the afternoon we went up to Schynige Platte. By that time, I was quite tired and the hard wooden slats on the rickety train ride became extremely uncomfortable. However, the views along the ride made every uncomfortable, miserable jolt worth it. Just as we rounded the very last curve to get to the top, we went into a cloud. Can you believe it!!! The afternoon has been gorgeous and a cloud moves in just as we arrive. However, while we were there, a wind blew some of the cloud away and we could get a partial view of just how magnificent the views actually are when it is clear.

Towards Schynige Platte

We stayed at the top for about 30 minutes and then took the train back down since we weren't able to see a lot. Once we were back down at the bottom, we looked back up at the peaks we had just left and saw that the clouds had blown away and it was no longer covered. Talk about timing, ours was rotten.

We took the train all over the area and enjoyed the beauty and the beautiful trees which were turning colors. Roger commented that in another three days they would be at their peak color.

The sunset that night was red and caused the snow on the Jungfrau to glow a breathtaking pink color. We were at dinner at sunset and those sitting around us all stopped eating to just watch the beauty of the evening.

I noticed after dinner that my wisdom tooth was very sensitive and hurting a little bit, but didn't think much about it. Bad sign.

The following morning, we headed out for parts unknown. The hotel has a TV channel which reports activities of the area. I heard them say something about a festival in a nearby town where they would be bringing the cattle down from the high mountains. I had been to one before and know they are terrific. The owner of our hotel got information for us and told us where to find it, but warned us it was about an hour walk from the parking lot to get there.

Not to be deterred, we headed out in an effort to find this wonderful festival. The weather was absolutely perfect with just a white fluffy cloud or two hanging picturesquely in the sky. More and more trees were changing colors and Roger commented that in another three days they would be at their peak.

We were headed in the direction of Beatenberg, but weren't sure exactly where we were going. The drive was wonderful as we kept going higher and higher. At one point, we spotted a wonderful little white chapel perched on the side of the mountain.

We stopped and walked around the grounds and took advantage of a Kodak moment. The views were just unbelievable. There is a small graveyard there and I told Roger I couldn't imagine a more beautiful spot to be buried - not that you would be able to enjoy the view that much once you are gone.

We kept driving and driving and finally stopped and asked about the festival. They too told us it was about a one hour walk from the parking lot. It was then about 11:00 or 11:30 in the morning and the festival was supposed to end around 12:00. Therefore, we decided not to make the long walk just to miss the action. We stopped for lunch at a little restaurant which was located right next to a ski lift.

After lunch, with much coaxing because I have a slight tendency to be afraid of heights and cable cars, we took the lift to the top. The views, once again, were marvelous.

We walked to the edge of a cliff and way, way, way down below we could see the little town where the festival was being held. We could even faintly hear the music that was being played. After looking at the surrounding area, we decided we had made the right choice in not walking into there for the festivities.

On the way back down, we stopped in Interlaken for a while. They were having a harvest street sale, sort of like our sidewalk sales.

When we got back to Wengen, we decided to make one last trip up to the Kleine Scheidegg. After we came back down from there, we went to dinner. I noticed the wisdom tooth was once again starting to hurt. It had done the same thing during in the summer and the dentist x-rayed and checked it and could find no reason for the ache. By the time dinner was over (I couldn't eat much because it was painful to put any pressure on the tooth), I was becoming quite uncomfortable. Of course, the pharmacy was already closed and I didn't have anything to take for the pain. Luckily a lady at the hotel had some extra strength Tylenol which she shared. Unfortunately, they didn't help. I spent a rather uncomfortable night getting little sleep. At 8:00 the next morning I was at the pharmacy almost as soon as they opened. The pharmacist recommended some medication, which I bought and headed back to the hotel to take. By the time I walked back to the hotel, the tooth had stopped hurting and has never hurt again. The only thing we can figure is the high altitude affected it. We aren't even sure about that though because Wengen is at an altitude of 4,100 feet and I live at that same altitude. Unless it was the continual going up and down to much higher altitudes, I don't know what it was.

Blausee and Brand

Trip Reports and Journals

Back to Homepage