In Gimmelwald we felt like we were on the edge of the world. It looked like the mountains were superimposed, like we could just reach out and touch them. They seemed so close. Very awe-inspiring and beautiful.
The only way to reach Gimmelwald is by cable car (gondola), straight up the side of the mountain. We knew this before we went, but somehow I was picturing small little cable cars…individual cable cars with just Matt and I and our few things. Not the way it happened. Imagined being suspended over a gigantic chasm in a cable car that looks like it should only fit 20 people but is, instead, jammed with 50. Including children and pets. And luggage.
Yes, that’s the picture.
Poor Matt. Between how stuffy and jammed the cable car was and the heights we reached, he was on stand-by the whole way up in case I puked everywhere. Haha.
We made it though! I lived to blog about it…and I didn’t puke. It was a successful cable car ride (not to be our last). We dropped our luggage off at our hotel – Esther’s Guesthouse – and decided to make yet another cable car ride up to Murren – the town with the nearest grocery store. This cable car was not quite so packed and the ride was a little less precipitous 😉
We bought our lunch at the grocery store and walked up the path to a bench and just soaked up the scenery. It was a beautiful clear day and the mountains were so majestic.
When we got back down to our place and settled into our room, we decided that the day was too beautiful to spend inside. So we loaded the Mamute pack up with snacks and water and all other essential hiking items and headed out. We took so many pictures because every step of the way seemed to bring a more beautiful view. We kept stopping and exclaiming. It was amazing.
When we first started out, Matt saw a smaller (but still high) peak in the distance, a mix of grassy/rocky. It looked pretty steep and not like there would be a trail, but he said he wished he could climb it. And then we continued on our way, just taking the trail that was in front of us. I’m not going to lie, hiking in the first trimester has been a challenge for me. It was a challenge the day before and it was a challenge that day. Every step was a conscious choice. The scenery and being with Matt and the very thought that we were in Switzerland were my motivation.
Looking back at the pictures now, it’s hard to believe we hiked as far as we did. In about 5 hrs we covered 2,100ft in altitude and back again. And we climbed “the peak”…yes, that peak Matt had seen earlier. That’s where our trail lead. Or rather I should say, I climbed to about 10 minutes from the top and Matt finished the rest while I recuperated a little and re-hydrated on a bench below.
It went a little like this… About 30 minutes before we reached that bench, Matt gave me the option to rest further below on another bench at the base of the final “push.” But I didn’t want to be left behind and I didn’t want to stop this close to the top. About 30 minutes later, after a steep, rocky climb up switchbacks (and passing a lady in Birkenstock sandals who said, “You’re almost there! Just zip, zip, zip and you’ll be there”…for the record, I will never again believe a distance estimation given by anyone hiking in Birkenstock sandals because they are obviously crazy or super-human), we come around a bend. Standing in the blazing sun on a bare, rocky mountainside we look up. And we see the top. And it’s not “zip, zip, zip.” Not for this pregnant mama. I will admit to a tearful breakdown. I was so disappointed. I wanted to reach the top so badly…but I had hit my limit and I knew I would still need energy to get back down the mountain.
So I rested and Matt climbed. He took pictures for me, such a sweetheart. Then we headed back down. And going down actually went a lot faster than I thought it would. Since everything takes me (at least it seems) twice as long now. That was a relief. We found a little restaurant/cafe across the street from our guesthouse. The patio overlooked the mountains and it was lovely. The food was perfect. The service was amazing. It was just the very best ending to our hike.
The next morning we slept late. It was crystal clear out so we decided a trip to the top of the Schilthorn would be our agenda for the day. The trek started in Murren (where we grabbed a picnic lunch to take with us). Then by cable car to the first station (which we had originally thought was the top) and then by another cable car to Schilthorn and the revolving restaurant.
We found a place off by ourselves on the rocks to have our lunch. The weather was perfect and the view was to die for. After that, we found a window seat table in the restaurant and enjoyed the 360 degree view as we slowly turned. I’ll admit to having two cappuccinos. Two 007 cappuccinos, to be exact.
That evening we went back to the cafe we had discovered the night before. It just happened to be Swiss Day (similar to our 4th of July) and we celebrated with a fondue dinner. After dark, the townspeople paraded down the street with glowing lanterns emblazoned with the Swiss flag; they let them soar into the dark sky. And after that was a fireworks display that was grand. Kind of made up for the fact that we weren’t in the USA to celebrate on the 4th.
It was the perfect ending to our Switzerland adventure.
Up next: Austria.