Christine and I awoke to snow the morning we were leaving for Europe. Our friend Keith dropped us at the airport and we headed to Charlotte NC, our first connection. On the flight over, we met Terry who was seated beside us. He and his wife were from Colorado Springs and were headed for Turkey. The flight went by fast as we all chatted about church, running, and starting your own business. We arrived in Charlotte to find that our flight was delayed. After being delayed an hour at a time for around 5 hours, we were finally notified our flight was canceled. Everyone made a dash for the ticket counters and luckily we were the speediest. We scheduled a flight through Munich the following afternoon with Lufthansa. A Holiday Inn, a treadmill, and a trip to Rite-aid and we're headed to Munich Germany.
Zurich Switzerland welcomed us with a cool and crisp morning. We got our Eurail Pass validated and jumped on our first train, headed for the Lauterbrunnen Valley, via Bern and Interlaken.
We were pretty exhausted after having traveled through the night without sleeping very well on the plane. We checked into the Hotel Staubbach and rested our eyes for a few. We treated ourselves to Fondue that night in Lauterbrunnen.
The following morning after a breakfast at the hotel, we took a quick tram ride up the cliff face directly east of our hotel. We then hiked the 20+ km loop back. We were in the midst of some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever experienced. 1000 meter cliff faces, with towering snow-capped mountains in the background. The shear magnitude of the mountains was capturing, even though their height wasn't any higher than 14ers in Colorado.
After our long hike, we stopped in a cheese shop and bought some local cheeses then headed to the local CO-OP and bought bread and chocolate. We "dined on the dime" that night at the hotel. We ate, talked about the day, and played checkers in the common room. A great end to a great day.
The following day, we hiked to the town of Wengen (one of my favorites of the trip) then took the easy way out and took trains to various towns and villages in the valley. Words can't begin to describe the beauty that surrounded us....pictures can only attempt.
The landscapes were so layered with color, it was difficult to capture it all.
This picture shows the immensity of the area. You can see the town of Grindelwald in the valley below. The picture was taken at the base of the peak called the Jungfrau (Young Woman)....4158 meters.....and very close to the famous mountain The Eiger!
The houses, hotels and cabins were all very similarly built. Pictures like this just deepen my desire for a cabin in the mountains someday.
Looking back on our Europe trip as a whole, it was hard for either of us to say what our favorite was.....well, harder for Christine than me. It's no secret that I love the peace I get from being in the mountains. We both commented on how differently we would have viewed Switzerland, if we had visited it last rather than first. The train system was amazing. Everything thing was extremely clean. The people were friendly and welcoming. And the scenery topped it off. This is the place I desire most to visit again....maybe a little closer to summer when you can explore higher in the peaks....or in deep winter when the descents are that much more fun. Until that day, I've got plenty of pictures to keep me company.