Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald, Switzerland

Distance: 19 miles
Time on bikes: 0.75 hours

We wake up quite early at about 7.30 am after a nice night of rest. We were warmer than expected last night, and have breakfast of hot chocolate with pasties, enjoying the view of the waterfall. There are a few clouds around, but also a lot of blue sky which raises our spirits. We start packing up to head off for a walk to enjoy some of the scenery which is all around us.

We were hoping to get a bit higher up on the bikes to get closer to the mountains, but it looks like the only way up is using cable cars and the train – all the tracks and smalls roads are closed to traffic. There is a train going up to Jungfraujoch at 3,454 m of altitude, but it costs 130 Swiss francs and we think it’s a bit too much. We also enquire about the price of the train up to Kleine Schidegg at 2061m, but it’s still over 50 Swiss Francs. As we’re on the economy tour, we decide to try and ride as high as we can and then walk up. Even if it means we make a day of it, we have time on our side. Plus, we also need the exercise!

We head off towards Grindelwald, and hope to get closer to the mountains and gain as much altitude as possible; but all roads are forbidden for cars and bikes here so we park just below Grindelwald, in Grund near the train station. We put our kit in the pac safe bags and lock them to the bikes. This is the first time we’ve tried locking all our possessions to the bikes and we feel quite comfortable doing it. Although this is Switzerland and we think there would be a good chance of everything still being in place even if there were no locks. At about 11.45 am we begin the ascent and head off towards Kleine Schidegg.

The path climbs at a steep incline and it is quite hard work. We have regular little stops as our bodies get back into the rhythm of exercise and also try to drink lots of water to keep hydrated. After about two hours of walking continually uphill we stop in a restaurant in Brandegg. We’ve plenty of food for a picnic, but one thing we both fancy is a refreshing ice cream. Carl goes for three scoops of chocolate, while Bene takes the connoisseur’s choice of fruit sorbets. They were both lovely.

As we’ve walked up, we’ve seen the train line going up the impressive incline and wondered whether walkers used the train to gain a bit of altitude. It seems however, that most of the passengers are taking the easy option of either getting the train both ways, or walking parts of the downhill sections. We pass quite a few Japanese tourists in groups, taking the downhill sections and getting plenty of photos of the scenery.

The view of the north face of the Eiger is fantastic, all the clouds of the morning have lifted and left a nearly clear sky. As we get higher up we also have a view on the Monch and Jungfrau summits. The passages up are quite impressive and we can’t imagine what it would be like to scale mountains of that incline.

We reach a path splitting to go back down in a circular walk and as it’s already past 4 pm we decide to head back down. We’re at about 1900m altitude, having ascended about 1,000 m, and we both feel quite tired and there is still a long way to walk down. Part of the track down follows the ski runs which are nice to see in a different season – but this place must be great to ski with the backdrop of the Eiger.

We stop for a picnic just as we start to head back down – our bodies now craving the calories we’ve burned on the ascent. It feels like a long way down, and our legs feel like they are about to give in when we finally reach the bikes. The car park that was packed before we left is now almost deserted at 6 pm. We sit on a step near to the bikes and enjoy a grapefruit and a bit of chocolate to try and give our legs the energy to get us onto the bikes. We freshen up in the railway station facilities, get changed and get going. We find a supermarket in Grindelwald where we’re able to stock up on food and head for the closest campsite. Carl offers to guard the bikes, while collapsing on a nearby bench.

We’re lucky and end up with a campsite only a few minutes away in the town of Grindelwald and find a nice pitch with a view of the Eiger and the Grindelwald Gletscher.

We set up camp and have a rest on the rugs with a cup of tea. After a shower and a swift dinner we head for bed as we are knackered. Bene tries to spend a little time working on the journal, but her eyes are really tired so it’s only for a short time.

Carl is suffering after the exercise of the day and suspects a little sunstroke as he has a bad head and is feeling a bit under the weather. He pops a couple of Neurofen and heads for bed to recuperate. It’s been a good day.

Jour 47 – Vendredi 4 Juin 2010

De Lauterbrunnen a Grindelwald, Suisse

Distance:19  miles – Temps a moto: 0.75 heures

On se réveille plus tôt que d’habitude et on décide d’en profiter, après le petit déjeuner avec vue sur la cascade on emballe tout et on veut partir profiter de cette belle région, seulement après nous êtres renseignes, les trains qu’on espérai prendre pour monter sur les hauteurs sont bien plus chers que ce qu’on pensait, 130 francs suisses pour monter  au Jungfraujoch a 3454m d’ altitude et plus de 50 francs suisses pour aller au Kleine Schidegg a 2061m, nous décidons donc de nous diriger vers Grindelwald dans l’espoir de monter un peu plus haut a moto et d’aller faire une ballade et profiter de la vue sur les montagnes.  Nous ne trouvons pas de moyen d’aller plus haut que Grindelwald, nous nous garons donc juste a cote, a Grund, prés de la gare ou nous nous changeons, nous mettons toutes nos affaires dans mon Safe pack, un filet cadenas et nous suivons les panneaux en direction de Kleine Schidegg, la montée devait prendre entre 3 et 4 heures. La montée et bien raide et nous prenons des pauses régulières, les vues sur la face nord de l’Eiger sont superbes.

Nous nous arrêtons a Brandegg dans un restaurant pour manger une glace et continuons a monter.

Nous voyons bientôt aussi les sommets Mönch et Jungfrau, il fait un temps superbe et nous sommes contents d’être monte si haut, mais nous nous arrêtons vers 1900m et prenons un sentier qui redescend sur Grindelwald étant donné qu’il est déjà 4 heures, et que nous commençons a fatiguer.

La descente est longue et nous sommes content d’arriver aux motos, nos jambes sont sur le point de lâcher !

Après une petite pause, un pamplemousse et un peu de chocolat nous nous changeons et prenons la route, juste le temps de nous arrêter acheter quelques provisions et d’aller au camping le plus proche qui a une vue superbe sur l’Eiger et le Grindelwaldgletscher (glacier). Nous montons les tentes au plus vite, puis après une douche et un repas rapide Carl va se coucher comme il ne se sent pas bien, il doit être déshydraté, fatigue et a peut être une petite insolation. Je prends le temps de travailler un peu sur le journal, mais pas longtemps, mes yeux sont aussi fatigues que mes jambes !