Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Did someone say more cowbell?

You guessed right, "I got a fever and the only prescription is more cow bell!"  My favorite SNL sketch is spot on about my love for Murren, Switzerland.  In case you need that in your life right now here's the link to the video.  Can't ever get enough of that one.  This trip was somewhat whimsical - being surrounded by gorgeous glacier silt ridden mountains, green grass, and hearing the distant sounds of bells on cows littered over the mountain tops.  We were itching to get out and do a trip that involved hiking, and what better place is there in Europe than to the Swiss Alps?  We stayed in a car-free village that only allows access by taking a cable car followed by a train ride around the mountain.  This was paws-down Emma's favorite trip.  She even earned a Swiss patch on her collar for this one! 

  1. When you enter the town of Lauterbrunnen there is a parking garage on the left that is connected to the cable cars.  Remember, the last cable car up to Murren is at 20:31 (as of August 2014).  Also, dogs are free on the cable car and train (no need to buy a child's ticket like in Germany).
  2. We stayed in a friendly hotel right across from the train station called Eiger Guesthouse.  We loved the owner, Ema.  She was welcoming, and the staff was great at giving ideas for what hiking routes to take based on the weather for the day.  Also, the owner was sweet and allowed our small dog to stay free! This hotel is also kid friendly because they have a few rooms with bunk beds and adjoining rooms.  Oh, and don't be discouraged that this hotel has shared bathrooms on each floor.  Ours was always extremely clean.  After our Venice trip, we were more confident about staying in shared bathroom hotels.  If you don't stay here, then take Trip Advior's advice and eat at their restaurant (#1 of 19 as of August 2014).  
  3. From what I've read, the weather forecast for Murren always says rain and cold weather.  All of the research I did said that it was completely different when guests arrived in Murren.  We were still a bit nervous and were hoping we didn't make a huge mistake by choosing this for our four day weekend, but the Alpine summer Gods were in our favor and the weather was gorgeous for both days of hiking. 
  4. If you have a dog, then you should definitely plan to take them on this trip.  After this trip, I can honestly say that I know Emma will die a happy dog.  My favorite part was watching her excitement as she bounded through the grass, peeked her head in marmot holes, and looked back at us to see if we were still coming as she led the pack on the trail.  

If you're driving down you should stop in Interlaken to see where the two lakes meet (Lake Thun and Lake Brienz) via the Aare river. We had a late lunch there and wandered around the city before heading to Lauterbrunnen to take the cable car.


On the wooden dam bridge

Day 1

We started our first day off with an Alpine bar crawl - because, why not?  We hiked to various restaurants on the trails and stopped for our beer reward while being immersed in the scenery.

Happiest dog on Earth

Stopped for some fun on the Children's trail

Hiking friends and our first stop on the crawl

Up we go

Leading the pack

Our hiking buddies

GI-Joe and GI-Jane for the day

Apparently Emma likes Alpine dogs, who knew?

Breathtaking sunset

Day 2:

On the second day we went to the top of the Schilthorn Mountain and ate breakfast at the famous rotating restaurant (Piz Gloria) built for the James Bond Movie in 1969.  If you want to skip the breakfast you can always go up and order a dessert.  After taking in the views of Lauterbrunnen, Junfrau Mountain, Eiger Mountain, and the Bernese Alps, we took the cable car down to the Birg station and took a hiking trail from there.  We were told by the woman selling the tickets that it would be too icy, but we made it with our Keen's and Emma's bare paws (because we're hard core, duh).  On our visit in early July there really wasn't much snow/ice, so take your chances.  If you're not feeling it you can always turn around and take the cable car back down.

View from Schilhorn 

You can see one of the lakes of Interlaken in the distance

New Bond girl

Trail from Birg station

Army crawl to the edge to check out the steep drop

Nothing our Keens can't handle

Glacier water break

Dominating the North Face trail

An usie on the Alps

The hiking trail went through this herd of cows!

More cow bell!
This cow was not happy with Emma

Giant cow bell
Paragliders were everywhere during our hikes

Can't leave the Swiss Alps without an Edelweiss

I can't get enough of the views.  I know I say this every time, but this is one of my favorite places so far.  It involved outdoor activity with gorgeous views of the Alps.  Please, take me back there!  I'll leave you with a video of the soothing cow bells - ignore the dog barking to protect the pack.

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