A little wind today and the Staubbach Falls are spraying a wide mist as they tumble down in this between-season time. The sun for many hours on the balcony, from the long daylight saving days makes lazing with one’s feet up on the railing an easy activity.
While the trees are not yet dressed, the fish are easily seen and buzy in the Lüterbach stream below the balcony as in this image. Some local boys come to try their luck fishing in the Weisse Lütschine (White Lütschine) opposite the apartment in the image above. Their nets and rods give them lots of fun but they went home with an empty bucket.
The Weisse Lütschine has several tributaries that you can see as you walk along the path opposite the apartment heading up towards Stechelberg. Many named and unnamed gushes from the massive high walls as waterfalls down the steep cliffs. One is into the Staubbach Falls and also the Trümmelbach Falls (the water fall inside the mountain you must visit) and the Schmadribachfall. The highest waterfall in Switzerland is here, the Mürrenbachfall, with a height of 417 meters that enters into this Weisse Lütschine.
Is there a Black Lütschine? Yes ! The Schwarze Lütschine, or Black Lütschine, flows from Grindelwald to Zweilütschinen or Two Lütschine. You can see the two rivers mixing their colours under the bridge by this train station of the same name. Fund rafting experience is to be had from down the Schwarze Lütschine while the Weisse Lütschine challenges solo canoeists who begin their adventure opposite the balcony of the apartment. They are quickly out of sight and we often wonder what that would be like.
The spring flowers are bursting out. Blues, yellows and whites, making a carpet on the meadows. See the heart in this group of flowers? What a picture, I couldn’t believe it.
It is a great time for holiday accommodation as the village is not buzy and there are no crowds and everything feels fresh and the air is warm. Yes there are some rainy days, but that makes the grass green and I saw the first cows let out today from their winter stalls. They were crazy hungry for that new green grass they have missed all winter while being indoors.
The variety of flowers and grasses in the meadows is one of the secrets to the flavour of the milk and cheeses made in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. We walked up along track 49 (Jungfrau Wandern Hiking map) to Wengen through these flower bursting meadows along the well-marked path and through the forest. We did not see a Chamoix or Gemse (Mountain Goat), these are the most common although we have seen them previously when they get surprised and are caught loafing off in the shadows when a person comes by on the trail. Then they spring in a flash and a rush past you as you wonder “what was that?’. There are a few of the larger Reh Deer and occasionally an Ibex or Steinbock you can see in the cliffs. Although there is a hunting season, there is plenty of fodder on the slopes for all.
Wengen is a “must see” visit with another Bäckeri (bakery) with delicious cakes, bread and sandwiches. Take your purchases to the seats at the lookout by the church to enjoy the most spectacular view of Lauterbrunnen. Need a few groceries for dinner? There is another Coop supermarket, prices the same as the ones in Lauterbrunnen and Interaken, so one canbuy more fresh bread and cheese before walking down the track 48 (Jungfrau Wandern Hiking map) other path to Lauterbrunnen.
Being on holiday means not so much cooking but since it is still light until late, we often eat supper on the balcony. Our kitchen has most culinary tools one could need and tonight I prepared sautéed mushrooms and zucchini with local Lauterbruunen butter then steamed with lashings of quark #. Served over spiral pasta with super diced thinned sliced local ham from the Metzgerei (Burcher) in Lauterbrunnen. Fast, easy and delicious! – Guten Apetit!
# Quark is amazing. It is a fresh acid-set cheese. Traditional it is made without rennet, but in sometimes rennet is added. Low fat (wow so lucky) like yoghurt in calories, it is smooth, soft, white and thicker than cream but not fatty. One can use it in everything. From making a dip, spreading on crackers or with vegetables, to making soup, stirring into vegetables, which I did tonight, or topped with honey for breakfast, yumo!
The Swiss are ingenious. Creating LSD, mustard in a tube - thanks Mr Thomi and Rivella, their iconic drink made since 1952 from whey, herbal extracts, fruit, water and some sugar - you either love it or not.
When I moved into our Lauterbrunnen apartment, unpacked some things, cooked, enjoyed the feeling of ‘here at last’ then decided some dish washing was needing to be done. I spent ages looking for the plug to wash up my first dishes in the kitchen sink. Not finding such that I was familiar with, the next day I went to the hardware store and quite an expedition to find one in a back alley. My beginner level German transitioned into creative mime sufficient enough for the patient shop manager to find exactly what I needed. On showing me the plastic tube, I quickly recognised that I had seen something like that under the sink! What looked like a part for the vacuum cleaner was the sink plug. Of course he saw my surprise and as I continued the mime of vacuuming we both laughed.
By putting this tube into the sink plug hole, you don’t ever overflow the sink and can pour liquids down it while you have a sink full of water and you don’t get your hands wet when you remove it, convenient if you have left dishwater in the sink to go cold and nasty. There is a longer one in the laundry tub as well – super – I’m sold on these.
After talking about the sink, there is the kitchen hob. It has three hotplates not four. This is actually very practical as one rarely needs to be stirring or even using 4 pots at one time. The fourth space I use for standing hot pots on or swapping pots on and off and so not having to put them on the bench.
Then there are the inside walls, covered with a textured concrete type surface called Putz. I didn’t think I would like it after having lived all my life with smooth walls yet it hides grubby hand marks well, doesn’t dint too easily and looks tidy and has been enduring.
Even the cows have straight and tidy horns! Thanks to these nifty horn braces! This young girl was happy to be outside, possibly for the first time as she looked about 5 months old. They don’t yet have their bells on and are probably getting used to the new sounds around them like the gushing water of Staubbach Falls.
The ingenious Tropenhaus in nearby Fruitigen is a tropical oasis with water of 18 degrees coming from the mountains!
Unique in the world. You can visit for 18CHF to see the growing of tropical fruit and a Sturgeon caviar farm producing caviar called Oona, derived from the Celtic language meaning "special".
Interested in sustainability?
It is a must visit with many interesting workshops watch the film here. https://www.tropenhaus-frutigen.ch/en/about-us/tropenhaus-film
Most people know of Rick Steves. For over 30 years, his global travels have inspired and helped others to enjoy magic places often overlooked by the regular tours.
Read his review on Gimmelwald below, one of the best views of the valley from here and a cute mountain village. From the Eyhus5 apartment walk or take the bus to Schilthorn cable station and up to Gimmelwald and cable car to Mürren and then hike down to Gimmelwald. Or from Lauterbrunnen cable car to Grütschalp then the little train along the cliff to Mürren (we prefer to walk instead of taking the train, a nice 90-minute hike alongside the classic postcard view).
Walk down to Ginmmelwald after experiencing Mürren (20 minutes), then Take the cableway down to the valley and the bus back to Lauterbrunnen. Or walk back down, about 2 hours, through a lovely forest with an amazing waterfall on the way, very cooling on a hot day.
Buying a Berner Oberland Regional Pass, will cover all of these lifts and trains.
Every two years my guidebook research brings me to my favorite corner of the Swiss Alps, as I visit my friends who run the little places that accommodate my traveling readers in the tiny village of Gimmelwald.
Where dreams begin for outdoor adventures in the inspiring Jungfrau region