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!
Die Eisheiligen - Monday 23 May
Our neighbour was right. Die Eisheiligen (Ice Saints) arrived this morning. It was Sophie, the last one. Huge flakes (3cm) of snow! Our veggie patch neighbour was on her balcony taking photos too.
From centuries-old agricultural experience with spring frosts, Die Eisheiligen or The Ice Saints is the name given to St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, and St. Servatius. They are so named because their feast days fall on the days of May 11, May 12, and May 13 respectively, known as "the black-thorn winter". This period was noted to bring a brief spell of colder weather including the last nightly frosts of the spring in the Northern Hemisphere under the Julian Calendar. The Gregorian Calendar introduced in 1582 moved the days, from the climatic point of view to became May 22–25.
The Swiss weather metro have confirmed exactly these climate things until 1965 measurements were made of ground frosts. However descriptions in literature describe the fall of Eisheiligen in Central Europe over the days of 11 to 14 May (Julian Calendar). Concluding this cold phase is the Cold Sophie on May 15 finally (now 28th May). According to tradition, any frosts after this date should have no threat to agriculture. (Source: http://www.csgnetwork.com/julianmanycalconv.html)
Measurements by the Swiss meteorological department since 1965 acknowledge a slightly higher frequency of ground frosts 22 – 24 May however do not concussively determine this as a particular phase. (Source: http://www.meteoschweiz.admin.ch/home/klima/vergangenheit/klima-der-schweiz/berichte-rund-ums-jahr/die-eisheiligen.html )
Graph shows Frequency of ground frost in April and May 1965-2008, Analyzed for the measurement series Payerne (490 m above sea level. M.)
Certainly this meteorological information is not in the Bernese Oberland area, however the locals say that a late Sophie means a long Summer. A good thought as I watch the unfamiliar low clouds roll past the Staubbach Falls. There is a dusting of icing sugar snow on the pine tree forest on top of the massive cliffs and the snow has become a light rain and the dog walkers are not deterred and day trippers gather in the car park with their self sticks to capture the Staubbach Falls behind them.
Where dreams begin for outdoor adventures in the inspiring Jungfrau region