EMPA design Materials and Technologies for a Sustainable Future.
EMPA began as the “Building Materials Testing Institute” in the cellars of Zurich’s Federal Polytechnical School (now ETH Zurich) in 1880. Of course there is a German acronym here. EMPA is the short version for Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt.
What does sustainability look like in practice? How does it actually work? What’s different from the world we live in today? And, perhaps most importantly, what are the trade-offs? Walking and biking might be the most sustainable forms of transportation, but they’re probably not the most time-efficient if you need to drive 10 miles across town for work or an appointment. No matter how different we want the future to be, we can’t simply ignore the way people actually live today. We cannot simply wish for a world we want.
Regardless of what sustainability looks like for you, EMPA have just succeeded in making a lock that is made of printed, transparent electronics. So that only authorized persons know where to enter the access code.
The special sensor surface material cannot be seen by the human eye and can be positioned in suitable locations, such as above a door hinge. Says EMPA researcher Evgeniia Gilshtein, "the circuits can just as easily be positioned on a pane of glass or a curved door handle."
Read about it here www.empa.ch/web/s604/transparent-security
When children are unfamiliar with the cold and snow, a walk in a snowy winter wonderland can be a disappointment rather than a Christmas card joy.
Naturally you will know the temperament of your kids well and whether they have the capacity to persevere with a little hardship such as walking through soft snow. Sometimes staying on a well packed snow trail is a better choice. Let them wander at their own pace.
First important factor is, the cold. You already know about dressing in lots of layers and this applies for your children too. The first layer should be a thin long sleeve and leggings. Items made from merino wool or polyester are the best choice. Avoid Cotton since it absorbs a lot of moisture but does not dry well.
A fleece and another pair of trousers, such as sweatpants, work as a second layer. Then the outer layer of a snowsuit or snow pants with a matching winter jacket is essential.
Also carrying a spare warm woolen jumper is also a good tip, as is a spare pair of mittens. Thick mittens are better than gloves as the fingers help to keep each other warm. I prefer mittens myself over the top of thin under gloves.
Threading a piece of wide ribbon through the sleeves inside the jacket and then attaching the mittens loosely, can help children from losing these essential hand protectors. Their tiny hands get cold super fast.
A proper winter hat , not made of nylon, and a woolen scarf will help keep out the cold. Footwear must be waterproof, warm and breathable such as Gortex. Simple gumboots do not work and feet will freeze very fast. Choosing something with a good gripping sole is also key to being able to help drag a sled and walk uphill. When trying out footwear, get your kids to run in them, since that’s what they will want to be doing in the snow.
Next is the weather and time of day. Think about where the sun will be. In our beautiful Lautebrunnen valley, a walk along the farm road to Stechleberg mid winter is best during the middle of the day. Direct sun will be around 10:00 to 13:00 due to the 300 m high cliff walls on either side. The 5 Km to Schilthorn Cable car station along the road will take you those 4 hours. Then you can take the bus back. There is a toilet at the cable car station and some benches to rest on along the way. Of course you can walk another hour onto Stechellburg and catch the bus back from there as well.
A day up at Wengen will give you more sun time and a chance to toboggan down the slopes and go for a walk through winter forests and other paths away from skiers. Make plan to catch the train down before the skiers finish around 16:00 so your tired kids will not feel overwhelmed by skiers. Walking down the steep hill to Lauterbunnen will take a few hours and the safety depends on the snow conditions and depth. If the path is well packed, there will be enthusiastic skiers buzzing down and it is not the place to be since it is so narrow and steep.
You can always ask at the Tourist offices who will know what is a suitable track to match the snow conditions. The Staubbachfall can be seen from below but the track to behind it's gallery is closed in winter.
We all know that slight rubbing that we try and ignore. We hope it will go away. We think maybe it’s just wrinkle in our sock. But we want to ski another run before making a detailed and time consuming inspection that will steal from our precious skiing time. Alas, during our delay, a bubble has formed.
Our skin consists of several layers that usually interlock with one another through fine structures. The upper or outer skin is called the epidermis. Underneath lies the dermis, in which the hair roots and sweat glands are located. The lowest layer, which is still counted as part of the skin, is subcutaneous tissue which contains the blood vessels, among other things.
Whenever something rubs repeatedly, along with warmth and humidity, the interlocking skin layers loosen after a while and tissue fluid flows into the newly created spaces. Voila a bubble is born.
When deeper layers of the skin loosen, blood can also flow in.
Although the liquid now protects the deeper skin layers from even more pressure and damage, the pressure in the tissue is increased. This triggers the “pain” signal to the brain. So avoiding friction of any kind is the best prevention.
1 Footwear must fit well when feet are warm to hot and have swollen. That means no pressure points. And no slip points, such as heel movement. When buying ski boots, if you cannot get a specialist boot fitter, tya and spend as much time in your boots before buying them. An hour in the store is not long enough. Some stores will let you take them home so you can wear them for 6 hours while binge watching Netflix.
2 The right sport socks – the best friends of your feet and they can prevent blisters by keeping the foot dry.
Sock size must fit perfectly with no creases. Socks including merino wool improve the water absorption and still feel dry to the touch. No cotton socks! Running, hiking and skiing socks are simply designed differently.
Special “anti-blister“ socks have a double-layered, which means that the inner and outer socks can move in opposite directions so that the sock rubs against the sock and not on the skin. Clever idea but I haven’t tried them. People say an under sock such as a compression sock can help. I prefer 1 layer as my feet swell and I like a tight boot fit.
3 Foot conditioning can help. Do you wear bare feet at home? That can help to firm up the skin. Ensuring toenails are clipped short will help reduce pressure points.
4 Using Tape in areas you know will blister can help. Ensure no wrinkles when you tape onto clean dry skin. Better to regularly get the best fitting boots. If you ski hard more than 20 days a season, then you need new boots every 2 years. Forget second-hand boots, you’re feet are worth more than that. I did that when I was desperate to ski and I skied in jeans so I could afford to buy my lift ticket.
Here are some ideas for reducing the risk of ski and pole theft while you are enjoying a break inside a cosy mountain side Café.
On 5 December, the new Eiger Express tricable gondola takes its first trip from Grindelwald Terminal to the Eiger Glacier station in just 15 minutes. Skiers will love this speed to the slopes. To the top in just 15 Minutes. The opening is right on Schedule see Nov 2018 Blog and it will make a huge difference in poor weather as well. The new station has plenty of dry areas that are a comfort in bad weather.
My Swtizerland updates Co Vid safety needs:
"In Switzerland, there is an extensive obligation to wear masks: in public transport and in all public spaces where it is not possible to keep a distance (including outside areas of restaurants, of shops, in pedestrian zones, etc.).
The information and entry requirements for all nationals can be found here
When entering Switzerland from certain areas, it is compulsory to report to the cantonal authorities and to go into quarantine for ten days. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) maintains a continuously updated list of these areas.
The persons concerned will be informed in cross-border means of transport and at border crossings.
Important: Travellers must inquire with their national authorities about the exact travel conditions before starting their trip. There is a Swiss app .
Also this makes it a fast ride to the top to begin this summer Eiger walk.
The study of glaciers is called Glaciology and taken from the Latin meaning 'frost ice'. Wikipedia defines glaciers as"an extended mass of ice formed from snow falling and accumulating over a long period of time; glaciers move very slowly, either descending from high mountains, as in valley glaciers, or moving outward from centres of accumulation".
Stretching over 23 kilometres, the Aletsch Glacier in canton Valais is the longest in Europe, measuring 1.5 kilometres wide on average and 900 metres at its thickest point.
A train ride from Lauterbrunnen up to Jungfrau Joch will give you this most spectacular view.
From its source in the Jungfrau mountain region at over 4,000 metres, the glacier flows down the valley at speeds of up to 200m a year. But in recent times it has also been beating a major retreat.
Up here at 2,333 metres, you cannot hear the steady drip of melting ice down below. But over the years the cumulative effect has been devastating.
“Over the past 40 years, the end of the glacier has shrunk by 1,300 metres,” explains Laudo Albrecht, director of Pro Natura’s Aletsch Centre, located near Riederalp in the heart of the Aletsch region. “But it’s not just shorter; it’s also 200m thinner.” see https://www.pronatura-aletsch.ch/de
Over the next 50-100 years Switzerland could face a three-degree Celsius temperature increase due to climate change. Researchers believe that alpine plants could face not only warmer temperatures, but also deadly competition from unfamiliar species. Fortunately, no notable changes had been witnessed so far.
The Hardergrat trail is a 24 km ridge hike, starting from Harder Klum at Interlaken. “GRAT” means ridge in German and Harder is only a name but it is a “harder ridge” 😊
This spectacular ridgewalk is ONLY for people who do not get dizzy as you are walking along the exposed ridge most of the way. The ridge drops steeply on both sides, like 1500m steep!, that’s steep. There is no water or food so you must take it all yourself and start before sunrise as it’s over 10 hours long with a 3000m elevation gain. You must also plan your day and read the map before your go, if you don't make the Brienzer Rothorn’s last train down to Brienz you will have another 1700m down, probably in the dark. NEVER DO THIS PATH IN THE WET.
But a “taster thrill” walk exists. Catch the funicular from Interlaken to Harder Klum. Then from Harder Kulm follow the sign to Augstmatthorn (3 hours and 30 minutes) to the feet of Suggiture is mostly through the forest walking up about 400m of elevation taking around 80 minutes to reach to “the feet” of Suggiture. Coming out of the forest you will see the Suggiture. Climbing up the Suggiture is steep and very rocky, but also very short. It is about 150 m of elevation gain and about 30 min to reach Suggiture. (photo below)
From Suggiture to Augstmatthorn is walking along the ridge . From Augstmatthorn and way back you can walk down the steep trail to Lombach (about 45 minutes) and then walk another 1-1.5 hour to Habkern and then take a bus to Interlaken. P.s. be sure to check the bus schedule as they are infrequent. This “Taster thrill” walk whet your appetite to prepare for the whole 24 kilometers.
Yes, but with a permit. There are lovely lake or brown trout there. Only from Mid-March to end September. You must be able to agree to fishing by the methods stipulated by the Bern Fisheries department and it is quite costly.
New regulations from 1 January 2020 say that a Bern fishing license can in principle be obtained by anyone - with or without a residence in the canton. Although you can buy online, it will be posted otherwise you can buy from Tourism office in Lauterbrunnen.
The fee system is a bit complex, but basically a weekly permit is around 100 CHF. It is personal and non-transferable and you need to report back the catch statistics. Each person who is fishing needs a license even if they share the rod except for kids under 9 if their accompanying adult has a permit.
You can find information here: www.vol.be.ch/vol/de/index/natur/fischerei/angelfischerei/patente/preise.html
While it could all sound a bit hard, the good news is fishing without licence is allowed in Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. There you can find your own nook around the lake, spread a blanket on the grass and enjoy a picnic while you wait for your catch.
Of course there are some rules to observe such as fishing from the shore with a single rod and only one single barb- less hook is allowed. Naturally limits to numbers and sizes apply, so best to investigate the above website further.
In Lauterbrunnen you will wish you had more time to stay. Every visit is never long enough. So you need a precision time piece to ensure you keep good time and make the most of your time here.
Everyone knows of the heritage Switzerland has for watchmaking. Perhaps in the long dark winters before there was radio and Television, craft workers had more time to perfect their profession and less distractions such as the Internet offers.
All of the top 10 oldest luxury watchmakers in the world are Swiss (although two were founded in other countries). Just what is it about Switzerland that produces such fine watchmakers?
It’s often said the secret to the Swiss industry’s rise was établissage, the system of assembling watches from parts made by many different craftsmen working independently. It took off in the early 1800s just when Switzerland’s former textile makers were looking for something more modern to do in the long winter months, and the country quickly took a lead over other countries who were still using a one man, one watch system.
It also has to do with a particularly Swiss sense of perfection. Where does this sense come from? perhaps when you look around at the beautiful snow capped Jungfrau region, you will get a sense of the perfection in nature. The perfection of snow as it lays clean and white and everything looks in order. Maybe it is the Alpine stillness or the ever-so-slow moving glaciers that gives the air of timelessness. Time to such in a deep breath of fresh air and feel its wellness in one's lungs. Deep, clean air. Vast stretches of ice and snow. An environment where one does not feel the need to hurry. Maybe it is such and atmosphere as this, where time is allowed to make things with perfection and beauty as an end goals. Like nature.
Every timepiece that leaves the Carl F. Bucherer workshops (since 1888), to name one long-established Swiss watchmaker, is a miniature miracle in which more than 100 components seamlessly inter mesh.
The 10 oldest luxury watch brands:
Carl F. Bucherer – Lucerne, 1888
Audemars Piguet – Vallée de Joux, 1875
Waltham – Massachusetts, 1850 (now made in Marin-Epagnier)
Patek Philippe – Geneva, 1839
Longines – Saint Imier, 1832
Gallet & Co – Geneva, 1826
Breguet – Paris, 1775 (now made in Vallée de Joux)
Vacheron Constantin – Geneva, 1755
Favre-Leuba – Le Locle, 1737
Blancpain – Villeret, 1735
Photo: Manero Peripheral watch by Carl F. Bucherer
There are much evidence from the early Walser communities throughout the Swiss Alpine regions. Such as famous walking paths that originated from the Walsers as they traveled and moved their animals as part of their livelihood.
Who were these Walser folk?
The Walser were colonists. They moved out of the Valais Rhone Valley in the region 14th and 15th Centuries around 700 years ago and were given special land management and grazing rights in the high altitude settlement areas. The Valais people themselves are not counted among the Walsers. Dr. Johannes Führer defined the group: "Walser is the name given to the inhabitants of the historic Walser settlements in the heights of the Alps, in which the language, culture, economy and historical awareness of the Walser were or are alive in the 20th century."
The long, snowy winters made these folk skilled in being able to store forage for their animals. The foundations of their barns were made from a wall built from unworked stones. A specific building style, the wooden ledgers of the stable and the round timber are connected in a log building, the walls are reinforced with stakes and tied to wooden cramps. Photo by Gloeggli in Gimmelwald.
Several Walser communities came to the Berner Oberland region and some preserved Walser wooden barn buildings can be seen in Gimmelwald and Mürren. Nowadays the barns remain mostly empty since modern farming mostly uses centralized large stables. An old and empty Walser barn in Safiental (GR) has been renovated and opened to the public with the support of a public trust, to show an example for perfect preservation.
As well as Gimmelwald and Mürren there were Walser settlements in Trachsellauenen (behind Stechelberg), ‘Ammerten’, (higher up above Trachsellauenen behind Stechelberg) and Walser farms in the Sefinental valley. Ammerton or Ammerten was a large settlement in the Ammertental behind Stechelberg. When and why this settlement was abandoned is unknown. It was mentioned in a choir manual from 1762 and Marc Théodore Bourrit from Geneva wrote in 1787: "Ammerten is still an almost lost home for people", and around the middle of the 19th century Peter Ober wrote “The village is no longer ". Perhaps the wave of emigration to the United States in the middle of the 18th century, included members of the Walser communities from the Berner Oberland region.
Photo below: “Rear Lauterbrunnen valley with Undri Ammerta and Obri Ammerta on the slope in the foreground to the left of the center of the picture”
Visitors to the Lauterbunnen Valley, most often come to see the world famous Staubbach and Trummelbach Falls They will also take many photos of the Weißse Lütchine river that races almost down the middle of the valley getting wider and fatter as it is fed by the many contributing tributaries.
While the Weiße Lütchine river flows down from the Sefinen-Gimmelwald-Mürren side, there is another very magnificent but overlooked waterfall at the junction in Stechelberg. These two mighty rivers meet and just like the Stechelberg Hotel is a great place to meet up and enjoy a meal in the garden or terrace, you can sit there and be amazed at the waterfalls all around. Including this Other Waterfall.
This ‘Other River’, was made famous in art by artist Joseph Anton Koch (1821/1822) who captured the sensationalism of its waterfall. .Classifed in the Worldwaterfalldatabase.com as number 642, the stunning Schmadribachfall is a 270 metre waterfall with several steps in the Schmadribach behind Stechberg. The Schmadribach rises from the Breithorn glacier and the Schmadrig glacier at the foot of Grosshorn and Breithorn and plunges over limestone benches into the rearmost Lauterbrunnen valley.
It is possible to safely walk up along the steep side of this beauty of nature via the UNESCO mountain pathway from Stechelberg. It is around 12.9 kilometres out and back. Or make a longer day walk and climb from Stechelberg to the Berggasthaus Obersteinberg.
Here at this high moutain hostel retreat it is Ipossible to stay the night in this candle lit retreat if you book in advance, or you can walk the steep path back down to Stechelberg. A long but rewarding day.
Photo: Sylvia Furrer
Helping kids to accept new foods involves letting them play with it, to get messy, to watch it grow, participate in planting the garden. Food is naturally a sensory experience not just some sticking it on a fork. Although Fondue involves putting food on the fork, it is about playing with food and having fun.
Listed as a national food dish of Switzerland, Fondue is something everyone needs to try at least once in their life.
Despite being very rich and filling, a Cheese Fondue is a taste sensation of heavenly cheeses that will explode your taste buds. It takes many hours to gentle compile and simmer the base. Usually a blend of gorgeous alpine cheeses that taste delicious on their own. It is a a half day affair to prepare properly.
A little garlic here, a little nutmeg and dark spices there and a generous blend of wines that lose their alcohol content in the very long stirring process. When swooshing your long stick and bread cube in the liquidy cheese, try not to lose your bread and rather than mopping up the last bit of melted cheese from the bottom of the pot, let the flame continue to cook the cheese on the bottom of the pot so that a dark crust forms. This crust is called the religieuse and thought to be the end treat.
Not many people know about the significant research station on the Jungfraujoch. Built in 1937, it provides the infrastructure and support for scientific research that must be carried out at an altitude of 3’000-3’700 meters above sea level or for which a high alpine climate and environment are necessary. The buildings include the Research Station, Sphinx Observatory at Jungfraujoch, and lab space in the former Swisscom relay station on the Jungfrau East Ridge.
The High Altitude Research Stations Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat International Foundation (hfsjg) provides the necessary infrastructure such as accommodation and support for scientific work for researchers from all over the world. No research is carried out by the Foundation itself.
Some of the Research topics at Jungfraujoch with photos from www.hfsjg.ch :
Meteorological measurements at Jungfraujoch that play an important role in the computer programs of weather forecasts as they show at what speed changes in the weather can occur. They have also identified trends of great importance as the consequences of climate change.
Documenting the climate change since Jungfraujoch is far above most sources of air pollution, the High Altitude Research Station is suitable for measuring the composition of the atmosphere.
Monitoring the radiation balance: Radiation is the driving force in energy exchanges between the atmosphere, the oceans and the ground: the most direct effect of global warming is expected to be an increase of infrared radiation emitted from the atmosphere to the ground. Long-term observation of surface radiation fluxes is consequently an important part of climate change monitoring.
Since the 1990’s research to gain a better understanding of how the fine suspended particles in the air affect the climate and cloud formation.
The effects of a high-altitude stay on the human body has been a focus for many researchers. Investigations into cardiovascular systems, correlations between blood gas values, symptoms of acute altitude sickness and how heart patients handle an altitude above 3’000 meters.
Although there is special accommodation for researchers at the station, there is nothing publicly available.
A day trip to the Jungfraujoch is a special day that one remembers for many years. There are diverse areas to explore such as ice caves, the views and an hour walk (maybe strenuous at altitude for some people) to the Mönch Hut in good weather also reveals the glacier world. The view of the magnificent UNESCO protected Aletsch Glacier is breath-taking.
Be sure to check the weather the day before your outing for optimal photo opportunities and the walk to the Mönch Hut. Be on the first train leaving Lauterbrunnen around 7am to avoid the crowds and pre-buy a ticket in summer as they have limited capacity on the trains (around 3500 seats per day).
In the homeward train journey, alighting at Eigergletscher station is well worth the side walk around to better see the Eiger Glacier. Then you can walk down to Kleine Scheidegg enjoying the views and the musical cow bells. Re-joining the train at Kleine Scheidegg before another hop off stop at Wengen for some village browsing before getting back on the train to continue to Lauterbrunnen. These side trips can make the day a full and colourful adventure.
When you visit the stunning Staubbach Falls that you have been watching mesmerized from the dining table of Eyhus 5, you will find a beautiful poem written on a plaque there.
Song of the Spirit over the Waters was written between 9 to 11th October 1779 when the author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was on his second visit to Lauterbrunnen. It was published ten years later in 1789 as a six-stanza poem and is categorised in poetry terms as a lyric and thought genre.
Wikipedia says of the poem: "Goethe draws a comparison between the elements of nature and human existence; In concrete terms, he contrasts the human soul with the element of water and calls similarities between the two. The main theme is the transience of human life. The wind embodies the predestination of life. While the soul of man approaches the inevitable end of life, fate is alienated, and any attempt by humans to take it in their own hands can only fail."
Inspired by this poem, in 1820, the music composer Franz Schubert composed a compelling 10 minute orchestral piece; “Gesang der Geister über den Wassern" You can here the piece here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK20LMuCWx0
Do you know Actionbound? It is an interactive game in many locations. Download the Actionbound app and explore an area with a treasure hunt or trail like game called a Bound.
Ours is called Staubbach Stroll. A family friendly 40 minute stroll to find the best views of the Staubbach Falls and discover some interesting facts while you answer some questions along the way. If you get all 12 questions correct, you get a 5% discount on your next stay with us or your first stay if you have just found us. Simply email us your Team name.
Also called “Glade Skiing”, it is simply, skiing through trees!
In the 1960’s we skied trees when we yawned over the lift queues and had limited choice for ski runs in our low mountain region. No helmets then, but helmets are a must, so too are googles, no-one wants a poke in the eye by a stick!
Maybe it became popularised in the USA after the 1969 film release of the James Bond’s “On Her Majesty’s Service” that was filmed in the Jungfrau region and specifically around the Schilthorn of course !
In the 1960s, some USA ski resorts included “glade’ runs. Réal Boulanger, who is said to be the father of this trend was recalled to cut a few trees out of a slope that he knew would be in the way, let people ski it for a season, then, “every tree that has blood on it, I’m going to take out.”
Of course it’s dangerous and off piste. But it’s quiet, mystical and exciting. It’s another world.
-Don't use pole straps and you can reduce potential shoulder injury
- Look ahead, trees do not grow evenly spaced, find a 'lane' or line of sight down hill, ski that, then traverse to find another 'lane'. You are looking for spaces, a bit like basketball, don’t look at the trees (or you will ski into what you look at)
- Be decisive and make a solid pole plant
- Understand the terrain and where the slope ends and be sure that the snow cover is solid. Be wary of 'bumps" as they may be tree stumps or rocks. Try and look at an area as you ride a lift if it is a new run
- Exaggerate your edge pressure in the midpart of your turn, reduce your speed. Make yourself a bit smaller by crouching a bit to improve your centre of gravity over your skis. “Go slow, stay low”
-Side slipping confidence is a must as often you don’t have enough room to make the next turn
- Be careful of other people’s tracks or you can get stuck in their ruts
- Carry an accessible whistle, cell phone already loaded with the Air Glacier ski rescue service number Tel: +41 33 856.05.60 and space blanket and make sure your insurance covers off Piste adventures
- Be careful of "tree wells" — a space of loose, deep snow that can form around tree trunks. They are most common around evergreen trees and can be deeper in heavy snowfall years
- Don’t make it your last run of the day or late in the day
-ALWAYS ski with someone you trust to look out for you and always know where each other is at all times
- Don’t try it with one ski like James Bond who ended in a face plant pictured above
See James Bond Ski chase through trees:
One of the world’s strangest sports is in Switzerland. It is a national sport and has been around since the 16th century. Although Stone Tossing is also unusual and a national and famous sport, this other sport, is simply wild.
Played with a 79g “Nouss” which is short for Hornouss and translates as hornet in Swiss German. It is like an air dynamic ‘puck’ from hard plastic and this sport is very aerobic.
It’s called, Hornussen. Most Swiss people have never visited a game. It is played in only a few Cantons, of which Bern is one and there several clubs in the Interlaken and Thun area and played by all ages. (https://www.hornusserthun.ch/)
Played with two teams, it is a little like a cross between cricket and golf. While the whole of the defensive team side will field the puck, there will be only a few active players as hitters on the offensive team. The hitters use a golf club like long flexi stick and the hitters must hit the Nouss as far as they can over the field. As the Nouss drops, the defending team use their “Schoufels” to prevent the black plastic from touching the ground. The defensive team run hard to prevent the hitter from scoring.
Hopefully this “Farmers’ golf” sport is gaining more popularity since Red Bull made a hitter’s distance event in 2014 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWiRphS6sIg
More detail on the traditional game can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdIHOV6VGNU
It makes a really great day out, usually played on either Saturday or Sunday from March through to end September. Watching the teams striving to stop this hornet flying toward them with the clattering of their ‘shields’ is like a glimpse into medieval days. The hornet speeds at around 300km/hr so making the defending team use their shovel like defence equipment like a shield and to run hard. The hitters require strength and their own spine must be fit and flexible to make a power filled hit. Even the Swiss novelist, Jeremias Gotthelf said of this game in 1840, "There is no game that requires so much strength, agility and coordination between hand, foot and eye as Hornuss."
The hunting regulated by federal and cantonal legislation takes place in Lauterbrunnen as follows:
In September on weekdays: deer, roe deer, chamois and ibex
From October 1 up to and including November 15 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays: Roe deer
Until the end of January on weekdays: wild boar and badger (only until the end of December)
Until the end of February on weekdays: fox and marten (only up to 15 February)
The right to hunt has been legal since the 1500s and the canton’s official position is that hunting is ecologically necessary as the population of deer, for example, increases yearly and if not hunted would cause environmental collapse.
Licence holders have to take a tough exam and do hours of conservation work to get their permit, which then has to be renewed every year.
It is now understood that hunting - or not hunting particular animals - has an effect on other aspects of nature. Wildlife management makes special demands on the hunter. The hunts are well controlled and animals are specified, no longer are only male adult animals taken. This also causes hunters anxiety when they aim at female and young animals, as is required in a controlled hunt to manage the populations.
Hunting is strictly regulated by the cantonal government within the national framework provided by federal law. There are designated sanctuaries where hunting is not allowed.
Annual targets are set for each type of game and hunters must keep to them. Hunting is by individual licence as opposed to game reserves, for example, In September on weekdays: deer, roe deer, chamois and ibex
From October 1 up to and including November 15 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays: Roe deer
Until the end of January on weekdays: wild boar and badger (only until the end of December)
Until the end of February on weekdays: fox and marten (only up to 15 February)
The local hunting club say that “All usual leisure activities can safely continue and the forest and mountain trails remain open during the hunting season. Owners of non hunting dogs must have their dogs under effective control at all times. In particular, their dogs may not hunt during the hunting season.”
A licence is needed of course and the requirements can be found here:
Photo: by Eyhus 5 August 2019
Kornbalmhöhle GPS Co-ord: N 46° 35.047 E 007° 55.003
October is a great time for walking in Lauterbrunnen and the Jungfrau. Many golden colours come out, the crowds have gone and there are lots of discoveries to be made in this quiet and serene season.
Have you discovered Geocaching? Do you have a sense of adventure? Geocaching takes you to places that you most likely would never explore. One such place is the Kornbalmhöhle, a cave high up on the Wengen side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley towards Stechelberg as shown by this Photo from http://vanzon.nu/
It is a steep walk up to these unusual caves with fabulous views back to Staubbach Falls. Good solid shoes and clothing are a must, as well as a sense of balance, scrambling skill and adventure. Even if you don’t find the cache inside (bring a torch), the view and scramble is worth it.
It is not an outing for everyone, but it has a real sense of exploring and sitting on the boulders and cave entrance gives you a sense of smuggling or hidden treasure. The treasure of course is the beautiful view that everyone else forfeits since they lacked the curiosity to seek out these caves.
An easy walk to a real glacier is possible. Search on your tube for Kilchbalm and you will find someone’s vid of this magical place that no one seems to know about and it’s not far from the apartment.
Kilchbalm (Gimmelwald - Sefinental - Kilchbalm) Glasier
Time one-way: 1 1/4 hours
Distance one-way: 2 3/4 miles (4 1/2km)
Lowest point: 4134 ft (1260m)
Highest point: 5046 ft (1 538m)
You can get cable car from Schilthorn Bahn up to Gimmelwald. (Bus from outside Eyhus along to Schilthorn Bahn in the direction of Stechelberg)
The gradient is not very steep, and you can walk to the very end of the Sefinental valley, where only freezing-cold streams flowing from the snow and ice ( real glacier) and the heartiest vegetation exist. There is a small hut along the way , but it is lovely to have a picnic at the end. The scenery is beautiful in both directions. Since there is only one road in Gimmelwald, it is difficult to get lost. Where the road loops back on itself, by the fire-house, is a road leading into the Sefinental. From this point you can see all the way to the end of the valley and quickly realize that the end is not much higher than Gimmelwald.
After walking downhill for 7 minutes you will come to a bridge that crosses a torrential waterfall that has gouged deep holes, through the years, in the side of the mountain. It now flows deep in the rock and splashes from pool to pool, plunging some 20 feet into a huge cavity beside this bridge to continue its way down to the valley floor. This waterfall is the same as "Sprutz" higher up and is called the "Schiltbach" which is the stream created by the runoff from the Schilthorn and the Schiltalp. After walking 8 minutes further you pass a firing range where locals come to practice, usually on weekends. A minute more and you come to the end of the road and the beginning of your ascent on a rocky trail. Here a signpost says that Kilchbalm, your destination, is 1 hour away. (It is also from this point that you can stay on the main road which leads to a trail that descends to Stechelberg or back up to Gimmelwald.) As you leave the main road and continue straight ahead through the gate, the mighty snow covered ridge on your left, called the Tschingelgrat, grabs your attention. Watch this ridge for avalanches which occur frequently and at any time. Soon you're walking through a dense forest with the Sefinen Lutschine swirling and splashing on your left side, where it will be all the way to the end of the valley.
15 minutes later, after passing some old sheds and massive rock overhangs, you come upon an old storage building from 1812 raised up on rocks. Next to it is a cable attached to the cliff above used for transporting logs. Shortly the path becomes very narrow and rocky. In 7 minutes you pass through the second gate and in a few minutes more you'll cross the first bridge. At the third gate, 7 minutes later, the path splits. (Note: this area has been known to be full of snow well into the early summer months, depending on the previous winter you should exercise extreme caution and perhaps turn back here if it is too dangerous ). Assuming the way is dry, you will take the lower path, to the left (If you were to continue on the path to the right, you would pass a tiny waterfall, perfect for splashing under on a hot day, and eventually arrive at Boganggen and Rotstockhutte 600 meters higher up the mountain).
Just behind the trees, around the bend is a grassy meadow and an alp hut. Occasionally cows are brought here for summer grazing. The farmer will stay here with his herd until it's time to move to better pastures. It is beside this hut where the Sefinen river, on the left is joined by the Sefibach, on the right, which comes down from the Sefinen alp. Following the path, close to the river, soon brings you to a second bridge. Before crossing the bridge, venture up to the waterfall created by the Sefibach but be careful of falling stones and branches. Once across the bridge you come to the steepest part of the trip. Here you witness the power of the Sefinen river. In spring and during heavy rainstorms this river is so swollen that it violently tears at the hillside bringing tons of rock and debris down with it. Once at the top you can rest on the last bench before reaching the end of the valley and the Kilchbalm.
We think that Kilch is the word for goblet or cup and you will see how this valley looks like a deep cup. The towering cliffs make it a spectacular setting for a picnic without crowds and you will want to stay forever.
EasyTime one-way: 30 min Lowest point :4472 ft (1363 m)
Highest point: 5576 ft (1700 m)
This wonderful little nature hike will take you up the pasture hillside above Gimmelwald and through a densely wooded forest to arrive at the cool, sparkling mountain cascade called Sprutz.
Note: You will follow signs pointing to "Schilthorn" but only as far as the forest, where there will be a sign for "Sprutz". This hike starts from the Mittaghorn Hotel (Walter's). Walk south (left when facing Walter's hotel) on the main road until you come to a fork where a signpost tells you to take the road on the right. Continue up this road for a couple of minutes until you come to a barn on the right side, where a path winds upward and a signpost points the way. You'll pass around another barn on your left as you hike up to another paved road. Turn right on this road, walk about 15 steps, and turn onto the path next to the barn on your left. Continue up this path until you come to the forest where a signpost prompts you to turn left to get to "Sprutz" ' (Going right would take you up to Gimmeln and eventually to the Schilthorn). Passing through a metal gate, you will enter the forest and continue on this trail as it gently winds it's way higher through the woods. After about 15 min. the path forks and you will hear the thundering roar of the invisible falls. As the sign says, take the path to the left. As the path curves down and to the right, just around the hill, "Sprutz" finally comes into view.
Be very careful as you continue down to the falls on this hazardous, unstable, dirt path. As you walk underneath and behind this waterfall you'll probably wonder how such a huge, continuous volume of water could come from such a small, placid lake like the Grauseeli, between the Schilthorn and Birg. Well, Grauseeli is only one of it's sources, as the Schiltbach, the river itself, is a collection of the runoff from the Schilthorn and the Schiltalp. From Sprutz you can continue up the other side and after about 15 min. arrive at Spielbodenalp where there is a restaurant and a superb view of the Schilthorn, Birg, and the Jungfrau massif.
Or you can go with a guide from the Murren Tourism office for a 2.5 hour walk every Tuesday. You need to book by email by noon the day before. It is free. Email: [email protected]
11.06.2019 - 08.10.2019, MÜRREN
Traditional dress is called „Tracht“.
Originally worn as Sunday best and for festive celebrations such as the cows returning from their summer pastures with the celebration of distributing the cheese made in the Alps over summer.
Just as today's Costume designers are responsible for developing, creating and fitting the costumes for characters in film, television and theater productions, the Swiss have the Tract Commission with many regional Costumer Clubs.
The costumes styles and designs are cared for by the Costume clubs to preserve the culture and traditions. Each area in Switzerland has its own costume style for example the valley of Lauterbrunnen is different from the fashion of the neighboring valley Grindelwald.
The Tract Commission also gives tips on how each piece of the costume needs to be appropriately worn. For example, the Lauterbrunnen ensemble includes a straw hat,
“The hat is intended as a sunscreen. He belongs on the head. In closed rooms, the hat can also be worn on the back or in the hand. The brashest we wear the hat a little bit obliquely. Turn the edge slightly forward. Little flowers are optional”.
Experiencing traditional garb is a way to show a genuine cultural appreciation for human diversity. By donning traditional clothing, we can understand a little of the ways of the past. Wearing traditional garments helps you gain an understanding of the innate relationship local people share with their environment. The materials used and the functionality of the outfit provide a myriad of clues in understanding the culture.
Although traditional dress is not often seen, there are occasional younger groups that re-introduce their local styles. Oftentimes, local designers will borrow elements of design from traditional dress for their own styles, for example by using a traditional sleeve shape. It tells a story. What we wear, tells a story that is more than identity.
These traditional Swiss costumes tell a story of frugality, hardship and pragmatism in a harsh climate. The daily clothes would have had similar style connections to this Sunday best wardrobe. Elements such as sturdy shoes and always a hardy apron or outer protective covering to handle animals and inclement weather.
The hero of Bern is the Bear. There is a bear park in Bern worthy of a visit and in easy walking distance from the main rail station. The Bear has long served as namesake, emblem, mascot and — at times — personification of Bern.
The founding legend has it that Duke Berthold V of Zähringen vowed to choose as namesake the first animal his hunt met in the wood that was to be chopped down for the new city. The hunt for the bear as depicted in the Tschachtlan chronicles. See the original coat of arms above the gate.
This then became an upright black bear on a white shield (which is, incidentally, the coat of arms of Berlin).
And now today’s image
Where dreams begin for outdoor adventures in the inspiring Jungfrau region