Drinks atThe Horner Pub, healthy [&vegan] options at Airtime Cafe, Hotel Oberland patio for Swiss dinner favorites, Coop for home-made happy hours, and “cheese mailboxes” for hiking snacks! [more below]
Hotel Silberhorn was a very lovely spot with a full breakfast (you know that’s one of the ways we save on eating out!) and a charming staff.
We played hard here! Hikers have an abundance of trails to choose from. We hiked from the top of the Grütschalp cable car to Murren, explored the incredible Trummelbach Falls, and last but absolutely not least, paraglided with Airtime Paragliding.
THE BIG SCOOP: [THE WHOLE STORY]
As I mentioned in my last post, our dear friends S&A came to visit us in April. When we determined they would visit, we widdled down an entire continent of options down and decided to one of the world’s great gems, the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland.
On Instagram I had seen so many beautiful photos of the town of Lauterbrunnen, near Interlaken, and had heard from patron Saint Rick Steves that it is the home of 72 waterfalls. I grew up in the 90s, so chasing them is one of the few responsibilities of my lazy generation.
I will dedicate an entire post to how much I adore Switzerland’s rail system, but finding our way back to the German speaking part of Switzerland was a SNAP. There were 3 train transfers from Geneva, but each connection arrived before our previous one, so we never waited on the platform and strolled on to the next train. S&A bought an all inclusive Swiss Travel Pass for their trip and with our Half Fare cards I paid about 80 CHF for a round trip.
A had found the Hotel Silberhorn, a cozy bed and breakfast in Lauterbrunnen walkable from the train station. We arrived the week before high season really began, so we had spacious rooms with balconies. Nearby the hotel was our friendly Coop grocery store, so we were sure to pick up drinks and snacks to enjoy for our homemade happy hours!
We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon, so while we awaited my husband’s arrival from work (I know, believe me, he’s an 😇) – S&A and I walked to the Grütschalp lift, took it up, and hiked to the beautiful town of Murren. As in Lavaux, there were lots of yellow signs to help us find our way, and it was not particularly rigorous – and it was stunning.
these two ❤️
I crashed their 3 year wedding anniversary 😆
That evening, my husband arrived on the train and we congregated at the only pub in Lauterbrunnen, the Horner Pub! We shared bar snacks and Das Boots and took the very simple walk home!
Like all nights, the photos get blurrier as the drinks go down
The next day was cloudy (in both weather and our Das Boot afflicted minds) so we forwent visiting the region’s biggest attraction – the Jungfraujoch, as we have been told you really need sunny skies to enjoy it. We will be back! Instead, we marveled at the nearby Staubbach Falls and walked to nearby Trummelbach Falls, and were in awe of all the waterfalls in between.
Staub means “dust” in German – the droplets sort of look like a dust spray!
It was incredible how powerful the Trummelbach Falls were -they drain the meltwater of the glaciers from the Jungfrau mountains, up to 20,000 liters of water per second. It’s yep, you guessed it, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also quite loud – like a train is coming constantly. Below is a quick clip of one of the “corkscrew” falls. The cost is 11 CHF per person and you can take a cable car up or do a moderately steep (but very flat) climb.
The falls (10 in total) are mostly subterranean but there are lights throughout to guide the way. It’s a bit tight so if you are going in summer high season, I’d recommend arriving early to avoid the crowds since you will inevitably be taking lots of photos! Even if you are visiting in the summer, do bring a weatherproof coat as you can catch some spray from the falls, and as the waterfall is “hidden” in the mountain, it can be chilly without the sun.
Fords and Colemans at Trummelbach
see – dark and chilly!
From the falls we spent the rest of the day hiking and meandering near the Falls until we finally found our way back to the hotel.
We truly couldn’t believe how spectacular the views were in this lovely town.
Along the path, we came across the most adorable little “mailbox” with homemade cheese – you simply left money for the piece you selected! It was so sweet.
Remember the “cheese mailbox” from our Lauterbrunnen trip?
The next day, A had convinced us all to paragalide. Initially, most of us were very, very wracked with nerves but recalled we were in the world’s most gorgeous place- how could we forgo flying by waterfalls?
Fortunately, the tandem paragliders (pilots) who “flew” with us were professionals in every way [shouts to Sebastian!] You first meet a driver at the very vegan friendly Airtime Cafe [this place could easily be in Brooklyn] at your appointed time [we went at 10AM so we wouldn’t chicken out.] A van takes you to the bottom of a nearby gondola to meet the pilots before you go up. It is very unlike what I imagine an American experience would be – I assumed we would have to watch an hour video and promise not to prosecute if there were any incidents. But, nearly immediately after we got to the top of the gondola, we did a short hike, and they quickly strapped us in harnesses. I have to imagine this was to prevent us from getting cold feet, and it worked! Each “pair” stood in a different area and we were “supposed to” go in the order of S > Me > My husband > A. However, the “wind in my area changed” and I had to watch my husband run off the side of a mountain. While I may have had days where I wouldn’t mind this – but we were on a great vacation, so it was unpleasant to watch my future essentially take a cliff dive. But not to be outdone, a few seconds later my tandem told me to start running – fast, and to not stop pumping my legs no matter what. I sprinted and asked him to tell me when we were safely through “any scary parts.” I was both concerned and comforted by the fact that he was so confident in his abilities that he used a Go-Pro throughout our flight)
I expected to feel panic, but I felt like the feather in the opening credits of Forest Gump just floating above Savannah – instead, I was in the Swiss Alps. It was incredibly peaceful. You might have seen these shots on Instagram!
Towards the end of my flight, the pilot asked me if I was okay, and if I liked rollercoasters. In answering “yes” to both – we even did a few flips before making a safe landing! This is my dear husband desperate for an action shot of my return to Earth so much so he got in the way of S’s camera. This renaissance man has truly cat-like reflexes, no?
The cost of paragliding (an expensive 170 CHF plus 40 CHF if you pay for the Go-Pro footage – yes, it was my 30th birthday gift, and if you didn’t get photos, did you even paraglide?) included a beer at the Airtime Cafe which we really appreciated. It was really exhilarating and I’m so happy that A persuaded us it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As we found our way on solid ground and our adrenaline finally slowed, we gathered ourselves at the hotel, said goodbye to the beautiful falls, and took the well connected train(s) back to Geneva for a dinner at our favorite spot in Old Town, truly the best deal in Geneva, Chez Ma Cousine. [16 CHF per person for a half roasted chicken, salad, and fries – can’t be beat!]
We loved discovering this truly gorgeous part of the world with our dear friends and look forward to returning to this region to discover other areas like Interlaken, Wengen, Grindelwald, Grimmewald, and do the Jungfraujoch at some point! We adore this beautiful country so much.
This weekend we head to Belgium 🇧🇪for a quick visit to Brussels and Bruges! Bring on all of the waffles, beers, and frites. As the blog has been focused on so much of our travel so far, a few “Geneva focused” posts are coming up. 🤗