How to Hike for Serious Payoff & Party with Fairies

As you read this, we are in Portugal with our dear friends! Follow along to see some of our favorites from Porto, the Douro Valley, Lisbon, and Sintra!

In what seems like an ancient list, our 2019 travel resolutions before James arrived, I listed lakes Oeschinensee  and Blausee as bucket list items and we finally made it there for a delightful fall Alps weekend.

Alongside our dear friend A, we headed up to Kandersteg, back to the German section in the Bernese Oberland (which you know is one of our favorites from Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, and Jungfrau!). After last week’s intense Western Civ deep dive, note that this is a mostly picture-heavy post so no eat/sleep/play!

We drove from Geneva on a kind of dark stressful traffic-heavy Friday evening (and if you follow me on Instagram you might remember that we left the travel crib at the apartment and our friend A had to swoop in and save the day at Ikea!) But as we woke up on Saturday morning and walked outside our Airbnb to the incredible mountains, all of those hectic feelings quickly melted away!

The Airbnb was just steps from the cable car up to lake Oeschinensee. It runs during summer months, but we visited the week after it takes a seasonal break – so we hiked about 90 minutes up! There were some pretty steep stretches (but mostly paved!)…

made a little trickier by a nearly 20 pound baby on our chests …

but it was very doable in cool fall weather and appropriate shoes. The hike itself had beautiful views of foliage and mountain peaks which was extra motivating on our way up, and coming around the corner to see the icy blue lake was worth all the cardio.

It was great pay-off! If I were lucky enough to go again in the summer months, I’d take the cable car and there’s allegedly an incredible panorama trail above the lake to hike too. There is a seasonal lakeside restaurant which would be the perfect place for a post-hike beer and ice cream.

After a much quicker walk down, we went down the road to the ten minute drive to a lake created by landslide more than 15,000 years ago, Blausee. The lake is truly Swiss Instagram famous and far more built up than I expected with even a gift shop ! The entry is 10 CHF and following the turnstyle, you take a gorgeous short walk down the path …

and are immediately stunned by the intense blue-green lake. The contrast of all the orange, yellow, and red leaves against the aqua lake just took our breaths away. 

It looks and feels truly magical –  like a playground for fairies! It’s said that the lake turned this color to match the eyes of a young woman who inconsolably cried after the death of her beloved.  Her tragedy is now memorialized by a mermaid sculpture right near the bridge.

You can walk around the lake or take a boat ride in a tiny schooner included in your entry card and check out lots of trout. You can also try them for lunch at the Hotel Blausee restaurant, which was still open in November!

Both nights we hung in to catch up with our dear friend and also celebrate our anniversary with a 2012 Moët 🥂. I am so glad that we visited this true Swiss gem with one of our most favorite people and got to give James a great fall colors introduction.


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