Andrew and I are on a weekend ski trip binge. Only four months left living in Switzerland, we’ve got to live it up! The flavor of this past weekend: Lauterbrunnen! In the Berner Oberland on the German speaking side of Switzerland, this was a bit further than we typically go for a weekend ski trip but we wanted to check out this region. Also, the ski area is near some of the most famous mountains in the country so we had to go!
Transportation: Lauterbrunnen was a 2 hour drive from Lausanne after work on Friday night. The lease on Andrew’s car ended February 27 so this was our last road trip in the little white Skoda Fabia 😦 The car dealer wouldn’t let him extend the lease for only a few months so from now on we’re going to be sticking to public transit and rental cars. The drive was easy and the best part: NO Sunday traffic on our way back to Lausanne (which we always encounter on our drive back from Valais).
Accommodation: We prioritized lower cost this time and stayed at the Valley Hostel. We had a private room that shared bathrooms with the 4 other rooms on the floor.
Pros: Spotlessly clean, top floor room, balcony with a view and a convenient location within 5 minutes walk to the cable car and train station.
Cons: Subpar breakfast option and hearing our neighbor snore like a lawnmower in the early hours of the nights (aka thin walls!)
Eats: Overall, we were really disappointed in the food in the area. We figure that we must be very spoiled with the mountain restaurants we have been to in the past because our dining experiences over the weekend were not that great. On the mountain, the only options were sausages, bread, cheese and soups. All served on plastic plates. I mean, okay, you’re eating a hot meal on the side of a mountain. But really – it’s Switzerland and we have become accustomed to expect better options. We also had an okay dinner at the Hotel Oberland. We ordered local specialties, but it was nothing spectacular. Maybe it’s because so many tourists come through this area and the village was clearly not somewhere that locals have their family chalet. Oh well. The views and skiing certainly made up for it!
Skiing: We had two days of skiing and were able to ski two separate areas, each one on a different side of the valley, perched up on the cliffs. If you look at the above photo, you can see the cliff walls but the villages and the ski areas above the villages are out of sight. We thought about staying in one of these villages, Mürren or Wengen, to have ski-in ski-out access, but then we would not have been able to easily try out the skiing from both. It also meant we could take the train each morning to go skiing! They have cog wheel trains built to take you up into the higher peaks and in some areas are used in place of a ski lift. We have never seen this on the Swiss French side, so a bit of a novelty for us.
On Saturday we skied the Schilthorn area, a mountain not only known for skiing but also made famous for the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service that had a scene on the top of the mountain.
On Sunday we went up to ski in the Jungfrau region. The Jungfrau is one of the biggest mountains in the Berner Oberland, and made famous as a tourist attraction with a restaurant on one of the saddles between the peaks. Jungfraujoch, as it is called, is the highest transit accessible point in Europe. As you can imagine, this led to more people and a lot more infrastructure. There was a full train station up in the high Alps!
Overall, another fantastic weekend up in the Swiss Alps!