Switzerland’s hills are alive with the sound of…

IMG_6755 (2)…cow bells.  Seriously.  I love the sound of cow bells. We heard them all over Switzerland. So charming.  But, of course, like sugar and screen time, anything enjoyable is bound to be controversial.  So, it is with a guilty complex that I tell you I really enjoyed the cow bells.  So stereo-typically Swiss, but real – not manufactured for the tourist.  We heard them everywhere!

Here was a traffic jam on our way into Switzerland:

We spent a few days cat sitting outside of Lausanne.  I am not sure what I expected to find in mid-October in Switzerland, but I was delighted to get clear, sunny skies and beautiful fall colors.IMG_7273 (2).JPGAt the first chance we had, we headed straight to the Jungfrau region in the Bernese alps.  We woke up (relatively) early to get a jump start on the two hour drive to Grindelwald, Swizerland, a gorgeous town in the mountain valley.

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Grindelwald – so cute, right?!

When we got to Grindelwald, we took a scenic cable car ride up to a stop on the mountain called Männlichen.

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shortly after we started the cable car ride up – you can still see the town behind the boys

It took about half an hour on the cable car to get all the way to the top.  Meanwhile, the view just kept getting better!

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higher up the mountain now – the sun is starting to heat up our cable car, so the boys are slowly de-layering

Once we got to Männlichen, we bribed the boys with time on an awesome looking playground, in order to get them to climb a steep trail up to the mountain peak.  It was a tough climb at a higher-than-we-were-used-to elevation, but gave us amazing views all around.

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from the top of the peak of Mannlichen – looking toward the three main peaks in this area of the Swiss Alps – Eiger (ogre), Monch (monk) and Jungfrau (virgin)
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view of the valley floor below
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here we are walking back down the hill (I was working too hard on the way up to take a picture) – it gives you an idea of how steep the walk up was (at this point in the walk, I’m thinking “sucks to be you!” to all the people  who pass us walking up)

We went past the main overlook on the trail to a quiet little spot for – you guessed it – a snack!IMG_6608 (2).JPG

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Fall colors – Swiss Alps style

After a moderately successful attempt of a family selfie (this is about as good as it gets for us), we headed to the promised playground.

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We have another version of this picture where L has a wonderful, happy smile, but unfortunately, the rest of us look bad, so sorry L!

The playground was pretty spectacular, the boys had fun playing in the giant cow while we enjoyed the view.IMG_6678 (2).JPGThey even had a bowling lane!

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One day A can share a fun fact about himself “I once bowled on top of a mountain”

After spending a bit of time at the playground, we took the almost 5km-long Panorama Trail to the nearby town of Kleine Scheidegg, where we would catch the train back down the mountain.IMG_6720 (2).JPGThe hike was everything I dreamed a hike in the Swiss Alps would be – and more. I had really worried that it would be cold, dark and/or snowy. Instead, we got warm weather and bright sunshine in the shadow of beautiful snow-capped peaks.IMG_6761 (2).JPGWe even found friendly Minnesota Vikings fans to take a family picture for us.IMG_6755 (2).JPGThe path was pretty flat and wide, so it was a pleasant stroll through the mountains, and despite being up over 2000m, we didn’t even have to worry about cliff edges. A winning hike, if I’ve ever taken one!IMG_6776 (2).JPG

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This looks very “edge-of-the-cliff”-esque, but it really didn’t feel that way, I think it was due to the wide, level path

 

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there were stunning views everywhere we looked

Of course, no hike can go on for too long without a snack…IMG_6831 (2).JPGBack on the path, the views of the mountains in front of us were amazing.IMG_6857 (2).JPGAs we got close to the end of the hike, we could see the tiny town of Kleine Scheidegg in front of us, with several restaurants, a few hotels and a train station.IMG_6903 (2).JPGBefore taking the train down the mountain, we stopped for lunch, including an authentic Swiss fondue (at authentic Swiss prices, unfortunately).IMG_6908 (2).JPGThe restaurant had a playground and trampoline outside of it, so the boys got to burn off all the energy they didn’t expend on the hike.

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We have learned that finding playgrounds for the boys to play on regularly is essential to the boys (and our) happiness on our trip.  When the playgrounds have views like this – it is just a (huge) bonus!

IMG_6943 (2).JPGOnce we had finally had enough, we took the train back down the mountain, and headed back to Lausanne.  Luckily, much of our drive was full of sights like this – mountains + autumn colors = WINIMG_6973 (2).JPGWe said goodbye to the mountains of Switzerland for a few days, but we will be back.  First, we will spend a few days experiencing Switzerland’s cities.  On next week’s episode of “Red boat by the Sea”, we will hit Lausanne, Bern and Basel.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 comments

    • Thanks! I bet you are having an amazing time living there – I would love to be so close to the mountains all the time! We found Switzerland to be so kid friendly – not only the playgrounds (and the outdoors itself for the kids to run around in), but the discounts and free admissions for the kids for so many things (although that may be more parent-friendly 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

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