Thursday, 5 September 2013

LIFE ON THE EDGE (Thursday, September 5)

Breathtakingly perched on a ledge 2000 feet above the Lauterbrunnen Valley and surrounded by mighty snow-covered alps is the little traffic-free, charming town of Murren which, by the way, dates back to 1384. "How", we asked ourselves, "can we visit Switzerland and not experience at least one night in a small mountain town?" And so this morning found us sorting through luggage. What to leave in our suitcases in the car ( there is absolutely no road access to Murren ) and what to take in overnight bags up the mountain? I thought that I had already packed light. Now I had to reduce "my stuff" even more. You're kidding me, right?
A ten-minute cable car ride up the 2000 feet from valley floor to mountainside took us to Grutschalp where we boarded the train to Murren. That short twenty minute train ride along the edge of the cliff afforded us unforgettable views and a new perspective of the valley below. After disembarking the train, a three minute walk brought us to our hotel. More about that later! By the way, you can traverse the whole town in a ten minute stroll. Murren has no policeman, no doctor, no minister nor pastor. If they require such services, they call down to Lauterbrunnen. Getting the picture yet? This is a teeny tiny town.
Wanting to do a bit of mountainside hiking, Jim and I opted to take the Allmendhubelbahn Funicular up to the departure point for some hiking trails. Our travels now include planes, cog trains, boats, cars and funiculars. i have to wonder what is next. We enjoyed lunch in a little cafe and then headed out for the Mountainside Trail. The sweet smell of mountainside grasses enroute was overwhelmingly heady. I hope in the middle of next winter, that I can close my eyes, and bring that sweet fragrance to mind. The Swiss swear that their cheese is the world's best because milk comes from cows who feed all summer in mountain pastures. Who am I to argue? Chamois goats, always on the alert, fed on the grassy hills. We discovered a patch of edelweiss. Mundane to many, thrilling for me. I have never seen it growing before. Of course, now my unruly brain keeps replaying the song from the Sound of Music.
Ultimately, we returned to our hotel. Our room was ready and up we headed. In my life, in our travels, we have never stayed in a room with such a view. Our wrap around balcony hangs out over the bluffs ("Watch your sphincter", Jim announced.) looking up and down the valley and across the expanse to Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. It is as if we could reach out and touch them.
And so here we sit in this magical town, gazing out at of views of staggering beauty and pinching ourselves to believe that it is all real.
Tomorrow, we are off to Lucerne (Luzern).

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