Friday, 13 September 2013

WHOA! (Friday, September 13)

WHOA! You Are Kidding!
Built in 1878, the Jaunpass climbs and descends through the Alps from Charmey to Jaun. At its highest point, it is 1890 meters (4950 feet) above the valley floor. And guard rails? I am convinced that they too were designed in 1878 (or earlier), as they are constructed of either thin steel poles and a line of wire, or even safer (I think not) a string of wooden posts with yellow nylon rope running between them. The road, at its highest, is only wide enough for one and a half cars. My old real estate training would generously refer to it as a 'single car drive'. Getting the picture, yet? Nicely maintained and paved, but try having a tour bus come at you when you are on the valley side of the highway. I promise not to do a thousand word rant (as I did in Italy) about these monoliths selfishly and dangerously hogging roads not constructed with their lumbering size in mind. Use the highways where you belong! You are a danger! Although I would love to swear here, I was brought up to be a lady. Too bad! Our first clue about this pass should have been the green light posted at the beginning of our ascent which indicated that it is currently open. And it closes when? Only kidding!
The breathtaking vistas of valleys and mountains vibrant in the glorious sunshine made taking this shortcut through the Alps, rather than the long relatively flat highway around, more than worth my grinding teeth and long intakes of breath. Jim (AKA Sterling Moss) gleefully gloried in every hairpin turn. He still has not wiped the grin from his face.
WHOA! How Kind!
When last in Lauterbrunnen (a week ago), we stayed at the Staubbach Hotel. Built in 1890, this charming Swiss lodge, offering the best views in town and manned by charming, efficient and enthusiastic personnel, won our hearts. How relieved we were that it was here we would be returning to in a week's time. Today, upon arrival, Jim and I discovered that we, as returning guests, had been given the best room in the house - second floor, corner view over both Staubbach Falls and the valley below. We may never leave our balcony chairs!! "A glass of wine please, Jeeves!" Sitting on the desk in our room was a bright note welcoming us back accompanied by two wine glasses and a bottle of bubbly. Talk about great customer relations! And how kind!
WHOA! Way Cool!
On the final stretch of our days journey, we came to a grinding halt behind a long line of cars. Accident? Construction? No! Local farmers were bringing their cows down from summer pastures in the mountains. Bells ringing, cows mooing, they held up traffic as they moved across the road into their winter fields. Gotta' love it!
WHOA! How Incredibly Beautiful!
Having settled into our room and having enjoyed a lovely lunch (after that pass, I should also have had a drink!), we set out on a five kilometre hike along the rushing, winding Weisse River and then returned along a trail under the Lauterbrunnen Valley Cliffs. We have spent two weeks in Switzerland. I know there are other gorgeous locations we have not yet seen, but for me, this valley flanked by 1500-foot sheer rock cliffs, with its sweeping vistas of snow capped peaks, mighty waterfalls dropping hundreds of feet, and picture perfect villages set on vibrant green shelves, wins the "My Favourite" prize. How fitting that we end our Switzerland visit here.
WHOA! It's Friday the 13th.
A great day, in my books!


  1. I think you can drive on this road (virtually) if you own a Playstation 3 game console. It's featured in the Gran Turismo car racing game. I feel like I've been there already! LOL!!!

    1. So that's how Jim practised for his driving on this trip! Now I know. Thanks, Moe!