July 9-11, 2004
Reached our Bernese Oberland home base in the Swiss Alps through a winding, snowy mountain pass. Views from our restored 1890s chalet, Hotel Staubbach, included the 900-foot Staubbach Waterfall pouring down a stone-faced cliff of Schwarzmonch (Black Monk).
Dined on cheese fondue and Swiss rosti with the group. Enthralled by the unexpected evening of folk dancing, intricate weaving, flag-juggling, songs and sounds of Lauterbrunnen's finest. Savory, ice-cold, easy-down shots of Jagermeister: The birth of a Jager fan. Inspired by Smitty, pondered the things we want to do before we die.
Below Black Monk, a pleasant walk through the hay-farming, hut-dotted Lauterbrunnen Valley to the dark, damp caves of the powerful Trummelbach Falls. With Bruce and Lisa, marveled at its multiple mini-falls carved through stone by 5,200 gallons per second of snow melt from the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.
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Began this alpine excursion with a mountain-train ride to Wengen and a gondola lift to the Mannlichen ridge. And from there, strolled for panoramic views, misty, chilly skies, small snowbanks, and occasional sunbursts on alpine flowers and paragliders. Giggled in our mountain high (at 6,762 feet) as Carol, Ragen and Marijan acted out the story of the cloud-covered Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch: the Young Maiden being protected from the Ogre by the Monk.
A lunch of rosti and soup at the Alpine Restaurant Grindelwaldblick. Returned by mountain train with Lisa, Bruce and Janelle via Grindelwald and Lisa's memories of hosteling there. And more warm soup and bread for dinner with warm friends in Lauterbrunnen.
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Lauterbrunnen | Mannlichen-Klein Scheidegg
Copyright Gary and Donna Larson, Seattle, Washington. Updated Feb. 17, 2007.