Good morning! I faced a dilemma- what to do? This was the only day I’d have to spend in Bern, but I really wanted to hike. Since all I wanted to do in Bern was hop in the river, I decided to hike and forsake the other nice things Bern had to offer (the old town is amazing- UNESCO says so!).
I lazed in bed until the sun peeked over the ridge line. I went to the breakfast room and even though Mr. B.O. was not there, I took my plate out to the terrace. I saw two helicopter pallet deliveries, which was pretty cool. No wonder everything is so expensive up in the mountains! I decided to hike to Kleine Scheidegg, which was a much more mellow plan (elevation-wise) than my hike the day before.
I took the Männlichen Aerial Cableway from Wengen. My Swiss Pass covered it, but there was a small supplement for “The Royal View.” This allows the rider to take a small staircase to an open-air balcony on top of the car. Although the views from the inside were awesome, I think riding without any windows would have been amazing. Terrifying, but amazing. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure it out before boarding and it wasn’t worth it (to me) to wait for the next cable car.
The ride was ~5 min and the view from the platform was spectacular. Rather than head straight to Kleine Scheidegg, I headed up the hill on the Royal Walk to the crown-shaped viewing platform. Along the way, there are some excellent informational signs about the geology, alpine climbing history, and knot-tying. At the top, there are incredible 360 views of the Eiger/Monch/Jungfrau (EMJ) mountains, Lauterbrunnen Valley, and Grindelwald. I even saw Schynige Platte. Although it is beautiful, I felt better about skipping it since the hike to Kleine Scheidegg would have similar features along the trail. I would be trading a view of the lakes for a view of the EMJ complex but that was worth it to me!
From the Royal Walk viewing platform, I also saw Bluemlisalp, where SMS and I had hiked on our prior visit. After taking in the scenery for a bit, it was time to hike towards Kleine Schiedegg. It was a very mellow walk with the path cutting through flower-filled alpine fields. I’m pretty sure it’s the traversing trails during ski season but in the Summer, it makes for great walking. There were a lot more people on this trail than my previous day’s hike, but there was definitely plenty of room for us all.
I arrived in Kleine Schiedegg in ~90 minutes. I definitely stopped along the way for pictures, but was otherwise walking at a pretty reasonable clip. I had a mountain-side table for lunch, with great views, good food, and deliciously fresh, clean air (does this make sense?).
After lunch, I decided to walk back to Wengen, rather than take the train down the mountain. It was a great decision because it got me really close to the EMJ. This helped me see the many glacier-fed waterfalls streaming down the side. I also saw Swiss cows, which was nice.
Swiss hiking tip: if there is a destination sign with two routes (bike and ped), take the walking path. The bike routes tend to be wide and are fine to walk on, but the ped trails are narrower and meander a tiny bit more. The payoff is that it is much more of a nature trail than a semi-paved road. Part of the trail was bike/ped, which was great too! Overall, my route was pedestrian trail out of KS, bike/ped road after the cow fields, and then a ped route through the forest to Wegen (prettier and needed shade).
The forest trail paralleled the edge of Lauterbrunnen Valley, although the edge was only accessible at viewpoints/BASE jump sights. The sign above was warning BASE jumpers to call the helicopter launch site below before jumping. Never fear, SBA, I will never be making that phone call.
Getting to Wengen took a little longer than I thought, but no worries. The days are long in a Swiss Summer! I took the train from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen, followed by a transfer to Interlaken and then onto Bern. I made it to Bern for a few floats down the river, but that’s for the next blog post!