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Berner Oberland Grindelwald and Lenk, Switzerland in 2021

The Alps in Switzerland in the Bern Canton.

Pauline

Forums Admin
Wednesday September 8
Sunny and hot, 72F

Today we did a hike I had been planning out for a few years. There is a spot above St Stephen, up where the Cow Parade cows live in summer, called Rüwlispass. Not to be confused with Rawilpass which is above Siebenbrunnen, up in the stone part of the mountains.

Rüwlispass is at 1700m, a pass in a green bowl with two small lakes. Farmers can drive up there from St Stephen, people bike up there too. It is a 700m ascent which we could do but it is a lot for us. For walkers the recommended route is from the top of the Lenk gondola, on a long hike at high level to Rinderberg where you take a gondola down to Zweisimmen. It is a long hike, six hours, and you have to make good time because the gondolas usually stop at 4:30. I’ve never felt we could do that hike.

I found an easier way and today we were at Rüwlispass.

Hike: Horneggli (1770m, top of chairlift) to Hornburg to Parwengen (1836m) to Parwengechessel (1835m) to Rüwlispass (1718m), 7.8 miles, 3hr30min, 1112ft/338m ascent.

We drove out to Schoenreid (30 mins) and took the chairlift to Horneggli (33CHF return each - if you stay in Gstaad you can buy a pass for the gondolas). We do this hike every trip, usually walking up to Hornburg (20min) where there are some hotels and restaurants, then walking on to Parwenge (45mins from the start) where we turn around and then have lunch at one of the restaurants. In recent years we added another 30 minutes out and turned around there.

Today we continued from our furthest point and started downhill for another 30 minutes and there we were at Rüwlispass! We got there in 1hr40mins. The signs said 1hr30min so we were not far off. We had our sandwiches in a field at the pass, then headed back. Looking at the numbers it was only a 100m ascent, but it took 40 minutes and wasn’t easy. It was sunny and hot. We did the climb back and then walked back to the gondola. No time for the restaurant which has a beautiful outdoor terrace because the last gondola was 4:30pm.

A good hike, a new place for us, and my favourite mountain ride, the open air gondola.

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From the start of the hike we could see the Eiger (stone triangle), the Monch (snow capped behind it) and the Jungfrau (to the right). You can see the three of them between the trees. The Eiger sits above Grindelwald where we were a couple of weeks ago.

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Looking down the Turbach valley with Gstaad beyond. Another valley that I hope we get to hike.

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On the way to Rüwlispass.

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Rüwlispass!

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Another view of Rüwlispass.

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Looking in the other direction, towards the path down to St Stephen.
 

Wendy Ashworth

10+ Posts
Great to see/ hear that you had such a rewarding day.
I love the photos & think I can spot the mighty Eiger. Switzerland is endlessly rewardino.
We had a great few days in 2016 staying in the mountains above Ennetburgen with marvellous views over Lake Lucerne and from where we were able to explore Burgenstock very gently of course.
I continue to admire your stamina.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Thursday September 9
Overcast, 65F, afternoon light rain

Finally some bad weather! We had a rest day. We did walk a few miles along the river and through Lenk. I never get tired of this walk. Also did some grocery shopping.

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A hint of autumn in the air today as we went for a walk.

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I like this part of Lenk. It is just a few houses and farm houses on the outskirts.

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I especially like this farmhouse with lime green shutters.

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Back at the chalet, clouds gathering over the mountains.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Friday September 10
Overcast, cloud on the mountains, rain, cooler.

A proper bad weather day and we did not leave the apartment!

We booked an extra week here. We had planned to have 3 weeks here and then a week in France or Italy, but I just don’t feel up to staying somewhere else. This is unusual for me. I always like to move to new places. But we’ve always wanted to have a month in Lenk, so this is our chance.

We can’t stay in the same apartment because it is booked but are moving next Friday to another apartment close by for the last week. We were very close to spending that last week in Kandersteg but decided there is at least 2 weeks of hiking we want to get to here.

Weather is looking better tomorrow!
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Saturday September 11
Cooler, cloudy, some sun.

This morning the valley was filled with a light fog, which lifted quickly. It was cooler but the sun was out. We walked out for gipfel (Swiss croissants) and bread, as we do some days, and had a leisurely morning. I had a long hike planned but checking the weather it forecast rain at 5pm, so we did a shorter hike to get back early.

Hike: Läubbargli (1848m) to Bühlberg (1664m), short route, 3.5 miles, 2 hours, 780ft ascent

We took the noon bus up to Läubbargli. This is a small 20 person bus that goes up a very narrow road taking you up 800m in 25 minutes. The bus was full which was surprising because I thought everyone took the earlier buses. I guess others wanted a leisurely morning too. Some people go up to do one of the hikes that start here. Others go up to have lunch in the small restaurant up there.

We usually do a 2.5 - 3hr hike that starts with a steep climb. This time we went a different route that started out flat and was posted as 2 hours. In the end we climbed the same amount as the other version, but it was more gradual. When we started the fog was coming down and I thought it might rain. We did most of the hike without sun but it made it very beautiful and atmospheric.

There is a cabin along the way where we usually stop for lunch. We stopped there this time and put on our fleeces because it was getting colder. We reached Bühlberg in good time for the 3:05pm bus. They were setting up for a wedding outside the restaurant. It was drizzling but we were sitting on the bus when it started. It must have been a local couple getting married because the wedding people stopped to talk to our bus driver. He seemed to know them all. Some wedding people had taken the bus up. We saw others driving up, pulling over on the very narrow road to let the bus pass as we drove down.

When we take this bus we go by an apartment we rented twice when we first started coming here 8 years ago. We had to drive that road every day. I still remember every turn.

The sun came out when we got back to town but it didn’t stay out for long. It was a magical hike. We didn’t do it last year because we were avoiding buses and I had forgotten how nice it is up there.

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Steve on the trail.

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Looking back to Lenk in the valley below.

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Lunch view.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
A friend recently asked about hiking boots and here is my reply in case anyone else is interested.

There are a lot of great hiking shoes/boots available now. You don’t have to buy boots that go over the ankle. They now make great hiking shoes. I usually buy gortex versions (waterproof) for winter but not for summer because I feel they are lighter without gortex (I may be wrong).

The first thing is to be sure the shoes fit well with a finger width of space at the end of your toes. Buy good boots. I pay £150+ for shoes/boots. And I replace them every year (we walk a lot).

I always replace the insole with these:
Sidas Mid insoles specifically designed for medium arch feet
I found those at a Switzerland outdoor store and now order from Amazon. They make a big difference.

I have large feet, UK 8.5 - US 10.5 - and that limits the brands I can buy. Currently I wear Arcteryx and Salomon. I like to have two shoes going and switch between them during the week. I’ve given up on Merrells because they keep changing their styles, so you like one and then can’t get it again. Scarpa are also good. I have a pair of leather hiking shoes from them.

I am now wearing:
Arcteryx
Aerios FL Mid GTX Shoe Women's

They are between a boot and a shoe.

Salomon
X ULTRA 4 GORE-TEX

This is a new model and I like them better than the previous. Steve wears these too. They didn’t have the non-gortex in stock so I got the gortex.

I have a narrow foot and these both work well.

My plantar fasciitis healed after a year and I no longer suffer from it. I did wear a compression sock when I had it. I hurt my knee, a tendon just below the knee, two years ago and it is almost better. I wear a compression knee sock. I have a fancy one I got from Germany but I don’t need it now and just wear a light one.

Don’t forget hiking poles. They help with uphill and with downhill they take pressure off your knees.

That is my hiking boot/shoe information! What brands do you like?
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Sunday September 12
Warm, 65F, and sunny

Hike: Seebergsee Circular, 4.85miles. 3hours, 1000ft ascent


Well, we experienced some road rage today! We drove up to Seebergsee to do a hike. First you drive to Zweisimmen, then you take a narrow road through Grubenwald, a charming village with very old chalets. Then you are on a mountain road that switchbacks up the hillside, up through farm fields on steep slopes and woods. It takes about 30 minutes on this road and it is nerve wracking because it is one lane. If you meet someone you have to back up to a pullout and many times there is a steep drop off an inch from the road. You can see yourself going off the road and rolling down steep hillsides, finally coming to rest by a cow. There are cows on the road too adding to the excitement.

We were lucky going up, meeting only a couple of cars coming down. But there were bikers - regular mountain bikes and electric. If they are coming towards you, you stop and they squeeze by. If they are ahead of you, you can only pass if they go into a pullout.

We were behind a group of bikes slowly going uphill, Steve was driving, and he did not have room to pass. I thought the bikes might stop and move over but I guess they don’t want to break their rhythm. A pickup truck came up behind us and beeped! The bikers thought it was us! Some pulled over and we passed them. Others didn’t and we followed behind. It turned into downhill and they were moving fast. We all came to a gate that you had to open to continue. The bikers in a FU to the cars opened the gate wide enough for a bike, the bikes went through, then closed it.

I got out of the car and shouted to the bikers “do any of you speak English?” One guy replied with a mumble and I said “we did not beep you, it was the car behind. We would not beep you!” To which he replied “I know, the car behind is the asshole, not you”. Yes, he is the asshole not us! Victory is mine!

I opened the gate, Steve drove through and pulled over. The pickup drove through and waved thanks to me. I glared at them, four young men, but they couldn’t tell because I was wearing sunglasses. They passed Steve. Then they forced the bikers off the road by leaning on their horn and gave the bikers the finger (twice). Such drama, in Switzerland! We continued along creeping uphill behind the bikes until the road widened and we safely passed them.

Why was it so important to me that they knew we didn’t beep? Have I become British? Would I even survive in the US these days?

We parked. There were a lot of cars, maybe 30. From there it is a 30 minute hi,e uphill to a crest where you see the lake, then a steep downhill. There are other places to park closer to the lake and there were more cars there. We had our lunch by the lake and then did a 4 mile circular walk which we did once before in 2018, the only other time we’ve been there. I remember the hike as difficult and it was more difficult than I remembered.

There were a lot of people at the lake. It is a short walk, 1 mile on a dirt road to a restaurant where we stopped last time. It was full with people on the terrace and at tables and loungers in the field. We didn’t stop this time but used their WC. These mountain restaurants always let you use the WC but some may ask for a small payment.

The rest of the hike was beautiful but difficult. You walk across three valleys with steep downhill and uphill. I am still having difficulty on the uphill, getting winded easily and needing to rest.

What a wonderful day! The views were amazing. From one point we could see Lenk at the end of the valley. We could see the mountains around Gstaad/Saanen and those at Juanpass above Zweisimmen.

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First view of Seebergsee.

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Having our lunch at the lake.

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The restaurant on the trail.

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You hike down and then up this large valley.

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Another valley to hike down, then up again.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Monday September 13
Sunny and warm, high 60sF

Hike: Leiterli (1946m) to Stubleni (2109m) to Gryden to Leiterli, 4.12miles, 2 hrs, 560ft ascent/descent


We did a nice easy hike today, taking the gondola to the top and doing the two hour circular walk. You climb a bit on this hike and get great views over Lenk from one side and Lauenen and the Gstaad valleys the other way.

While having our lunch we watched some people sitting up on a rock get surrounded by goats. Goats! One of them climbed up on the rock with them. Goats will steal your lunch if they can. Such devils. Of course we wanted to see them so when we continued we looked for them but couldn’t find them or even figure out where they had been.

Back home mid afternoon and we sat out on the sunny terrace. There was a chill in the air in the morning and it was cool in places up where we hiked but it was hot in Lenk.

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Looking back to Lenk valley.

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Looking to the Gstaad valleys.

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Getting to the high point at Stubleni.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Tuesday September 14
Light cloud, some sun, warm, mid 60sF

I woke up this morning and thought “I don’t want to go for a hike!” I wanted to do a drive. Steve felt the same even though we had picked out our hike last night. We drove to Gstaad (45min) stopping at the Early Beck bakery on the road outside Gstaad to get some of their fabulous bread and buttered pretzels for lunch.

Then we parked in Gstaad. They have big car parks at either end of their pedestrian street. We went to the Early Beck on the pedestrian road and got more bread. Last time I froze some, in our very small freezer, and that worked well. I did the same with this. I don’t know why, but I am tired of the bread from the bakery in Lenk, so this will keep us going. For breakfast we have oatmeal or Bircher Muesli (oats soaked overnight in oat milk), and toast.

My first impression of Gstaad was how exciting! All these people! All these shops! We’ve been to Gstaad many times and spent 2 weeks there years ago, and two weeks in nearby Saanen after that. This used to be our favourite area. After a few minutes I remembered how high end Gstaad is. Accommodations are expensive, shops are expensive and people are well dressed. It is still a fun place but very different from Lenk. Steve saw an ad in the parking garage for a company that looks after your private plane.

We walked up the Main Street. Many shops were closed because we arrived at noon and they close from noon to 1:30pm. The high end deli that I wanted was closed which was probably good.

We went into the Coop which is much bigger than the one in Lenk. I bought all the things I am bringing home - packages of Organic Rosti, bags of their organic Bircher Muesli, jars of mountain salt (fleur de sel) from nearby Bex.

We drove on past Gstaad and started up a valley we’ve never been up. The Turbach valley. It is parallel to the Lauenen valley. I was driving today because Steve felt he had done enough driving to Seebergsee the other day. The road was narrow but started out okay. Within 10 minutes it went uphill and turned into a major freaky mountain road. At the first opportunity I turned around. You can take a bus up this road and walk back to Gstaad in 1.5 hours. We parked back by the river, sat on a bench and had our pretzels (so much butter! I think I am over my obsession with them.). We could see the hiking/biking trail and walked it a bit. We had planned to do this hike but Steve pointed out that our river walk in Lenk is just as nice, maybe better, so why bother with the drive and bus ride to do something similar.

I had to back up twice to let vehicles pass. Once for a tractor, the other time for a street cleaner. A street cleaner! We were out in the countryside, farms up the road, and this electric vehicle was cleaning the street.

We drove back around Gstaad and headed west to Chateux d’Oex. The rosti ditch, the imaginary line that separates the large German speaking part of Switzerland from the smaller French speaking part. People speak French in Gstaad, but that is a German town name. Heading west the towns have French names. I remember Chateau d’Oex as a charming French town with cafes but it was not like this now. The two restaurants sold burgers and many shops were closed.

Drove back home after a nice day out.

Personally a sad day for me because my friends Valerie and Bryan’s cat, Lucano, died! For years I have knitted him cat toys (he loved them) and I’ve been working on two here and was going to mail them. V & B live in Basilicata and we’ve even cat sat for Lucano. He hadn’t been sick but was attacked, which is even worse. He was 11. My old cat Spike died from an attack by a coyote when we lived in Santa Fe, so I now how they are feeling.

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Gstaad Train station.

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The Early Beck Bakery in an historic building.

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The Gstaad Palace Hotel where the original Return of the Pink Panther was filmed. “Do you have a ruom?”

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Beautiful Lucano and his Nala bag (1bike1world).

View: https://youtu.be/70TfU9R09Qg
 

Terry

100+ Posts
Sunday September 12
Warm, 65F, and sunny

Hike: Seebergsee Circular, 4.85miles. 3hours, 1000ft ascent


Well, we experienced some road rage today! We drove up to Seebergsee to do a hike. First you drive to Zweisimmen, then you take a narrow road through Grubenwald, a charming village with very old chalets. Then you are on a mountain road that switchbacks up the hillside, up through farm fields on steep slopes and woods. It takes about 30 minutes on this road and it is nerve wracking because it is one lane. If you meet someone you have to back up to a pullout and many times there is a steep drop off an inch from the road. You can see yourself going off the road and rolling down steep hillsides, finally coming to rest by a cow. There are cows on the road too adding to the excitement.

We were lucky going up, meeting only a couple of cars coming down. But there were bikers - regular mountain bikes and electric. If they are coming towards you, you stop and they squeeze by. If they are ahead of you, you can only pass if they go into a pullout.

We were behind a group of bikes slowly going uphill, Steve was driving, and he did not have room to pass. I thought the bikes might stop and move over but I guess they don’t want to break their rhythm. A pickup truck came up behind us and beeped! The bikers thought it was us! Some pulled over and we passed them. Others didn’t and we followed behind. It turned into downhill and they were moving fast. We all came to a gate that you had to open to continue. The bikers in a FU to the cars opened the gate wide enough for a bike, the bikes went through, then closed it.

I got out of the car and shouted to the bikers “do any of you speak English?” One guy replied with a mumble and I said “we did not beep you, it was the car behind. We would not beep you!” To which he replied “I know, the car behind is the asshole, not you”. Yes, he is the asshole not us! Victory is mine!

I opened the gate, Steve drove through and pulled over. The pickup drove through and waved thanks to me. I glared at them, four young men, but they couldn’t tell because I was wearing sunglasses. They passed Steve. Then they forced the bikers off the road by leaning on their horn and gave the bikers the finger (twice). Such drama, in Switzerland! We continued along creeping uphill behind the bikes until the road widened and we safely passed them.

Why was it so important to me that they knew we didn’t beep? Have I become British? Would I even survive in the US these days?

We parked. There were a lot of cars, maybe 30. From there it is a 30 minute hi,e uphill to a crest where you see the lake, then a steep downhill. There are other places to park closer to the lake and there were more cars there. We had our lunch by the lake and then did a 4 mile circular walk which we did once before in 2018, the only other time we’ve been there. I remember the hike as difficult and it was more difficult than I remembered.

There were a lot of people at the lake. It is a short walk, 1 mile on a dirt road to a restaurant where we stopped last time. It was full with people on the terrace and at tables and loungers in the field. We didn’t stop this time but used their WC. These mountain restaurants always let you use the WC but some may ask for a small payment.

The rest of the hike was beautiful but difficult. You walk across three valleys with steep downhill and uphill. I am still having difficulty on the uphill, getting winded easily and needing to rest.

What a wonderful day! The views were amazing. From one point we could see Lenk at the end of the valley. We could see the mountains around Gstaad/Saanen and those at Juanpass above Zweisimmen.

View attachment 33554
First view of Seebergsee.

View attachment 33555
Having our lunch at the lake.

View attachment 33557
The restaurant on the trail.

View attachment 33556
You hike down and then up this large valley.

View attachment 33558
Another valley to hike down, then up again.
I would have wanted the bikers to know too, and I’m not British
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Wednesday September 15
Overcast, drizzle and rain, cooler (low 60sF)

Today we did a 4 mile walk along the river during a midday dry patch. It drizzled for part of the walk but not enough to get out our rain jackets. I love this walk along the river. You go up one side for 2 miles then cross over and come back on the other side, branching off to go through woods and a small village before returning to Lenk by its lake.

It is never busy. It is flat so you can walk a good pace. And the views are beautiful. But especially I just love the river with rushing cold grey water, just from the glacier.

I am reading a Scottish book now, a Booker winner, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, set in Glasgow in the 1980s when Britain started falling apart for many, during Thatcher’s reign. We lived here then, for six months in 1988-89.

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Walking out of town.

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Just before the turnaround point.

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The sun came out briefly at the turnaround point.

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This is where we move to tomorrow. The first floor of this chalet on the edge of town. You can see it from where we are staying now.

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The bread we like from Early Beck in Gstaad.
 
Last edited:

Wendy Ashworth

10+ Posts
Sunday September 12
Warm, 65F, and sunny

Hike: Seebergsee Circular, 4.85miles. 3hours, 1000ft ascent


Well, we experienced some road rage today! We drove up to Seebergsee to do a hike. First you drive to Zweisimmen, then you take a narrow road through Grubenwald, a charming village with very old chalets. Then you are on a mountain road that switchbacks up the hillside, up through farm fields on steep slopes and woods. It takes about 30 minutes on this road and it is nerve wracking because it is one lane. If you meet someone you have to back up to a pullout and many times there is a steep drop off an inch from the road. You can see yourself going off the road and rolling down steep hillsides, finally coming to rest by a cow. There are cows on the road too adding to the excitement.

We were lucky going up, meeting only a couple of cars coming down. But there were bikers - regular mountain bikes and electric. If they are coming towards you, you stop and they squeeze by. If they are ahead of you, you can only pass if they go into a pullout.

We were behind a group of bikes slowly going uphill, Steve was driving, and he did not have room to pass. I thought the bikes might stop and move over but I guess they don’t want to break their rhythm. A pickup truck came up behind us and beeped! The bikers thought it was us! Some pulled over and we passed them. Others didn’t and we followed behind. It turned into downhill and they were moving fast. We all came to a gate that you had to open to continue. The bikers in a FU to the cars opened the gate wide enough for a bike, the bikes went through, then closed it.

I got out of the car and shouted to the bikers “do any of you speak English?” One guy replied with a mumble and I said “we did not beep you, it was the car behind. We would not beep you!” To which he replied “I know, the car behind is the asshole, not you”. Yes, he is the asshole not us! Victory is mine!

I opened the gate, Steve drove through and pulled over. The pickup drove through and waved thanks to me. I glared at them, four young men, but they couldn’t tell because I was wearing sunglasses. They passed Steve. Then they forced the bikers off the road by leaning on their horn and gave the bikers the finger (twice). Such drama, in Switzerland! We continued along creeping uphill behind the bikes until the road widened and we safely passed them.

Why was it so important to me that they knew we didn’t beep? Have I become British? Would I even survive in the US these days?

We parked. There were a lot of cars, maybe 30. From there it is a 30 minute hi,e uphill to a crest where you see the lake, then a steep downhill. There are other places to park closer to the lake and there were more cars there. We had our lunch by the lake and then did a 4 mile circular walk which we did once before in 2018, the only other time we’ve been there. I remember the hike as difficult and it was more difficult than I remembered.

There were a lot of people at the lake. It is a short walk, 1 mile on a dirt road to a restaurant where we stopped last time. It was full with people on the terrace and at tables and loungers in the field. We didn’t stop this time but used their WC. These mountain restaurants always let you use the WC but some may ask for a small payment.

The rest of the hike was beautiful but difficult. You walk across three valleys with steep downhill and uphill. I am still having difficulty on the uphill, getting winded easily and needing to rest.

What a wonderful day! The views were amazing. From one point we could see Lenk at the end of the valley. We could see the mountains around Gstaad/Saanen and those at Juanpass above Zweisimmen.

View attachment 33554
First view of Seebergsee.

View attachment 33555
Having our lunch at the lake.

View attachment 33557
The restaurant on the trail.

View attachment 33556
You hike down and then up this large valley.

View attachment 33558
Another valley to hike down, then up again.
I would have wanted the bikers to know too, and I’m not British
It’s generous of you to think people from the UK wouldn’t have sounded their horn. I’m thinking at least 60 % would !
I remember the Co op in Gstaad very well as we were able to put a picnic together during our visit. We felt we needed to economise after buying the most expensive coffee in the world from a beautiful little cafe !
I was given a portable “minipress“ as a gift recently and that makes good espresso coffee I’m pleased to say.
I ‘m an addict but Pauline knows that already although my maximum of 3 a day is rarely exceeded.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Thursday September 16
Overcast and rain all day, sometimes heavy

Rain all day. We packed up the apartment, loaded up the car, and moved to another apartment because “our” apartment is booked this weekend and we decided to stay another week.

The apartment we are in now is nice but not as nice as our usual one. We are on the first floor and there is another apartment upstairs. The kitchen is not as nice but will do for the week. I like not being in an apartment building. Kronenmatte is three levels with two apartments on each level. It has underground parking. In the new place we park outside the house. Hoping the rain will clean the car which is covered in bremains from our drive here.

The reason nearly everything was booked this weekend is The Swiss Trail Tour, a three day mountain running event that starts tomorrow. Tomorrow they start at 11am and we will go out the watch the start. Three days of mountain running, each day starting in Lenk just down the street from us. They are running some of the trails we walk and some that are too difficult for us.

Switzerland has implemented a type of vaccine passport for restaurants and events. We haven’t had to deal with this yet but I think our UK papers will work.

Back home in the UK there is the usual government chaos (cabinet reshuffle) and high Covid case numbers (3 times higher than France). Travel people are expecting changes to travel regulations which will make it easier for us when we return. Currently we have to test before we return, then test on days 2 and 8 on return. I am not bothered by the tests on return, except that they are expensive and people say the results are not reviewed. What I don’t want to do is a test before we return. What if it is positive? Then we cannot return to the UK. If I tested positive and Steve didn’t, I would get him to drive home and leave me in France. I could quarantine somewhere and then take the train home. But, yikes! Who wants to do that? Fingers crossed that they remove this test requirement next week.

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Swiss breakfast. Gipfel (one butter, one salty) and coffee with warm milk.

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View from apartment. Mountains hiding behind cloud.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Friday September 17
Sunny and warm, mid to high 60sF

The first day of The Swiss Trail Tour started today at 11am. We can see the start/finish line from our kitchen window. We walked out to see the start. We had planned a hike but instead spent the day on our porch, with its fabulous view, reading. At 1:20pm runners started returning.

An hour after that the young couple (and baby and dog) moving into the apartment above us rang our doorbell by mistake (nothing is labelled) and not only do they have the cutest dog in the world (Wally) but they are Americans from Minnesota living in Zurich! And he ran the race this morning. I am not a dog lover but Wally leaned up against me while we were chatting and I asked if he could visit for awhile. We had a nice 20 minutes on the porch patting him, then I took him upstairs to his owners.

We went out for an end of day walk as the sun was leaving the valley. Beautiful.

The UK government has announced that no pre-departure tests are needed starting October 4. We are scheduled to cross the border September 26 but are now considering spending an extra week or so in France to avoid the test. I think Steve thinks I have mild Covid (still coughing a bit, sweat at night, tired). It’s been two weeks now so I don’t think that is it. I will try to get some tests at the pharmacy so we can rule it out. I wonder if it all relates to my tooth problem. They found no infection on the X-ray but I know something is going on. I have an appointment when we get back.

Tomorrow’s race starts at 9am. Today was 22km, tomorrow is 39km. It must have been muddy on the trail. The whole atmosphere in Lenk is different with all these young athletes here this weekend.

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This couple stopped outside my window to do their stretching on the road! Not a busy road, but a road. You can see the start down the main road.

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Friday’s race starts.

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A small cow parade holds up traffic as they walk through Lenk.

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Late afternoon light on the mountains at the end of the valley.
 

Ratnasdiary

New Member
Sunday September 5
Sunny and warm, high 60sF

Another good weather day! We’ve had two days with no hiking because I needed a rest. I’ve been feeling tired. Of course my mind leaps to Covid, but I don’t think so. Not that tired. Just altitude, too much strong sun and too much hiking. I am feeling my age (66) on the trails. Maybe I got out of walking shape this summer. We were not hiking long hikes like we usually do, but were doing shorter hikes. The weather at home was bad this summer. At home we use a treadmill (walking only) and exercise bike on the days we don’t hike and an hour on those isn’t as good as hiking for a few hours. Also the treadmill has got us both walking faster, so I think we might be walking faster on the trails than usual.

Hike: Lenk to Simmenfalle and return, 5.5 miles, 2 hours, almost flat. This is not out and back, but is circular since you go out on one side of the river and back on the other and then into a neighborhood and through a park. Really a nice walk.

Today we did the easy valley trail that I love. We walk along the river towards the mountains and Simmenfalle, the waterfall at the end of the valley. We usually do this hike once a week. We started out slowly but picked up our pace as we went along. There were not many people out and it was very peaceful.

Near the turnaround point a farmer has set up a small shed along the trail where they sell cheese and cold drinks. This year they have added two picnic tables. We got a drink I had not tried before, apple juice and mineral, and sat at the table for a break.

A lovely walk! I had planned a few hours on the terrace but the field we are beside was being cut today. Everyone is haying everywhere right now! Maybe I am suffering from allergies!

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At the start of the walk.

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Shorley, one of the cold drinks for sale. You do not often see Coke or Pepsi here, which is good.

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Our melted cheese and bread from yesterday. They have good pickles here. They sprinkle Swiss herbs on it.
Thanks for sharing this trip report..... some useful information on the current situation there. I am recalling my trip before the pandemic !
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Saturday September 18
Sunny and warm, high 60sF

We went to the pharmacy and bought Covid tests, the ones you do yourself. Neither of us was positive. I am feeling better today. I really haven’t been ill, just a little off. I think it can be explained by altitude, allergies and stress. Not that there is anything stressful in my life now, but this year and a half of the Covid pandemic affects you on a deep level.

Hike: Reidenbach (833m) to Schwarzenmatt (935m) to high point (1091m) to Tubetal (967m) to Boltigen (823m) and back along the river, 5miles, 2.5hrs, 830ft/250m ascent.

This was a delightful hike in a new area for us. We drove to Reidenback (40mins) and parked at the tourist office. Parking is difficult to find in the Simmental between Zweisimmen and Spiez. There is usually parking at the train stations. Sometimes you can find a small lot along the road. This is a narrow valley with a road, train tracks and river running through it. The villages are built up the sides.

We stopped at this tourist office the day we arrived to get hiking advice and she said we could park in their small lot and hike from there. This tourist office is not open often but was open when we arrive just before 1pm, so I was able to go over the route again and make sure parking there was okay. She closed up as we were still getting organised.

The hike starts out on a local road, uphill but not too steep to the village Schwarzenmatt (30mins), which sits in a gorgeous valley surrounded by mountains. Then we went into woods and walked on a rooty trail that was much steeper for another 30mins. We came to the top in another pretty field with a few farms. We found a bench and had our lunch.

From there it was downhill along lanes or through woods to another very pretty village, Tubetal. We saw only a few other hikers. We then walked downhill to Boltigen on the main road at the bottom of the valley. We always drive through without stopping so I appreciated walking through getting a good look at the old buildings. We walked to the river and took the trail that goes along the whole valley back to Reidenbach.

This area sits below the Juanpass mountains and looks very different from Lenk.

We got back to Lenk around 4:30 when the last of the Swiss Trail Tour people were finishing their day. They started at 9am this morning. We watched from our kitchen window. What a day they had. They climbed to heights we’ve never reached and went through areas we know well. The last day is tomorrow and the forecast is heavy rain with a high of 52F. But yesterday and today the weather was perfect.

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Walking up through Schwarzenmatt.

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The Schwarzenmatt valley.

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Starting the steep climb in the woods and looking down to Schwarzenmatt.

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The high point of the walk. We started at the bottom of that valley.

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Walking down to Boltigen.

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Beautiful Boltigen house on the main road. Green shutters are popular here.

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The main road through Boltigen and their bear statue.

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Wooden bridge over the river at Boltigen.

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Walking along the river looking up to where we walked at the bottom of those woods above the field. Doesn’t look so high. What was I complaining about? Trails here continue up to those rocky peaks.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Sunday September 19
Cold (45F) and heavy rain, snow on the mountains

Woke to very heavy rain and it continued most of the day. Today was day 3 of The Swiss Trail Tour. They delayed the start by 30 minutes, but all the events took place - the day 3 run, the one day run, a shorter run, the kids events. We watched from the window.

On Instagram they announced a change to the route. Instead of going up to 2600m and running across the tops of the mountains at the end of valley, they ran up to 1700m to keep below the snow line. They did post photos of runners with snow falling but no accumulation on the ground. They ran in cold and heavy rain.

They ended up doing a route that we do in three hikes and a car/bus ride. From town along the river to Simmenfalle (our favourite walk), from Simmenfalle up to Siebenbrunnen and on to the Rezliberg valley (a hike we did recently), then up to Langermatte at 1700m and down to Iffigenalp (a hike we have done), then back down to Lenk (we drive or take the bus).

We stayed home and read. Lovely to have a day off.

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View of the end of the valley from our porch.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Monday September 20
Overcast, cold (low 50sF), rained all day

Today was forecast to have some rain in the morning and some drizzle in the afternoon, but it rained all day. After lunch we got dressed in rain gear, ready to go out, but the rain never stopped and we gave up. The good news is that our last 3 days look good, so we will get some last hikes in.

This apartment is in an older chalet that must have been renovated recently by Ferienlenk. It has nice wood floors, the same cheapish/modern furniture they use in all their places, a huge TV with Netflix, very comfortable beds, a modern spacious shower. The windows haven’t been updated but they have nice curtains.

Only in the kitchen do you see its 1960 roots. Linoleum floor, old style tile, stainless steel counters, small fridge and very small freezer. It is not a great kitchen for cooking but only because the electric stove is hard to control and the pots are not nice. The dishwasher doesn’t really work with the dishes they have. The oven works well. No microwave but we don’t use them and none of their apartments have them.

Here is my photo essay of the kitchen which is, I think, interesting.

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A small galley kitchen.

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Stainless steel counter with sink and stovetop all of one piece. I travel with a Brita filter now so we don’t buy bottled water. And I bring my own unscented dish soap because you can’t always find it (laundry soap too). We travel here by car so it is easy to bring extra things.

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One plug for three small appliances. Fruit is covered because there are small fly things here (and in the last place). You can see the knives I travel with.

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Small fridge but big enough. Nice that it is at counter height. Very small freezer. No more frozen pizza for us.

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Cupboards beside the fridge. Steve put our chip bag clip on the fridge which struck me as funny because that’s where we keep it at home. They supply a pressure cooker (in the other apartment too). I use it to cook brown rice but we haven’t been eating as much as usual because I’ve been wanting lighter pasta or udon.

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I like the tile.

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I like the floor too. I have my walking socks on, ready to go for a walk.

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View of the town center.
 

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