Switzerland 2017

Swiss Alps

As far as weekend breaks go this last one was a winner; an extremely welcome, albeit rather ill-timed, break to Switzerland with my better half.  This was my third visit to the Swiss Alps and once again it was far from restful…and I would have it no other way!  The entire weekend was full of sunshine, colour, adventure, and some new friends.

Day 1 – Interlaken/Check in

My anticipation to finally be back in the mountains had been mounting for weeks and, as we neared the town of Interlaken, my excitement hit a tipping point when the snow covered peaks crept into view.  Despite the cool mountain air the sun was blazing; perfect for a picnic and a quick paddle (for me) in the crystal clear Aare river.

Feeling weary we headed to our Airbnb in Frutigen where we received an extremely warm welcome, not to mention stunning views!  The pace of life in the Swiss mountains is such that you find yourself unwinding without any effort.  The towns are peaceful, the atmosphere friendly, and the houses…so so CUTE!

Before we could settle down for the night though, we had one last thing to do.  Daniel had the third crossfit open workout to ‘muscle’ through so we head to a box in Thun and were met with warm welcomes as usual – quick chance to promote Crossfit to you all – get on it! ;).  He did extremely well and, as always, I was very proud (*cringe*).

As we laid our heads down for the night in our cosy room I could not wait to wake up the following morning.

View of the Swiss Alps from our bedroom window
The view from our bedroom

Day 2 – Lauterbrunnen/Gimmelwald

Feeling well slept and well fed we drove through the Lauterbrunnen valley to a place called Stechelberg.  From there we enjoyed an incredibly peaceful, and almost romantic walk back through the valley of waterfalls, past seas of green, rushing rivers, and 300m high waterfalls.  For anybody travelling to Switzerland who is looking for an easy walk coupled with magnificent views, this one is for you.  What’s more, the town of Stechelberg is the starting point for visitors wishing to travel up to Schilthorn (the prices are high but the views are worth it!).

For the first time in a long while I felt completely relaxed, finally managing to forget about the pressures of life, even if just for a short while.

After a short bus ride back to Stechelberg we met up with some new friends all the way from America.  I first contacted Kylie a while back through Instagram – she’s a complete genius with a camera!  She happened to be travelling through Europe for a few weeks and agreed to do us an engagement shoot in the mountains.

With the mountain of Schilthorn as our backdrop we hiked through the little  whimsical town of Gimmelwald while Kylie papped us and her poor husband Chase acted as pack horse, carrying our bags and jackets.  The temperature may have been freezing but getting to know this crazy couple and watching the sun set over the mountains made it all worth it! (even the awkwardness we felt :P).

View of our walk through the Lauterbrunnen valley
Lauterbrunnen valley

Day 3 – First – Lake Bachalpsee – Faulhorn – Bussalp

I fear that by condensing our third day into a few short lines I will fail to do it justice, but here goes.

Kitted out in our snow gear and trembling with excitement (well I was anyway!) we hopped on a gondola that took us from the ski town of Grindelwald up to First.  By the time we reached our stop the landscape was glistening white as far as the eye could see.  Our mission – to hike (with sleds) from First to Faulhorn, via Lake Bachalpsee, and to SLED, yes SLED 😀 down to a little mountain village called Bussalp.

If you’re hoping to hike these trails in winter, be sure to check the Jungfrau website to make sure what trails and runs are open.  We got super lucky, experiencing the perfect balance of fresh snow and hike-able trails.

Gopro shot of snowy swiss alps
Snowy hike to Lake Bachalpsee

After the initial incline from First, the trail to the Lake was relatively flat and, thankfully, we met few people on the way which made the experience even more magical.  However, as we passed lake Bachalpsee the trail reached a steep, steep incline; at one point we stopped and just looked at the mountain, trying to think of the best way to tackle it…we were not struck with any bright ideas!  The further we climbed the thinner the air got; we were very sweaty and short of breath, but with views like those pictured we had every excuse to make regular pit stops and soak it all in.

IMG_2513
Camoflaged in the mountains

A few hours later we reached the turnoff to Bussalp and a 7km sledge run.  It was fast and windy, and so exhilirating.  We finished the run with snow in our mouths, down our tops, and in our pants but I didn’t care!  I felt like a kid and I would do that hike all over again for another chance to sled back down.

To sum up – day 3 was a dream.

Lake Bachalpsee - Faulhorn

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Day 4 – Lake Thunersee/Fly home

On our final morning I felt the same saddening feeling I used to feel every Sunday night before a new week at school.  I desparately wanted to scale another snowy mountain before we left, but we lacked both the time and the funds to do so.

The alternative was hardly something to complain about however; a coffee date in the picturesque town of Thun followed by a sunny walk along lake Thunersee for one final view of the Alps and my last opportunity to dip my feet in the cold glassy water.

As we drove to the airport I found myself staring out the back window, dreaming of the next time we would get to lose ourselves in amongst those peaks.

Until next time Switzerland 🇨🇭

Lake Thunersee and Swiss Alps
Lake Thunersee
Lake Thunersee

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Kristina Middleton is an aspiring wildlife conservationist with big dreams. Based in Bath, she is currently researching the early social developments of the critically endangered Livingstone's Fruit Bat. She is a field data and publications volunteer for Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and a freelance wildlife surveyor for Keystone Environmental. She has worked in the field in South Africa, and Madagascar, assisting important wildlife conservation initiatives, and is always seeking new opportunities to learn. Krissy is committed to a future in conservation and, by sharing her experiences, wishes to inspire others to get involved.

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