Lütschine Panoramastrasse

Yesterday we thought that today we might go up the other side of the valley to Mürren, but overnight, a cool front came thru with some rain and clouds. Although it’s not raining this morning, it is mostly cloudy. With the weather front came some noticeably cooler weather. The high today will be 66 degrees. The other deciding factor was cost. Since they replaced the cog tram up to Mürren (we took in 2004) with a cable car system, they really jacked up the cost.

We decided to hike down the Lütschine Panoramastrasse, a walkway that parallels the Lütschine river, starts in town and goes out of the village in the same direction we walked yesterday. In fact, as it turns out, where the pathway ends, you turn right, walk across a bridge over the river and end up on the path we took yesterday.

In the distance, you can see the spire of the Lauterbrunnen church. There was a church built in Lauterbrunnen in 1487, though this building appears to date from 1830. Lauterbrunnen itself was first mentioned in history around 1240. The valley was under the control of the church until the 1580’s.

The church bell from that earlier time (1487) is on display at the church.

Continuing down the path, we follow the river.

Weisse Lütschine river

The river isn’t high, but remains turgid from the fine material it carries as the water drains the mountains’ watershed.

As a population center, Lauterbrunnen was somewhat marginal in the 1800’s-1900’s, as it really had no industries. It was not until the late 18th century that mountain climbers started using Lauterbrunnen as the departure point for expeditions into the nearby Alps, that tourism began to play a big role in the local economy. Along with the extension of the railroad (Bernese Oberland Railway) and the Jungfrau railway (“Top of Europe“) in 1912, tourism really began to become a major force. We’ve taken the train to Jungfraujoch twice and it’s quite an experience.

From the perspective of our trail, we can look up and behind us to see Wengen , though the view to the Männlichen is shrouded in low hanging clouds.

How’d they get that flag up there?

There are a series of two storied apartments that look like summer homes built across the meadow from us. Some of them look like they’re already buttoned up and ready for winter. We saw a newly built set of apartments (2-3 bedroom) that were apparently built just for rental. With the area enjoying tourism in the summer months (hiking, rafting, cycling, paragliding) and again during ski season, the only time when tourism isn’t very active is during March-May.

The path continues alongside the river and near a construction company that has two helicopters that are taking loads of material to sites apparently otherwise inaccessible. Though not in this photo, we’ve seen the helicopters flying through the valley with a long cable dangling below them with the cargo.

Helicopter taking off from home base
Guess what? Another waterfall!

Soon, the trail on this side of the river comes to an end. There are a couple of places to cross to the other side. This one takes you into the camping ground I mentioned yesterday.

We walked further down to the point where you have to cross over the river to the other side.

From this point we’ll walk across a meadow to the trail we took yesterday and follow it back into the village, but not without being caught for a while in an afternoon rain shower.

Main Street Lauterbrunnen

The weather forecast for Lauterbrunnen for tomorrow indicates a high of 55 degrees, so this may be a signal for the beginning of fall here.

I mentioned using Google’s Fi cellphone service for high speed data. It’s great until you hit their slowdown limit at 15 gig. In 10 days, I used 18.4 gig and their definition of slow once you exceed 15 gig is the same as T-Mobile’s– really slow. Did I say it’s slooow?

Time to charge up all the electronics and pack. We leave this little “dorf” (small village) tomorrow on the next leg of our journey. We really enjoy the beauty and solitude of Lauterbrunnen and we’ll return again, soon we hope.

p.s. Gas is $6.25/gallon self serve in Lauterbrunnen.

p.p.s The cost of a round trip to Jungfraujoch from Lauterbrunnen is now Chf 185, or $188!

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