Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 10: Switzerland

Friday, July 19, 2013

Today's highlights:
   -AMAZING Klettersteig Mürren hike!!!!
   -Swimming in Mürren
   -Made it to Interlaken, first hostel & first roommates!

Oh my heck! Today was the CRAZIEST-MOST-INCREDIBLE-DAY-EVER-OF-THIS-WHOLE-TRIP!!!!!  I posted a pic of our adventure today on Instagram, so some of you have seen a taste, but HOLY COW! It was unreal! 

So I told you that one of the guys at Pension Gimmelwald had told us about this cool hike, the Klettersteig Mürren (or Via Ferrata). These were his words, "You can pay a bunch of money for a guide to take you, or you can just rent the safety equipment and do it on your own." Now listen carefully to this part. He said, and I quote, "If you know how to walk and climb a ladder, you can do this on your own." Hours later, as we were hanging off the side of a cliff, Robbie passionately declared, "That was BULL CRAP!" And if you have seen that picture (or any that I'll post here), you will agree. Regardless, it was the COOLEST thing we have done so far, no contest.

So the hike starts in Mürren (the little town next to Gimmelwald) and ends in Gimmelwald itself. But instead of walking along the road like we did our first day, you scale a cliff and cross crazy ravines. For 25 francs per person, you can rent all the safety equipment in Mürren (including a helmet, harness, and two carabiner clips).

 The hike itself follows a braided metal cable the whole way, so you are always hooked on to it with your clips. If you ever have to hook on to a new section of wire, you leave one on as you move the second to the new cable. So yes, Marci and moms, we were attached the WHOLE time. 

The hike actually starts out pretty calm. Beautiful views but just a regular hiking trail. Then the trees clear and you get even more amazing views (while also seeing how far up you actually are). 

Finally, it starts gettin a little crazy. When we first stepped out onto these metal rebar pegs in the rock, we had the safety of hard ground just below us. But with every step we took, that ground disappeared a little more until finally it was just that metal peg standing between us and 2,000 foot drop. Crazy!

It probably wouldn't have freaked us out as bad as it did, but just as we were about to start the scariest part, we came across a guy in a squirrel suit and we watched him JUMP OFF THE MOUNTAIN!!  I swear it was a full minute of falling before he pulled his parachute. Watching him made us accidentally stare down at how high we actually were and our hearts started pumping even harder!

That part eventually ended and the trail evened out again, only to get all crazy again. Next task was to cross a ravine on a wire. Yes, you read that right. Walk across a WIRE to the other side. Okay, so we did have a wire on each side to hold onto but still! Freaky. 

We do that not once, but TWICE!  And one was really far. It was crazy! So then, the trail evens out again just before it gets crazy one more time. Just before the end we had to cross a suspension bridge. I'm talking straight from Indiana Jones. And it was a HUGE wide ravine, and a VERY long way down. And as the wind blew, it would sway a little as you walked. Bah! Intense. 

And the best news is, we made it! We lived to tell the tale of this amazing place! It was exhilarating and terrifying and wonderful and unbelievable and beautiful all at the same time! Part of what made it so scary was knowing that there was no one there telling us what to do. No guide. We just had to be super careful and trust our equipment. Wowzas! It was amazing! Come to Switzerland and hike the Klettersteig Mürren!

The only downer was that Robbie hurt his bad knee stepping off a rock. It's not terrible, but we had to take it kinda easy the rest of the day so the swelling would go down. But he's walking on it now and says its not too bad. 

After our hike, it was time to leave Gimmelwald for good, which broke our little hearts. It was so beautiful! But on our way out of town, we learned that if we wanted to walk the 30 Minutes back to Mürren (on the road, not a metal cable) we could get in to their swimming pool for free! We had some time and were dirty, stinky, and sore and a pool sounded SO nice. So we did it! We were even more grateful for it after that walk (all steep uphill, I was seriously drenched in sweat by the time we got there. They probably wondered why I needed a pool). Man, I have enjoyed swimming pools in my day, but they have never felt as good as that one did. We just floated and tried our hardest to use ZERO muscle power. All this walking takes a toll on your leg muscles it turns out, and you're never NOT using those muscles. Except when you are weightless, floating in a pool. Heaven.

We jetted and then traveled the 30 minutes by train to Interlaken and we made some friends! Yeah! Fellow travelers and a native Swissssssian...? They were so fun and we all shared all our favorite parts of the trip so far and advice on what to see and do. I love meeting people here, natives or foreigners.  It's like you have a community all around you of other adventurers (especially in Switzerland). Everyone is so excited to talk about new adventures. I love it!

Let's talk for a sec about how amazing old people are in Switzerland (locals, foreigners, whatevs). We have seen SO many people clearly in their retirement age, and let me tell you, they look a million times more hardcore than we are. As we were hiking regular paths, drenched in sweat and struggling to breathe, most of the people we passed coming from the opposite way were at least 65 or 70, just trekkin it with a big old smile on their face and those ski pole walker stick things. If they weren't so adorable, that smile might make me a little angry in my misery. But really, Come on! That's so incredible! I want to be like them when I get old. Rob and I will come back and cross that wire bridge when we are 80 :)

Anyway, we finally made it to Interlaken, to our first HOSTEL! We've stayed at cheap hotels so far, but this was our first time sharing a room. First off, let me begin by saying the name of our hostel is Funny Farm. So I don't know what I was picturing, but for sure something ghetto. Well we got here and it is SO nice! Like, feels like a 5 star hotel when you're in the lobby kind of nice. We actually came in just to get directions to Funny Farm because we were certain this couldn't be it. Surprise surprise, it was. Second good surprise was that our roommates are so sweet. They are two girls from San Francisco that just barely graduated high school, so this is their graduation trip. Wow! You go girls. Also, they arrived first so they got to choose where to sleep. For the first time, Rob and I are sleeping in a bunk bed, while the 17-year olds share a double bed. Haha, well played universe. 


  1. Every day that I read your blog, I get more and more jealous. That hike looks AWESOME!!

  2. CRAZY! That hike was Crazy! I can't believe you guys actually did that! I think I would have chickened out right when the hike started requiring clips. :) I lived in Switzerland when I was eight and then Germany when I was sixteen but I swear I never did anything half as cool as this hike! So beautiful though and you had me laughing through the whole post. I am glad that you guys are having such a fun adventure!

  3. The wire hike sounds sooo awesome!! Jealous!!