September 4, 2017 – We woke up around 6:00am this morning to go jump off a cliff. Ok not exactly, we ran down a steep slope and then floated over the cliff!
I had bought Eric paragliding in Switzerland for his birthday. We had talked about not doing it since it’s really expensive, but we ultimately chose to do it because we have no idea if we’ll ever be in Switzerland again.
Our flight time was at 8:30am and we were told to meet our pilots by the Mürren gondola station. So we went down for breakfast in our hotel when it opened at 7:00am. They had some pastries, fruit, eggs, and various cheeses.
After a delicious breakfast, we went back to the room to get our jackets and then we were off.
The Mürren gondola station was a 5 minute walk from our hotel. Actually, everything was a 5 minute walk from our hotel. We were there early so we hung out in the station.
Once our pilots, Toni and Tobias with Airtime Paragliding, arrived it was time to trek up to the take off point. The hike quickly warmed us up since it was in the 40’s that morning. I couldn’t believe our pilots carried all that gear with them. I was exhausted by the time we got up there!
Once we reached the take off point, we took a couple pictures and then it was time to get our harnesses on.
I decided to go first with Tobias because I felt like if I watched Eric go I would be even more scared than I already was. So Tobias told me to start running and continue running even when we got airborne. I ran and ran and ran and then we were flying! We flew right over Mürren and then right over the cliff looking down in to the valley. We soared passed a huge waterfall which was beautiful.
Unfortunately, it was a bit cloudy when we flew so there was no sun to give us a thermal boost. The sun causes heat to come up from the valley floor which helps paragliders stay in flight for longer. It was still so much fun.
Tobias told me that for the landing I need to act like I was standing up from a chair. Well, I failed. I hit the ground full on. In true Lauryn fashion I apologized to my pilot for failing. He said, “Trust me, you aren’t the first and won’t be he last.” That made me feel a little better I guess!
We paid extra for them to take pictures and video while we flew. So we reviewed them while they packed up the gear. They were awesome. The scenery is just so beautiful, some of the pictures look fake. But I promise, we really did paraglide!
We bid adieu to our wonderful pilots and we were on our way back up to Mürren on our 2nd gondola of the trip. Here’s where I’ll go ahead and mention that I think it is definitely more cost effective to do Switzerland all on its own rather than combined with other countries. We would have saved so much money using a Swiss pass, but it didn’t make sense with all the trains we were taking between France, Switzerland, and Italy. What I didn’t realize before we got the Eurail pass, was how many trains we would have to take where reservations were necessary. Those trains cost an additional amount on top of your Eurail pass. It’s hard to figure that out before you use the reservation planner through Eurail, which you can’t use until you have the pass. If we had more experience with intercountry rail travel through Europe, we would have known better obviously. More on all that later.
It was about 10:45am when we got back up to Mürren. We had left our backpacks and my nice camera back at the hotel so we made a pit stop there before we started hiking for the day.
Once we were ready to go and had our trails mapped out, we went to fill our waterbottles outside. Yep, in nature (sorta). One of the many things I adored about Switzerland was all the waterfill stations around. No matter where you are, there’s usually a natural waterfill station coming out of a wall or just the ground flowing out of a spout in to a wooden trough. The glacial water is so pure there, you can drink the water from pretty much anywhere including the sink in the hotel bathroom (which we used almost everyday). Thankfully we brought collapsible water bottles with us so we could refill to our hearts’ content! And if you’re wondering how it tasted, just imagine the most pure, refreshing, icy cold water and then turn that up a notch… I never knew water could taste that good!
Once we had our refreshing glacier melt secure in our packs, it was time to hike. Eric mapped this out for us which begins a series of hikes Eric mapped out for us in Switzerland… it gets comical, just wait for the next few posts.
The trail we hiked was called the Mountain View trail. We started in Mürren and hiked up to Allmendhubel first (1.25 hrs), the Mountain View trail started here. The trail then brought us to Pletschenalp, then finally we reached Winteregg (yes, it’s a real town).
The trail started out intense. We quickly learned the word for “public trail” which is “wanderweg”. This is now a favorite word of ours. You can use it instead of saying “go over there”, “wanderweg over there.” It’s definitely not the correct use, but it makes English more fun.
We were walking at an incline for about an hour and 15 minutes. We did make a few stops for pictures. We also found a pasture of cows!
Since you’re reading this, you know we packed very light for this trip; just carry ons. So I’m sure you’re curious at this point what shoes we brought to hike. We couldn’t bring actual hiking shoes, it just wasn’t possible. Our hiking shoes are heavy and take up valuable space. So we both brought our lightweight Nike running shoes. They are 1/4 the weight of hiking shoes and squish down pretty flat. So I know we probably looked like idiots to the real hikers we passed, but it was what we had to work with and it did work.
I mention this now because it had recently rained heavily in this part of Switzerland. So we kept coming to some really muddy sections of the trail. Luckily, those parts usually had some grass or other areas where we could go off trail for a minute to get around. There were a few sections where we had no choice but to just trudge through it. Mostly where the trail was narrow and had a steep drop off to the side. Our options were either fall off the mountain or walk through the mud. If you’re still not catching on, we are both still alive with rough looking shoes.
One thing that was so funny that kept happening as we passed groups of hikers on the trail was people thinking we were French. No idea why, maybe it’s because I was wearing all black. It was always the old Swiss ladies. I mention them collectively because we probably passed 10 – 15 groups of them on the trail; Just really intense and German. They all look exactly the same. Short, skinny, short white hair, with a bit of a scowl on their faces. I would see them, smile, say “guten tag” and they would reply with “bonjour merci” (merci because we would always “pull over” to let them pass). Maybe they just didn’t know English and could tell we definitely weren’t Swiss. No idea. It happened so many times I just started saying “bonjour” to everyone we passed.
Once we started descending to Winteregg, it started to drizzle a bit. There was this little restaurant near the train station that we decided to eat at to wait out the passing rain. Also, we were famished from all the hiking. I got rösti (potato hash with cheese on top) and Eric got schnitzel with potatoes. Everything was so good!
After our meal, we got on the cogwheel train back to Mürren. We had hiked enough for one day! On our walk back to the hotel, we made a pit stop at the grocery to get some food and drinks to make a picnic dinner. We got sliced salami, cheese, and bread to make mini sandwiches. We also got chocolate, beer, and wine. Everything was good but the wine. No idea what it was but it was barely drinkable. Sitting out on our porch eating our picnic was so much fun! It was a little chilly, but the scenery more than made up for that.
We were in bed by 9:00pm that night. The next day we’d be going up to the Schilthorn very early so we wanted to be well rested. Overall, fantastic day!