No more than 50m of gravel separate the trail from the entry to the Heckmair Route into the Eiger North Wall. It is noon. Ueli Steck climbed the wall in 2:22h. Even if we take our time we could be at the top for dinner…
I get a short notice call on Saturday evening with the opportunity to take a week of holidays. As I did not have the chance for the past 6 month, we jump on it and decide. Heavy storms rage over Europe (destroying the Ahrtal), but Switzerland seems to be spared. We plan while having dinner (Wolfsbarsch, Altlantik Scholle) in the Atlantik Fish Restaurant
Sunday (25.07.) We take a Sunday afternoon train to Zurich. We find a hotel at the back of the Opera, with a bit of lake view (and it only cost a kidney, which we find to be increadibly cheap for Swiss standards – ca. 220CHF wit breakfast). We explore the old town and have dinner of Zuericher Geschnetzeltes and Roesti at the Zeughaus.
Monday (26.07.) Today, we plan to explore the old town. We start on the east bank of the Limat river at the Grossmuenster. We are among the first visitors and climb the tower almost by ourselves. We have a phantastic view from the top.
We continue north through the small alleys of the old town, past small shops and a coffee roastery. We walk to Platzspitz and watch the rivers Limat and Sihl join.
We turn back and follow the Bahnhofsstrasse, Europe’s most expensive shopping street. While this is not visible at the northern end with its standard global mid priced brand stores, the picture changes at southern end around Paradeplatz. Banks, watch stores and high end brands line the street. We have a Schoki at Spruengli Headquarter (costs another kidney…). Then we head to the lake. We rest a bit and head home to avoid a rainfall.
In the early evening, we head out again and stroll through the old town on the west bank. Zuerich is the town of roof terraces. We see many great terraces overlooking the city. From Lindenhof, we have a great view ourselves.
In the evening, we head to Le Dézaley for an excellent cheese fondue (ca. 120CHF).
Tuesday (27.07.) We take a morning train via Bern to Lauterbrunnen and onward to Wengen, where we will spend the next 4 days. From our hotel Alpenrose, we have a beautiful view across the Lauterbrunnen valley (valley view room: 250CHF with breakfast).
After unpacking, and Michi’s final work call, we take the cable car up to Männlichen (17CHF with guest card) and hike the short trail to the peak. The mountains are covered in clouds. Thunder rumbles in the Eiger Northwall. We therefore decide to take the cable car back down. We explore Wengen, buy bread, cheese and saussage at the Coop and have a beautiful dinner on our balcony.
Wednesday (28.07.) It is raining. We take it slow and decide to hike down to Lauterbrunnen Valley. Its a nice and easy hike through the forest along the railroad tracks. There are a few nice viewpoints from which we can see the magnificant Staubach waterfalls.
Lauterbrunnen itself has not much to offer. The main street is busy with cars, busses carry tourists to the waterfalls. We decide to take the train back up to Kleine Scheidegg (32CHF).
Clouds still hang deep in the mountains. We take a break at the Bahnhofscafe with Kaiserschmarrn (not the best location choice). Despite the clouds we decide to hike down to Wegen over the Laubhornschulter. A large part of the trail follows the Wengen World Cup Ski slope. Now, the slopes are covered by millions of flowers.
Without rain, we reach the train tracks and take a break at Allmend Alm. Then we hike the final meters to Wengen. We have a “winner beer” at our hotel, snack of cheese, saussage and bread and head to bed early.
Thursday (29.07.) Today is sunshine day (according to the wether forecast). We take the second gondola up Männlichen at 8:30. Eiger is still in clouds. We drink at hot Schoki and eventually set out on the Panorama Trail. The trail is very easy (autobahn) but quite beautiful. At Kleine Scheidegg, the Mountains are still in clouds, but the sun is shining.
We continue on the Eiger Trail. First, we hike from Kleine Scheidegg towards Eigergletscher Station, but leave the driving tracks to for the Eiger Trail, about 500m below the station. For the first kilometer, we are almost alone. Then we hit the main trail. At our first stop, we watch the clouds break up. We can see the tunnel windows of the Jungfrau Train.
We follow the trail directly below the North Wall. From here, it is no more the 50m to the entry of the famous Heckmeir Route.
The clouds clear up throughout the afternoon. At first, we see the peak of Eiger but step by step, the full qall reveals itself. We enjoy the beautiful views as we hike down to Alpiglen station.
We take the train from Alpiglen to Kleine Scheidegg. From here, we can see Eiger and Moench, while Jungfrau is still in the clouds.
We decide to call it a day. We eat cheese fondue at Gasthof Grindelwaldblick (excellent choice, very friendly). We take the second to last train down to Wengen. Again, we drink a winner beer and head to bed early, after a relaxing bath.
Friday (30.07.) It is our final day in Wengen. We decide to take it slow. Again, we take the second cable car up to Männlichen. The weather is beautiful. We are alone at the peak of Männlichen from where we have a full view ofer Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau. Beautiful!
We hike the Panorama Trail one more time with the Eiger North Wall in full view. We stop at Gasthof Grindelwaldblick again for cake and Roesti. The we take a final hike down to Wengen along the train tracks. We drink an ice Schocki in deck chairs overlooking Jungfrau at Wengener Alp. Then we make our way back to our hotel.
I have a few work calls. Then we relax on the balcony. Heavy rain sets in. During a break, we walk into town. In a back street, we hear alphorn music in the air. An old couple plays them in their yard. Nice. We have dinner at Bernerhof. Cheese Fondue, which is ok. Then we head home to bed.
Saturday (31.07.) Today we leave Wengen. After a relaxes breakfast, we head to the train station. I expected us to be the only people traveling on a Saturday at 10am, but the train is packed. Fortunately, the trains to Interlaken and Bern are much less crowded.
In Bern, we stay at the Savoy Hotel (180CHF with breakfast). We arrive early, so we drop of our bags and explore the old town. We walk down Marktgasse past Kaefigturm, and past Zytglogge down Kramergasse. We cross the river to look at the real brown bears at Baerengraben – bears are the city’s coat of arms animal.
We walk along the river – the athmosphere is very calm. The view on Berner Muenster are phantastic. We reach the reastaurant Terasse, which is situated directly on the river in an almost boatlike structure. Service is nice and food (burger) is good.
After lunch we head back to the hotel to check in. We have a beautiful, large room (although not with a view). We take a break before we head out again.
We visit the postal monument at Kleine Schanze and walk past the Bundeshaus. From there, we zig-zac through the old town, and explore the stores – above ground as well as in the underground catacombes. Michi finds a new dress.
Many restaurants are closed, despite the upcoming National Day. So we end up back at Kleine Schanze for wine and dinner.
Sunday (01.08.) Today, after a breakfast with Swiss, national day buns, we travel back to Munich. Trains are surprisingly crowded. But we arrive savely in Munich. We enjoy Wienerschnitzel at Kaisergarten and end-of-holiday drinks at the Call Soul Bar.