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Berner Oberland Grindelwald and Lenk, Switzerland in 2021

The Alps in Switzerland in the Bern Canton.

Wendy Ashworth

10+ Posts
Monday September 20
Overcast, cold (low 50sF), rained all day

Today was forecast to have some rain in the morning and some drizzle in the afternoon, but it rained all day. After lunch we got dressed in rain gear, ready to go out, but the rain never stopped and we gave up. The good news is that our last 3 days look good, so we will get some last hikes in.

This apartment is in an older chalet that must have been renovated recently by Ferienlenk. It has nice wood floors, the same cheapish/modern furniture they use in all their places, a huge TV with Netflix, very comfortable beds, a modern spacious shower. The windows haven’t been updated but they have nice curtains.

Only in the kitchen do you see its 1960 roots. Linoleum floor, old style tile, stainless steel counters, small fridge and very small freezer. It is not a great kitchen for cooking but only because the electric stove is hard to control and the pots are not nice. The dishwasher doesn’t really work with the dishes they have. The oven works well. No microwave but we don’t use them and none of their apartments have them.

Here is my photo essay of the kitchen which is, I think, interesting.

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A small galley kitchen.

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Stainless steel counter with sink and stovetop all of one piece. I travel with a Brita filter now so we don’t buy bottled water. And I bring my own unscented dish soap because you can’t always find it (laundry soap too). We travel here by car so it is easy to bring extra things.

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One plug for three small appliances. Fruit is covered because there are small fly things here (and in the last place). You can see the knives I travel with.

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Small fridge but big enough. Nice that it is at counter height. Very small freezer. No more frozen pizza for us.

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Cupboards beside the fridge. Steve put our chip bag clip on the fridge which struck me as funny because that’s where we keep it at home. They supply a pressure cooker (in the other apartment too). I use it to cook brown rice but we haven’t been eating as much as usual because I’ve been wanting lighter pasta or udon.

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I like the tile.

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I like the floor too. I have my walking socks on, ready to go for a walk.

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View of the town center.
Coffee machine yay ! Did you travel with it or does it belong to the chalet owners ?
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Tuesday September 21
Cold, 54F, cloudy in the morning, full sun in the afternoon

We had planned to hike up to Siebenbrunnen but the cloud was sitting right at that level. Instead we did the walk along the river, to Simmenfalle and back (5 miles, 2 hours). It was cool out and we wore our heavy fleeces. We met a very friendly horse along the way and at the end of the walk, at Lenkersee, someone was playing the Alpenhorn!

Later in the day, when it was sunnier, we walked out to the recycling center and then did a walk around town.

The mountains covered in snow at the tops looked beautiful today.

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Walking to Simmenfalle. You can see it in the distance.
 

reajackson

New Member
Hi Pauline -
Thanks for the report on cross border travel Switzerland to France and back.
Your pictures around Grindelwald are great -my daughter and I are hiking in a year from now on the Via Alpina from Meiringen to Kandersteg - staying at Inns along the way including Murren and Grindelwald - Any tips on special places to eat / stay or go to while we are in those towns along the Alpina? Thanks in advance - Rea J - Castle Rock, CO. USA
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Hi Pauline -
Thanks for the report on cross border travel Switzerland to France and back.
Your pictures around Grindelwald are great -my daughter and I are hiking in a year from now on the Via Alpina from Meiringen to Kandersteg - staying at Inns along the way including Murren and Grindelwald - Any tips on special places to eat / stay or go to while we are in those towns along the Alpina? Thanks in advance - Rea J - Castle Rock, CO. USA
That is going to be a difficult hike! What an experience it will beI found a website and followed your route. Some parts of it we have hiked.

On the route from Meiringen to Grosse Scheidegg, there is a restaurant at Schwarzwaldalp. The mountain restaurants in Switzerland are usually good, especially if you like meat and cheese. I am a vegetarian and I always find something on their menus. Coming down into Grindelwald, about an hour outside of town, Hotel Wetterhorn is good.

You pass through Grindelwald, Wengen and Murren, which will all have lots of restaurants.

Coming down into Kandersteg you pass by Oescheninsee which has several restaurants.

You will enjoy the pretty towns you pass through.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Wednesday September 22
Warm and sunny, 65F

We are winding down now, leaving on Friday, home on Sunday. It is been a strange trip because I’ve been a bit under the weather for the second half. Good thing we did some adventurous hiking in the first half.

Another easy day today. We drove on the timed road up to Iffigenalp and walked out, had our sandwiches and walked back, just over an hour of walking. The mountain looked spectacular. This really is a beautiful valley.

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Walking in Iffigenalp.

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I had planned to hike to the top of this hill, but not today.

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The light was beautiful and there were not many people up there today.
 

Wendy Ashworth

10+ Posts
Wednesday September 22
Warm and sunny, 65F

We are winding down now, leaving on Friday, home on Sunday. It is been a strange trip because I’ve been a bit under the weather for the second half. Good thing we did some adventurous hiking in the first half.

Another easy day today. We drove on the timed road up to Iffigenalp and walked out, had our sandwiches and walked back, just over an hour of walking. The mountain looked spectacular. This really is a beautiful valley.

View attachment 33780
Walking in Iffigenalp.

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I had planned to hike to the top of this hill, but not today.

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The light was beautiful and there were not many people up there today.
Look at the sky ! Super photos and sounds like you had a great day even if it was a gentle one by your standards.
 

Wendy Ashworth

10+ Posts
Wednesday August 18 - on the road

We left home at 10am and reached the hotel in Arras at 6:30pm. A long day of driving. At the Eurotunnel things went well. It was not busy. At customs first we talked to the Brits who scanned our UK passports. Then drive-thru security where they take samples from your steering wheel to check for bomb residue. Then to France customs. There are two lines - EU passports and All Other. For the first time, because of Brexit, we are in the All Other line. But it was not moving and some people were even backing up. I got out our Irish passports and we changed lanes.

At France customs he took our passports, didn’t scan them and asked for vaccination proof. I showed him the printed letters from the NHS. I could have shown him the apps on our phones but that seemed too complicated. He looked at them quickly and that was it. We had sworn statements saying we are not sick, which the UK government website says you need, but he did not ask for them.

We walked around the center of Arras then had dinner in the hotel room, the dinner I made for use yesterday. We are using, for the second year, our small car fridge so we won’t have to go into restaurants.

Masks on in the hotel but you only need the Covid app showing you are vaccinated to get into the restaurant and breakfast room, so we haven’t used it. Walking around town we saw people wearing masks in shops but not outside at tables for the cafes and restaurants.

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People playing boules in the main square in Arras.

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Main square in Arras.

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Main square in Arras.
Arras is very worthy destination & a good spot for a stopover. We visited on one of Richard’s driving holidays. We enjoyed exploring and had a good meal in the main square watching some local dancers rehearsing for a display.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Thursday September 23
Sunny and warm, 68F

We had a nice last day, getting ourselves organised, sitting on the porch in the sun, admiring the view. We’ve had a great 4 weeks. Next year back to our usual 3 weeks with a week somewhere else.

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Late afternoon view from our porch.
 

Wendy Ashworth

10+ Posts
Thursday September 23
Sunny and warm, 68F

We had a nice last day, getting ourselves organised, sitting on the porch in the sun, admiring the view. We’ve had a great 4 weeks. Next year back to our usual 3 weeks with a week somewhere else.

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Late afternoon view from our porch.
Beautiful. So glad you had a successful trip, thanks for sharing. Wishing you a smooth journey home.
 

Wendy Ashworth

10+ Posts
Wednesday September 1
Sunny, some cloud, low 60sF

Hike: Leiterli (top of the gondola, 1946m), long way back to Lenk via Truitlisberpass (2038m) and Wallegg. 4.5 hours, 9 miles, 1000m descent in last 3 hours.


We do this hike once or twice on each trip. It is a long walk, with a bit of ascent early on, then gentle descent through fields and woods. Beautiful views.

Today we ran into a diversion when we were 1.5 hours from the end. The forest service was doing tree removal and river bank repair on my favourite part of the walk. And we had to skip stopping at the Wallegg Stube, a nice mountain restaurant. Instead of a walk along the river, in the trees, we had to walk for an hour along a dirt road. At least it was an easy descent. Towards the end the diversion signs pointed us into the woods so we had a nice walk there towards the end.

When we were on the road we had to stop while a helicopter delivered logs from the woods to a place by the road. It got so close to us that it blew Steve’s hat off! We watched for awhile until we were waved through. Steve and I both worked for a Canadian lumber company in Vancouver in the early 80s (in IT of course), so we had fun reminiscing on those jobs as we walked on.

Again, very tired when we got back. We had a late start because it was cloudy in the morning so didn’t get back until 5:30. The weather was good on the hike. Mostly sunny but not too hot.

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Starting out on the hike. We walk along that ridge you see with green and grey streaks. It is narrow and makes for an interesting 10 minutes.

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A group of kids taking Trotti bikes down the mountain.

View attachment 33008An hour into the hike, views of the Gstaad valleys.

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In the middle of the hillside, no road near, it looks like someone is building a timber-frame small house!

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The fields were full of pretty wildflowers. I liked these deep purple ones.

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Hiking signs with diversion arrows and notice of trail closure until the end of the year.
The timber framed whatever it might be reminds me of Italy where we spotted many unfinished & abandoned buildings.
 

Wendy Ashworth

10+ Posts
Beautiful. So glad you had a successful trip, thanks for sharing. Wishing you a smooth journey home.
I’m hoping that the “ insulation “ protesters won’t black the roads around Folkestone when you are due to arrive, like they are at Dover today.
Please fill up your tank in France, there’s no guarantees against the long queues we are experiencing here because a small minority of BP stations have run out of fuel.
Welcome back !
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
I’m hoping that the “ insulation “ protesters won’t black the roads around Folkestone when you are due to arrive, like they are at Dover today.
Please fill up your tank in France, there’s no guarantees against the long queues we are experiencing here because a small minority of BP stations have run out of fuel.
Welcome back !
I never thought of the protesters! We come into Folkestone and are then on the M25! We drive in on Sunday. Text me if you hear anything.

A friend in Bridport said the same thing about petrol. She said it is a bit crazy there. We will fill up before the Chunnel.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Friday September 24
Sunny and warm, 75F in Colmar

We are on the road heading home. First stop is in Colmar, in France about an hour from the Swiss border. It was supposed to be a 3 hour drive but took us 5 hours. We did about an hour of stops, shopping at the Swiss Alpine Herbs shop on our way out of Simmental and having lunch at a parking area with picnic tables in Switzerland.

Traffic was thick in Switzerland once we got out of the mountains, with miles and miles of roadworks around Bern. They have very narrow temporary lanes which makes the driving challenging. I drove most of it because we couldn’t find anywhere to pull off to switch drivers. Either the rest area was fully parked or I chose the wrong direction and bypassed the parking. Finally we found a spot, had lunch and Steve took over.

The border with France - traffic slows and you drive by customs agents standing at the side of the road. That’s it. They don’t stop you.

We got into Colmar by 3:30pm, checked in and walked to the pharmacy we had picked out for our pre-departure Covid tests. It is in the historic center by the cathedral. We paid €50 for the two of us, wrote our names, DOB, phone number, and address on scraps of paper, joined the short line for the test, had a swab stuck further up my nose than I imagined was possible, came back 15 minutes later and were given printed proof of NEGATIVE results. Never did negative feel so positive. We had both been worried about this. My “under the weather” has turned into a cold.

We are in France so what did we do? Have coffee sitting outside a Starbucks. Iced coffee sang out to me. I am starting to like Colmar. We stay at the Mercure which has secure underground parking and nice enough rooms if you book the Privilege room. We had dinner in the room - instant noodles that you cook in hot water. I bring bowls, cutlery and a tea towel tablecloth to make it homey.

I filled out our Locator Forms that you have to have to get into the UK, listing when and how you will enter the UK, where you have been the previous 10 days, a code for the day 2 test you booked. Nothing about the previous-departure test. You are supposed to read the QR code from your vaccine information but that didn’t work so we may have to show it.

Then you upload the Locator form and your pre-departure test results (they text you a link to a digital form) to Eurotunnel! These are the steps to get back into the UK where people are currently stock piling food and petrol because the world has gone crazy (Brexit).

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Sunny Colmar.

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The pharmacy where we had our tests done.

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I picked this one because I thought it might be lucky for us. Valerie and Bryan are “Schneider”. :)
 

Wendy Ashworth

10+ Posts
I never thought of the protesters! We come into Folkestone and are then on the M25! We drive in on Sunday. Text me if you hear anything.

A friend in Bridport said the same thing about petrol. She said it is a bit crazy there. We will fill up before the Chunnel.
I will keep you posted, of course.
Good Luck !
Friday September 24
Sunny and warm, 75F in Colmar

We are on the road heading home. First stop is in Colmar, in France about an hour from the Swiss border. It was supposed to be a 3 hour drive but took us 5 hours. We did about an hour of stops, shopping at the Swiss Alpine Herbs shop on our way out of Simmental and having lunch at a parking area with picnic tables in Switzerland.

Traffic was thick in Switzerland once we got out of the mountains, with miles and miles of roadworks around Bern. They have very narrow temporary lanes which makes the driving challenging. I drove most of it because we couldn’t find anywhere to pull off to switch drivers. Either the rest area was fully parked or I chose the wrong direction and bypassed the parking. Finally we found a spot, had lunch and Steve took over.

The border with France - traffic slows and you drive by customs agents standing at the side of the road. That’s it. They don’t stop you.

We got into Colmar by 3:30pm, checked in and walked to the pharmacy we had picked out for our pre-departure Covid tests. It is in the historic center by the cathedral. We paid €50 for the two of us, wrote our names, DOB, phone number, and address on scraps of paper, joined the short line for the test, had a swab stuck further up my nose than I imagined was possible, came back 15 minutes later and were given printed proof of NEGATIVE results. Never did negative feel so positive. We had both been worried about this. My “under the weather” has turned into a cold.

We are in France so what did we do? Have coffee sitting outside a Starbucks. Iced coffee sang out to me. I am starting to like Colmar. We stay at the Mercure which has secure underground parking and nice enough rooms if you book the Privilege room. We had dinner in the room - instant noodles that you cook in hot water. I bring bowls, cutlery and a tea towel tablecloth to make it homey.

I filled out our Locator Forms that you have to have to get into the UK, listing when and how you will enter the UK, where you have been the previous 10 days, a code for the day 2 test you booked. Nothing about the previous-departure test. You are supposed to read the QR code from your vaccine information but that didn’t work so we may have to show it.

Then you upload the Locator form and your pre-departure test results (they text you a link to a digital form) to Eurotunnel! These are the steps to get back into the UK where people are currently stock piling food and petrol because the world has gone crazy (Brexit).

View attachment 33786
Sunny Colmar.

View attachment 33784
The pharmacy where we had our tests done.

View attachment 33785
I picked this one because I thought it might be lucky for us. Valerie and Bryan are “Schneider”. :)
Friday a busier traffic day maybe ? Jon had a “ saliva “ test for his work in Zurich which was very straightforward apparently. I take a tea towel to use as a table cloth for in room dining too. Last time I used it was In Dijon at the “ Grand Hotel La Cloche “!
I’m sure you’ll sleep well tonight.
Brave of you to come back to the UK at all. My country is in disarray & not through any fault of mine.
 

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