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Our Anniversary Trip to Wengen
Before I met my wife, I had visited the Bernese Oberland about twenty times, always staying in the Gasthof Hirschen in Matten, Interlaken. It was 10 years since my last visit, when my wife took me there for a birthday present. As we had celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, I decided to surprise my wife by taking her back to the B.O. A visit to a local travel agent, and I decided that we were going to stay in the Hotel Belvedere in Wengen. This proved to be an excellent choice.
DAY 1. An early start. Up at 4.30am for our flight from Belfast to London Heathrow. Our flight arrived into London 20 minutes early, but due to a fault with the airbridge, we had to await a set of steps being brought to the rear of the plane to allow us to disembark.
We had a couple of hours at Heathrow before our British Airways flight to Zurich. After collecting our luggage, we crossed the road and down the escalator to the station platform for our train to Interlaken Ost which required a platform change in Bern. At Interlaken, we then changed to a train for Lauterbrunnen, before catching our final train to Wengen. A phone call from the station to the hotel brought a little electric truck which brought us and our luggage to the hotel.
We checked into room 306, which was a large quaint room with a private balcony with views down the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the Staubbach Falls. As were booked for half board, we had dinner in the dining room, which is very large, with great views of the mountains. The dinner as is breakfast, is Buffet style, and there are plenty of choices. As I require a Gluten Free meal, the chef spoke to me each day to find out what he could make for me. He was very helpful, as was the rest of the staff. After dinner, we headed for our room as it had been a very long day.
DAY 2 Woke after 7am and headed for breakfast. Met up with our tour company rep who asked us what our plans were for the week. As we had a Half Fare Ticket which was part of our package, we decided to purchase at a reduced rate a Jungfrau Pass which entitled the holder to six days unlimited travel by bus, train and cabel car within the area except for the Schilthorn and the trip from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfrau. This proved to be a great buy as it saved us lots of money.
Part of our holiday deal was a free packed lunch each day and this was a great idea as we had planned to do a lot of hiking.
We took the train to Wilderswil with the intention of walking to Lauterbrunnen. However, due to torrential rain, and despite wearing a full set of waterproofs, we decided to quit at Zweilutschine and take the train back to Wengen and to our hotel to take a warm shower. Then we went down to the bar for the complimentary tea / coffee and biscuits.
As the rain had now stopped we walked down to the shops so that my wife could buy a small umbrella (just in case).
Back to the hotel for dinner, and then a chance to rest in the comfortable chairs in the lounge area.
DAY 3 Wakened early, and after breakfast, we took the train to Interlaken and walked through the town. There have been a number of changes since we were last there. The sun was shining and it was lovely and warm. We sat by the river at Unterseen and had our packed lunch before taking a train to Thun. We had arranged to meet a friend who lives there and whom we hadn't seen for eight years. It was great catching up, and that evening we said our good-byes and travelled back to our hotel for dinner. Hopefully, this was the last we would see of the rain.
DAY 4 After Breakfast we headed down the main street towards the station. We had heard that the farmers were bringing their cows from Lauterbrunnen to the high pastures in Wengenalp for the summer. Sure enough, we could hear the sound of cow bells and then we saw the herds of cows crossing under the railway, past the CO-OP store and towards the station, before heading up the hiking trail which follows the railway.
We had planned to hike to Kleine Scheidegg today, and instead of heading over Mettlealp, we found ourselves hiking up the route of the Lauberhorn ski race. My wife found this quite difficult as she doesn't hike as much as I do. However, I must give her credit, as she did manage it all the way. We had our packed lunch sitting above the station at Kleine Scheidegg. After a rest, we took the train down to Grindlewald and had a walk around the town. I even managed to buy a new watch, as the one I was wearing decided it was time to stop working after all these years. I even managed to get the new one tax free!
From Grindlewald, we took the train down to Zweilutschine and then back to Wengen for dinner, which was followed by a night cap at the bar.
DAY 5 Train down to Lauterbrunnen and then the cable car to Grutschalp. From there we walked to Winteregg for hot chocolate at the restaurant. Walked on to Murren, and had our packed lunch sitting at the little garden outside the station. This has a lovely view across towards Wengen and the Eiger - but not today. It was very foggy all day. After a walk through Murren, we toog the train and cable car back to Lauterbrunnen. Headed to the Staubbach Falls and discovered that you can now walk up to the walls where there is a viewing gallery behind the cascading water.
Time to get the train back to Wengen for dinner.
DAY 6 Took the train to Wilderswil and then the little cog railway up to Schynige Platte. It was very misty with no real view. We walked through the Alpen Garten and up to the "viewing point" at Daube from where we could see nothing, because of the mist. Walked back to the station via the Panorama Route and then trained it down to Interlaken.
From here we took the Furnicular to the Harder Kulm. The wife thought it was a scary ride. Did manage to get some views at the top before the rain came on. Made our way back to our hotel in Wengen for dinner.
DAY 7 Weather not great again. Not going to get any hiking today. Took the cable car from Wengen to Mannlichan, and then another one down to Grund. A short steep walk brought us into Grindlewald, where we walked through to the First Cable car. At the top, it started to rain again and the low clowd swept through. Time for another hot chocolate in the restaurant before heading down again to Grindlewald. Took the train to Interlaken and watched the paragliders landing on the Howenweg. Bought some presents for friends before taking the train up to Kleine Scheidegg via Grindlewald. (After all we did have unlimited train travel tickets, and the weather was wet and miserable). From there we took the train down to Wengen and then walked back to the hotel.
Did some packing before heading down for dinner, and a few final drinks. Whilst in the bar, we met the new hotel manager, Natashia, who was very friendly and welcoming.
DAY 8 After breakfast, it was time to leave for our trip back home.
All in all, we had a very enjoyable holiday in Wengen. The Hotel Belvedere is almost 100 years old, but is very quaint and beautiful. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful. Despite the poor weather, we still managed to do quite a bit of what we wanted to do. However, this is a good excuse to return again in the not too distant future.
Unique Quality: This is a very quaint hotel. The room which we had was large with a newly furnished bathroom which had two wash hand basins, a shower and a bath.
The room had a private balcony, and being south facing, had a view down the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
The dining room is very large and breakfast and dinner are buffet style. A wide selection of meals available including special diets catered for.
Opposite the reception area is a reading room and television room. The small bar is in the corner of a bright sitting area with soft chairs and settees as well as tables. There is great views of the surrounding mountains.
Best of all, the staff are very friendly and helpful, and speak great English.
Directions: A 10 minute walk from the Railway Station, and up a gradient.
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