The Metropole is probably the ugliest building in Interlaken. It is not the only greyish and box-like modern building in town, but it stands out because of its height, which in my view spoils the skyline of the town. I have chosen to post a picture I took from the other side of the river, to show how this building remains visible even from a green area where the view of the town centre is almost hidden by trees.
The place where you can have a view of Interlaken not spoilt by the Metropole is the Metropole itself, so one can at least take advantage of the only positive side of it, and go for a meal at the restaurant “Bellini”, situated on the top of the Metropole to enjoy a great panoramic view. The address is Höheweg 37 and it is open from 18.30 to 23.30.
The spectacular mass of rock breaking off the Eiger mountain has become an unexpected tourist attraction for the resort of Grindelwald in Summer 2006.
Falling rock will occur more frequently around the Alps with the rising temperatures caused by global warming. So be careful on the hiking paths.
The intention of my visit to Interlaken was going to Jungfrau, as I wrote in the intro I had to drop it due to fog. So if that is your intention also; geve yourself a few days there or in the area to better your chances. I am sure there are other things to do there if you have to wait for a couple of days.
1)Be careful, when hiking at glaciers in wintertime : For some people it is not always easy to understand, why you would not be allowed to leave the marked paths on top of Jungfraujoch. You may see great crevasses there nearby and plenty of foot-prints of other tourists leading there as well...
I made my pics in a large distance !
Please keep in my mind, that any rescue-activities have to be payed by the incautious tourists, and most of the insurances will not pay anything, when you had left the ordinary mountain-paths !!
2) Leave your Manolo Blahniks at home and take good hiking-shoes instead, when walking in and around Muerren and especially the Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn , where i saw that funny "trafic-sign" : Many of the paths are slippery sometimes, you will have to step through alpine pastures, solid rocks and loose gravel - all of that is not really a good place to show your latest fashion-shoes...
3)Some chocolate and an extra bottle of water makes always sense, because when hiking you never know how long you will have to wait for help in case of an emergency or when you are forced to get shelter in an empty mountain-hut because it is that foggy or raining outside that you cannot see, where you are going.
Bottles of the light PET-material are the best - you will not feel them, when they are empty, and you may re-fill them at many natural fountains on your way - the quality of the mountain-water is always excellent in Switzerland and the cheapest mineral water you may buy in a vending-machine is 2 sfr., mostly it is even more expensive.
Gimmelwald was mentioned and recommended in various guidebooks, also by Rick Stevens and in fact it is a really lovely, remote village, where time seems to have stood still since hundreds of years....
Gimmelwald is a great place for a daytrip from Interlaken,
BUT choosing a hostel there in order to explore the Jungfrau-region
DOES ABSOLUTELY NOT MAKE SENSE !!
A simple excample :
You like to explore Kleine Scheidegg & Jungfrau from there :
The cablecar is leaving Gimmelwald every half hour to Stechelberg, the ride takes just 5 minutes, but in Stechelberg the bus to Lauterbrunnen will leave mostly only once every hour. The first cable-car from Gimmelwald is around 06.15a.m., the last one is 11.10p.m.
When staying in places like Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Stechelberg etc. you may still take a taxi when you want to go home after the end of public transportations, BUT for Gimmelwald there is NO road to !!
Gimmelwald is at the very end of the valley, high above Stechelberg - the only way to get there is by cable-car or hiking !! There is NO public road to Gimmelwald !!
When I walked inside the ice glacier palace at the top of the Jung Frau Juch I battled to breathe.
If you are asthmatic, make sure you have your asthma pump/inhaler close at hand as you might have difficulty breathing...
Just be sensible, you are in the Alps! Even though you may be going on a day hike, and it is moderately warm in the sun, be sure you have enough clothes to stay warm, if you get stuck out until nightfall. This is exactly what happened to me and my friends. And, I was the dumb one. There are many hiking trails that you can take, and we decided to do the Gimmelwald hike from Lauterbrunen, through Murren. We thought we were taking a pretty scenic route when we all decided that we were pretty lost. There was a road to follow, which is what we did, but that ended taking us on a switchback-laden route down the mountain, instead of the near vertical descent that we were supposed to be taking. This added about 2 hours to our hike, and it was long after dark that we arrived back at the train station to take us back to Interlaken from Lauterbrunen.
Just be prepared and remember that you are in the Alps!
It's natural that one gets excited over the stunning beauty especially at the Top of Europe at Jungfraujoch but do remember that you have to do everything quietly and very slowly as air is very thin here and many people encounter attitude problems. Some experienced light-headedness and giddy spells. Slow in everything you do is the word.
If I remember correctly, all the grocery stores were closed on Sundays in the area. Can't remember if the restaurants were also closed on Sundays too. I do remember having to eat a bag of popcorn for dinner one night...couldn't find anything else to eat.
Also, take some trail mix or something else to eat when hiking up in the mountains...it's easy to run out of energy up there.