As I said when I finished off my last post, we are currently in the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland. The scenery here is amazing. Lauterbrunnen is in the bottom of the valley, with huge cliffs hundreds of metres high on either side. Then beyond those cliffs are mountains more than twice as high again. From here at about 700m above sea level, we can see peaks over 3000m high, and there are more over 4000m which we would be able to see if the clouds hovering over them would go away. There are 72 waterfalls in the valley, many of them glacial, and we can see one of the biggest, Staubbach Falls, from our window. Staubbach Falls is nearly 300m high, about the same height as Wallaman Falls, and is virtually a single drop, except it falls onto rocks shortly before it hits the bottom.
Just getting here was an adventure in itself. First we missed our bus from Tignes to Bourg St Maurice to catch our train by one minute. We called a taxi instead and between the three of us the cost wasn't bad, and the driver was very friendly and acted as a guide to the area for us during the drive. Got the train from Bourg St Maurice with no problems, but it got into Lyon ten minutes late, which meant our 18 minute changeover became 8 minutes. We found our next train with about 3 minutes to spare, which took us on to Geneva in Switzerland. From Geneva we then had to buy another ticket to Lauterbrunnen as they were unreservable trains. This was simple enough and we then headed off to Bern. Our next train from Bern was supposed to be 20 minutes after our last one got in. However, it got cancelled as someone jumped in front of it and killed themselves before it got to our station (pretty much my worst nightmare at train platforms). This resulted in us having to wait another hour before the next one came along. We got into Interlaken, our last stop before Lauterbrunnen, about two minutes before 9. The next train to Lauterbrunnen left at 2 past 9. Did we make it off the train to the next platform in time? Of course not. So then we had to wait another hour (in which time we walked into Interlaken to get tea). We finally got in to Lauterbrunnen at about twenty to 11. Fortunately our hostel was easy to find and the room key had been left out for us. The room is spacious, there is a shared kitchen and dining room and we hardly see anybody else.
Yesterday we walked up the valley to see the Trummelbach Falls. It is a glacial waterfall inside the cliff - all you can see from the outside is where it comes spilling out at the bottom. However tunnels and caves have been excavated into the cliff and lights have been installed, so for a price you can go in and see the falls making its way down through its own tunnels in the rock. It was pretty impressive and extremely loud. In the late afternoon we took a cablecar up to Murren on the eastern side of the valley, but the clouds came over to ruin the view. We did get a bit of a view though, and it gave us great perspective as a little village on the western side that we'd previously looked up at was now way below us, yet the mountains were still easily twice as high as we were. We had a very Swiss dinner at a hotel down the road- rosti with locally made pork sausage, cheese fondue and chocolate fondue. There is a well stocked supermarket nearby (unlike the supermarket at Tignes which was half empty), although small, so we've been able to make our own lunches and breakfasts. It also means we've been able to buy a few Swiss chocolates!
Today has been pretty lazy as we've mainly just wandered around the village, done laundry, uploaded photos, bought postcards and took a little walk up the hill to eat our picnic lunch with a view. Lauterbrunnen was chosen as a place to have a bit of a holiday from our holiday, so it's been nice and relaxing.