A blissful walk in the Alps for the Body and Soul!
The quote by John Muir is anything but inspirational if you love mountains and nature. From a leisurely walk to challenging alpine trek and everything in between, the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland has all of that and more. One such scenic trail is the walk that takes you from Murren to Gimmelwald and onwards to Stechelberg.
The car-free village Murren sits at almost 5,500 feet above sea level, whereas Gimmelwald is at 4,500 feet. Well laid and well-marked, this downhill trail to Gimmelwald is an enjoyable walk for almost anyone and doesn’t need any special skills or equipment. The descent, according to the signage at the starting point in Murren, should take 30 minutes, but we learnt (after the walk was done) that in Switzerland, you should essentially double the time stated for any hike. Whoever planted the signpost must be some power-walker or who doesn’t appreciate the stunning views the hike offers. The walk took almost two hours for us as we can’t but stop several times for photo ops and to appreciate the spectacular Alpine mountains and valley views as far as Monc and Eiger peaks.
Another option for those with heart of steel, defy fear, love dizzy heights and cliff-walking is the Murren- Gimmelwald Via Ferrata- definitely not for the faint-hearted.
As we were leaving behind Murren, we were welcomed by charming, traditional Swiss chalets with beautiful flowers tastefully grown on the balconies and in the yards adding more to the rustic beauty. Within minutes we were looking at the jaw-dropping beauty of the Lauterbrunnen valley below and the gorgeous snow-cladded Alps above.
To complete the picture, herds of Alpine cows were providing a melodious tune from their Swiss metallic bells as they leisurely munched their fodder. It’s a sublime experience when you hear nothing but just the cowbell music in an otherwise silent environment.
As we passed by the picture-postcard chalets, we were treated with vast, lush meadows strewn with thousands of wildflowers, dark green alpine trees and several mountain streams with pure glacial water, quaint farm houses and barns.
Along the route, there were wooden benches strategically placed to take a break while enjoying the panoramic views of the mountains. We also saw artistic water faucets with running cold water falling into hollowed-out log – a thoughtful gesture for hikers and animals during summer and are Instagram- worthy!
One house that attracted our attention at Gimmelwald village was The Honesty Shop: “Europe’s First Unattended Self-Service Village Shop.” Unfortunately, it was closed or it was yet to open for the summer season. We were getting tired and, as we approached Gimmelwald Gondola station, it started raining and the sharp cold showers literally rejuvenated us with fresh energy.
It was getting late and our legs were begging for rest, so we dropped our original plan of continuing our hike from Gimmelwald to Stechelberg and headed straight to the Gondola station to reach Stechelberg. Boarded the waiting bus at Stechelberg and reached our Chalet at Lauterbrunnen in about 20 minutes.
It was an exhilarating and invigorating – not exhausting- hike that we will cherish for our lifetime.
If you ever want to do some good to your body and soul, do this hike… it’s a lifetime experience!