Hiking the Best of Interlaken, Switzerland for Cheap! {Day Two}

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As I said in my last post about this trip, Switzerland in general is not a cheap vacation. Day to day things are much more expensive, and it's almost impossible to go out to eat for less than $20. But enjoying the beautiful alps doesn't have to break the bank at all! In Interlaken, there are a number of hostels or cheap hotels, which I talk a lot more about in my first post, and if you pack smart, buying your food at grocery stores, you can get away with spending less than $50 / day. And, in a place like Interlaken, those $50 goes a long way in terms of what you get to see! 

As shown in the map below, the number of different paths you can take are almost overwhelming. We were staying in the Grindelwald area, which I absolutely recommend because it put us in the perfect position to go to all of the mountains. The Lauterbrunnen area (circled in green) would also be a good choice, but we found Grindelwald to be even cheaper when we looked for hostels. On the first day, we did the Grindelwald to Mannlichen to Eiger and back loop, passing Männlichen, Kleine Scheidegg and Alpiglen.  Since we only had two days, we wanted completely different views for the second day. 

Interlaken Map
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schnyige platter

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We didn't dare to venture over the Hardergrat trail, which is famous for it's insanely narrow ridge line, and even crazier trail run that it hosts. At one point on this trail, it turns into a ridge which is covered in slippery grass and about one to two feet wide at best, with thousand foot drops on either side.  I cannot imagine running let alone walking over this.. but apparently people do this! 

We ended up choosing the Schynige Platte to First route that would start us far from our hostel, so we could work our way back.  This required us to walk into town and take to Wilderswil and then cogwheel train to Schynige Platte. A lot of people do this just to hang out at the top of the mountain and take in the views.  Because of this, we could just follow the crowd on getting to the cogwheel, and everything was well labeled and straight forward. The cogwheel offers great views too, so I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not hiking up. There's actually a nice restaurant up there, and the town is pretty lively! We saw some traditional alphorn players too, which I absolutely love because it just adds to the scenery.  

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Wilderswill

 

We took the paths 60, 61, and 62 towards First. Like the day before, we ran into slippery patches of snow that we had to be pretty careful crossing over.  I was okay wearing old sneakers, but I could have benefited from more traction on these icy paths. At one point we actually had to use a rope to climb up a snow covered ladder around 10 feet.  It wasn't a difficult maneuver, but these types of obstacles definitely weren't what I was expecting going into it!  Despite the snow in some spots, the trail was very well marked, and we always knew exactly where to go. 

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Bachalpsee lake

In total, our hike took around 9-10 hours, including frequent stops to take pictures and one for a picnic lunch.  We made sure to pass over the Bachalpsee Alpine Lake, which is the first picture on this post and is absolutely beautiful.  There were a couple benches around the lake as well, which made the lake a perfect spot to take a snack break. I picked up some dark Swiss chocolate at a local grocer and had to bring it along for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Doesn't get much more Swiss than chocolate & the alps.. which are conveniently also two of my favorite things. 

As we approached First, the view of the valley below was incredible. Despite my relentless attempts, pictures just couldn't do the depth and breath of the view justice. There is a gondola station at First that takes tourists from Grindelwald up to the mountain peak.  So, we quickly went from having these the mountains pretty much to ourselves to having to share with the non-hikers. At First, there is this man-made suspension / look out that is pretty popular (and free) for all tourists. For some reason, I can be on the side of the mountain and not feel a bit queasy but to be honest, the whole suspension concept definitely gets me a little weak at the knees.  

We planned to take the gondola down from First and save ourselves the long descent. But when we got there, we found out it's a 30 euro ride, which is ridiculous for something you can walk down. If you can make it down to Bort, you only have to pay 10 euros to take the trip down, saving yourself a good amount of money. We had the extra thrill of only having 15 minutes to make it down to Bort before the stop closed for the night, so we must have been quite the sight sprinting down the mountain to make a gondola. We luckily made it, and the gondola took us right back to Grindelwald. 

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  By the time we got back, and after two full days of hiking, we were pretty exhausted.  There was a EuroCup game going on that night, so we just pulled together some of our snacks, changed into comfy clothes, and made it an early night, watching the game until we couldn't keep our eyes open longer.


 

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