Once upon a time, the Mettenberg, which stands before the Schreckhorn at Grindelwald, and the Eiger were joined together. Behind them, where the Eismeer glacier now lies, was a great lake. When the outflow became blocked with massive blocks of ice, it grew rapidly in size. The mighty waters suddenly forced a breach and crashed to the valley floor, taking folk and cattle as it fell.

The desperate and endangered survivors called out to heaven for help and so came Saint Martin – a holy man of great strength. He climbed to the heights, put his back to the Mettenberg and pushed back the mighty Eiger with his staff. One of his strikes fell so hard that it created a hole in the mountain, through which the sun now shines twice every year. It is called “Martin’s Hole”.

Original text from the website of the Parkhotel Schönegg in Grindelwald

The spectacle can be seen on the same days every year – on the 29th November as the sun is ascending and on 16th January as it is descending – between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Due to the angles involved, the sun can only be seen shining through the hole for a couple of minutes and only from the church in Grindelwald. We were there promptly for today’s occurrence and marvelled alongside a 93-year-old woman who has returned to see the sight every year since childhood, and listened as she lamented that so many of her friends and neighbours, who once joined her, no longer take notice.

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