Grindelwald – a name known by millions of Harry Potter fans the world over thanks to its use by J.K. Rowling – is in fact a small town nestled in the mountains above Interlaken, in the Jungfrau Region of central Switzerland. The town is a magnet for winter sports and hiking aficionados as it is surrounded on all sides by mountains: the Männlichen ridge and the slopes down from First provide sledge runs, ski pistes and good hiking trails. The main alpine chain – including the world-famous Eiger North Wall – seals off the southern side of the valley and provides a huge challenge for many climbers.
The only main access point to the town is from the north, via a narrow road and a partially-cogged railway winding up the Lütschine valley from Interlaken. This affords little hindrance to the thousands of tourists who come to admire the landscape, cover the slopes and stroll amongst the tourist shops along the main street in search of a suitably Swiss trinket to take home. The town is best visited between seasons, when the cablecars and public transport continue to run, but the crowds are greatly lessened and one can get up above the town to admire the views and revel in the majestic silence.
1st August is Switzerland’s Bundestag (or federal day), so Jo and I usually take advantage of the day off work to celebrate our adopted home. Here are some photographic mementoes of the day trips we’ve made.
A overnight timelapse of the view across the valley from Grindelwald First.
“Hiking” the path from Grindelwald First to the Faulhorn and on to Schynige Platte using Google Street View.
Yours truly, in action whilst photographing part of a multi-image panorama at Männlichen in Switzerland last weekend.
The mountain restaurant and top cable car station at First, above Grindelwald, affords amazing views down to the valley and to the huge wall of rock opposite: including the famous Eiger North Wall.
Achieving a long-held goal of hiking from Grindelwald First to the Faulhorn mountain hotel.
The Swiss need foreigners to keep their tourism industry afloat, but many resent the fact enough to complain about it, publicly and loudly.
Pfingstegg, on an elevated ledge amongst the southern cliff faces in the Grindelwald valley, is the starting point for a great hike. The path is less well-trodden than the easier and more popular routes on Männlichen and First, but offers much more dramatic views than the gentler routes in the valley. Once away from the restaurant… (Read More)
The Jungfraujoch is the prime tourist destination in Switzerland’s Jungfrau region. High atop a mountain “saddle” between the Mönch and Jungfrau peaks, it’s accessible by taking a cog-wheel train which makes its way to the summit through a tunnel carved into the mountain. Temperatures in winter can plunge a low way below freezing, but we… (Read More)