17 Days in Europe – Day 16 The Royal Walk

By 26th August 2017Europe17

Morning.   A very bleary eyed one. I think we are all tired now.  It’s that satisfied tired you get when you’ve done something great.  Great – not as just yesterdays activities, but the whole holiday.  And that same tired you get when you can see it coming to an end.  Just two more days and we would be home, cleaning, getting kids ready for school, washing and pushing the hot thing over clothes.

We had also done an amazing job of ticking everything off the list.  So these last few days could really be flexible.  There is some sort of new energy in that – not living to a timetable, but also a lack of purpose.  Some people shudder at the idea of just wandering about making it up as you go along – others thrive on it.  I’m an inbetween person.

So today we decided to do the Royal Walk – sounds very grand doesn’t it.  Turns out there is nothing Royal about it, other than when you get to the end of the path, the wooden section you stand on vaguely resembles a crown.  But the views!!! I guess that the majestic part of it.

This was a brand new experience for us.  We had not been to this place before and the walk itself had only recently been completed.  So I was intrigued as to what was on offer and at the same time not really expecting much.  We needed to get a cable car from Grindelwald South (which we could walk to) up to Mannlichen – a peak ridge between the Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen valleys.

Again, like First, these are gondolas, so we split up and have 4 in one, 2 in the other.  It is such a long ride – the longest I’ve ever been in a cable car.  And as the sun beats down on us, we slowly melt inside it.  Imagine being in a glass box with no shade, directly in the morning sun for about 20 minutes.  At least I lost about 1lb in sweat.

All the way up we saw Marmots.  This was clearly the best time of day to see them.  They are much bigger than I thought.  The one we saw yesterday was at a distance, these were right below us.  They were easily bigger than a Labrador.

Once we got to the top you are presented with possibly the more novel play part that I have ever seen.  A soft play / climbing wall / slide / lookout gallery all in one.  Disguised inside a giant cow.  Cool!  If I had been small enough I would have played in it!

After we dragged the kids off it, we slowly started our Royal Walk.  It is not long, but very steep.  This picture gives you the angle.  I do my thing where I stop to take photos every few meters which also camouflages me stopping for a breather.  Even if I was fit mind, the view is so stunning that I would have taken a million photos anyway.

We reach the crown and rest.  Here you have a 360 degree panoramic view.  Outstanding.  But we are also being dive bombed by flying ants.  Shame really.  Literally just a few meters down from the top and they are none.  But on the top there are thousands.  Still, we sit, take pictures and enjoy the view, then head back down to the restaurant and play park.

The kids get another crack at the cow while we eat chips, chocolate and drink beer.  What’s not to like.

Since we are on a ridge, we have the option of getting a cable car down the other side to a car free town called Wengen, and then from there we can get the train to Kleine Scheidegg, the station at the base of the Eiger (we were there on the Top of Europe day).  From this side we would get a totally different perspective on the mountains.

That’s what we decide to do and we are so glad that we did.  The cable car down to Wengen was amazing.  Steep, almost vertical and with really clear views of the Lauterbrunnen valley.  Wengen is a really quaint town as well.  So quaint that Charlotte buys a dried flower kit.  You read that right, a tweenager obsessed with her eyebrows and mobile phone buying a dried flower kit.  It’s amazing what beautiful scenery can do to a person!

On a grass section alongside the main street there is a ‘low rope’.  Like a tight rope, but only a few feet off the ground.  We all have these visions of us successfully walking along it.  I think the furthest anyone of us managed was a few meters and that was by taking a run at it.  Good fun though.

At the end of the high street you hit the train station where we sit totally chilled waiting for the train.  It’s another cog train that will wind up the mountain side.

Coming up to the Eiger from this side is totally different.  It seems more bleak and barren.  Colder.  More exposed.  We pass right underneath the Sphinx observatory (although about 1000 meters below it) and then pull into Kleine Scheidegg.

Time for food.  All of the places here serve food but you sit outside.  I guess nobody wants to be inside when the view is this good.  Wendy and Charlotte opt for possibly the largest cakes that I have ever seen.  Apple strudel and Apple Pie.  Both seem to get through them without much of a problem.  We take in our last close up view of the Eiger, smell the clean air and then head back down to Grindelwald.  A full circle trip from our starting point.

On the balcony of the apartment we start to pick apart the holiday now.  What we have enjoyed, would do differently next time, what lived up to or exceeded expectations and so on.  We have learned a lot from our trip this time.  We always do.

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