Friday, April 27, 2012

June 12 - Day 5 - Engelberg to Grindelwald, Switzerland

June 12 - Day 5 - Engelberg to Grindelwald, Switzerland

We woke up early this morning hoping that the weather would be clear and we’d be able to see Mt. Titlis. The day before it was too cloudy to see the great views near the top of the mountain so we decided to go to Meiringen and see Aare Gorge, Reichenbach Falls, and Meiringen Falls. The weather wasn’t great, but it gave the gorge an eerie feel and it made the waterfalls and the surrounding landscape that much more beautiful.

It had been raining for the past two days of our trip so we didn’t know what to expect. The day before the people that worked at the Mt. Titlis ticket office told us the weather was supposed to be clear today, so we decided we’d wait and take our chances.
Of course when we woke up it was very cloudy. However, maybe by the afternoon it would be better. We made the hike back to town and over to the Mt. Titlis cable car. The place was deserted. We got there before it opened I think or the bad weather just scared everybody away. Once again we were told it was pretty cloudy at the top. They had a live camera feed on a T.V. screen where you purchased tickets. We decided it was probably not worth the money to go to the top.  

We basically had a few options for the day. Our original plan was to see the mountains, glacier, and the ice cave at the top and then leave for our next destination Grindelwald. We had to see everything and hike back to our campsite before check out time. Therefore we didn’t have long to make a decision. If we waited until the afternoon to see if the skies would clear we’d have to pay an extra day for our campsite. We also may not have a train ride to Grindelwald, and we wouldn’t be able to do the things we had planned there.

We had lots of decision making to do. This is about the time we realized how much our trip was like the Amazing Race. Everything we did had to be decided quickly. Lucky for us it seemed like every time we were in a jam things worked out.

We decided that since we came all this way we might as well do something relating to Mt. Titlis. The cable car ride to the top was pretty expensive, around $25 or so. We decided we’d go to Trubsee Lake, it was about half way up the mountain on the cable car and cost 13 Swiss Francs. We figured even if the skies weren’t clear we’d still be able to see the lake and the clouds may make the background look neat.

It was a short ride and then we began our hike around the lake. We intended to hike all the way around and see all that we could. The lake and surrounding scenery was beautiful. Again everything was a bright green and perfectly manicured. Switzerland is in perfect condition, it’s like being a real life Disney World ride.  

There were flowers everywhere. One of the reasons I wanted to go in June was because the flowers would be in bloom. I guess that is the one good thing to all this rain we were experiencing.

The Swiss love building cable cars everywhere, this is especially convenient when there are times you don’t feel like hiking up a trail. The majority of trails have a hike or ride option. We mostly chose hike, but it’s always nice to have an option. It can be very expensive though.

The view wasn’t completely clear, but it cleared up enough so that we could at least see something. On a clear day I bet it looks really cool. It was pretty cold at the top and the snow was still pretty thick.

There is an observatory at the top which allows for views as well. After we completed the Titlis Rotair we went to the ice cave. The ice cave was basically a  tunnel underneath the ice with different colored lights to show the way. I remember reading that it wasn’t very spectacular, and it wasn’t. Oh well, I went all this way so I was going to see it.

We decided we should go back to our campsite so we could continue on our journey. Along the way we stopped at Trubsee Lake again. The skies were much clearer now and we wanted to see if we could get a few shots of the lake. Before the mountains in the background were covered by fog, but now we thought they may be visible. It reminded me of Glacier National Park in Montana and some of the hikes I had done there. Those hikes were 10 miles in length, this one was about 200 yards from the cable car. We took a few quick pictures and back down we went. I bought a shot glass from the gift shop.

Back at camp we bought some groceries. We hadn’t been eating very much and we figured groceries would be cheaper and would last longer. The store wasn’t very big, but it had enough to get us by for the rest of the day and hopefully the next. We bought bread, cheese, mayonnaise, and bananas. Not much, but it was something.

After about 30 minutes of hiking the skies started to clear up. It was amazing. We decided we’d get back on the cable car and head to the top. Because we bought the tickets separately it made it more expensive than if we had just bought the full fair at the bottom. It was ok though since we got to see the lake, something most people miss.

We made it to the top and saw the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers we had been hoping for. At the top there is a cable car known as the Titlis Rotair which takes you above the glacier. As it crossed the glacier it slowly turned, providing you with 360 degree views of the area so. It was awesome.

"Nexte Halte, Grindelwald..."

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