After seeing Mt. Titlis, Trubsee Lake, buying some groceries, and taking our tent down, we headed back to the train station. Finally, our last time to have to hike along the river. It was a nice hike, but two miles one way multiple times a day was getting old. We must have walked that same route eight times in two days.
Our next stop was Grindelwald. We wanted to get there in the afternoon so we would have some time to see the town and do some hiking around the Grindelwald Glacier. There is an upper and lower part, we planned to do both but do to time and weather we ended up planning to do just the lower portion.
The train ride to Grindelwald took about 45 minutes. Trains are a great way of getting around. You can read, sleep, take pictures, eat, do whatever. It's also a smooth ride and always on time. I mentioned before that I wished we had trains like this in the U.S., it makes things so much easier. I pretty much fell asleep immediately. Whenever we rode on trains I would fall asleep. I did get a few good picures before I fell asleep though.
"Nexte halte" came on the intercom, it means "next stop" in german. Followed by Grindelwald. We made it. Another common thing we started saying anytime we were going somewhere was "nexte halte." So to refresh our new sayings: ziggen sie bratwurst, trinktwasser, and nexte halte. We were improving our german daily. I already spoke german, but it was cool to hear it all the time. The trains did use english words as well. When getting off the doors would open and the intercom would say "alight to the left" or "alight to the right." Who uses the word alight? I didn't even know what it meant until this trip.
Our plan for Grindelwald was to visit the Jungfraujoch and hike around Grindelwald Glacier. We weren’t going to have time for the Jungfraujoch today, so we decided we’d try to see Grindelwald Glacier while we still had some daylight. We figured we would have a few hours before it was dark.
We didn’t really know where the hike was, but we saw some signs on the road and hoped they would point us in the right direction. They did. We headed up a gravel road to what we thought would be the trailhead. We walked on this road for a few miles, passing houses, horses, and open pastures. I was wondering if the whole trail was going to be like this or if we’d eventually be going on a real trail.
The trail was pretty deserted. I think we might have seen one other group of people and that was near the end. There were some great views of the countryside. The homes in Switzerland are awesome. They are all log homes and pretty well spread out. It’s so different than American style homes. Whenever they did construction the homes had their roofs pre-built and then placed on top with a crane. It was pretty neat.
As we went further it started to get dark, partly because of the trees and the sun going down behind the mountains, but also because of the clouds. The trail was getting steeper, the trees began to disappear, and it was getting more rocky. We decided we would take the route towards the lower part of the glacier. It was shorter and we thought we’d have better views.
Along the way we passed an old hotel. It may have been open at other times of year, but for now it looked closed. I remember wanting to get out of the elements and possibly get a drink or go to the bathroom, but the doors were locked. We walked all around it, but there was no way in. This building was going to come in handy later on.
It was starting to rain a lot harder at this time and I was considering wanting to go back. We decided since we had already hiked this far we might as well continue on to see what we could see. The rains would come and go, so as it cleared up a little we made our way. The trail was very slippery at this point and became very steep. It was mostly down hill, so we started bounding down as fast as we could. I almost fell a few times, but we were able to get down to the bottom. We made it down really fast, but that wasn’t going to be the case coming back up. We got a few pictures and then started going back as fast as we could.
It was pouring down rain. The trail was covered in water, my boots were soaked, my clothes were soaked, my bag was soaked. Not to mention it was freezing cold. It was terrible. We made it back to the old hotel. We stood under the porch hoping the rain would die down. It never did. It seemed like it was getting harder. It was thundering and lightning. We had two options. Stay where we were and wait, or run for it.
We ran. Fast.
Most of the trail was uphill on the way, so it was down hill on the way back. That made it much easier. For some reason running down hill in the rain when you are freezing makes you run fast and not get tired. As hard as the hike was going up, it was easy going down. The rain never let up. I was just thinking about how I couldn’t wait to get back to the campsite, get out of these clothes, and take a warm shower.
We seemed like we were making good time. It was getting pretty dark so it was hard to tell how far we had to go. I kept thinking it was only a few more minutes until we got back to the gravel road. After all we were running fast.
We were back in the forest and the trees were doing a good job of blocking the rain. Those same little waterfalls we had crossed before had now swelled into much bigger falls. At this point they were still manageable, but just a few minutes later and they would have been impassable. It seemed like we were going to make it back before dark as we planned. That was before we realized what lay ahead. The river below was flowing very fast and the water had risen to the edges of the banks.
We got back to the campsite and hung up our clothes to dry them. I headed straight to the showers. One thing I couldn’t wait for was something warm to drink. Hot chocolate sounded perfect. We were in luck! After my shower we did our laundry. Right next to the washing machine was a hot chocolate stand. It was only 1 Swiss Franc, about 80 cents.
The washing machine seemed to work great, our clothes were going to be clean and warm. We put our clothes in the dryer and started it. We waited about 20 minutes and realized our clothes weren’t drying. The machine didn’t work. So now we had clean clothes that were soaked. It wasn’t raining very hard so we decided to hang them up near our tent.
I think we just ate bread with peanut butter for dinner, a common theme for this trip. It was a busy and eventful day, but now it was time to sleep.