Exploring Mürren

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As noted in the previous post, our initial Saturday plan was to make our way up to Schilthorn, explore the top of the mountain, and partake in James Bond geekery. Our Sunday adventure would be Mürren and Gimmelwald. We took the bus to the cable car station, lined up to get our tickets and were told that we wouldn’t be able to see much at the top of the mountain. The photo below is from Sunday morning, but it wasn’t much different when she showed us the live cam on Saturday.

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So, we pivoted on our plans and went to Mürren instead. Mürren is 5374 feet above sea level, so it takes two cable cars to get up there. The ascent is pretty steep, which meant that Chris made fun of me while I was whining the whole way up. Despite my whining, the view as you go up is incredible. Also, they really play into the fact that a Bond film was filmed on the mountain here because they play the Bond theme at the start of every cable car ride.

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We hadn’t eaten since the morning, so the first thing we did when we got to Mürren was eat. We weren’t quite ready for fondue, but the cooler weather meant that we could get pretty hearty and warm lunches without feeling weighed down for the rest of the afternoon. Chris got a rösti dish and I got macaroni and cheese with alpine cheese. It was delicious and the view wasn’t too bad.

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Mürren is a perfect postcard of a village. Not only are you surrounded by mountains and waterfalls and the most cartoonishly beautiful views of Switzerland, but the village is car free, so it’s also quiet. The sort of quiet where it’s almost eerie because that quiet is so unfamiliar. You can hear feet shuffling everywhere, birds chirping and cow bells in the the distance. The village itself is small and centered around a main street, where you will find shops, hotels, and restaurants, including the cutest little Coop Market. We didn’t make it far enough into the village, but there is also a sports complex with a soccer field (of course). Did I mention that you get an incredible view everywhere you look?

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We wandered around Mürren for a little bit before taking the funicular further up the mountain to the Allmendhubel, which is another 1200 feet above sea level. In retrospect, it’s kind of crazy that the tiny little funicular took us up that high. This area has a pretty awesome playground, a restaurant with an incredible view, and is the starting point for a lot of hikes. Amazingly, there are trails that can get you all the way to the top of the mountain, but that is a little above our skillset. Actually, our intention was to take the funicular up to Allmendhubel and walk back down to Mürren, but we accidentally bought round trip tickets on the funicular and were committed to the return trip. It was fine, though, because we did a few loops in the area to see sheep, cows and an exhibit about the local herbs (for tea, not smoking). What’s also impressive is that in the remote mountains at over a mile above sea level, I had near perfect LTE coverage.

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In the end, though, I guess it was fine that we took the funicular down. For one, it started raining almost as soon as we got into the funicular. This would have made the descent with what looked like some pretty narrow paths pretty miserable. Also, we chose bad seats on our way up. When you’re seated in that first row of seats on that funicular, the view of the village and the valley below is absolutely stunning. You also get a bit of a rush if you lean your head against the window during the descent.

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Once we made it back to Mürren, we walked around and went into a few shops, including the cute Coop (which packed a surprising punch in terms of selection for a grocery store its size) and then decided to make our descent back to reality. Except instead of taking the cable car from Mürren to Gimmelwald, we decided to walk down. The walk takes about 40 minutes, but you descend a few hundred feet along the way. My calves were killing me by the end of the walk, but between the view, the crisp Alpine air and the jam-packed cable cars we saw pass us on the way down, we were pretty happy with our decision. We even caught Mr. Mime’s along the way.

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We were about a kilometer away from Gimmelwald when it started raining again. Although we had frequently periods of rain throughout the day, they were light and lasted for few minutes at most. This one stuck, unfortunately. As we were walking through the rain, we spotted what looked like it might have been a cafe because it was advertising food and tea. I figured, why not get some food and wait out the rain? We approached the building and it turned out to be a small shop with no apparent shop owner. I got excited because I thought it was one of those shops where you just leave your money for whatever you buy, so we went in to look around and escape the rain for a few moments. The shop keeper ended up coming in though, so instead of continuing to look around like normal store visitors, we did our usual awkward thing. We guiltily bought some tea like were were doing something wrong and then scampered back into the rain. The funny thing was that there actually was a small bar not too far down the road where we could have actually sat out the rain a little while, but I have to say the view was prettier from the store and we now have more tea. I think the store even has an Instagram.

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We did eventually make it to Gimmelwald. Like I said, we actually weren’t that far from the village. I wanted to spend some time exploring the village, especially given that Rick Steves raves about it, but it was raining too hard by then, so we stopped by an actual honesty shop and then made our way to the cable car station. Just like all the cable cars we saw on our walk between Mürren and Gimmelwald, our cable car down was packed. It’s really fun when you’re jammed up against the window and can feel every single creak, but before we know it, we were back again. I’d say we returned to reality, but it’s hard to say that when you’re descending into a magical valley full of waterfalls.

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And you’re back again, only different than before. After the sky.

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