June 02, 2007
Mürren: Wildflowers and Tarzan
After we left Zürich, we headed for the mountains in our rental car. I was thrilled to drive right by Lucerne, Interlaken, and the turnoff for Grindelwald - celebrated placenames, whether just to me or to the world. We also witnessed deer, cows, horses, sheep, swans, ducks, coots, and ostriches and camels (??) along the way. There were a plethora of tunnels of various lengths and teal blue lakes aplenty. We parked in Lauterbrünnen and took a cable car and then a train to get way up into the little virtually car-free high alpine village of Mürren.
Mürren is special to me as a place my parents took me hiking as a child, with my brothers. The funny thing is, nothing looked in the slightest bit familiar. I didn't remember a THING except the village name and the fact that I had a great time there seeing truly breath-taking scenery. I wasn't disappointed on this revisit, let me tell you. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Great raclette and rösti, too (melted cheese over boiled potatoes; Swiss version of thinly sliced hash browns).
Our hotel window opened out on the deep, wide gorge, with a massive, solid, vertical, gray rock face on the other side, rising to the heavens and sometimes shrouded in puffy clouds which hid the glaciers further away. At one point we saw a rainbow over the glacier. Waterfalls cascaded down the rock face. Way down below, the river was rushing through the valley and sending its rapid, watery echoes up to us.
The first day we took the kids up the mountain on the Children's Adventure Trail. Our 12-year-old didn't like the young sound of this trail name at first. However, David firmly led us onwards through the steep wildflower meadows and along the edge of the conifer stands, across the eager brooks and past anthills until we reached the goal: an alpine space trolley. This amused our whole family for the next 30 minutes as we screamed our way amongst the trees at least five times each. The ride had an enormous rebound at the end. Each time David and I were persuaded our legs were going to slam into a nearby tree, but the builders had calculated it perfectly.
We thought the space trolley was the crowning glory of the hike, until David called over from the other side of a little mound, and we joined him to find a big see-saw made out of a tree trunk, a log bridge high over a stream, a wooden hut accessible via a precarious plank, and a majorly scary Tarzan-ish rope swing downhill. David tried the rope swing first and in mid-swing he thought he'd made a serious mistake and was going to crash full-tilt into the wooden hut and die. Once again, the builders had it planned out to a tee, and we each barely missed slamming into any obstacles. To get on the rope swing, we had to climb up onto a platform and be handed the rope, which just reached, but not far enough to be able to sit on the rope knots. We had to hold on really tightly, screw up our courage, and jump onto the rope knots, while knowing it was too late to get out of the crazy stunt. I very nearly didn't participate. It took me a good 20 seconds to decide to go, and I almost let one of the kids go before me, but knew if I delayed that I wouldn't ever do it. It was the sort of experience that made each of us scream (much louder and longer and with more earnestness than the space trolley) the whole way over and on the swing back as well. And it made us come back for more - about five rounds each on this one as well. We loved having the whole place to ourselves, as it was a dreary, drizzling day and we were all geared up in hooded raincoats. It was dry enough under the trees, though. We scrambled into the hut to eat homemade peanut butter cookies, Toblerones and water protected from the rain.
On the way back to the hotel, we built a successful stone dam/bridge in order to cross a freezing, rushing stream. It took us half an hour of eager teamwork and got our eight hands all muddy and cold, but was a ton of fun and will be a great memory for me. Back in the village, David and Jason played giant chess outside in the rain, and at one point there were up to eight other tourists watching them.
June 2, 2007 | Permalink
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Oh, what very fond memories I have of Murren as well. The only scary part in my mind's eye is when Paul, then about Emily's current age, slipped down a shale slide and was hanging precariously. I was thinking he had been fooling around until I, too, slid next. It was just a dangerous feature we had not noticed until it was too late. Your Dad saved us both and we regained our footing and made it to safety. Those mountains can be very unforgiving. But what memories to cherish!
Posted by: Patricia Taylor | Jun 4, 2007 6:25:33 PM
:-) Thanks again for the opportunity to travel while I am safe and sound at home. Great pictures, just beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Helen | Jun 4, 2007 9:00:30 PM