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Switzerland - Alpine Tour

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Tour de Alps - Switzerland

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Zermatt to Berner Oberland , Switzerland

Enroute - to Murren Tuesday, September 20, 2005
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Zurich - Madison

Departing From Riffelalp

View from Gornergrat

We packed the night before and had another wonderful buffet with an a-la-minute omelet. A nice full breakfast buffet is a great way to start the day. Before we checked out, we checked our in-room TV for the live web-cam views and saw that the peak of Gornergrat was bathed in sunshine.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - Train Going on Corner

Checking Out of Riffelalp

Matterhorn

The checkout was smooth and efficient. We left around 10:00 a.m. and had our packs sent down to the porter at the Zermatt train station while we planned on taking the train up to Gornergrat. I have to admit, the Riffelalp was one of the best spa resorts I have stayed at, and it is the pearl of Europe. The view is incredible, and its location is outstanding. Far away from the crowds, it's like your own little piece of paradise.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - View of Matterhorn from Gornergrat

Cogwheel to Gornergrat

Observatory at Gornergrat

While our backs were venturing down the Gornergrat Bahn, we took the cogwheel up through the clouds.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - Gornergrat Observatory

Gornergrat Peak

Panoramic View from Gornergrat

We broke through the clouds about a thousand feet up from the Riffelalp station, and the view was picture perfect. Clear blue sky above, clouds below.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - Gornergrat Pan From Top

Gornergrat Vista

Observatory under Construction

It took us about 20 minutes to reach the top, which took on an entirely different appearance from when we hiked down a few days ago in snow showers and drizzle. We didn't realize the amazing panoramic vista all around the peak.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - Gornergrat Train Going Down

Matterhorn on a Clear Day

Matterhorn as Cogwheel Train Descends into Clouds

All around us were snowcapped peaks, glacial flows and the Matterhorn. There is a hotel-observatory under renovation at the top. It has a commanding view, but I would prefer the Riffelalp as far as lodging goes.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - Gornergrat Top Pan

Zermatt

Train Station at Zermatt

After we walked around a bit at the summit of Gornergrat, and taking in the amazing view of the Matterhorn, we boarded the cogwheel down to Zermatt.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - Gornergrat Cogwheel Train

Train Station

Village of Zermatt

After we met the porter from Riffelalp down at the train station, we boarded the train (same train as the Glacier Express) and headed for our next adventure.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - View of Matterhorn from Train

Zermatt to Interlocken

First Class Section of Train

Since we had First Class SwissPass tickets, we always rode up front. There's not a huge difference, but it is nicer. It is certainly less crowded. Since it was Tuesday, the train was virtually empty. After a few hours we ended up in Interlocken, then caught the short train to Lauterbrunnen.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - Murren - Funicular Up to Murren

Lauderbrunnen to Murren

Funicular from Lauderbrunnen up to Murren

We arrived at Lauterbrunnen and couldn't help but notice the flood damage from the previous month of heavy rains in Switzerland. Since the rail usually follows a valley and a small river, you get a firsthand view of the flood damage. Luckily, they had cleared the track as we winded our way up to Lauterbrunnen. It was overcast and grey outside, with a chill as we arrived into the town.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - Vista From Train

Lauderbrunnen

Murren in the Clouds

Lauterbrunnen is most well known for its beautiful waterfall, which cascades down from the massive cliffs that tower above the little town. We went to the Information Office and looked for lodging in Murren. I decided that the last half of the trip we'd find hotels as needed. It took us about 45 minutes, but we finally decided on two options for Murren. The Information Office phoned ahead and there were plenty of rooms available.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - Funicular Train Up To Murren

Funicular up to Murren

Room at Alpina

Be boarded the funicular and headed up the 75 degree slope to the station, where we then got a train for the lateral approach to Murren. Murren is located on a cliff, thousands of feet above the valley where Lauterbrunnen is located. Next to Murren is Gimmelwald. Up on the other side of the valley is Wengen. We chose Murren since there were alot of hiking trails and it's the portal to the Schilthorn. We met some base jumpers on the train over to Murren. They got off about halfway to Murren, for a jump through the clouds into the valley below.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 06 - Murren - Hotel Room

Murren

View from Room in Alpina

We arrived at Murren in thick fog (clouds). We were losing light since the sun was setting, although you couldn't tell from the thick fog. Murren is a picturesque little village that really reflects traditional Swiss culture - the way it used to be. If you want really rustic Switzerland, head over to Gimmelwald. We walked around a bit, and finally decided to stay at the cozy Alpina, which is located next to the train station, on the cliff. We couldn't see the dramatic drop since it was really foggy. After we unpacked, we headed over to a local restaurant for some raclettes (melted cheese over potatoes) and then returned for a hot chocolate before turning in.

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Murren guide in .pdf format.

Hotel guide for Murren and Wengen in .pdf format.

Hotel guide part two for Murren and Wengen in .pdf format.

Color map of Murren and surrounding area.

Color map of Murren in .pdf format.

Murren information in .pdf format.

Prices of hotels in Murren.

Color map of Murren and surrounding area in .pdf format.

Bike brochure front.

Bike brochure back.

Info

Prices

Additional Photographs: Enroute - to Murren

(click on photos to enlarge)
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