A place so fantastic I had to visit again

life-murren-switzerland

As summer approaches I’m longing for a 3rd trip to Switzerland.

(I’m watching a deer walk around my front yard as I write this)…

The first trip so overwhelmed me with how beautiful it was, I went back again last year. Now that summer is approaching and 100 degree days are in the not-so-distance future, I am again thinking about a return to Europe.

My first visit to Switzerland was part of a Rick Steves‘ tour group. I can’t recommend Rick Steves’ tours enough. Katie and I have been on two. I love having a bus and tour guide take me around place-to-place and me not having to think or plan any of the trip.

  • No museum tickets to buy
  • No activity planning
  • Not much meal planning
  • No hotel planning
  • No transportation (except air) around Europe

They take care of everything. All you do is show up.

Rick Steves’ is the lazy man’s (me!) perfect trip.

A few years ago we did the Germany, Austria, Switzerland trip. The highlight for me was the cliff top town of Murren, Switzerland.

One thousand feet straight up, in a tiny town only accessible by gondola, lies Murren. Nestled in the Swiss Alps it’s perfect for the outdoor adventurer or the person that just wants to sit on a bench with a glass of wine and stare at the mountains. We did equal amounts of both on our first trip.

From this view, you can see the town way up on the cliff in the background.

Schilthorn, 10,000 feet up.  You can take the gondola up to see the most amazing views of the Swiss Alps.

Or, you can do what I did on my follow-up trip – hike up!

Along all the hiking trails are cows.  Each cow has a bell with a distinct ring.  Farmers can tell each cow by the ring.  In the fall, right before winter rolls in a big celebration occurs.  All of the cows are walked down the mountain and into the barns for wintering.  It’s a big deal.

How is this for a view!  One of the several hikes we took along the rolling paths of the mountains.

Here is the village of Murren as seen from above.  As you can see the homes are built along the edge of the cliff.  Seeing these pics, I’m ready to go back.

While we were out on a 2-hour hike through the hills we passed this watering trough.  There was a farmer nearby.  He had stored a bottle of wine in the chilled water to drink after a hard days’ work.  This picture is one of my all-time favorites I’ve ever taken.  It represents to me the simple lifestyle the farmers had up in the mountains, and the simple rewards of hard work.

Here is a goat we came across while walking through the Alps.  Seemed friendly enough!

My return trip

Last August I returned to Switzerland. My good friend Jordan was living in Geneva and I went over for a week long visit. Of course on our agenda, I told him we had to go to Murren. Murren!!!

I didn’t realize what a hidden gem Murren was until I found out neither Jordan nor any of his coworkers had heard of it. And they travel around the country and Europe a lot!

It was just as awesome as I remembered. Perfect weather. Perfect town. Perfect little grocery store that sold local cheeses and sausage to take with you on an afternoon hike.  My second trip was more action-adventure oriented – challenging hikes, bike riding, parasailing.

The same day I got on the plane for Switzerland I went to the ER to have 12 stitches removed from my hand.  I crashed at the wake park two weeks earlier and sliced it open.  We had to scratch a couple activities since I wasn’t supposed to be using my hand a heck of a lot.

This is about 30 minutes into our hike.  See that peak in the upper left of this picture?  That’s not as high as we are hiking!

These are mountain goats or sheep that wander around the hills.  Does this look like a steep climb?  Yes, because it is.

 

About 2/3 of the way up the mountain we reached a small pond.  Jordan and I had a nice lunch of cheese, bread, and chocolate.  Despite all of the blisters on my feet from the climb, the views were still amazing.

Do you see the specks way down in the lower right-hand corner?  That was the building I took a picture of in a previous picture.  Can you say brutal hike?  The choices were to keep climbing or just give up and die on the cliff.

King of the mountain, baby!  You can’t tell, but I’m standing on a 1′ wide rock path that drops down about 100 feet on either side of me.  This was not the hike for those of us that are afraid of heights.

It was a great accomplishment climbing nearly 1 1/2 miles straight up.  The total time for the hike was about 4 hours.  I don’t think I would ever do it again.  Yeah, I probably would.  I’d just get better shoes next time.

If you get the chance to visit Europe, Murren Switzerland is a hidden gem in the mountains.  I’m going to go back again someday for a third visit.  I just can’t get enough.

Question: Where are you heading to this summer? Please leave a comment below.