So today was our last full day in Switzerland. And when we woke up it was a beautiful clear day with bright blue sky. As no-one was skiing we all slept in a little and had a late and leisurely breakfast. Helen and I wanted to go to Lauterbrunnen which is where we stayed when we came to Switzerland the first time 19.5 years ago. It is in the next valley and while we could take the train (at some exorbitant price), we decided to drive instead. On the way out we realized the rest of Switzerland was arriving in Grindelwald though. The traffic was backed up to two villages prior to Grindelwald! It seems everyone had decided that Grindelwald is the place to spend New Years.
We were fortunately going against the flow and made it relatively easily to Lauterbrunnen only to discover that all the parking areas were full and so we could not park and walk around the town even. At 0 degrees C I am not sure we would have lasted long walking around anyway. We headed through the town and out toward the Schilthorn cable car station. The Schilthorn is the mountain peak which has the revolving restaurant on top of it that was featured in James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (a Sean Connery one). As we approached the cable car station they were stopping cars from about 1km before it and making them park in the road and you had to walk the balance of the way. We did a U-turn and headed back to Grindelwald. On the way back we did get some beautiful views of the Eiger though (which I have not really done justice with the photo that I have included).
As it was our last day, my Dad had offered to take us out for lunch to one of the local Swiss restaurants (Kreuz) that they frequent when they are here. It is one of those genuine Swiss restaurants. The best value for money is always to have the Tagesmenu (menu of day) and that was soup followed by Rump Steak. Most of them (Helen, Stephen and my parents) had that while Michael and I went for the Wiener Schnitzel and Chloe went for spaghetti (she still hasn’t realised that spaghetti is actually an Italian food). We had to have our standard Swiss desert as I could not come to Switzerland and not have a Coupe Denmark (yes I realise the irony). If you have never had one then you have missed a cholesterol load. It is basically, vanilla ice cream plus enough cream to match the ice cream plus enough chocolate sauce to cover both the ice cream and cream.
After lunch, we stopped on route back, at the local supermarket (Co-Op) to stock up on chocolate to take home. The Swiss monetary system is crazy in that they have coins for SF5 and below. That is like having a R50 coin. The problem is that you accumulate a huge number coins. We bought about SF60 worth of goods and I paid in coins! That is about R500 worth in coins. Quite ridiculous. I am sure that my left side has been stretched from carrying all those coins in my wallet.
The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent recovering from the cholesterol overload from lunch and packing up. We leave first thing tomorrow morning to reverse the journey we took to get here. I am sure that will be another whole blog by itself still. And by the way, I promised a picture of the chalet. That is the picture at the top of the blog post today (and yes that is a layer of snow on the roof). And Josie, this last picture is for you – it is Helen drinking the soup from the Tagesmenu which she said was superb (she made me take it and post it) …