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10 Glorious Days in MURREN and WENGEN: How to Enjoy?

10 Glorious Days in MURREN and WENGEN: How to Enjoy?

Old Jun 8th, 2010, 06:09 PM
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10 Glorious Days in MURREN and WENGEN: How to Enjoy?

My husband and I will enjoy 11 nights or 10 full days in the Berner Oberland in late June/early July 2010! We have 5 nights in peaceful Murren and 6 nights in lovely Wengen. Yes, we do realize Murren and Wengen aren't far apart, but for many reasons we have chosen them as our ideal bases for the breathtakingly beautiful Berner Oberland.

We have 10 full days to enjoy the Berner Oberland and surrounding area! Tell me about your favorite memory in the Berner Oberland and why is it special for you? What is your favorite spot in the area? What would you do with 10 days (and 11 nights) in the beautiful Berner Oberland area? Thanks in advance for sharing!

We are looking forward to peaceful nights in the small mountain villages; easy scenic walks; wildflowers; waterfalls; train to Jungfraujoch; going up to the Schilthorn and having lunch or a drink in the revolving restaurant; plus day-trips out to the scenic spots near Interlaken on Lakes Thun and Brienz; and Ballenberg. Also hoping to see the 8:00 pm showing of the William Tell outdoor pageant near Interlaken called Tellfreilichtspiele, although I have to make sure we can make it back to our hotel in Murren or Wengen after the performance!

We plan to get up early, have breakfast, enjoy an outing, have dinner, see the sunset, look for stars, and head to bed early for another early start in the gorgeous mountains.

If there are any cultural activities, folkloric happenings, or music in the area during our stay, we will definitely want to check it out. (late June/early July)

Our cozy hotels:
Murren: 5 nights Hotel Bellevue, formerly called Hotel Bellevue-Crystal (Ruth & Othmar Suter).

Wengen: 6 nights: Hotel Berghaus (Martina Fontana & family)
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Old Jun 8th, 2010, 07:12 PM
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There's a jazz festival in Geneva around that time. It's about an hour from Lauterbraunnen. One year they had a train concert, the venue was actually the train and the musicians were playing on it, so you could see a bit of the countryside whilst enjoying music. We didn't get tickets to it as we decided to go to Vienna that holiday instead, but I've often thought about it as a missed opportunity.
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Old Jun 8th, 2010, 07:35 PM
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Hi Melissa5,
We spent 8 days in Lauterbrunnen and just loved it. We were busy every day. There are so many lovely hikes of varying degrees of difficulty so you're sure to find something to your liking.

Grab some snacks and drinks to throw in your backpack in the morning (remember that the grocery stores close midday for a couple hours) and just head off. If you have a BO pass you can ride endlessly (except the cost to the Jungfrau) all over the BO.

If you look at this site http://fahrplan.sbb.ch/bin/query.exe/en? you can check out the transportation from Interlaken to Wengen. It looks like a bus runs at 11 pm from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen and then you can train to Wengen from there. Transportation is fantastic in the BO.

We loved the Jungfrau, Trummelbach falls, riding the cablecar from Grindelwald/First to Grosse Scheidegg and then hiking down in the fog, the hike from Männlichen - Kleine Scheidegg, the train ride to Schynige Platte. Listening to the church bells chiming day and night. Hearing the clanging cow bells continually. Having picnic lunches in some of the most beautiful locations in the world.

Have a fantastic time,
Michele
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Old Jun 8th, 2010, 09:03 PM
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A lovely easy hike, besides the one from Kleine Scheidegg to Mannlichen (or vice versa) would be from the tip of the First gondola (in Grindelwald) to the lovely Bachalpsee. On a calm day, the reflections of the mountains across the way are a photographer's dream. Take a picnic and enjoy it by the lake, and remember to "depose your rubbish" in the indicated trash bin.

To get to Grindelwald from Wengen the fun way, you could either take the train up and over Kleine Scheidegg and down to the town, or ride the Mannlichen cablear up from Wengen and connect to the gondola down to Grindelwald. Once in Grindelwald, wlak thru town on the pedestrian street, and keep going another few hundred meters to the First gondola.

You can return to Wengen by the faster (and less expensive) valley route if you like.

Another easy walk is up at Schynige Platte; take the cogwheel train up from Wilderswil. The trail follows the ridge that divides the Grindelwald valley from the Brienzersee, and in places you can see both sides. The ridge itself is not narrow or scary. although the Panoramaweg extends all the way from there to First, that is a strenuous hike. Instead, just walk as far as you wish and turn around. There is an alpine botanical garden up there too.
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Old Jun 8th, 2010, 09:44 PM
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Hi Melissa 5,

Yep the walks above are great.

And as well we got a lot of fantastic information form this wonderful person who is local specialist on trip advisor:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/members/kimsanjose

If you log onto trip advisor you can contact her via their email system and she will return a long document full of great information - enough to keep one going for a few weeks.

You do have to sign up to trip advisor - so that is for you to decide.

And on really lazy days there are a few close by places that only take an hour walk - you can eat out in the sunshine and walk back slowly and still have time to sit on your deck and look at the view.

Happy planning - and I hope you get the gear sorted as well.
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 01:20 AM
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I'm enjoying hearing about everyone's favorite memories in the beautiful Berner Oberland!

trickiewoo: A concert on a train would be a unique experience, I agree!

michele_d: I'm so glad to hear you spent 8 nights in Lauterbrunnen and loved it. Sounds like you never ran out of things to do. We will get a Swiss Pass, so I think that covers a lot of the transport in the B.O. but not the Jungfrau. Good idea about packing a picnic lunch since some of the groceries close at mid-day... Picnic lunches in some of the most beautiful places in the world...sounds great! It's nice of the cows to chime in with the church bells. Hiking down in the fog sounds atmospheric but a bit scary. And thanks for the transport link.

enzian: I'm enjoying reading your reply about the lovely easy walks. From Grindelwald to the lovely Bachalpsee sounds pretty...Hopefully we can see the mountains reflected in the lake as you describe. All the walks you mentioned sound really nice. My husband (biologist) would enjoy the alpine botanical garden you mentioned. I'm getting excited reading about all these fun ideas that everybody is sharing.

love_travel_Aus: Yep yep, Kim on tripadvisor is amazing, and I did receive her great document full of info, and all so organized! I could have a great trip to the B.O. using Kim's information alone! But I do enjoy hearing everybody's enthusiastic descriptions of their own favorite experiences. Everyone's enthusiasm ignites my own excitement, which is a good antidote to the nervousness I always feel before a trip.

CHIME IN if anybody else wants to share their special memories of favorite experiences in the Berner Oberland area or nearby. 8-)

Favorite meals?

I think my husband would enjoy the train up to the Jungfraujoch. But I'm scared! Doesn't the train go in a long claustrophobic tunnel? (I don't like tunnels or enclosed places.) What about altitude sickness? (One of my docs says I shouldn't worry and recommends sleeping a night or 2 in Wengen first before taking the train up, which is what we'll do. I hope my doc is serious and not just trying to calm me down!) Is the trip up to the Jungfraujoch worth it on a clear day...was anybody else nervous about the experience?
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 01:38 AM
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Palenque: I have copied below your beautifully written reflections about activities near Interlaken...you posted this at the end of one of my previous posted questions.

Palenque on Jun 8, 10 at 9:47am wrote:

"

"I love taking the steamers on either lake bookending Interlaken - named because it lies between two lakes i would think."

"Lake Thun is my favorite - especially if it's a nice clear day and the Jungfrau Massif is majestically dominating the vistas to the south."

"Oberhofen is a dreamy lakeside town many folks get off at - to see the castle jutting out into the lake - to take lunch, stroll along the flower-ful quais, etc."

"Thun is a great place to get off - a bigger city but one with a roaring river bisecting it and old wooden bridges - great shopping area."

"Spiez is another favorite - the castle of your dreams towers over the lake from its high up on the rocks perch and vineyards lovingly swirl along it."

"From Thun or Spiez you can take trains back to Interlaken in a few minutes."

"But if it's a nice warm afternoon i take a picnic onboard and sit outside on the deck and get intoxicated on the ever so postcard-perfect scenery."

Palenque on Jun 8, 10 at 2:08pm wrote:

"Lake Brienz is more fjord-like on its southern shore than Lake Thun and thus the views of high mountains are largely blocked off IME"

"Yet a boat ride there is great fun too - Giessenbach Falls, Brienz the wood-carvers town - the steam train up the Rothorn - the famous Ballenberg Museum - all can be incorporated in a boat ride from Interlaken-Ost (East)" station.
--------------------
Melissa5 on Jun 8, 10 at 5:24pm wrote:

Palenque: You have a poet's soul! I love your descriptions of places. You have described the Jungfrau "majestically dominating" from Lake Thun...the "dreamy" lakeside town of Oberhofen...the "roaring" river at Thun...and your vision of Spiez, in your own words: "Spiez is another favorite - the castle of your dreams towers over the lake from its high up on the rocks perch and vineyards lovingly swirl along it." Thanks for the lovely words and beautiful visions of the areas near Interlaken!

I don't think I"ve heard about the steam train up the Rothorn? What's the Rothorn? Maybe I can look it up in the lonely planet guidebook.

I looks like one of our challenges will be NOT to miss the last train/funicular/gondola/bus back to our hotels in Murren and Wengen! But we plan to get up early, enjoy outings, have dinner, see if there are any stars to be seen, and get to bed early.

I'm beginning to wonder if it will be possible to see the 8:00 pm showing in July of the outdoor pageant Tellfreilichtspiele in Interlaken...and still make it back to our hotel in Wengen. I thought I checked the train schedule and it seemed like it ran late enough...but I'll definitely have to check on that again.

Thanks for painting a lovely picture with your words! I'm looking forward to the sites in and surrounding the Berner Oberland!
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 07:53 AM
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> There's a jazz festival in Geneva around that time. It's about an hour from Lauterbraunnen.

Careful, there is not much correct infos there.
1. LTB - GVA is more than 3 hour train ride
2. Famous jazz festival is Montreux one. It is still a train ride of close to 3hrs. There may be other smaller jazz festival in different areas though.

Anyway, in Mürren and Wengen, there are so many hiking possibilities. That's what I would do first if I will be staying in the area again.

I stayed 4 times so far in Mürren and a fewas back, at Almendhubel where you can reach by funicular from above Mürren, 4 - 5 men team was doing this Swiss flag tossing.
http://www.swissworld.org/typo3temp/pics/5c8c6b3ac4.jpg
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 08:25 AM
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Melissa - the last train for Wengen leaves Interlaken-Ost at 23:04, arriving in Wengen 23:40 - for a Wednesday i put in - so it seems you should have plenty of time to get back and even probably catch an earlier train.
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 10:22 AM
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The train up the Jungfraujoch does indeed go through a tunnel that is carved inside the Eiger. It is an amazing feat of engineering, but it is a long tunnel. You enter the tunnel shortly after leaving Kleine Scheidegg, and are in it the rest of the way up--the train journey ends in a building at the Jungfraujoch and you take a (crowded) elevator up to reach the rest of the building (also crowded) and the outside area (nice). You are in the tunnel for about 45 minutes, but that includes the time for a stop to get off the train and look out the "windows" that are carved in the rock for a view outside. These windows facilitate the rescue of climbers who become stranded while climbing the North Face of the Eiger. They are lit at night so you can see them when looking up at the Eiger from Grindelwald.

The trip up the Jungfraujoch is expensive and crowded, and due to that tunnel I would never rrecommend it to someone with claustrophobia or discomfort in closed spaces. As for the view at the top---yes, it is wonderful, but speaking as a skier and mountaineer, I find it no better than mountain views I have seen in many other places. But if that is not an experience you have had, it might be worth going up, if you can tolerate the tunnel.

Favorite meals in the Berner Oberland: actually, our favorite was a great tinner we cooked in our apartment with fresh local ingredients, including a very nice Charantais melon wrapped with local prosciutto.

But for favorite restaurant meals, I'd pick dinner on the terrace at Hotel Bodmi, above Grindelwald, as my first pick. You can see the views on the hotel website:

http://www.bodmi.ch/

We weren't staying there, but they serve dinner to non-guests. It is a bit of a walk up from town but all on a paved path. On a clear evening th eparagliders will be landing in the meadow nearby; they have a table on the terrace reserved for the Gleitschirm "pilots" for their after-flight beverage.

Other favorite meals were lunch at a mountain restaurant on the path between Männlichen and Kleine Scheidegg, also on a terrace with amazing views, and the very fresh and imaginative food at Hotel Bären in Wengen. In Mürren, we've had our best dinners at Hotel Bellevue, where you are staying. It's always been bad weather when we're there, so we dined inside (once in the charming Stübli), but the food is very good, with a gourmet touch.

As for favorite experiences, apart from hiking, my favorite is hearing an impromptu evening of yodeling. The first time, we returned to our hotel after dinner elsewhere to find that it was the site of a local yodeling club meet. They sat, sang, and had a drink or two for well over an hour. (Apparently as long as they sing, they are served free drinks). The second time was in Mürren, and it was part of the ritual the young men follow when one among them is getting married. They move from bar terrace to bar terrace throughout the town, singing (and drinking) at each.

And if you've never heard real yodeling, it is not what you might think. It's not a silly sound at all, but rather a lovely, haunting, melodious a capella singing in multi-part harmony, with no words. It is a sound designed to carry long distances, which it does, but it sounds great up close as well.
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 04:40 PM
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We stopped here
Allmend Restaurant (3823 Wengen; +41-33-855-5800)
on our way down from Kleine Scheidegg - just to have cake and drinks - and it was very relaxing.
It does function as a full restaurant but we ran out of time to go back.
Very friendly hostess and great views - of course.
Another vote for the terrace of Hotel Baren - mmm -!
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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Everybody is welcome to join in the discussion below. The more the merrier!

kappa1: Thanks for the link to the photo. Swiss flag tossing looks like a colorful display. I hope our timing is good to witness interesting events. You are right, I knew that Geneva was quite a few hours away by train from Wengen/Murren. I didn't point it out as I wasn't sure if "trickiewoo" was tricking me or was misinformed. But you are probably wise to point out the correct info, as some other newbies reading this post for info might not be aware of the true distance between the Lake Geneva area and Wengen/Murren.

kappa1, since you have stayed 4 times in Murren, may I ask you what draws you back to stay in Murren in particular? I had a hard time choosing between the many lovely villages & towns in the BO area! I'm happy with my choice to stay in both Wengen and Murren. I am a teensy bit worried that Murren will be slightly too isolated for a 5-night stay, but I actually LOVE staying in small villages so I'm going to keep the itinerary. I like the peace of small villages, and as I have developed "directional dyslexia", as I call it, I get lost a lot...I'm always going 180 degrees in the wrong direction. So in a small village I can't get too lost! Also looking forward to the views from both Murren and Wengen. PLus all the beautiful walks and outings possible from Murren and Wengen sound great!

Palenque: Thanks for the train info. I have tried using more than 1 website to check transportation between Interlaken and Wengen/Murren, but I must be plugging in something wrong because I keep getting different answers! Kim from tripadvisor gave me a link which I haven't uploaded yet which is apparently comprehensive for transportation, so I'm going to get that up on my computer. She said it takes some time to load so I haven't tried it yet...my computer is already slow lately.

enzian: I truly appreciate your solid info and candor about the tunnel and crowded elevator when going up to the Jungfraujoch. Considering that its also expensive, I think its the wrong choice for me. However I will give my husband the info and give him the choice of going without me, (I am the trip planner.) One of the problems with claustrophobia is that if I can't escape right away (which would be a problem on the train in the tunnel), the panicky feeling doesn't end easily...it can then continue for the rest of the day...which would certainly ruin my day. But if I'm in a small space that I can immediately escape from, then the feeling goes away quickly.

Enzian, can you recommend another spot in the Berner Oberland (or doable as a daytrip from Luzern) where I can have the pleasure of a wonderful view from a high-up spot...without having to deal with claustrophobia? (I also have a fear of heights, but I can deal with that. If I'm in a gondola I can always close my eyes or not look down if necessary. I'm okay standing on a mountain and looking down, as long as I stand well back from the edge. My husband and I both love beautiful views from high up. But he goes a lot close to the edge than I do!

You might wonder why I'm going on a vacation where I will face so many challenges. But those turn out to be the best vacations! If you don't find life (and vacations) to be a challenge and scary at times, then you are being overly cautious and missing out on a lot, in my opinion.

Anyway the 45-minute tunnel combined with the crowded elevator sounds like a NO NO for me. But I am ready to climb into gondolas that will scare the freckles off my arms, and surprise...I will inevitably find that when I open my eyes, I'm enjoying myself!

Enzian, as for your favorite meal in the Berner Oberland...can you come and cook for us?! Your dinner sounds delicious! Dinner at Hotel Bodmi sounds like a winner. My husband will probably wish he was paragliding...he would enjoy watching that. (He used to go hang gliding in his carefree youth. Then he crashed and dislocated his shoulder. Fortunately he's still here today!) Great to hear your best dinners in Murren were at Hotel Bellevue where we are staying! Thanks for all the restaurant info.

Enzian I want to hear an evening of impromptu yodeling (real yodeling)! I wonder if there is any way to contact a local yodeling club. Your description of a lovely, haunting, melodious a capella singing in multi-part harmony, with no words is very intriguing. You were fortunate!
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 07:16 PM
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Hi Melissa5,
About your claustraphobia: what do you do on the airplane? I am terrified of flying and actually have to take medication in order to fly so I know about fears. Just no way to talk yourself out of it I know.

Gosh I would hate for you to miss the Jungfrau. You can wait until the train unloads and most of the people go up in the elevator and then you can ride it up. Are you able to ride elevators at all? Do you take any medication for your fears? I take a low dose of Xanax when I fly. I'm not trying to push drugs here but it just takes that edge off so it is much more tolerable.

I too am afraid, more like terrified of heights. I was determined to ride the "buckets of death" as I call them and I did. I sat on the floor and read my guidebook the whole time. I shed a few tears in fear but I got braver as the week went on because I knew the rewards were so great.

I hope you are able to go. You will love it.
Michele
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 11:59 PM
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michele_d: I'm so proud of you! I can picture you sitting on the floor of those "buckets of death" as you call them, reading your guidebook. You must have been rewarded with amazing sites at the other end! Yes, I'm afraid of flying too...it took me a few years to realize it's NOT really fear of flying, it's claustrophobia. I too take xanax to fly...and I always get an aisle seat. I get up a LOT and walk back to the bathroom just to keep myself feeling "free" to move around which helps. I only take xanax for flying because its the only way I can fly. I don't like to depend on meds normally. I also prefer flights which serve meals and have entertainment systems where you can choose your own movie...this way I can "forget" I am trapped on a plane! I have a hard time when everybody starts closing their windows on the plane. I don't like elevators but since its a short ride I can tolerate it if necessary. But if there is an escalator or stairs I avoid the elevator. If the elevator is too crowded I wait for the next one.

Did you think the Jungfrau was worth it? I'm really not so sure...I get nervous being in the short tunnels in slow traffic on roads...Can't imagine being in a 45 minute tunnel on a train going up the mountain (Jungfrau).

I will need some time to relax on this trip. You know what it's like to feel terrified...you don't want to feel like that all the time...if you're terrified the whole vacation, it's not a vacation at all. But I can tolerate a certain amount of fear and even terror as long as most of the trip is full of peace, beauty, romance, and highlights. Well thanks for sharing and listening!
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 04:16 AM
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> I am a teensy bit worried that Murren will be slightly too isolated for a 5-night stay,

Yes, I think it might be too. My stays have always been 2 nights only and for such a short stay, the isolated village of Mürren is perfect for me as long as I can hike on those numerous hiking trails. I live in Geneva so it's easy to do a (long) weekend trip there. The firt time I was there, I was impressed by the view of Eiger, Mönch, etc at late afternoon to sunset, such a beautiful color, it was.
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 03:13 PM
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Melissa5,
I too do not like the short tunnels while stuck in traffic. Ughhh. Can't wait to start moving again and get out of the tunnel. I do not like any kind of tunnels but I did not feel like that at all on the Jungfrau train. The train is lighted inside and you see nothing outside of the train while you are in the tunnel. Would you feel okay riding a train at night, because that is what it feels like. You can't see the walls of the tunnel, just the inside of the train because it is lit up. Maybe you can bring the xanax with you on the train just in case you need it. It works pretty quick.

Even if you decide not to go up in the train you will have a wonderful time in the BO. The beauty is astounding. You will love it. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it when you return.

Michele
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 05:07 PM
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michele_d, I wonder...maybe I really could handle the tunnel for the Jungfraujoch train, since you say the train is so lit up you can't really see that you are in a tunnel...maybe I will post a separate question because it does help to get people's collective experiences and impressions and then I can usually figure out how I would feel...

kappa1: The view of the mountains at late afternoon to sunset from Murren sounds beautiful. I'm nervous and excited abut our trip and it's coming up way too fast in a coupla weeks. I like to start packing early so I might open a suitcase soon. I'm trying not to let myself dwell on worries too much. I don't want to stress about our itinerary any more. At this late date the maximum change I could make would be too take 1 night from Murren and put that night in Luzern (assuming our Luzern hotel isn't fully booked already!!!) But it seems like there is plenty to do in the Berner Oberland with the mountains and also the Interlaken area with the lakes...that's certainly doable as a daytrip. We could even do a daytrip into Bern if we really wanted a break from the mountains. But I like small villages and I like the idea of sleeping in small villages. Also this way we get to experience the small villages of Murren and Wengen in the morning and the evening...which is different than doing them as a daytrip from somewhere else. We also want to see Lauterbrunnen and the waterfalls which aren't too far from Murren and Wengen.
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 05:11 PM
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Ahhh! Stressing! Don't want to worry about my shoes or whether or not I have too many nights in Murren. We're leaving in a coupla weeks! But I always find something to worry about when the trip gets so close. Somebody remind me that I'm going on vacation to a beautiful place!
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 07:17 PM
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Melissa5,
It is beautiful! Probably one of our favorite places during our three month stay in Europe. The green hills, the chocolate milk cows, the river and waterfalls. Those Swiss chalets everywhere. Right out of Heidi. Words really can't describe it. And you even get the wildflowers too!

It only takes a few minutes to get down the mountain from Murren so don't sweat it. You can get to virtually anywhere FROM anywhere in the BO, so no matter where you stay, everywhere else is close by.

And about the shoes, or anything else for that matter that you think you might forget...just go down to Interlaken and buy it if you really can't make do without it. It's that easy.

As soon as you settle into your airplane seat the worries will disappear hopefully. I would give anything to be going back there in two weeks. I'd just shove some clothes in a bag and not worry what I forgot, I'd just be so happy to be back there!

I think it's a great idea to post about the train for people who have claustrophobia. A better perspective than mine for sure.

Michele
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Old Jun 12th, 2010, 02:22 AM
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michele_d: Thanks so much for all those thoughtful words of reassurance! I might have to print out your reply and post it on my wall so I can look at it when I get those pre-trip nerves. I love the suggestion to just go down to Interlaken to buy shoes if I really need to. That makes me feel more relaxed. So I'll just try to enjoy these last weeks of preparation, singing little happy songs, and telling my husband, don't worry, if I don't have something I'll buy it in Interlaken! He'll say sure because he would rather have a calm happy wife! The only problem now is that this silly song is going around in my head...it's Julie Andrews doing that very silly yodelling part during the puppet show in the Sound of Music movie...where did that silly song come from? Yoddle-oddle-lady-who... Can somebody turn Julie off in my head please?

Seriously, Michele, your reply was very helpful. That's why I like the forums. Besides info and advice...there is free pre-trip-therapy! Yes, I remember now...I'm going on vacation, and it's time to be happy! You just untied all my knots...now I'm relaxed and ready to get to sleep.
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