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Grindelwald – 3.5 days, two teen boys

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Aug 10th, 2013, 12:09 AM
  #1
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Grindelwald – 3.5 days, two teen boys

Hi all

Catching train Paris–Basel, Basel–Grindelwald arriving (all going well with connection) shortly after midday 24 Sept. (Tuesday).

Staying 4 nights.

Me with my sons (12 and 14). All active. From Australia (where mountains are few and not very high).

We will have been in London (5 nights), Paris (6 nights) and looking forward to being back in nature after city visits.

Arrival afternoon I thought we might take the gondola to First and the trotti bikes down. Will we have time for another short hike? Or maybe visit the sports centre?

I would also like advice on a semi-serious hike that will take in breathtaking scenery and give our lungs and legs a workout. I believe there's a hike from First to Schynigge Platte, but I've also read that many people feel it's better done in the other direction. Why is this? Isn't it the same trail?

Weather permitting we will go up the Jungfraujoch. Does this take the better part of a day?

On another day perhaps a trip to a lake and castle.

Grateful for any hints and tips.

We catch an early train to Italy on the Saturday.
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Aug 10th, 2013, 12:46 AM
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If you leave early in the day from Grindelwald you can easily get to the "top" of the Jungfrau and back down in several hours. It all depends on how long you wish to linger either at the top or at the transfer points. Even with crowds (I was just there about a month ago and it was very VERY busy) you can do it easily.

Trust me, all the views in that area are stunning and as you move about either by rail or on foot or on the various cableways just when you think you've seen everything another view appears.
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Aug 10th, 2013, 01:30 AM
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Back again smm_18!

Did you see my report of our recent trip? Be sure to see the embedded blog link with photos and walk descriptions.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-oberland.cfm

There was still snow on the trail when we did SP to First which made it a little dicey. Hopefully that has cleared. It was 10 miles and took us 7.5 hrs with the snow and my knee slowing us down a bit.

From kim_sanjose's wonderful info pack:

Note: you can, of course, do this hike in reverse – starting at First and walking to Schynige Platte. In this direction, most of the ascent comes between First and the Faulhorn with the remainder of the hike (the most distance) being primarily downhill. Although this may sound attractive, it is a LOT of downhill and the trail surface requires constant attention, making the descent rather tedious. Everyone I’ve encountered (myself included) that has hiked this direction prefers the Schynige Platte to First direction.
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Aug 10th, 2013, 02:31 AM
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Thanks, Dukey1 – sounds wonderful! Hard to imagine anywhere we go will be less than spectacular. Good to get an idea of timing for Jungfraujoch.

Yep, indy_dad – back again to haunt the forum! I've had a look at your wonderful photos and descriptions. This walk sounds quite hairy and I wonder if there's likely to be more snow in late September. I'm also not sure of the logistics of walking it the other way (i.e. towards Grindelwald). Would mean setting out from Grindelwald very early, I imagine.

Or maybe we could just start from First, do part of the walk and return to G/W.

I thought your 'Marmot' walk looked varied. They'd adore that massive rock.
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Aug 10th, 2013, 02:59 AM
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Or maybe we could just start from First, do part of the walk and return to G/W. >>

First to Bachalpsee is a popular walk and would give you a nice taste. You could carry on to Faulhorn if you are feeling frisky and the weather is nice.

It will be just under two hours for the trains from GW to SP. I'd target something around 0700 out of Grindelwald if you chose that route (to arrive at SP around 0900).

www.sbb.ch

Make sure you know when the First gondola stops for the day.
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Aug 10th, 2013, 04:53 AM
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You can actually get from Grindelwald to SP is less than 1.5 hours depending on the timing of your GW to Wilderswil segment...do, as Dad suggests, check the sbb.ch/en site for exact timings. No reason to wait in Wilderswil for a long time unless you want to explore the town further.
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Aug 10th, 2013, 01:33 PM
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Thanks you two. I'll check out the times. An early start probably wouldn't go down too well, since we'll have left Paris at 06:15 on the first day, and leave for Italy about 07:00 on Sat.

I like the idea of going to Faulhorn and back. Would this be about 4 hours?

Have you been to either of the lakes?
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Aug 11th, 2013, 12:54 AM
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looking back at the blog, it looks about 3-3.5 miles to Faulhorn. Sounds like 4-hr RT is a reasonable estimate.

We didn't make it to the lakes unfortunately.
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Aug 11th, 2013, 05:31 AM
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marking for later comment
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Aug 11th, 2013, 09:27 AM
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Have you investigated the Swiss Card - which gives you two train trips to any point in Switzerland from any border station (Basel) or airport to any border station (to Domodossola, Italy) and then in between gives you 50% off everything that moves in Switzerland except cows! 50% off pricey gondolas and mountain trains - ads up quickly - for lots of great info on Swiss trains and passes like the Swiss Pass, Swiss Card and Half-Fare Card (exactly same as Swiss Card minue the two beginning and ending train trips) I always spotlight these IMOfab sites - www.swisstravelsystem.com; http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html; www.ricksteves.com.
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Aug 11th, 2013, 02:21 PM
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Thanks, indy_dad. Might have to start a separate topic on lakes.

Yes, PalenQ - thoroughly crunched the numbers a few months ago! Will be buying a Swiss Card at Basel. Working on the finer details of what to do in each location now.

One month until we fly!
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Aug 12th, 2013, 06:58 AM
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Yes good deal - just mentioned because so often folks only say the Half-Fare Card is the way to go without even mentioning the Swiss Card which offers everything the Half-Fare Card does but two train trips of any length to boot!
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Aug 12th, 2013, 07:58 AM
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We combined our visit to the Jungfrau with a trip to the Trummelbach Falls in Lauterbrunnen. I think your sons would enjoy them. After the falls you can catch the train back to Grindelwald via Wilderswil.

It is good you are in the area for four days, as you can time your visit to the Jungfrau for a clear day. The activity area on the Jungfrau will keep your kids entertained for hours: sledding, zip lines etc.

We have been to the BO twice and have just fallen in love with the area. No matter what you do, or where you go in the area, you will be rewarded with stunning vistas and memories to last a lifetime.
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Aug 12th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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adding to michele's - you can do a sweet walk from Kl Schiedegg (when coming back down from the Jungfraujoch you change there - but a nice wide trail goes down from there to Wengen and if looking for a neat easy enough walk walk down to Wengen, then take the train down to Lauterbrunnen where on the edge of town is the unique Trummelbach Falls, a cascade that is said to be the only drain of the Jungfrau Massif on its north side - a water cascade inside the mountain - catwalks inside let you see the torrent - kind of like doing the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls.
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Aug 12th, 2013, 01:50 PM
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about the Kl Schiedegg to Wengen walk - this trail is adapted for mountain bikes and I saw several whizz past me - if your kids are fairly responsible and not into taking crazy chances going downhill it may appeal to them - guess you must be able to take bikes on the train from Grindelwald to Kr Sheiedegg though maybe not!
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Aug 12th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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Thanks, michele_d and PalenQ – that's a top idea. I read about these falls on indy_dad's blog, but hadn't looked into planning yet. Great idea to combine with Jungfraujoch. And the walk from Kleine Scheidegg is a good notion, too. It would be a wonderful, varied day out.

Goosebumps reading of your love of the area. I can't wait to see their reactions. I've been once – 30 years ago! Just loved it.

Not sure about the mountain bikes!
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Aug 12th, 2013, 03:18 PM
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In order to get to the falls you will take the train and exit in Lauterbrunnen. When we were there last year the bus stop to the falls was across the street (there is only one main street in town)from the train station and to your left, on the corner by the bank/atm. You can always ask in the little ticket office or store as you exit the train. The bus will take you out to the falls. Just bring some cash with you for the round trip ticket. The bus runs on a schedule throughout the day, so when you are done you can just hop on the next bus returning to Lauterbrunnen. From there you will catch the train back to Grindelwald via Wilderswil.

Something else to remember in Switzerland, as in the rest of Europe, is that the grocery stores close anywhere from noon to three daily. Some close for an hour, some for two hours. My point is: when you are hungry and want to eat at lunchtime, the store is probably going to be closed. Plan ahead and pick up some fixins for a lunch you can throw in your day pack. Bring along your breakfast on the train to the Jungfrau if you leave really early and the boys haven't eaten yet. It's about a two hour ride, but goes by very quickly.
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Aug 12th, 2013, 04:06 PM
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Brilliant. Thanks, michele_d! Knowing these sorts of things in advance is so helpful.

And we'll definitely pack supplies for the day – top tip!
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Aug 15th, 2013, 12:30 PM
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If you have a Swiss Pass the bus is fully covered as are nearly all buses in Switzerland - half-Fare also works for well half fare.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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Bonus! Thanks.
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