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We interrupt this move for a Swiss break

13 Oct
13 October 2016. We have mixed feelings about our impending departure. Many reasons we will miss our life in Italy yet in some ways we can hardly wait to get our butts on the plane. (See Missing the U.S.A.) We have a lot of little errands to do before we move back to Oregon, but most of them cannot be done until the final few days before we fly. So in fact, we have very little left to do until October 24. It’s not like we are packing up the whole household so why not take 10 days in Switzerland?
This little cow is at about 4900 feet. She has a freash dusting of snow and a great view of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

This little cow is at about 4900 feet. She has a fresh dusting of snow and a great view of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

The Bernese Oberland of Switzerland is one of our two favorite places to visit and to hike, the other being Italy’s Val Gardena. After our glorious month in Ortisei in July, we thought a compare-and-contrast trip to the Bernese Oberland — specifically the Lauterbrunnen Valley — was in order.
RIc brought his Swiss hiking hat along, luckily. On the trail from Grütschalp to Mürren.

Ric brought his Swiss hiking hat along, luckily. On the trail from Grütschalp to Mürren.

Last year we came at the very end of September and encountered eight days of Chamber-of-Commerce weather. This year, we are a bit later and the villages are definitely napping between the intense periods of summer tourists and winter skiers. Days alternate between sunny and clear and overcast. Supposedly tomorrow it will rain, but we’ve had some terrific hikes and it should be nice enough on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to hike again. This is our fourth trip to the area and proves once again that repeat visits are advantageous. With a base of familiarity, we are free to discover new facets of the region. Being here in almost-off-season gives more insight into local life and there are fewer tourist groups packing the trains and lifts. Click on any image below for a better view. 
This is the view from our apartment in the valley. Cows in the meadow, and a magnificent waterfall.

This is the view from our apartment in the valley. Cows in the meadow, and a magnificent waterfall.

We now have a favorite apartment here, at Ey-Hus. Owner James Graham (j.graham320@ntlworld.com) said I could share his contact information with you if anyone is interested. Two bedrooms, one with twin beds, one bath, small kitchen, nice big lounge, a view onto the waterfall and up to the mountains. The neighbors are grazing cows with their melodic Swiss bells. There’s a laundry, too, and a bus stop nearby allows one to easily travel the 1 kilometer to-and-from the train station with luggage or when one just does not feel like walking. As most of you know, we avoid cars when possible and this is the perfect place for a car-free holiday, with mountain trains and gondolas that go everywhere.  Renting an apartment and cooking most meals is a real budget saver in pricey Switzerland. James’ apartment even has a slow cooker so we can queue up dinner to cook while we hike.
The other direction off our terrace is this pretty house and the village church.

The other direction off our terrace is this pretty house and the village church.

The Val Gardena and our beloved Ortisei is less expensive, especially for food, and frankly, the restaurant choices are superior in the Val Gardena, but we don’t really visit either area for the cuisine. We come for the hiking and the scenery. And for the mountain transportation.
The Lauterbrunnen Valley has an incredible network of trains and lifts. It is thrilling to soar to the top of the Schilthorn and to chug all the way to the Top of Europe, the Jungfraujoch! It is also a delight to simply walk the easy hiking paths past the magnificent Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau, whether in sun or in snow. By comparison, the Val Gardena offers hiking in high meadows as well as along rocky ridges, and it has the rifugi that we love. In Switzerland, there are few places to refuel along the trail. There are restaurants at the lift stations, but few-and-far-between are rest stops to hike to for a meal or a bathroom. 
Like trying to decide which child is your favorite, I cannot choose between Ortisei and Lauterbrunnen and what each region has to offer. I love them both. For those looking for a unique European getaway, spend 4 or 5 nights each in Ortisei and Lauterbrunnen. The U.S. has nothing like this. Contemplate what it might be like to visit the North Cascades or the Rocky Mountains if served by transportation systems like in Europe, as well as rifugi where you can eat good food, drink great coffee, possibly sleep, and always find a toilet when you need one.
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10 Responses to “We interrupt this move for a Swiss break”

  1. Chloe Erkenbrecher October 16, 2016 at 19:52 #

    I can understand how you are looking forward to your return to Oregon and also how you will miss Rome at the same time. I certainly can still remember how I felt on returning from Rome so many years ago. It was quite an adjustment, made more difficult as I had no-one with whom to share and talk about my experiences in Italy. One ends up living two different lives, the American one and the European one. They are both wonderful. I will miss your blog, as I enjoy hearing about the area where I lived and how it has changed. In all of the visits I have made to Rome since I lived there, I have never really gone back to the Parioli district.. Good luck on your return and we will soon be moving back also, at least in the next year or two. If you are ever in the Loire area, send an e mail and we can meet. Our husbands can talk Marine Corps and we can all speak of Oregon, since that is also where we lived.

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    • GoodDayRome October 17, 2016 at 06:54 #

      Chloe, thank you. The Loire Valley is on our radar, but not sure when. We have come to love France and want to explore it more. It is wonderful to have such devoted readers, I will blog about something, although I don’t know if it will appeal to everyone. And I will blog when we travel to Europe, so I hope you will follow along! One day we shall meet! All the best!

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  2. ckleonard October 15, 2016 at 22:04 #

    P.S. You will be continuing your blog once you return, WON’T you!

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    • GoodDayRome October 16, 2016 at 07:07 #

      I do hope to, Carolyn. I don’t know what the topic/focus will be, though. Ideas?

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  3. ckleonard October 15, 2016 at 22:03 #

    Wow! A very enchanting place you are! What will be your first hike after you return to Oregon?

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    • GoodDayRome October 16, 2016 at 07:06 #

      Gosh, I don’t know! Probably some “urban hiking” in Portland as we get reacquainted.

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  4. gayleseely October 13, 2016 at 23:16 #

    Aahhhhhh. It all sounds SO good. I have never gotten over Ortisei, and the Val Gardena, and yet, as Robert Frost said, “knowing how way leads on to way”, we have not gotten back. Thanks for the tip on the rental.

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    • GoodDayRome October 14, 2016 at 08:02 #

      And that’s why we keep going back to both places! Sure there are places we may never get to because we have our favorites. Who can go to Paris too many times? Same with Ortisei and Lauterbrunnen. See you soon, my dear!

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  5. Marcia October 13, 2016 at 20:35 #

    These photos look like Heidi’s Village for sure. And with that little bit of snow, it turned it into a winter wonderland. Awesome!

    We are so enjoying Janey and our stay here. Tomorrow will be the National Museum of Rome!

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    • GoodDayRome October 13, 2016 at 20:37 #

      I should have said “This break courtesy of our cat sitters, Marcia and Marc!” So happy you are there and having fun, too!

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