Originally published 24 December 2015
On the point of a ridge, Schilthorn Mnt., Murren, Switzerland
Today was the day we went up the Schilthorn. After breakfast this morning we walked to the other end of town and boarded the cable car going up the mountain. Be aware that we are staying at around 5600 feet and the place we are going up to is a hair less than 10000. Not as tall as the Gornergrat, but still pretty tall!
We ride up to the first transfer point at Birg, which basically consists of a restaurant with a balcony. We decide we will check it out on the way back down and continue upward. It is clear up top and we don't want to gamble with it getting cloudy. We arrive at the top and it is clear. Visibility is all the way to Mont Blanc, which is 100 miles away. That's a clear day.
While in the 30's in town...it is 28 at the top. We get off the cable car, and begin to explore! The mountain top cable car stop was used in the very first James Bond movie "On her majesty's secret service". They apparently took over the village below as well as the mountain top for around 4 months. I'm sure they paid well. Consequently, they really push the James Bond theme there. The dishes in the restaurant have the logo, if you get a cappuccino, the logo is in the foam. They also have a 007 museum on site.
Piz Gloria, top of the Schilthorn
We bypassed all the movie stuff and went straight out to the viewing platform. The vista is breathtaking. There are maps showing all the peaks, special telescopes that flash the name of the peaks when you look at them, as well as at least a dozen glaciers to look at. It is a fantastic place to come and see the Alps!
After wandering about on all the viewing platforms, we wander down a set of stairs to the ground. We walk around in several feet of snow and then come to a sign on a fence. It tells us that if we go past it we will find dangers "inherent to mountain regions". We of course blow right past it. While many places in the states would have things roped off and fenced, the Europeans are more than happy to let you poke around on the edge of a cliff. And we did.
We walk out the narrow spine of a ridge (also shown in the pics) to a point. Our main picture today is at that point. If we wanted, we could actually hike all the way back to town as this is a marked hiking trail. Be aware it is NOT an easy hike and not for the faint hearted. If there had been snow like they normally have here, it would have been impassable. My biggest worry would be my knee, as going down is worse than going up. But I might try it if it were summer....
Laurie on the ridge , Schilthorn
They are skiing all around us. The snow this year is much less than in previous years, but December skiing is always a gamble. We were going to Vermont about 20 years ago one Christmas and it was 70 in Vermont. It happens and you just roll with it. In reality, it made it easier for us to get around and easier to hike. We would have liked to have done some sledding but the snow just isn't up to par. It is cold nonetheless and we adjourn to the revolving restaurant to have a coffee and strudel.
It is so nice to sit in the restaurant and take in the views. It is warm, they will bring you coffee and food (no more expensive than down in town), and you can just watch the world go by.....so we did. We watched all the alpine peaks around us for two revolutions.....before we decided to go.
On the way out, we decided to take in the Bond museum. It was actually a lot of fun! We went to the rest rooms and the women's room said "Bond girls" on the door. Laurie took photos and all the stall doors had characters from the movie on them. She also told me that when you washed your hands, a hologram of James Bond popped up in the mirror and talked to you! The men's room looked like......a men's room. The women get a cool rest room while we get shafted!
Kids hanging out at the Berg Station
We head down and stop at Birg to transfer to the next cable car. We decide to wait 30 minutes and explore Birg. We go out on their patio, wander their overlooks, and they also have one of those walkways with a glass floor. Laurie loved it.....and it's about 1500 feet straight down. The winds and thermals were intense out on the platform!
We get on our last cable car and a few short minutes later, we're unloading in town. We wander a bit, dodging cars and vehicles. Let's make this clear, when they say the village has no cars, they mean YOUR car. The locals seem to have them, or some sort of conveyance like an ATV or a golf cart and they run all over town. Due to the ice, they all have chains on them. They are almost all very small cars or trucks and are used by businesses. I did not see any that were private. We have lunch on a bench and continue our wandering.
We hit a few stores in town and buy a few souvenirs. We then decide to take the funicular (an inclined train) up the mountain and see where it goes. We wind up at a ski lodge with a playground. We wander a while....and act silly on the playground equipment before heading down. It is right around dusk.
Dusk here is around 5 p.m. We don't normally do things like other folks do.....so we decided to go hiking! We decide to venture down a trail to the next village down the mountain, called Gimmelwald. We walk about 45 minutes, with it being dark more than half the way. The full moon lights our way and we make it fine. We did not, however, pass any other hikers banging around in the dark. We bought cable car tickets and rode back up the mountain.....which was a lot easier!
Funicular above Murren
After leaving the cable car we wind up in what has to be one of the best restaurants in the country. We have a fantastic Christmas eve dinner, undoubtedly the best of the trip. After dinner, we walk back to our hotel and call it a night. What a day it has been.
I have always thought that a wise man knows when he is lucky. I am visiting an amazingly beautiful place, had a wonderful dinner, and am spending Christmas eve with a woman that I adore more each day. I must be wise....because I know how truly lucky I am.
Merry Christmas everyone. Goodnight.
Murren/Schilthorn Slide Show
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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