Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bores Backpack Europe: Wengen, Switzerland

Traveling from Lucerne to Wengen included a few quick train transfers, an overpaid 1st class train ticket, a little motion sickness, amazing scenic views, and an entire platter of cheese for just the two of us. Cue the Will Smith lyrics.

Lungern, Swizterland / Seen from the train

Upon arrival into Wengen, we learned from the locals, that Wengen is pronounced with a "V" not a "W". #german101 It's a relatively small village, that is only accessible by train. And it's car-less, which was half the appeal - you will see a few electric cars strolling the streets, but they're used to transport goods, merchandise and visitors willing to pay a fee. Although Wengen sounded low key and off the beaten path, we discovered it's a relatively popular town that most tourists have already discovered. Nonetheless, it was still a great city to explore, even along side thousands of others all trying to enjoy the same view. 

When we stepped off the train in Wengen, after a 14 minute uphill ride, we both squealed. Okay, I was the one who squealed - Mr. B just grabbed his camera. The view of Jungfrau Mountain - try pronouncing that - made you stop in mid stride. It was so majestic.


We relied on trip advisor to find the best place to stay. Hotel Edelweiss had the best reviews (for our budget!) so that's where we set up camp. The room d├ęcor was straight out of the 80's, but totally livable. The balcony, however, was the best part, providing us a full time view of Jungfrau. Mr. B was not complaining.


Unfortunately, the day we arrived was the only day we saw the sun, which meant it was the only day it was clear enough to actually see our amazing view. Overcast skies and rain greeted us for the days following.

We weren't going to let cloudy skies ruin our time in Wengen, so what did we do? We drank. We met a bartender at the local wine bar and learned quite a bit about their way of life. You know, life in town with a population of only 1,300 and your feet being the only mode of transportation - is way different than the way of life we lead. Turns out, he and his wife do own a car, but it's parked in a town that requires a 40 minute train ride with 2 stops to actually get to. In fact, they recently had a baby, which required said train hopping in addition to a car ride to the hospital. Could you imagine being in labor while sitting on a train with thousands of tourists? #nothankyou

In addition to drinking, we walked and hiked. Have I mentioned how much we walked in Switzerland? I swear it was miles and miles and miles per day. Had I known, I would have purchased one of those fancy-fuel-band-pedometer-thingy-majigs so I actually knew how many miles we clocked. My guess is 10 miles a day. No exaggeration. To some, you may be laughing. To the nonathletic-Bores couple, that's a lot.

Wengen had several trails that were literally dug into the mountain side, and that's where we explored. How farmers raise their cattle and goats on the steep hills that lead directly to the Lauterbrunnen valley, I'll never know. I could barely walk the trails, let alone live on such a steep piece of property. My luck, I'd walk out my front door and tumble the whole way down.


All of that walking meant we could eat all the fondue we wanted, right? After having one too many beverages, I convinced Mr. B to take me out for some authentic Swiss fondue. He isn't a swiss cheese fan, which is why I had to twist his arm. It was 50CHF per person, for the fondue only. Let's just say it wasn't a cheap date. We devoured a basket of bread with it and then had belly aches for days to come. Doesn't he look thrilled?


Wengen turned out to be a lovely stop in the middle of our week in Switzerland. Although we never made it to the top of Jungfrau as planned (due to weather), we met locals instead, drank the best cappuccino, ate Swiss food, and enjoyed the views, even if it meant looking into the valley instead of up towards the mountains. It honestly doesn't get much prettier than Wengen.

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