Week Two: 8/8 – 8/14

Our last few days in Geneva went well. We visited a cute village a short walk outside of the city center. Tasha got to have an almond croissant, which she was thrilled about.

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It was a beautiful place for a walk

Later that day, Tasha had a meeting with the Director of the UN High Commisioner on Refugees (UNHCR). On the way to the UNHCR office, we checked out the Geneva branch of the UN.

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So many flags
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The big chair outside the UN. I don’t really recall the symbolism of the sculpture.

We were planning on taking a train from Geneva to Interlaken for a few days and then onto Zurich. It seemed fairly inexpensive, but when we went to the station to buy tickets to visit Lausanne for a day trip, we found the ticket prices we saw on the website were for those with a discount card. We had no such discount card, so the tickets were twice as expensive as we thought.

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So many Francs!

After several hours of reconsideration, we eventually decided to rent a car because it was cheaper than taking the train.

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A raclette setup

(I still want to understand how renting a car can be cheaper than riding the train. I don’t get it.) Looking back, I’m really happy we did get a car because the ability to drive through the alps at our own pace was really funny. The few days we spent driving and hiking in the alps is definitely a highlight of the year. :)

 

On Wednesday on the way to Interlaken we stopped at Gruyere to see the old castle town and try to cheese. Gruyere is famous for their cheese. Fondue has flour in it, so we ended up getting a raclette.

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A church near outside Gruyere castle.
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No visit is complete without a selfie
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Outside the castle wall
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The village below the castle

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Solar panels!
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A view from the backside of the castle
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They had a deer park near the castle…
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…and Tasha got to feed one :)

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Along the valley in Gruyere

After finishing lunch, we headed back on the road. We stopped at a parking lot for Tasha to practice driving a stick-shift.

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I couldn’t help but see what it was like to be a Swiss man.

Our rental is the gray car on the right in the photo above. Tasha did well driving around the gravel parking lot. She probably killed the engine fewer times than I did that day :)

We finished Wednesday by arriving at our hostel in Interlaken.

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A water stain in the hostel that looked a lot like Eurasia.

On Thursday, we took a long hike through the alps. The weather the day before made us pretty uncertain if spending five hours in the high alps would be a good idea. Even in August, the peaks are snow covered and it can get quite cold. Several hours of hiking in the cold rain didn’t sound super fun and would have been a sure way to get sick. Luckily, the weather was nearly perfect. Warm and sunny with a light breeze.

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A view of Interlaken from our hostel

 

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On the road to the mountains

 

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Some falls

We took a time lapse along the way to the trailhead.

And a video.

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Our route map

Based on the map above, we started at Stechelberg, went to Scheuerboden, hiked up the trail between Oberhornsee and Spitzhorn, and edged along the ridge below Tanzbodeli before dropping down a trail not shown back to Stechelberg.

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Hiking up the valley. You could always hear water rushing.
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Happy cows
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Cow selfie. Didn’t quite get the right angle.
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Looking back down the valley.

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Looking back down the valley with the west ridge on the left.

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The west ridge. We would be walking above those trees later this afternoon.
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Tasha hiking up, up, up the trail

 

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A view of the east ridge.
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Another view down the vally with the east ridge blocking the way.

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Another selfie
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Looking south up the valley.
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The view of the east ridge from the west ridge.

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Coming from the right and headed to the left.
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This picture took some work to get the camera in the right place and for the selftimer to be long enough for me to run from the rock to the bench. It was worth it :)
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Piggies! What a view they have.
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The mule

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Yaks! We actually took a wrong turn here. We turned left to head on the trail in the picture when we should have kept going straight.
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Brother yaks.
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The way down was much less fun than the way up. We did run into some sheep, which made it all worth it.
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Channeling her inner-“seep”.

All in all, it was a day we will surely remember. I’m not sure when we will be back in the Alps again, but I will do my best to try to get back there again. It was the most beautiful hike I have ever taken.

We were especially lucky to find a uniquely delcious Thai restaurant in Interlaken. Tasha said it was her second favorite green curry (and that says something since it is the only thing she orders and we eat thai often). I conveyed that compliment in a factually accurate way, but the cook/owner didn’t seem particularly flattered to have made Tasha’s second-favorite green curry. Her response was that “it was her favorite, right?”. I just smiled embarresedly and said, “yes, it was her favorite”.

On Friday, we drove from Interlaken to Zurich for Tasha’s meeting and made a lunch stop in Lucerne. We stayed the night on Zurich and then boarded a 6-hour train to Vienna on Saturday.

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A happy camper boards the metro to the train.

After checking into our Airbnb, we headed to get some cheap sushi. It was a nice adjustment to be able to eat out again. This sushi place was particularly cheap.

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Be careful….

Over the next week, we will be in Vienna until Tuesday. We will then take a shorter train (3 hours) to Prague to just see the city. Next, we will head to Brussels on Thursday for two meetings Tasha has. We will be in Brussels until going to Brugge for a day visit on Monday. It will be a busy upcoming week, but a lot of fun to see different parts of Europe.

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