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abroad travel

The Golden Pass

Friday we had an uncomfortably early start as Husband was up at 4:00, and I couldn’t seem to fall back asleep either. We entertained ourselves for a few hours watching TV and checking email, then got ready to go to Lauterbrunnen for the weekend. I was disappointed to find out V had decided to stay home from work because she still wasn’t feeling well, though she certainly was making a valiant effort to be cheery and hide how bad she really felt. The plan was for Mark and V to meet us that evening in Lauterbrunnen after Mark got home from work, so we said goodbye and headed down to catch an earlier train.

As you might imagine, Switzerland is famous for its absolutely breathtaking landscape. To take full advantage of it as we traveled to the Alps, we opted to take a scenic railway called the Golden Pass that offered train cars with panoramic windows from Montreux to Interlaken. For over three hours, we climbed up into the mountains and quietly glided through a pristine landscape that was only occasionally interrupted by a quaint rural community. The rolling green hills were dotted with speckled cows and dark wood chalets with ornate carved railings. It was so perfect…it felt like we had entered a fantasy world a-la-Disney. I half-expected little “It’s a Small World” dolls to appear and start dancing around. Just spectacular; especially as we climbed higher and the snow-capped mountain peaks towered over us higher still.

We arrived in drizzly Lauterbrunnen in the early afternoon, and strolled through the main street of town to reach our home base for the weekend, Hotel Staubbach. As soon as I saw the dramatic Staubbach Waterfall I knew we were getting close. We checked in and then headed out to pick up a picnic lunch from the tiny Co-op in the village, and then returned to our balcony to admire the falls as Husband munched on salami and cheese sandwiches while I ate a salad. Of course, we finished off the meal with some Swiss chocolate. So far, my favorite is Callier chocolate with hazelnut. Stay tuned for updates as I continue my taste tests.

After a hearty lunch, we snoozed for an hour or two and enjoyed our comfy room as the rain fell outside our windows. Later that afternoon, we headed back out to explore the little alpine village a bit more. Having fallen completely in love with the view from our balcony, we opted to return there for another picnic dinner with the addition of a bottle of wine.

Cozy in our mountain chalet, we headed to bed with fingers crossed for good weather the next day as we planned to try and reach the tallest point in Europe, Jungfraujoch, the next morning.

Savvy Traveler Moment of the Day: Paying to make a reservation for the Golden Pass. I went back and forth the day before, but finally opted to make a reservation.  As we sat in an empty train car ten minutes prior to our departure time, I felt dumb and upset I had spent the money on a reservation-right up until two minutes before the train left and a big tour group appeared and filled up the whole car.  When in doubt, reservations are probably worth it. Both for the guaranteed seat, and the piece of mind!

Lesson Learned of the Day: The room with the view and a balcony can be worth it. Our time lounging on the wooden balcony, sipping wine, and admiring the waterfall has been among my favorite moments on the trip so far.

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