• Deborah Kade

Mürren, Switzerland

It is a beautiful day here in the Berner Oberland so we decided today will be a walking day.

Müren will be the destination for the day.

While walking to the Interlaken train station, we noticed the mountains surrounding Interlaken are still snow capped, including the Niesen.

The summit of the Niesen is 7, 749 feet (2,362 meters) in elevation.

It overlooks Lake Thun, in the Bernese Oberland region, and forms the northern end of a ridge that stretches north from the Albristhorn and Mannliflue, separating the Simmental and Kandertal valleys.

The summit can be reached easily by using the Niesenbahn funicular from Mülenen (near Reichenbach). The construction of the funicular was completed in 1910.

Alongside the funicular is the longest stairway in the world, with 11,674 steps. It is only open to the public once a year for a stair run event. Yeah! Now, that is stair stepping with a view!

The literal translation of the German word Niesen is sneeze. Because of its shape, the Niesen is often called the Swiss Pyramid. The Niesen may have influenced some modernist paintings by Paul Klee, in which an abstracted pyramidal form is seen.

The Niesen even has a poem you can learn where you can forecast the weather.

Hat der Niesen einen Hut, wird das Wetter wieder gut.

Hat der Niesen eine Brille, so geschehe Gottes Wille.

Hat der Niesen einen Bart, wird das Wetter fein und zart.

Hat der Niesen einen Kragen, darfst du's grad noch wagen.

Hat der Niesen eine Weste, bleib zu Haus, das ist das Beste.

Hat der Niesen einen Besen, bleib zu Haus, denn es gibt Regen.

Hat der Niesen ein Gilet, gibts Hagel bis zum Zeh.

Hat der Niesen einen Mantel, trimm dich fit mit deiner Hantel.

Hat der Niesen an die Hosen, beginnt bald das grosse Tosen.

Hat der Niesen an die Schuhe, lass ihm besser seine Ruhe.

We hear the local people talk about how they look at the Niesen to determine what the weather is . At times, it is more accurate than you can find on the weather channel.

We took the train From Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen. We crossed the street and took the cable car up to Grütshchalp (elevation 4,885 feet). We then took a one car train to Mürren (elevation 5,397 feet). We did a 20 minute stop at Winteregg (elevation 5,176 feet) to take some pictures of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

I always like to stop in Winteregg as I can see the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

The Jungfraujoch is a notable saddle connecting the peaks of the Mönch, and Jungfrau at an elevation of 11,371 feet (3,466 meters) above sea level. It is a glacier saddle, on the upper snows of the Aletsch Glacier, and part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch area, situated on the boundary between the cantons of Bern and Valais, halfway between Interlaken and Fiesch.

The Sphinx Observatory is an astronomical observatory located above the Jungfraujoch. It is named after the Sphinx, a rocky summit on which it is located. At 11,716 feet, (3,571 meters) above mean sea level, it is one of the highest observatories in the world. Accessible to the public, it is also the second highest observation deck in Switzerland. The mountain top has been tunneled to fit an elevator which ascends to the observatory from the Jungfraujoch railway station, the highest such train station in Europe.

The scientific part of the Sphinx observatory includes two large laboratories, a weather observation station, a workshop, two terraces for scientific experiments, and an astronomical as well as a meteorological cupola. The astronomical cupola is equipped with a 76cm telescope with Cassegrain and Coudé focus.

The observatory plays an important role in a range of long-term experiments; it serves as a solar spectrometer for the Institute of Astrophysics and Geophysics at the University of Liège, Belgium, and plays a key role in a LIDAR experiment conducted by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

Mürren is a charming village with magnificent views and no traffic noise. It is perched on a shelf of Alpine pasture forming a balcony overlooking the steep cleft of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Destinations like Mürren are hard to find – alpine scenery, mountain culture, and exciting activities! It is a great place for hiking enthusiasts who wish to enjoy the natural beauties of Switzerland. In winter, you will find skiing for all levels. Mürren is the highest altitude ski resort in the Bernese Oberland and faces a series of giant peaks carved out of rock or ice: from left to right the view encompasses the Eiger, the Monch, the Jungfrau, the Breithorn and the Gspaltenhorn range.

Mürren is a traditional Walser mountain village in the Bernese Highlands at an elevation of 5,374 feet (1,638 meters) above sea level and it cannot be reached by public road. It is also one of the popular tourist spots in Switzerland, and summer and winter are the seasons when Mürren becomes busy with the tourists; the village features a view of the three towering mountains Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Mürren has a year-round population of 450, but has 2,000 hotel beds.

Mürren has its own school and two churches, one Reformed and one Roman Catholic. From the outside, how do you tell a Roman Catholic church from a Reformed? The Reformed always has a rooster on top.

There are a total of 32 miles (52 kilometers) of ski runs with 14 ski lifts (six cable cars, seven chair lifts, three railways, and two drag lifts). There is also off-piste skiing, but guiding is often needed and should be used.

Within the village there is a large sports center with a 25 meter swimming pool, sports hall, fitness room, café, information centre and other facilities. There is a large skating rink which is sometimes used for curling competitions as well as a specific curling rink that in the summer is a tennis court. The ice rink is turned into a mini-golf course during the summer months. In the summer there are also tennis courts near the sports chalet.

This beautiful village is completely cut off from car traffic, and the sporting character account for the popularity of the resort. From Mürren a cable car takes its breathtaking ride up to the Mt. Schilthorn summit of 9,744 feet (2,970 meters). From up there you can enjoy exceptional panoramic views and sip cocktails in the revolving Piz Gloria summit restaurant. Mt. Schilthorn was featured in the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and is also referred to as the James Bond Mountain.

The development of tourism in the area was largely due to the British, who came here at the turn of the century to indulge in their favorite winter sports and who succeeded in recreating a cozy, congenial atmosphere that reminded them of England. It was Mürren that the Kandahar Ski Club was founded in 1924; it was to lead to the famous Arlberg-Kandahar competition, which is now regarded as the unofficial world championship of the Alpine countries.

Mürren has its roots as a farming village. With the beginning of tourism – both winter and summer – it has grown in size and wealth. Winter sports particularly have been an important part of Mürren's history since the first British winter tourists arrived in 1911. During the First World War wounded prisoners of war stayed here pending repatriation and played a role in developing winter sports. In 1924, the Kandahar Ski Club was set up by Sir Arnold Lunn (whose statue stands outside the rail station) and eight other British skiers. The club takes its name from the Roberts of Kandahar Challenge Cup, first run in (1911). This, the world's senior challenge cup for downhill ski-racing, was presented by Lord Roberts, who won the Battle of Kandahar in the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

In 1928, the Inferno Race was set up, and continues to this day. The International Inferno Race, comprising cross-country, giant slalom and downhill races, is the longest 9.8 miles (15.8 kilometers) and largest amateur ski race in the world with a limit of 1800 participants. It is held in January. The fastest entrants will complete the 15.8 kilometers from the Schilthorn to Lauterbrunnen in only 15 minutes.

We met up with our friend Walter whom is a paragliding instructor. He also takes people on tandem flights from high up in Mürren all the way down to the landing field in Stechelberg. Fun to watch the people take off and then listen to them screaming!!!

If we are going to eat in Mürren, it is usually here. We decided on a very very late lunch. Nice staff, tasty food and a wonderful view!

We both had the cream of pumpkin soup. I love pumpkin soup!!!

I had the Rahmschnitzel. It is a pork schnitzel in a mushroom cream sauce with mushrooms. Tasty!

Michael had the Rösti with cheese.

The Air Force jets were flying around the mountains this afternoon. The sound barrier was broken on two different occasions. There was a couple and their dog sitting on a bench enjoying the view. The dog went wild when he heard the extremely loud boom. Luckily, the lady grabbed the dog, held her tight and calmed her down. The boom echoing around the mountains seemed like it would never stop.

A few more pictures of the views we enjoyed today.


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