Quintessential Switzerland: Grindelwald

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Three years ago today my husband and I got on a plane to begin a new life Switzerland. An experiment we’d try for a year, we said. Don’t pack too much, we said. Don’t get too comfortable, we cautioned. We’ll have our fill of adventure and be back before we know it. Yet, here we are still trying to fill that bottomless pit of wanderlust. And we’re doing it with a baby in tow.

So, it seems fitting that today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite places I’ve found in this gorgeous, green country: Grindelwald.

Nestled in the Bernese Oberland, the village of Grindelwald lies in the shadow of three of Switzerland’s most iconic mountains: The Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The Swiss believe that the Mönch (monk) sits between the Eiger (ogre) and Jungfrau (young lady, or virgin) to protect her from being attacked. This kind of menacing, mountain lore exemplifies why this area is so quintessentially Swiss. Almost too Swiss. Like, are you for real? People are actually yodeling and herding sheep down the street? They are in Grindelwald.

If this is the kind of Switzerland you crave, skip Zürich and Geneva; go straight to Grindelwald.

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We arrived Friday afternoon in time to explore the village and check into our hotel. The Sunstar Grindelwald was perfect for our needs. Indoor pool, spa, fireplace, mountain view balcony and crib on-site is what we needed to attempt vacationing with a baby — a concept I’m still not convinced exists. Still, we got pretty close in Grindelwald.

(I’d like to reiterate that a room with a balcony is the best amenity when traveling with a baby, since you can easily get stuck in “nap prison.”)

On Saturday, we took a train that looked straight out of a toy store from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg where we kicked off a two-hour hike to Männlichen. We were interested in taking a second train to the Jungfrau peak — the “top of Europe” — but didn’t realize that we needed to purchase the $120 tickets in advance. With the sun shining and fresh air in our lungs, we quickly forgot that the hike was “plan B.”

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We stopped for lunch at one of the many mountain-top restaurants and ordered bratwurst, schnitzel and the locally-brewed Rugenbräu. With a backdrop of the Jungfrau behind us and a hearty meal in front of us, a group of diners spontaneously burst into a chorus of yodeling. Play the video below with the volume up; the scene pretty well sums up our weekend!

We awoke to an overcast Sunday, so we decided to get above the clouds and try the First Cliff Walk. Despite the unnerving suspended bridge and dizzying panoramas, the walk was surprisingly child-friendly (though I wouldn’t attempt a stroller). We felt a bit like we’d mounted Everest without all the hassle and money and oxygen tanks. When we got back into Grindelwald, we celebrated by having a decadent lunch at Cafe C Und M.

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We always say “we’ll be back soon!” when we visit places we love as much as Grindelwald, but the truth is we don’t know. Life keeps getting (happily) more complicated as a family of three, so we’re trying to live in the now. I hope we will be back, but if not, we squeezed every sun-soaked drop out of our weekend in Grindelwald.

Where have you been traveling? I think October is one of the most beautiful times of year, no matter where you go. Meanwhile, a few links for the week:

Seven feel-good books for fall reading

An Asian-inspired soup recipe I’ve just got to try

What one frequent flier packs

A thought-provoking article in the wake of Las Vegas

And how you can do something about it

How to make a modern family road trip more fun

Have you been to any of these 50 romantic spots?

 

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8 thoughts on “Quintessential Switzerland: Grindelwald

  1. Jill says:

    Got quite a chuckle from “nap time prison”. Now I have a name for something that was never too far in the back of my mind, when our boys were young. Great advice Paige.

  2. Maura Fitz-Patrick says:

    Firstly, “Happy Wedding Anniversary” to a wonderful loving couple. I was glad to see where you spent your time celebrating with Grant! I would love to experience a trip to Grindelwald, but if not, at least I have read and viewed photos of this beautiful place. Give Grant a hug for me. Love, Maura

    • Bakersfield Blonde says:

      Big hugs from here Maura! Thank you for the congratulations, but it’s actually our anniversary of living in Switzerland, not our wedding anniversary. We kind of made it up as a holiday. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you over Christmas. Xo!

  3. Amanda Afield says:

    We hiked from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidigg and it was absolutely gorgeous. Sadly our second day was a wash out so we didn’t take the First lift but I also wouldn’t mind going back!

    • Bakersfield Blonde says:

      I bet that hike was gorgeous! I would do the First lift if you have visitors — especially those who aren’t as keen on hiking. You feel like you did a big hike, but it doesn’t require all of the effort.

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