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Switzerland Hiking

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Early July and George sets off for Switzerland for a hiking holiday with his two sons, Brian and Geoff.

Ferry Dover—Dunkerque and then drive in Geoff’s BMW M3 across Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany and into Switzerland.   Our first night stop was just an hour from Dunkerque in the pretty town of Gent. It is not dissimilar to Bruges and worth a visit if you are passing by.

Next day was a quick cruise down to Switzerland and Geoff had the opportunity to try out the M3 on the unrestricted sections of German autobahns.  It was a very comfortable car to make a long journey in but the 4 litre V8 engine is a little thirsty at 23 m.p.g. However, the costs were being split 3 ways so it was not too expensive!

At the Swiss frontier you are obliged to purchase a ‘vignette’ for 40 Swiss Francs which entitles you to drive your vehicle on Swiss roads. The vignette is valid for the calendar year.

Our destination for our first stop in Switzerland was Hotel Hirschen in Langnau in Emmental.  The Emmental is a particularly pretty area of Switzerland. Langnau in Emmental was charming and the hotel was very pleasant.

Our plan was to hike 5 of the 32 most popular hikes in Switzerland.

You can find out about all these hikes by visiting ‘My Switzerland’ at:

http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/interests/hiking1.html

Then click on ‘32 most enjoyable hikes’

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The next morning we drove a few miles, back the way we had arrived, and up the mountains to Luderenalp which was the start point for our hike on ‘The Emmentaler Ridge Walk’.

It was cloudy but no rain. The views were spectacular but apparently were even better on a clear day.

Brian could not resist making friends with the local ladies!

We found a rather unusual mountain café (above left) for our lunch. They had a very limited menu and it had the feeling of being a family farm that provided refreshments for hikers rather than being a formal café. It provided a welcome break before we turned around and returned to Luderenalp where we enjoyed a well earned beer (above right) on the terrace of the local restaurant.

Back to the car and a couple of hours drive to Engelberg, just south of Lucerne, which was to be our stopover for 2 nights at the Gasthaus Heimat (below left). This was very comfortable accommodation and the evening meal was excellent. Recommended.

Engelberg is a popular tourist village in spectacular surroundings. The village is dominated by a large monastery (below right) which still has many monks living there but which is also open to the public.

Our walk the next day was ‘The Walenpfad’ and this involved taking a train from Engelberg to Wolfenschiessen, post bus from Wolfenschiessen to Oberrickenbach and then up in the Fell cable car to Bannalp to the start point. It was then an 11km hike back to Engelberg along a high alpine trail.  As you will see from the following photos it was an amazing journey. 

The day started badly when we missed Wolfeschiessen station and so had to go on to the next village where we sprinted around the rear of the train and caught the next one back.  Fortunately, the post bus was still waiting!

(above left) On the Fell cable car up to Bannalp                                              (above right) Bannalpsee at the top of the Fell cable car

(below left and right) Our pathway across the contorted rockface (see arrow) .......  that was more suitable for mountain goats !

The pathway climbed steeply above the lake. These two photos were taken at the same spot........

(left) pathway into space !

(below) another view of the Bannalpsee far below us, on our right.

(left) plentiful fresh water supplies en route !

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