Following the near perfect day at Grindelwald/Wengen on Wednesday, overcast skies returned on Thursday so we did some sightseeing in nearby Interlaken. Luckily, the Friday forecast was bluebird during the first half of the day, giving us the opportunity to check out another bucket-list stop in the Jungfrau.
After leaving the Autobahn, there's a fork in the road -- left to the Grindelwald and right to Mürren, and 90% of the traffic was turning left so we were looking forward to a comparatively uncrowded day. Here's what it looks like driving up the valley toward Lauterbrunnen, with towering cliffs on both sides of the road:
When we arrived at the parking lot in Stechelberg, there's a taste of what's to come 6,300 vertical feet uphill -- a billboard for a James Bond exhibit covering the 1969 film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," which was partially shot at the Schilthorn peak. The film starred Telly Savalas as the villain Blofeld -- who ran the diabolical SPECTRE organisation, which planned to unleash some sort of germ warfare on the world -- and the Australian George Lazenby, who took over after Sean Connery decided he didn't want to be permanently typecast as 007. Here's the famous nighttime ski chase scene and the daytime chase featuring an avalanche.
One can only guess how much the Ian Fleming estate received to license this:
In the tram buildings you hear audio bumpers of music from the movies and they've planted all sorts of visual reminders, including a backpack for the employee running the tram:
To reach the summit, you have to take four different trams -- I like this old-school diagram:
The cable cars are partially timed to arrive at the same time:
40 minutes later, you arrive at Gloria Peak:
Hah: "curling on the terrace"
A prop camera iris for photo ops:
The men's room:
Oh yeah, and then there's the skiing:
My wife and I enjoying the buttery soft snow starting out from the top with a nice steep pitch, This is where George Lazenby was at :55 of the nightime ski chase linked above -- exactly 50 years later. Look at those boots he was wearing back then!
Looking back at Gloria Peak:
Drinks in an igloo:
The vertical never seems to stop:
We stopped for lunch at 1 pm:
While eating, it started getting overcast, which actually worked out for us as the lower half of the ski terrain didn't get sloppy:
Around 3 pm, we decided to call it a day and downloaded on the two lower cable cars. Arriving back in Brienz -- and that's it for this trip:
I speak French and German -- learned them in my early 20s, which wasn't a big hit with my Italian/Calabrese side of the family in Cortland (especially the German!).
Could somebody get by on these trips with just English?
Absolutely positively yes. Conversing in the native language is a big plus in a variety of ways, but English is spoken by virtually everyone you'd run into on a trip like this and they're delighted to practice it with you. Also, as mentioned in my recent Maritime Alps visit, the fact that you're from New York scores you major points over there, so always make it clear where you're from, even if people often incorrectly assume that there's no difference between NYC and NYS.
Maybe some of the other people here who've gone on ski trips to the Alps can share their experiences about getting by there with English only.
I'm from Camillus, to the west of Syracuse, but my entire mother's side of the family is from Cortland, attended St. Anthony's church, worked at the Crescent Corset Company, got ice cream at Footie's Freez, etc. so I know it well.