Hello Steemians! Welcome back!
Last week we arrived in the amazing Swiss village of Lauterbrunnen, and we left off about half way through my first, and only, day there. We will pick up from there, as I just finished shaving and packing up my room, and heading to check out. If you missed last weeks installment, or you're a first time reader, be sure to check out the other installments on my blog, or the last installment directly here: https://steemit.com/photography/@seangold/my-european-adventure-part-9-waking-up-in-middle-earth-lauterbrunnen-switzerland
I head down stairs to the tavern room to finish checking out. I was still a bit unsure of where to go for the rest of my day. Do I wander on back down the dirt road towards the alps and see what else there is? Or do I head up the cliffs to the mountain top village of Wengen? Wengen seems like the best choice, but do I hike, or do I take the train? How much is the train? How long is the hike? I ask the hostess in the tavern and she says the hike only takes an hour. Hmm. Okay. Wengen it is.
I looked up the hiking trail, and it's actually right next to the train station, so I have some more time to decide if I want to hike or take the train. And as I'm walking, I glance up and I can see part of the town I would be ascending to soon, Wengen.
I continue walking down the main street, and begin wondering, is the train I'm looking for at the same station I arrived at? Or is there another station. I see a man and decide to double check. I ask him for the train to Wengen, and he tells me yes, right down the street. I thank him and head onward. Then I hear someone yell "WENGEN!". I turn around and it's the man, he signals me to come back. I go back and he again says "Wengen" and invites me into his car with whom I assume was his wife. I begin to think, this is great, I can avoid the train and get a free ride to Wengen! But....wait...then it hit me. You can't drive to Wengen, there's no cars allowed. Well, this is awkward, where are we going? Shortly we pull over next to the train station and we both get out. They saved me a little bit of a walk, and it was very nice of them. I purchase my ticket and wait for my train.
I board my train, and be sure to get a window seat of course. As we leave the valley I get a few last glimpses of it, as you saw above. I also did a GoPro timelapse, but I still haven't found a great way to integrate video into these posts yet.
After a not so long train ride up the cliffs of the valley, I arrive at the Wengen train station, as you saw above. Wow. I am glad I decided to come here, because the view already is incredible! I was a bit hungry and noticed a vending machine, so I went to see what it had. It was like 4$ for a kit kat. Well, I'll eat later I guess. Now, where do I go from here? I look up and down and decide to go away from the main town, figuring higher elevation, better view, plus I'd be back at the main town later most likely anyways, so up we go.
I quickly realize, this really is a city on a mountain. Climbing these streets is like hiking a mountain, I guess because I technically am. But it's so damn beautiful.
The more upwards I go, the more it seems to be residential as well as farms and livestock.
But I'm not complaining, well, except for the steep slopes, but the rustic buildings and the mountainous views are something I'd never get tired of. So upwards I continue.
After a bit more climbing, it seemed I was nearing another very residential area ahead. Seemed like a great place for a selfie, so.....
After a few selfies, I noticed a young girl riding her bicycle. Going up and down these mountains roads, she's going to be ready for the Tour de France in no time.
I hike up a bit further, and it's been a bit of hiking at this point, so I see a man and I ask him "Where's the best views up here?" and he said if I want views of the valley, the higher up I go, the worse they will get, that I'm better off going back towards the main town. I think about it for a minute, and yeah, makes sense. I take in a last few views from these heights before heading back down.
On my way back, I cut through some fancy hotels and mansions.
I can't imagine waking up to views like this everyday. Incredible.
I just can't get enough of the views of these rustic buildings back dropped by these jagged mountains.
I prepare to head back down the main slope and lose most of the elevation I've gained, so I take one last look back at the mountains I won't be this close to again and then prepare to head towards the town.
Soon I approach the town and it's many eloquent and beautiful hotels. I look back up to see the ones I've already past, again, with those jagged peaks I love so much set behind them.
I then get into the heart of the town and begin to explore. I notice a sign for the trip to the "Top of Europe" which I've heard about and would have loved to do, but it's very expensive, at about 130$ or so I think for the basic trip. So that was out of my budget. As I went further into the town, I finally looked behind me and the view just took my breathe away, which is saying a lot as I've already seen some pretty incredible views.
Looking down this main street and seeing the mountains framed between these old Swiss style buildings was just incredible.
I photographed a bit more, and wandered through different streets, but then the time was growing near for me to catch my train to my next destination. Now the question is, do I hike down, or do I take the train? I'll think on it a little more.
I begin to head down a walkway that seems to lead towards the cliffs. I found the view I had been looking for. So first, a selfie.
Wow! Looking right through the valley, this was the vantage point I was hoping for!
I got here just in time, as the sun was starting to dissappear behind the mountains, so I set my bag down and begin shooting and switching lenses somewhat frantically. Here's some of the shots I got.
Oh, and that little spec in the sun rays? That's not dust. That's a para glider soaring down to the city. HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!?
And then, when I thought I couldn't ask for more, here comes the beautiful train that took me up here, right into my scene!
I then spotted two airplanes coming in towards the mountains, assumingly to drop off more jumpers!
Now the day was growing to an end and I had to make a choice, do I hike down, or do I head back to the train? Hmm. I happen to run into a group of 3 kids a bit younger than me, and we begin chatting a bit as they were also Americans. They tell me they hiked up and the trail is well marked and not too bad, so I decide to hike down.
I go a bit further down and decide I have to fly my drone at least a bit here. Another big win for the Spark, as any of my other drones would have a very tough time launching here, as there was literally no flat or even ground. So launched from my palm, and got some shots and video. Here's one of my favorite images.
I then begin my hike downwards to the Lauterbrunnen train station to catch my train out of the valley.
As I hike down, with my 40lb or so bag on my back, it's really taking it's toll. I make it a good ways down and my GPS isn't working too well. I think I passed the trail I need to take, so I hike back up, not even 100 feet or so. Wow. I am exhausted. Thank god I didn't try hiking up this, I would never had made it.
It was a bit tough hiking down, but there were some cool sights, such as old stone bridges, and more farm animals. It took a lot out of me just to hike down.
Once I made it near the bottom, finally, and I see a plane go right over my head and a fresh group jump out of it! Soo cool!
I cross a long bridge over a ravine that separates me from the train station. I have a bit of time to kill so I decided I'd walk the town one last time. I get a couple shots of the mountains as the sunsets.
After that, I fill up my water bottle at the fountain and head back towards the train station. There I run into a girl I had met earlier in the day, from Mexico. She was also awaiting a train, so we hung out and chatted for a while, I also showed her a few of my magical illusions. After that, we took a selfie together, and I hopped on my train towards Lugano!
That about wraps up this installment! Wengen was an incredible town to visit and I'm so glad I did! I know I only saw a fraction of this incredible region and I hope to get the chance to come back again! I hope you enjoyed this installment, and let me know what you think in the comments, or if you have any questions! What was your favorite photograph?
Till next time!