With winter nipping at our heels, we left Chamonix after two fabulous nights and crossed the border into Switzerland. First stop was Grindelwald. I’d been 20 years ago (gasp!) that I’d been there with my high school German class and I still have vivid memories of the youth hostel and it’s epic down bedding. Learned how to put a duvet cover on properly there: inside out, pinching the corners. You know the trick?
We looked into staying at that same hostel and were shocked that it would cost around $70/night for a bunk bed in a shared a room w/ potentially 6 other people. Seriously!!?? We opted for the Hotel Bel Air which also had great bedding and stunning views of the village and hillside (mountain top was socked in w/ fog) and was smack dab on the evening commute of the cutest swiss cows with their big ole bells.
Not much else of note in Grindelwald given it was a lot of hiking in the wet rainy clouds for us – but if you go, make sure to eat the pizza to Onkel Tom’s Hutte – warm, homey atmosphere and fabulous food!
After two rainy days in Grindelwald we were grateful for the sunshine that welcomed us in Scuol. It took us a few wrong turns and many road side conversations with locals (thank you German skills!) to find my family’s ski chalet on the hill but we were so grateful to have such a lovely place for 3 nights with an impressively stocked kitchen (they’re German, remember) all to ourselves to cook in! I immediately roasted two chickens and made my first batch of homemade granola (you can make some too from this recipe). Sick of paying for overpriced, low quality crunch for my greek yoghurt! Big thanks to Roland, Eybe and Max for letting us stay here. They rent it as well so let me know if you’re interested!
On Cousin Max’s recommendation we took the train to Guarda (from the German children’s book Schellenursli) and walked back ~ 5 hrs to Scuol through the villages of Bos’cha, Ardez and Ftan. Rolling hills, spectacular Swiss Alp views, storybook villages, and fuzzy eared cows who would win any cute contest.
In addition to church bells and fuzzy eared cows, Scuol has a plethora of manure. It’s amazing how quickly you get used to the smell and find it almost (NOTE: the following represents only my opinion, not Eric’s)… pleasant. Maybe it’s my early childhood memories in Germany, I find it comforting, call me crazy. Definitely got my fill. It took me two days in Italy before I stopped checking the path for cow patties!
The Swiss have developed what I like to call the Swiss Shit Slinger – think off-road dump truck with a wood chipper made for- you guessed it – cow shit. This magnificent machine shoots the stuff 30 feet out in the perfect hockey puck sized chunks to fertilize the field ensuring those rolling hills stay LOOKING fresh and green, but upon closer inspection ( say, when trying to find a picnic spot)…they are indeed, littered with dookie. Not one square foot untainted. Impressive. And annoying…
Day two was overcast and we were craving a steeper climb (don’t forget I’m traveling with a workout-aholic). We’d hoped to take the gondola up and hike a 5hr loop around Alp Clünas and back down to Scuol but given the visibility we chose to drive to Sent and hike 3 hrs up towards Alp Spadla and back down. Good thing since we got spent the last hour running in the rain! If you’re interested, here’s a map of the area.
Please tell me you’ve seen the Double Rainbow Guy video. Go ahead, I’ll wait….
We had the best coffee of the trip (espresso with a chocolate dipped spoon) at Cafe Mundart in town. For dinners we mostly cooked at home, drinking wine, playing Gin Rummy and raiding my cousin’s DVD collection (Inglorious Bastards and The Queen were favorites). Roasted chicken and leftovers on baguettes and couscous salad went far. The Swiss have perfected the placement of benches along the trail for a picnic lunch spot with a spectacular view.
Our besties Ammie and Regan had a baby while we were in Scuol so it will always hold that memory for us: cheers-ing to them as she went into labor, checking my phone for text updates from our friend Kim at 3am, making toasts to the new baby BOY, and calling home for the first time to talk to the proud parents 🙂 A lot of love went out in those chalet walls.
And now I leave you with today’s moment of zen.
- Hallo! Danke! – Adliswil, Switzerland (travelpod.com)
- Eurotrip Post #5 – Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald (whenflyingby.wordpress.com)