Monday, March 22, 2021 | Written by Kaitlyn
“Hold on, let’s take a selfie really quickly,” one of my friends exclaimed mid boarding our final train of the weekend. After it was uttered nearly three dozen times this weekend, I came to the conclusion this phrase was quickly becoming my friends’ favorite sentence. I can’t blame them, though; nearly every point in the Jungfrau region of the Swiss Alps was absolutely breathtaking and more than deserving of a snapshot.
Our stay in the town of Interlaken was an extremely unique one; it was my first time staying in a hostel. It wasn’t just any hostel, though. Somehow, we had managed to book a room in what was proclaimed as the “Ninth best large hostel in the world”. How did I feel about this? Well, as it was my first hostel experience, I don’t think I’m the best person to judge, but objectively, it was phenomenal. We were given free bus passes, breakfast, coffee, cooking utensils, and discounts on train tickets. We cooked dinner and ate alongside other young adults that came from different corners of the world but were able to communicate using English as a common language.
We started our Saturday with a train ride that snaked us through the valley and up to the village of Lauterbrunnen. We were probably the only non-Europeans on that train, and we made it very clear by taking selfies hanging out of the windows!
As our train approached the village, the mountains grew taller and the air simply felt cleaner. I know I say this a lot, but Lauterbrunnen was truly something out of a fairytale. We absorbed the scene in complete awe as waterfalls cascaded down the sides of mountain faces and church bells rang in the distance.We boarded a cable car that took us directly up to the top of the mountain. It climbed higher and higher, until the homes below us grew to the size of ants and we were eye-level with the mountain peaks.
The hike that our hostel recommended would take us directly to the alpine village of Mürren via a trail along the mountain ridge. We traversed through what can only be best described as a winter wonderland. There were so many times I had to remind myself that the panoramic views weren’t just quickly fading scenes on green screens, but one-hundred percent my real surroundings. My friends and I were just absolutely floored by the landscape. One of the best parts was that the hike was extremely easy! Since we were already so high in elevation, all we had to do was walk on a mostly flat trail. It was incredibly low effort, high reward.
We made it to the end of the trail, the traditional mountain town of Murren that sits at 5450 feet. Though the hike wasn’t particularly taxing, we still figured we deserved a reward of Swiss chocolate, so we plopped down on a bench and tucked in.
We spent the next day much closer to sea level trading the towering mountains for the crystal blue waters of Lake Thunersee.
After getting off the train at Spiez, we heard a strange but familiar sound: long, melodic, trumpet-like notes were echoing throughout the town. It turns out a man was playing the alphorn, a several-meter-long wooden horn used by mountain dwellers in the Alps. It used to be a communication device for those living far apart in the mountains, but is a musical instrument today. We had learned about it in a Rick Steves video, so it was crazy to actually see and hear it in person! It really was the quintessential Swiss experience.