August 14, 2013

Mürren: Our No #1 on the Grand Tour

Although we were only half-way through our five-week tour, all three of us knew our stay in Mürren, Switzerland, would end up being the highlight of the trip. We had booked our hotel for three nights. After the first day there, I added an extra day.

Planning our Grand Tour, I wanted to find a place in Switzerland I'd never visited . . .  a place where I could relax and enjoy the views. My travel mates, who’d never been here, could venture off and explore other parts of the country as they wished.

Rick Steves Come Through with Mürren
I usually consult Frommer’s guidebooks for Europe and Lonely Planet for Asia. My son said he liked Rick Steves' TV travel shows and books, so I checked out his guide to Switzerland. I’m sure glad I did. He seems to be the only travel writer to mention Mürren, which was exactly what I was looking for. As it turned out, my son and his gal were so taken with Mürren that they stayed put, too.

While grateful to Steves for recommending Mürren, we were sorry we took his recommended "panoramic" train ride from Interlaken (a short drive from Mürren) to Lake Geneva. It wasn’t that scenic, and we all would have preferred staying "home" in Mürren. 

We agreed that the serenity and pleasure we got from our four days in Mürren were better than a year of psychotherapy. What made it so special? 

It’s a small town high up in the Alps, reachable only by cable car at one end of town and funicular at the other. We mostly used the cable car, even though our hotel was on the "funicular" side of town. We loved the 10-minute walk through the beautiful, car-free village.

We arrived at the family-run Hotel Edelweiss well after dark, thanks to our flat tire on the drive from Zurich. The next morning, I didn’t know what to expect when I went out on my balcony for my 5am meditation. I decided to stay up and see what would come into view as dawn drew back the curtains.

Views from the Balcony
Here are just a few of the dozens of photos I took from my balcony:

My son enjoys the view from his balcony:

A Walk Through Town

Everywhere I looked walking around town seemed like a photo op.


Cows with Trees on Their Heads
We arrived in Mürren on Saturday night. On Sunday, the town hosted its annual parade, which reminded me of the Fourth of July parades in my Palisades neighborhood -- lots of locals just showing up and doing whatever they wanted. As we see each year in the Palisades, there were colorful costumes and bands.

We’ve had some pretty strange groups in the Palisades parade. But -- as far as I can recall -- we’ve never seen cows like these with trees on their heads:

Following James Bond to the Top
On our last day in Mürren, we took the cable car to the revolving Piz Gloria restaurant at the top of the mountain. This dramatic setting was a key location in the 1969 James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Here's a picture of 007 himself:

And always, it was a special treat just returning to my wonderful balcony at the Edelweiss:

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