Lauterbrunnen is a valley in the Swiss Alps surrounded by 72 waterfalls 17 km from Interlaken. There is one actual road for cars and one road for pedestrians, bicyclists, cows, and tractors. The valley or village has multiple grayish blue rivers passing through it. To me, it looks like Yosemite with farm animals and surrounded by snowy mountaintops. We decided to walk to Trümmelbachfälle, ten glacier-waterfalls inside the mountain formed by melted mountaintop snow, 3 km from Lauterbrunnen. While walking to the Trümmelbach glacier-waterfalls (also a UNESCO natural heritage site), I noticed the peculiar odor of cow dung. The only road in Lauterbrunnen led us to walk within a few meters of a group of cows, which intimidated us with their strong gaze and huge size.
Each of them wore a large bell around her neck. But these bells were not unique to cows. Goats, sheep, and other farm animals also had bells. I was surprised that the animals did not appear to be annoyed while they ate since the sound of the bells was quite loud. It is interesting that there are villages above the valley in the mountains at the top of the waterfalls that are only accessible by ski lifts. The people in the village seemed to have a great quality of life. The serenity created a peaceful atmosphere, everything was closed during the lunch hours of approximately noon to 2 pm, and additionally the cemetery had tombstones of people over the ages of 80-90.
We stayed in a private room at Valley Hostel in Lauterbrunnen (highly recommended). Our room had a patio that overlooked Straubach falls, the largest of the 72 waterfalls located just 5-10 minutes by foot. The valley takes your breath away and we blinked several times because it seems unreal. The green grass surrounded by milk chocolate mountains with flowing waterfalls, some just drizzles, encased by much larger snow-capped peaks. We ate our dinner outside on the patio, and we cooked nearly every meal because the price of a basic entrée was over 20 francs in Switzerland!
One day Giovanni and I had our breakfast sitting on a rock at the edge of the river. We munched on cheese, grapes, cereal bars, and mandarins. The river next to us flowed so quickly that there were no plants, fish, or other signs of water life. The river just served as a quick transport of the melted snow to the lake.
To celebrate Giovanni’s birthday, we decided to splurge and buy tickets to Schilthorn, a platform at the peak of a mountain overlooking the Swiss Alps. In order to reach Schilthorn (3200 meters) and get a view of the highest point in Europe (Jungfrau-4158 meters), we had to take 4 ski lifts (Stechelburg-Gimmelwald-Murren-Birg-Schilthorn).
In Paris, we took a Discovery walking tour (free walking tour by a Parisian local driven by tips) and really enjoyed it. Our tour guide pointed out the Martians in Paris, which are green aliens made of mosaics in the shape of a green Martian placed on different walls around Paris. Nobody knows who puts them there or moves them periodically, but apparently there is a website where you can submit the location you saw one and the “artist” will validate the location. Supposedly, it makes life more interesting for Parisians to look for the Martians around the city and adds color to the gray buildings.
She also showed us the Texas embassy, which existed when France recognized the independence of Texas. Rather than sit at circular tables, Parisians sit in a line with seats next to one another at coffee shops and restaurants lining streets to people watch and gossip, a favorite Parisian pastime. In addition, our tour guide was convinced Napolean I was the most arrogant of all the French leaders (including Napolean II and III) since he erected so many statues of himself, many of them phallic. Napolean I is buried in the Hotel des Invalides in a grave like a Russian doll with 6 tombs within one another.
We lost the monkey today 11/1 here in Venice ☹ We retraced our steps but had no luck finding the monkey.