“If Heaven isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, send me back to Gimmelwald”
That is a saying they have in these parts. Not sure about the theology of that statement but after spending an afternoon here I could not agree more. I will append the statement and say that I believe that heaven will be a lot like Gimmelwald. This place is downright amazing. Out of all the places on the face of the planet, this place beats them all. By a long shot. I am confident when I say that Gimmelwald is my new favorite place on the planet. I never want to leave. I walked around this mountain paradise all afternoon in a constant state of euphoria.
The train ride in got my insides stirring. Switzerland as a whole is beautiful. On our way into Interlaken we passed by the gorgeous Lake Thunersee. The water was clear and like glass. It was just begging me to go at it with a slalom ski. It tempted me with it’s seductive beautiful ways. I held true. I knew there was better things awaiting me. Upon arrival in Gimmelwald I began to lose it. This place is beyond description. It is times like this that I wish I was a better writer. There are not enough words or phrases to describe to you the feeling I get when I look at the surroundings that I was in emersed in. Here is a link to a description of Gimmelwald by the famous Rick Steves. I read this description before my travels. I took his rhetoric as fancy writing by a guy trying to sell books. He undersold it. To top it all off, just like Rick said in his piece, after asking how to get to Gimmelwald to a lady on a train she replied, “you mean Grindlewald?” With at grin and a smile I replied, “no, I mean Gimmelwald.” I knew right then and there we were on the right track.
With a population of 130 Gimmelwald is just the place to land when recovering from the hectic life of big cities. Steph and I were extremely happy to see the sun shining when we arrived. We check in and order a downright amazing homemade pizza from the owner of Mountain Hostel, Petra. Petra is just downright nice, you couldn’t find nicer people in Dallas with exception of Sandre Sudan.
We decided to make the most of our sunny day by tackling the one thing I really wanted to do in Gimmelwald. The Via Ferrata, or as the Swiss call it, The Klettersteig. This is a path through the forest, around cliffs all while attached by harness and rope to a cable. In order to save money we borrowed some harnesses and bought some rope. I am pretty sure I tied those knots correctly…
Get ready for an onslaught of pictures. For the first time all trip we filled up the memory card on the camera in one day. I couldn’t stop snapping the photos. It was all too amazing. Let us begin.
So on the trip up to Murren where the trek begins we come across some interesting scenes. First I find this family harvesting some hay on the side of the hill with scythes. That is right the kids were out there and everything
It is around this time that I am trying to climb in a little cave off the trail when I hear some people coming up the trail and engage my wife below in a conversation. I hear faintly that these gentlemen are going to jump off the cliff. I quickly come down and jump in the conversation. I quickly meet John, a base jumper/wing suit flyer from South Carolina. John is a really nice guy, we talk for a while until he abruptly leaves via 120 miles per hour. This was an unreal experience. It was crazy to watch this guy jump off the cliff, and fly away from it to the valley floor in about 9 seconds. I found it hard to breathe. This is something that I would like to do before I die.
It is at this point that the real adrenaline starts. A portion of the trek where we skim across the side of a 700 meter cliff along these metal rungs. I, personally, has a blast. My wife on the other hand…a little scared. Most of the pictures along this path are of Steph, I did not even attempt to ask Steph to take a picture of me. There was no way in hell that her hands were going to part with those metal bars she was clinging on to with dear life.
I might add at this juncture in the blog that my wife has never been so amazing as she was today. Despite hanging perilously at a hight of 700 meters with nothing but her shoes and a metal bar between her and the ground below, she performed amazingly. There were no tears shed, no mental or physical breakdowns, nothing but straight, lets get this done, ice cold water pumping through her veins, business mode mentality going through her mind. She was scared, but she did not let that stop her. She fearlessly jumped into the role of The Zarse Effect Sidekick. A rock star is simply what she was. So for her bravery today on the adventure I award her this gold star:
As you can probably well tell, this region is amazing. I had the time of my life today. The Via Ferrata was a blast. We ended the day with some of the best lasagna ever made, and a decent amount of some good red wine. The day could not have gone any better. I now understand why they say “if heaven is not all it is cracked up to be, send me back to Gimmelwald.”