Should have taken the left at Albuquerque, mind the step, and I wonder what else I can rent.

The Wandering Nerd October 29th, 2007

Have you ever been somewhere and just known, deep inside, that you’d be coming back there? That’s Interlaken for me. While Prague may have been dangerous for me - or at least my liver - Interlaken isn’t muckin’ around with just one organ. I think it’s going for major internal trauma. You wouldn’t really expect the lurking dangers here, it looks all demure and picturesque. My hostel room looks out directly onto Jungfrau, and as it cleared up when I arrived the place practically demands that photos be taken.

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I thought the Irish were a bit foolish for renting me a mountain bike. But FunRental here in Interlaken really missed the memo, they let me have a motorcycle, a BMW F650 Dakar no less. A couple photocopies and they let me loose in the Alps. Some important tidbits for traveling around in Switzerland. The roadsigns are pretty minimal when you get away from the main roads…but where I was going I didn’t need roads. The goal was to find a place called Gimmelwald, which Lonely Planet refers to as, ‘a Swiss village you thought only existed in picture books.’ I like picture books, they save all that trouble about reading actual words. I had the vague idea that I needed to get to this little town called Mürren and from there to Gimmelwald. As I began follow the limited signs pointing towards my destination a curious thing happened. The marked pavement gave way to just plain old blacktop, then a few sign posts later it led into a mountain. A giant corkscrew tunnel curving up through the very heart of the old rock. Emerging far up the mountain the next signpost pointed along a gravel path. The next signpost led me onto what turned into a logging trail. An active logging trail, when I stopped and asked how to get to Mürren, the guys looked at me funny and just pointed farther along the trail. Fair enough. After about 30 more minutes of traveling on this trail that continued to degenerate into a dirt path it occurred to me that something must be amiss. There must be some other way to get to this town as it’s not feasibly for this trip to take that long. But I had a good off road bike with headed handle bars and a heated seat, keeping my butt nice and toasty on the cold slopes I might add, so I was happy to just keep on enjoying the breathtaking views. Upon finally pulling into Mürren, I was struck at how friendly everyone was, everyone was just waving and smiling at me. That’s what I’m talking about! Some good Swiss hospitality. Yeah….

From the web page for Mürren, “…a marvellous mountain village, public car free… …You can reach Mürren from Lauterbrunnen by mountain railway (BLM) or from Stechelberg by aerial cableway (LSMS)….” Heh, whoops. The nice ladies at the tourist shop informed me of my error. It turns out that Gimmelwald is actually below Mürren, and only residents are allowed to have motor vehicles in the town and it’s forbidden to ride on that logging trail. *shrug* So I ended up getting an experience and photos that I technically shouldn’t have. That certainly explains all of the strange looks and waves.

Having no other recourse, I had to travel back down the same logging trail. Darn. This time the loggers I had passed earlier had brought in a mountain semi and were loading up the payload. This however blocked my passage down the mountain. Dakar or no, I’m not going down a 60 degree grade. Stupid sense of self preservation. Luckily, in a grand compromise between dangerous and just dumb, I formulated a plan. Through a series of pantomimes - now just think how you would pantomime this - I convinced the guy operating the crane just to lift up one end of this giant trunk so I could ride under it and get around. Dude was my hero. My German course didn’t cover how to say, “Please lift that massive tree so I can do something crazy like drive a motorcycle under it.”

Where else can you go to see illicitly attained photos of the Swiss Alps? Thus I provide:

and I snagged some video from the trip too:


The whole ride was breathtaking and inspiring. This is why I’m traveling though I never did make it to Gimmelwald…

the road’s gonna get on me
well if it gets at all
the road’s end on me
-yeah yeah yeahs

2 Responses to “Should have taken the left at Albuquerque, mind the step, and I wonder what else I can rent.”

  1. The Parentson 29 Oct 2007 at 10:08 pm

    I really liked the pic of you on the mountain bike. I know you enjoyed riding it. Try to find some signs or soomething. Glad the guy let you back thru. The Parents

  2. Hoshion 31 Oct 2007 at 10:28 am

    Atta Broi! Keeping up your end of the ‘ugly American’ bargain, eh? To boldly drive where no American has driven before…I’d expect no less from you. :P
    .
    Beautiful country. I’m sure the photos don’t do it justice and the photos are breathtaking. I didn’t get to spend much time in Switzerland and what little I did was not really about sight seeing. But, I have seen some of the sights and know that is one place I could spend a lot of time, given the chance. Add to the stunning scenery and warm charm of the people the fact that the two national pastimes are skiing and shooting and I see no reason to live anywhere else.
    .
    Hey, what am I still doing in this place? :(
    .
    Glad to hear you’re extended vacation keeps getting better. You’re obviously not missing too much here. There is one BIG surprise happening this afternoon, but I will let the parties involved fill you in instead of potentially ruining the surprise for you.
    .
    Well, I am off to see the farking wizard. Something about a cold steel heart, straw brain and cowardice of a lion he promises has me intrigued…not to mention all the midgets and flying monkeys.
    .
    As always, have fun, be safe and try not to bring the plague or pox to any secluded mountain villages on your travels.
    .
    Hoshi

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