June 4: Lucerne to Lauterbrunnen
We got up at 5AM and Brenda was apparently over her headache of last night. We had breakfast and broke camp and went to the station at 8AM to meet Dr. Guzder, who was coming in from Zurich. By train time Brenda was rather sick again, and we were dismayed when Dr. Guzder wasn't on the train. We had no idea what had happened so we spent an hour kicking ourselves for having broken camp. We were very happy when she arrived on the next train at 9:05.
The campsite at Lucerne had been very nice. The people at the office and shop spoke good English and were very helpful. The campsite was in every way clean and convenient - the only possible gripe was that you had to pay 1/2 franc for a hot shower and it was a very short hot shower.
I enjoyed the large number of sparrows, plus a couple of thrushes and two colored birds (maybe buntings) which came to beg crumbs. They were very tame and would eat out of your hand.
I took Dr. Guzder for a short walk around Lucerne and then we headed for Interlaken. The scenery was very nice over the Brunig Pass but the traffic was extremely heavy, it being Sunday and very nice weather. As we came down off the Brunig Pass we could see an airstrip just below us, and the stream running into the Brienzersee. The drive along the Brienzersee was very nice - the Alps dominated the sky the south.
We made it to Interlaken, which was nice but not too impressive. You could get a good view of Jungfrau. We endured the embarrassment of turning around and driving out of two of the camping grounds in Interlaken. When we reached Lauterbrunnen and the Jungfrau Campground there, we were glad we had.
We drove through a narrow wooded valley along a stream. At one place along the road was a spectacular view of Jungfrau. When we reached Lauterbrunnen the trees thinned and the valley opened to a terrific view. The valley is sort of a boxed-canyon, with cliffs rising over 1000 ft on each side. The canyon end is blocked by the Grosshorn and Breithorn, glistening white against the sky with an almost complete covering of snow. Down the sheer rock wall tumbled a number of falls - I can see five waterfalls from where I sit, and there are several more down the valley toward Stechelberg.
The campground where we are camped is in the green floor of this canyon, almost at the foot of the famous Staubbach Falls. These falls drop so far that most of the water turns to mist before it hits - it looks something like a lace curtain. It is interesting to watch the changes in the fall - an extra volume of water causes a streamer to depart from the main course, like a thin white finger probing downward until it vaporizes into mist. The fall actually drifts a considerable distance in the wind as it comes down - it was drifting about 10¡ left when we came into the campground.
We were almost immediately greeted by the lady from the next tent who was from the Netherlands. She enquired about Brenda's headache, with the help of her husband who spoke some English.
Later she tried to talk to us about the falls. The Netherland language is very similar to German and I understood a little German so we made a little headway, with the help of sign language. She communicated to us that when the falls drifted to the left the weather would be good - but when to the right it meant rain. Also interesting was the fact that when it blew left it went down one watercourse and to the right another! When we came into camp with the falls blowing left, there was a torrent of water down a little waterway through the camp. Now at twilight the falls are coming straight down and the waterway is bone dry.
When Brenda was feeling better we decided to drive up the valley to Stechelberg - the end of the road. The view of the snowclad Grosshorn and Breithorn was more commanding there and there were several more waterfalls. It looks like a tremendous place from which to take walks.
All the people camped around us are German speaking but have studied English in school. The men took great pride in using their English to point out a deer grazing on the mountainside. They are always friendly.
Dr. Guzder has never camped before. She certainly has a lovely place to begin her camping. The Netherlands lady also told us that the sun goes behind the west cliff at 4 PM and comes over the east cliff about 8 AM, causing a rainbow in the waterfall. It was extremely hot when we got to camp about 1PM, but she told us that it got down to 5¡C (41¡F) at night.
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