Switzerland - hiking in the Bernese Oberland and... we got married!
As the last days have shown clearly, summer is finally over and autumn has started. Summer here in Switzerland this year was a sad affair - it started rainy and continued like this through june and july, it was cold most of the time, but since august, it was brilliant and hot. As we had a lot of work to do, we did not travel much and mainly stayed at home. But hey, this was our first summer in our new home. And as we live where others come for holiday, it was just brilliant to enjoy a summer at home.
Therefore, we had decided to explore the mountains close to our home. Some of them are indeed walking distance from home. Others are a short drive of about 20 minutes. Yes, although when you live in such a place, you have the same problems like everyone around the world. You struggle in your daily life and sometimes you loose to see the beauty around you. But yes, this is paradies and most of the times we appreciate it and are very thankful to be able to spend some times of our lifes living in such a place. Well, but always remember, even in paradies, one has to work and one can become sick ;-) (and this is not a complaint, just a matter of fact).
So, which trips did we make? As we leave kind of in between Thun and Interlaken, the mass tourism of Interlaken is not far away and it is most likely that we meet hordes of indian, korean or arab tourists whenever we head for the mountains. So, our first trip was a trip like this. We took our car and went from Hilterfingen (our village on Lake Thun) to Sigriswil and further on to the Justistal. From there it is a narrow mountain road (it is more a path) to Beatenberg. It took us about 30 minutes and it was peaceful and nature is wonderful there. No tourists, just lots of cows. And then, in Beatenberg, it hits you - mass tourism in the mountains. Normally, tourists go up the mountain by cable car - so the hike up from Beatenberg to the Niederhorn was peaceful and empty. It is an easy and short hike and we came along vast plains full of blueberries. Unfortunately they have not been ripe by the end of july. We enjoyed the scenery and on top of the mountain - bang, all the tourists and all the noise was back again. Do not get us wrong - we are also tourists in most of the countries. It we really enjoy observing them in our own country and helping them or just talking to them. But nowhere in this world it is enjoyable when tourists come in big groups. This often comes along with noise. Unfortunately in the Interlaken region, this is often the case. Anyway, the Niderhorn is really a fantastic mountain to visit. It offers a breathtaking panoramic view over Lake Thun and the Alps.
Our next trip brought us to Axalp. Axalp is a small village high in the mountains. There is a little ski ressort and some nice hiking in summer. And - although easily reachable by bus, no tourists come up this road. It is nice drive along Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and then steep up the mountain road. We parked our car in the viallge and went on a wonderful remote hike up to the Axalphorn. The whole day, we meet about 10 hikers - that was it. It was a nice walk through grassy grounds passing by lots of cows. And, before the last ascent to the summit, we could find Edelweiss! This special flower is hardly seen any more in the Alps. For us, it was the first time that we found it! Wonderful! The last part was quite steep and can only be climbed by hikers without fear of high altitude. The way down was also not an easy hike, but full of natural beauty. We passed by the Hinterbergseeli, a picturesque mountain lake and made a coffee stop at "The Hilten" - a mountain hut with great coffee and breathtaking views over Lake Brienz.
This is also a mountain on the other side of Lake Thun. You drive to Interlaken and then up the valley to Saxeten. I, Nina, did this hike on my own as Markus had to work. I was a bit nervous. Since my abdominal operations 4 years ago, I have not climbed more than 800 meters of altitude - and this hike was an altitude difference of 1.200 meters. Saxeten is a serene little village with only a few individual tourist and lots of real swiss feeling. The hike was easy in the beginning. I reached the pass and then started the climb on the Morgenberghorn. And I made it! Super happy (and in the evening really tired) I took in the views and was really thankful to be able to do nice and long hikes and climbs again.
As our parents came over twice this summer, we also did some nice trips with them. Due to their age, long hikes are not possible any more, but we found some scenic place without long hikes. Our first trip brought us up with the historic train on Schynigge Platte. This is our favourite place when it comes to "great views". Our parents were speechless. We slowly walked along the easy mountain tracks and they enjoyed every second.
Our second trip with our parent brought us to the Lauterbrunnen Valley and Mürren. We walked up to the Staubbach Waterfall. It is a beautiful waterfall where you can walk behind the fall - and get wet of course! Afterwards we drove to Stechelberg and took the cableway up to Mürren. From Mürren it was another cablecar up to Allmendhubel. From there it was a leisure walk down the mountain back to Mürren. We enjoyed a nice coffee in Mürren before walking further down to Gimmelwald. The scenery was great and my parent, although really tired of walking a lot, enjoyed every minute.
That was the hiking part of this summer. But, september 2 another big event was waiting for us. After more than 12 years together, we had decided to get married. This is surely a nice event - but what made it so really special was that our spiritual master, Paramahamsa Vishwananda was doing the ceremony! What an incredible blessing! Paramahamsa Vishwananda visited Switzerland for 3 Darshans (personal blessings) in September. So after the darshan in Bern, he did our wedding ceremony. We do not have any words for this. He bathed us in his love and we (as well as all the visitors - around the early hour of 2 am still about 300 visitors were still present) laughed a lot. It was a hindu ceremony, of course. These moments will stay in our hearts forever!
A week later, we also had our second wedding in front of the state. This was a short celebration: actually, we went inside the government building and came out 15 minutes later. Only our parents joined us. It was nice. The funny thing was, that without wanting a date like this, we got married 09/09/2016 at 9 am! And it was Radhashtami - the appearance day of Radha (the love of Krishna). How could we get more blessings! We spent the day with our family, had a nice lunch at the Giessbach Falls (we highly recommend this restaurant in a historic hotel - in the evening they also open a vegan/vegatarian gourmet restaurant there!) and spent the afternoon at "The Hilten" up on the mountain in Axalp.
Now we know, that you are curious where we will spend our honeymoon. It will be a short honeymoon of 8 days only. We will be away around mid october - but where to? Be surprised. More of this in our next blog.