Via Alpina, Day 8: Meiringen – Grindelwald

When we leave the campsite we are kindly waved goodbye by three men crossing Switzerland on their bikes. We have to follow tarmac for a while and pass a large yard where men are already hard at work sorting gravel, which they extracted from a quarry a few meters away. After a while we choose an indistinct grass path that first brings us to the village of Schwendi and then slides us on an old paved donkey road. We climb up puffing and panting until we suddenly arrive at a hidden waterfall in the forest.

Beyond the waterfall, we have to continue climbing until we encounter one of the most iconic rocks in the area. It is right on this spot that the famous novel detective Sherlock Holmes collapsed after wrestling with Jack the Ripper. A garland with a remarkably cynical text should remind us of this tragedy. Eventually the readers of the novel would find out that Holmes had survived the fall and that he had set up the whole theater to stage his own death. But if you want to know all the details, you should read the book “The Final Problem” in which the whole drama is described in detail.

After walking on a fairly even  path next to a quiet rippling river for a while, we climb higher up again.

We often cross a winding asphalt road. For cyclists this coveted climb must be one big party. From time to time they have to avoid the honking busses, which bring tourists who like climbing a bit less to a higher altitude in a more comfortable way. At one point, however, those tourists also have to put on their hiking boots if they want to go further up. But we don’t see many of them actually do that. The emerging dark clouds might have something to do with that.

Although these clouds do not bode well, they wrap the mountain tops in a mysterious fog. It gives the whole something dramatic. Just what the landscape needs right here. When we arrive at a plateau, the weather briefly clears up a bit.

But not much later, all the blue spots in the air are devoured again by a thick gray cloud suit. Almost immediately the temperature also takes a free fall. After 1400m climbing I arrive shivering at the Grosse Scheidegg.

At the top of the mountain pass, a group of people benefit from the tight wind to do the craziest tricks with their model gliders. However, we don’t take the time to admire them, but immediately go find the heat in a hut that is located at the mountain top. When we are warmed up again, we take on the long descent to Grindelwald.

Grindelwald is popularly known as the so-called glacier village. The glacier that made the village so famous stretches over the Agassizhorn and the Eiger. During the small ice age, the glacier extended in the direction of the village of Grindelwald. Fearing that the village would be completely swallowed under a thick pack of ice, an exorcist was appointed around the year 1800 to address the evil demons in the glacier, and to prevent it from further expansion. Whether the village owes it to the exorcist, or to global warming, I won’t put up for discussion, but today it no longer looks like the glacier is still a threat to Grindelwald. The glacier has retreated so far, that it can hardly be seen from our path.

When we finally reach the famous glacier village, we pitch our tent with a view of the Eiger. We go to sleep under a clear sky, without realizing that from tomorrow on the weather gods will be less favorable.


In the morning our tent is nearly washed away by the gushing rain. The prospects for the coming week are dramatic: thunderstorms and snow. Something you’re not waiting for when you’re high up in the mountains. That is why we decide to opt for safety and stop at our proverbial highlight in Grindelwald. But not without the promise that we will come back to finish the route.

Goodbye, Switzerland. Until we meet again …

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.