Along the snowy mountains and deep glacial lakes of Switzerland hides on of the gems of the alps. Beneath the shadow of the Eiger, JaunFrau and Monch situated in the heart of Switzerland sits Lauterbrunnen. The small village is hidden down a steeped sided valley. Trees and thick rock walls ascend on all sides with waterfalls cascading down hundreds off feet from the cliff face which freeze in the winter.
This small village is one of the popular tourist resorts and the home of many novelist’s inspiration. The three peaks watch over the valley below. Jaunfrau is German for young girl who is protected from the Monch by the Eiger. The mountains used to have glaciers reaching down the sides but have been retreating up the valley rapidly for several years leaving exposed areas which have not been seen for hundreds of years.
From Lauterbrunnen you can get a train to the top of JaunFrau which peaks at over four thousand metres. The peak has snowed all year round and the air is thin up the mountain that can leave you feeling queasy and lightheaded if you don’t take it easy. The view from the top of Europe is worth it though and drink a cocktail at the ice bar to calm your nerves if you are a little afraid of heights like I.
In the winter the valley in which Lauterbrunnen sits has many different ski slopes at various levels and cross-country ski trails. In the night the small village offers warm food and recreational activities. In the summer, there is hiking, white water rafting and many other activities. The temperature is normally slightly lower in the mountains making it a refreshing place to visit. But watch out that mountain water is cold all year. There is also an excellent mini gold course made by famous swiss engineering.
Now if you aren’t sold by the magic of this small area. It was visited in the twentieth century by a young author J.R. Tolkien. Tolkien fell in love with the village as many people have done and based an elven city of Rivendell on the location. If you look closely at the photos you can see the same layout of the Lord of the Rings artist interpretation of Tolkien’s description. Go and see for yourself the similarities.