When compiling my list of ‘must see’ locations in Europe, there was one place in Switzerland that I knew I couldn’t miss. If you’re familiar with The Lord Of The Rings, you’ll know there’s a gorgeous location called Rivendell, so beautiful it could hardly be real. Well, the small valley of Lauterbrunnen is exactly where J.R.R Tolkien drew inspiration from for Rivendell, and has attracted other authors and poets such as Goethe and Lord Byron due to its ethereal beauty.
With such lofty expectations, it could have been entirely plausible that I would been disappointed. Indeed, my time just before arriving in Lauterbrunnen was somewhat dismal: low clouds hung over the towns of Lucern and Interlaken, obscuring my view of the beautiful alps that surrounded me. Fortunately, the night before I left Interlaken for Lauterbrunnen it begun to snow, which is always a novelty for an Australian. The train ride into Lauterbrunnen the following day was stunning: the Swiss alps surrounding me, snow covering all surfaces, with a grey cloud threatening more. Of course, as soon as we disembarked it started to snow slightly, and in the short 8 minute walk to our chalet my hair was covered with ice. My accommodation of choice was Valley Hostel, primarily chosen due to the fact that it was reasonably priced (well, as reasonably priced as anything in Switzerland is), and was conveniently located for exploring the area. Luckily for me, I immediately fell in love with the place; it was incredibly cosy and inviting and I immediately felt at home.
I woke the next morning to the most beautifully sunny day, with the snow-capped mountains glistening in the light. I will never forget how stunning the view from my room was as I ate my breakfast, it was truly breathtaking.
With an outside temperature of -17 degrees celcius, I was ready to throw on almost every item of clothing that I had with me before heading outside, although to my surprise it was actually quite pleasant in the sun. There’s isn’t a whole lot to do in this sleepy town; most come to Lauterbrunnen as a base for nature-lovers looking to hike, or thrill-seekers looking to paraglide or BASE jump. I wasn’t looking to jump off any mountains, so I walked down to a river that winds its way through the valley. I followed it along, out of the town and through the pastures with cute little sheep with bells around their necks (yes, I only realised then that that’s a real thing).
In the later part of the afternoon, it was time to head home as it quickly became utterly freezing when the sun had disappeared behind the Jungfrau. My partner and I quickly ducked into the only supermarket in the area and picked up an enormous pizza and a six pack of Heineken for dinner, then settled in for a night of Game of Thrones in our cosy chalet. This was truly one of the most beautiful and memorable days of my life, and I'd absolutely love to return one day.