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Grindelwald (Switzerland)

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      14.01.2009 15:21
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      A fabulous place with lively crowds at affordable prices.

      Part of our holiday to the berner Oberland region of Switzerland over the New Year between 27 Dec-2nd Jan, this is the high season for this popular Ski resort and of course it turns out to be really busy. As we were staying in Goldswill near the Interlaken centre, we took a train from Interlaken Ost station direct to Grindelwald for a day of fun sledging. Train depart every half and hour and around £30 return trip. Most people have swiss half price rail card which works out more reasonable if your stay is longer. Train journey is lovely as always as the Swiss really planned the scenic route to all their journeys, the only thing worth noting is how busy it can get, as most people have their ski kits on or if not carrying on board, it took up quite a lot of spaces, some have to end up standing through the whole journey which is around 30 mins. Once arrived in Grindelwald station, you have to walk through the main high street which is full with restuarant, bakery, shops and ski hire places. We rent our sledge in one of the shops and then head towards the ski lift to get 1 day pass. The queue to the ski lift are unbearable! We can hardly find the end of the queue and there are constant people jumping queues and fights started between the locals about their queuing manners! Once we got our tickets, we get on our cable car to go towards First which is around 2180m up, it is all very efficient and organise as you will find in most swiss resort. We then hike up from First to Farlhorn(around 2680m) and sledge down through the sledge routes which is fun but dangerous at the same time, many of the routes are without barriers and they're high up, once we master the navigation (not much, consider you go way fast!) we started to enjoy it. However, there are traffic that comes through the sledge routes which is very dangerous, the bus that come through will give plenty of warning with horns and beeps but for a tourist visiting, this does not make much sense especially we were travelling fast from the opposite direction. Luckily, we were saved by some locals who shout and warn us before it was too late. Overall, it is a lovely resort that is surprisingly not as expensive as many think, the ski pass works in 1 day or weekly etc depending on your stay and you can choose the various routes to save cost as well. On the way back we stopped at lovely bakery (next to the butchers) and have fresh berliner made outside which was delicious and the cafe inside the hotel right behind the station is a good stopping point to enjoy a hot chocolate while you while for the train back as well.

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