The Schilthorn is a mountain in the Bernese Oberland and at the top is the restaurant where the old Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was filmed. We like Bond films, food and amazing views so Luke booked us in for the buffet brunch in the revolving restaurant.
To get to Schilthorn from Lauterbrunnen involves taking a bus along the valley to the Stechelberg cable car station. This cable car goes up from the valley floor then over a rise where you get to Gimmelwald, then another cable car to Mürren. I am glad no one has thought to put glass floors in these cable cars because I would probably have to ride them with my eyes closed. As is I get that blurp in my stomach every time they bump through a cable tower.
From the town of Mürren you change for another cable car to Birg. At Birg there is a viewing platform and a cliff walk. We didn’t bother with the cliff walk but the viewing platform was spectacular.
Sometimes I think the views from below the highest heights beat the ones from the top because you’re a bit closer to things and completely surrounded.
The weather forecast had been threatening rain all week and we’d been exceptionally lucky that it had held off but there were definitely clouds all around today. The view was rarely obscured though, and the dry-ice effect of clouds seeming to pour over the escarpments was stunning. If the video appears sideways don’t worry, it will right itself if you play it:-).
The last and shortest cable car journey is from Birg to Schilthorn. Most of the cable cars we took that day were packed with Chinese tourist groups who were quite amusing, making dramatic ‘Ooooh!’ noises every time the car bumped through a tower and making everyone laugh.
The bottom floor of the Schilthorn building has a gallery of exhibits dedicated to OHMSS and although it’s not huge it has lots of interesting facts and some hands-on things, like a screen where you can superimpose your face on a still from the movie.
Also worth mentioning are the toilets for ‘Bonds’ and ‘Bond Girls’ where the cubicles in the mens’ (you could see them from outside, I didn’t go in!) looked like they had sexy women inside them. So Bond!
We took some photos outside on the viewing platform then made our way to the buffet at 11. It was ok – as buffets tend to be. The most entertaining bit of it was watching the maître d’ try to explain how the buffet/à la carte option worked to people who didn’t speak any European languages. Even though his manner was a trifle brusque you had to admire the way he didn’t take a screaming leap off the nearest viewing platform, which is how I’d have dealt with it after a couple of hours.
We ate until we were bursting (I assume this is how everyone eats at buffets) and I had as much salmon and prosecco as I could fit. Eating salmon and looking at snow-capped peaks reminded me of Canada. In fact it made me realise that I hadn’t eaten salmon since I’d been to Canada because we literally had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner while we were there, didn’t we Mum? (I know Mum will read this and nod her head). I haven’t seen candied salmon on the menu here though – yet!
Ooh, I nearly forgot to mention – the folk music people we’d seen perform at the campsite the night before were in our cable cars on the way up. It was sort of like finding yourself sitting next to The Wiggles on a plane. We cast furtive glances but didn’t go so far as to ask for autographs. While we were sitting in the restaurant they started singing at their table and people gathered round, mesmerised by the angelic notes. Lovely!
We caught the cable car back down to Mürren then decided to walk down to Gimmelwald, which had been recommended in the Rick Steves videos as a good example of a traditional Swiss village. It was a lovely and quiet walk, and the view across the mountains, between layers of cloud, was spectacular. It probably doesn’t translate well in photos but I’ll give it a go.
The walk is very easy too, and only takes about 40 minutes – well worth doing if you’re in the area and don’t have the gear or stamina to tackle some of the other routes.
Of course it’s very well signposted too. This is Switzerland, after all!
Gimmelwald is also home to Europe’s first ‘self serve store’, which tells you all you need to know about Switzerland.
After an exhausting day of eating and taking photos we decided to spend the afternoon in our hostel room, reading and relaxing. We are staying at The Valley Hostel and, apart from the foam mattresses, it has been delightful. Spotlessly clean with an excellent kitchen with proper sharp knives and everything you could want. We’ve cooked ourselves a few meals but mostly just stay on our balcony enjoying the view across the Lauterbrunnen Valley to the mountains and glaciers beyond.