We set out for our hike up to the Schilthorn Peak after breakfast on our first full day in Murren.
The weather was cloudy and it looked like it was going to rain, so we decided to just go for as long as we could. We knew it would take 3 hours to get to the peak and 3 hours to get back down.
I really had no idea what to expect but I knew that it would be the hardest hike we've ever done and our friends told us they didn't even want to get out of bed the day after they hiked it!
The Allmendhubel-bahn takes you about 1,000 feet above Murren to the start of the hiking area.DSC_0304

Just before heading up:
(This is one of my favorite pictures of Chris, and yes he hiked in a button down.)

The best view of Murren:
(including cows in the field…could it get any more picturesque?!)

Murren from above:
Here we go!:
Chris at the edge:
The Schilthornbahn over a random lake:
This is probably my favorite picture from the hike:
A view of the finish line:
Having fun with angles:
It was really cloudy for a majority of our trip and it even started sprinkling on us, luckily the cloudy were going by so fast that nothing stayed for long:
It was also amazing how much the scenery changed depending on where we were at:
The only place I fell:
(It was so steep that they had to pave part of it for traction. It actually scared me a bit and I dropped my phone when I fell and I was worried it was going to fall off the side of the mountain but it didn't thankfully. My phone case has battle wounds from the Alps, but it still held together! I consider it a trophy of sorts.)
Still smiling:
Once we got up to the higher area, it wasn't so obvious where we were supposed to go. All we had were the spray painted arrows and flags on the ground and every so often we'd pass a sign post telling us how much farther we had to go:
(The Schilthorn peak is in the distance…so far away!)
Climbing straight up:
(This is when I realized that maybe we could have worn something a little more substantial than running shoes.)
This was comforting to come across:
It was such a weird feeling to be in the middle of the Alps by ourselves, with no way of getting ahold of somebody if one of us got hurt. We passed a few people both ways and I'm sure the people in the trams could see us:
Towards the top, hikers had placed rock piles to commemorate their hike:
Ours, with a C + B scratched into the front rock:
Directly under the peak:
Once we got to the saddle, the only way to go up was on the icy snow while holding onto a rope that was secured into the mountain by a few pieces of rebar…oh and there was a sheer cliff on the other side of us. We decided to just turn around and head back down at this point. 
Pretty disappointing to turn around about 1,000 feet before the end, but less disappointing than dying:
On the way back down under the Schilthorn peak. 
(I hope the people that took the trams up there to eat their $100 soup were enjoying it. 
We enjoyed the heck out of our Cliff Bars.)
We had 3 more hours ahead of us but it seemed to go more quickly on the way down. 
 We were bummed but we were also looking forward to eating an actual meal.
Catching some fresh mountain spring water:
The entire hike I picked up interesting rocks and put them in my pockets as free souvenirs.
Apparently I wanted to torture myself by putting more weight on for the hike:
(it's actually ridiculous how many rocks we ended up with)
Chris got meatloaf (not many options), fries and peas and I ordered a humble, tiny but spendy garden salad. Not exactly what I was wanting after hiking for 6 hours but we didn't want to break the bank. We did break the Swiss code of conduct by secretly splitting our meals though. 
Shhh don't tell anyone.
After eating we went back to the hotel and passed out.

Our bag of rocks:
(We actually got stopped at security when we got back into the US. 
They had no idea what was in our bag…oh ya know, just rocks.)

To sum it up, Switzerland was awesome and I couldn't think of a better end to our trip. Who knows, maybe we will be back one day so we can finish that last 1,000 feet up to the Schilthorn peak.


Thinking back on our trip:
We were gone for a total of 9 days, which I think was a perfect amount of time. As awesome as it was to spend time with great friends in amazing places, we were looking forward to getting back home to the boys. When we were planning the trip, I think the best piece of advice we received was "go to Europe expecting that you will be back someday." We didn't feel the need to see every little thing, but instead we got to sort of "sample" a bunch of different places that were all so different from each other. We will be back for sure, even if it's once the boys are off to college!

Just in case you missed any…
Leaving home + Amsterdam part 1
Amsterdam part 2
Switzerland part 1
Switzerland was the last place we visited on our amazing European vacation. 
We figured that Switzerland would be a good finale to our crazy jam-packed trip. It was the perfect place to just chill and do nothing, which is exactly what we needed before heading home.
We stayed in Murren, a tiny ski village up in the middle of the Alps. Murren is traffic free and the only way to get up there is by taking two different sky trams. It was a pretty crazy introduction to Switzerland but it was even more amazing knowing that we'd be stuck on the side of a mountain with no where to go!

Lauterbrunnen was the little town in the valley below Murren.
As we were driving to the tram station in the valley we passed a field of cows with fancy head dresses on. It turns out that once a year the people in Murren bring the cows up for a little celebration in their honor with lots of cheese and wine. We had just missed it by hours!
Lauterbrunnen gives you the first glance of the Alps:
A hanglider going off the cliffs below Murren:
A diagram of the tram system:
(Murren is the middle one. The top two are mainly for skiing during the winter but people will pay big bucks to be taken up to the peak of the Schilthorn Alp and eat at the fancy revolving restaurant Piz Gloria. There's also a 007 exhibit as a part of Piz Gloria because it was actually built for the filming of a James Bond movie and later turned into the restaurant.)
Looking down at the station where we parked:
(you can't have a fear of heights on these things because they are all glass!)
The trams are used to get people up to the towns of Gimmewald and Murren but also higher up to the ski areas during the snowy months and for hiking in the off-season. 
Getting excited:
Switching trams at Gimmewald:
The station where we parked the car is almost out of sight now, and the white line on the bottom left of this picture is actually a suspension bridge…not for the faint of heart!
The sleepy little town of Murren, right out front of our hotel:
The views are pretty unreal up in Murren.
I couldn't take any pictures that actually did the Alps any justice.
Unfortunately there was always a partial cloud cover while we were there so we never got a clear view of the top of the Alps, but it was still amazing and beautiful:
Our hotel:
The hotel was beautiful from the outside and the lobby and stairs were all granite and marble, but the rooms were really basic which is the norm for Switzerland unless you pay a ton. We had a sink in our room and shared a full-sized bed with pancakes for pillows. There were bathrooms down the hall and showers on the 2nd floor. We figured it didn't make much sense to spend a ton on our rooms since we'd only be in them to sleep.
The view from our room:
There's not a bad view in Switzerland:
Looking out the back of our hotel:
From the back balcony:
Next door was the CoOp grocery store. Pretty much everyone went there to get food for every meal because restaurants are ridiculously expensive in Switzerland. Even the grocery food was spendy…for dinners we would spend around $30 for yogurt, a loaf of bread, cheese and prosciutto (and we weren't even getting the fancy stuff)! Also, everyone talks about the cheese in Switzerland; but the bread is AMAZING.
The carts had magnifying glasses:
I could have probably spent all day just looking at all of the different food and cute packaging.
The mayo section:
I really wanted these paper plates but settled for a picture instead:
(we actually saved half of the bread and cheese for the next night by sticking it outside our window…we're classy like that) 
Our hotel had free breakfast in the morning which included a selection of cheeses, muselii with dried fruit and yogurt, grapes and bread with homemade jam and coffee.
Breakfast with a view:
(I highly recommend finding a hotel with breakfast included, it saved us a ton of money)
Out exploring:
This humble watering trough has the best water you will ever taste. 
There is a constant stream of fresh water straight from the mountains, it was so cold and clean. 
People drink from the stream and the cows drink from the trough:
We stayed 2 nights in Murren, and the highlight of our trip was definitely the six hour hike through the Alps to the Schilthorn peak. I have a million pictures from the hike and it deserves a post all it's own but here's a sneak peek:
On our way home…one last walk through Murren on the way to the tram station:
A video from the tram heading back down…straight off the cliff:
(with a quick view of the crazy suspension bridge)

We stopped off at Trummelbach Falls on our way out of the valley.
You take a creepy elevator up the inside of the moutain to the top of a glacier-fed waterfall and you work your way down, seeing how the water has carved through the rock over time:
It's loud, dark, and wet with lots of stairs.
The falls were cool but views outside the waterfall were the best part I think:
We had a 5 hour drive back to our friends' house in Germany and the next morning we'd be flying out to head back to Portland BUT I must post about our hike…soon!

When people ask me what the favorite part of our whole trip was, it's hard to choose between Amsterdam and Switzerland. They both are awesome for completely opposite reasons and I'd say the perfect trip would include a visit to both!