Sometimes when you go on holidays you share one of those moments with your fellow travellers that forever remain in your memory. For my family, our 2008 holiday to Europe produced one such moment that we talked about for years. In fact, so prolific was this memory that when the opportunity arose to repeat it in 2013, we couldn't grab it quick enough!
The scene is Grindelwald in Switzerland's Bernese Oberland region. We were staying at Lauterbrunnen, a favourite village of ours about half an hour away, and decided to head to Grindelwald for the afternoon. Grindelwald is your typical 'chocolate box' village in Switzerland, and in summer it's a blaze of colour as chalet after chalet displays window boxes overflowing with summer blooms.
Our mission was to check out the Trotti Bikes (a kind of downhill scooter) we had seen in a tourist brochure and maybe have a ride. To reach the Trotti Bike station we had to take a cable car from Grindelwald to Bort where we were fitted with helmets and our Trotti Bikes were handed over.
The challenge begins: The asphalt road winds its way from Bort back to Grindelwald past farms and flower-filled meadows, all the while with the imposing Lower Grindelwald Glacier ahead. Father and one son set off at a rapid pace whilst mother and the other son (whose name will be withheld to avoid embarrassment!) were far more cautious, even stopping occasionally for the odd photo here and there.
In fact, we took so long, that father even back-tracked to make sure we were OK and hadn't ended up face first on the tarmac - the cheek of it!
Despite some family members enjoying the thrill of riding flat out and others preferring a more leisurely approach, all agreed it was a heap of fun and something we'd love to do again. Lucky for us, we found ourselves back in Grindelwald five years on and the challenge was repeated.
Results remained the same although 'cautious' son was much nearer to the front, whilst mother still lingered a long way behind! All agreed, our memories had served us well and it was a moment worth repeating.
Grindelwald boasts much more than just Trotti Bike rides, though. In winter it's a popular ski resort as the multitude of cable cars prove. Our visits have always been in summer and another favourite activity is the luge ride on Pfingstegg, a smaller mountain on the opposite side of the village to Bort. A cable car whisks you up to Pfingstegg where you'll find a restaurant, farm animals and the popular luge ride.
If you're still after more thrills, the First Flyer, operates in summer from First (the final station on the cable car line that goes via Bort). Riders on the 'Flyer' sit in a harness suspended from a cable and whoosh down the mountain at speeds of up to 84 km/h!
In the village itself, there's a mini-golf course (frequented by us on more than one occasion), heaps of cafes, restaurants and plenty of shops for those who need their dose of retail therapy.
Like to know more about Grindelwald?
Need to know:
Grindelwald is located 21 kilometres from Interlaken. Driving time is around 35 minutes and trains between the two towns operate regularly every day.
For more info, visit the Grindelwald Tourism website.