Cowbells and snowballs in the Alps

"It was 18 years since I had been to Switzerland and I really wanted to see the scenery of the Swiss Alps again.

"We travelled by coach to Lauterbrunnen and caught a cable car to Grutschalp, then the clog train and then by cable car up to Murren, which is a beautiful little village with Alps-style houses sitting on the hillsides and the snow-covered Alps rising up behind.

"It had been cloudy lower down and we thought we wouldn't be able to see anything but as we went up we broke through the clouds and there was perfect sunshine.

"We had the day to explore and had the option to go on another cable car further up the Schilthorn mountain, or up to Allmendhubel, which is where I chose to go and play in the snow.

"You never grow out of playing in the snow and throwing snowballs; that's something that's in you for life.

"In Murren, there were paragliders taking off from the hillside, trying to catch the currents and go all the way down to the village at the bottom of the mountain.

"We sat and had our lunch and just watched them for ages; they looked so calm, gliding through the air. They looked like they were going very close to the cliff face and the tops of the trees and we were catching our breath but it probably wasn't as close as it looked.

"Sitting there in the fresh air, listening to cowbells ringing in the village and watching the paragliders take off was just so relaxing.

"It was autumn in Switzerland so there weren't a lot of people around and that made it particularly enjoyable.

"We had to get a two-stage cable car to get back to the bottom of the mountain and when we got there we were able to watch the paragliders landing, so we had seen both ends of their flight."

Value for money

Excursions are included in the fare in Scenic cruise packages.

Joy says her 19-day itinerary was "fantastic value for money" and the trip to Murren was stress-free.

"Our guide was with us the whole time and everything was so well organised," she says.

"All our tickets were handed to us as we went and we just flowed along – there was no waiting around in queues.

"I couldn't fault it in any way; it was a fantastic day and I'd go and do it all again."

WHO Joy Barnes, of Adelaide, on her fourth cruise.
WHAT Day trip to the Swiss Alps.
WHERE Murren, a traditional mountain village and holiday resort in southern Switzerland that can only be reached by cable car. The revolving restaurant at the summit of the Schilthorn mountain is known to Bond fans as the setting for the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
THE SHIP Joy cruised with a friend on a Rhine and Moselle river cruise starting in Switzerland and finishing in the Netherlands. They cruised on Scenic Emerald and had a 19-day itinerary.

As told to Jane E. Fraser

Have you done an interesting shore excursion? Drop us a line at