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Kantonbern Map

Most people probably think that Interlaken is the most important place in the Bernese Oberland (including, no doubt, the Interlakeners). Those who have been to Grindelwald tend to disagree.

Perhaps it was the Rösti swimming in a quarter of an inch of oil, the lack of any lakeside frontage or the generally run-down atmosphere, but I have to say I was not too impressed with Interlaken.

Grindelwald, on the other hand, is a lively, busy place that, for the most part, seemed to positively enjoy welcoming visitors. It is particularly popular with the Japanese and even has a small ex-pat Japanese community.

This dates back to the 1950 when Japanese Mountaineers were drawn to the areas by the infamous North Face of the Eiger, which dominates the village along with its neighbours the Schrekhorn an the Wetterhorn.

Although it could easily be overwhelmed by the tourists, there still seems to be a very strong sense of community amongst the inhabitants, and the Swiss ability to combine the traditional and the modern is often to be seen.

I can wholeheartedly recommend the Hotel Eiger in the village centre. Although, not the prettiest of buildings, the rooms are comfortable, and include some self-catering apartments. The food is some of the best to be had in the area, based for the most part on Swiss traditional food with influences from around the world, and the the staff are friendly and always smiling.