Hiking & Writing Workshop in the Swiss Alps
Join Pink Pangea for a six-night hiking and writing workshop this summer. This workshop is designed for women who love to explore and want to write about their adventures. Writing creates a space for us to process our experiences in a way that we haven’t before, while uncovering new insights. We’ll read compelling pieces, enjoy interactive activities, and learn how to process our own experiences on paper.
Date: June 21-27, 2014
Location: Murren, Switzerland
Cost: Prices from $1575 by May 18, 2014 – scholarships are available!
Placements are limited and applicants are accepted on a rolling basis. Start your application here.
“The scenery from Grutschalp to Murren becomes continuously wilder, more astonishing. The passengers rise involuntarily from their seats and, intoxicated with wonder, seek to assimilate the undreamt-of, magnificent spectacle…”
Written in the late 1800’s by a Swiss railway inventor, those words are every bit as true today.
Start your application here.
Murren — The Basics
ER Magazine Editor’s Choice for 2010
by the magazine’s editors as the World’s BEST hike, the Via Alpina, Switzerland goes through our little village of Murren. Our daily hikes will use some of the same trails featured here. The editor comments, “Your first view of the Eiger massif will spoil you for the rest of your hiking days.”
This picturesque alpine village perched on a south-facing ledge over the Lauterbrunnen Valley offers the finest views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau peaks that dominate the Berner Oberland.
Inhabited for over 700 years, car-free and boasting a population of 350, Murren is the highest year-round inhabited village in the Berner Oberland. Filled with bakeries, cafes and folks with walking sticks, Murren offers alpine charm, pure mountain air, one of the quietest places on the planet, clearly marked walking paths through wildflower-laden meadows and Swiss cow pastures, past plunging waterfalls and views!
Hikes throughout the trip will be led by Ken McRae. Read more about about Ken here.
Murren is listed as one of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die in the 2003 New York Times’ bestselling book of the same name written by Patricia Shultz. “Stupendous scenery and the world’s most dramatically sited revolving restaurant” are the words she chose to describe this tiny mountain village location for our writing retreat.
The unique climate of the Swiss Alps makes mock of long-term weather predictions. Typical June weather is highly variable. In the same day, one might expect to need sunscreen and a rain jacket, shorts and a wool sweater. Come prepared for rain, as well as the extremes of snow and night-time temperatures as low as the high 30s. See current weather here.
Our home base will be the centrally located Sportchalet which arguably offers the finest views in all of Murren. The south-facing balconies provide magnificent unobstructed views of the snow-covered Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau glacial peaks. The pleasant, meticulously clean chalet accommodates up to 50 people in sunny and cheerful double rooms with very nice hall baths. Limited single supplements are available.
All meals are provided at the chalet in the hearty Swiss tradition. Vegetarian options will be available. On hiking days, a sandwich buffet will be spread after breakfast so we can prepare our sandwiches just as we like them. Beer and wine are available at dinner for an extra charge.
-Six nights’ shared accommodation (limited single supplements available)
-Three delicious (vegetarian option) meals/day
-An organized guided hike every day into the mountain valleys
-Optional yoga classes
-Transportation and admission fees for all excursions: Schilthorn, Lake Brienz Boat trip, Trummelbach Falls, all hiking trips
-Goldpass to use indoor pool at the Sportzentrum
-Daily writing workshop
-How to Publish Travel Writing Workshop
Murren is a walker’s paradise! A unique combination of cable cars, funiculars and trains create a boundless variety of experiences ranging from scenic strolls on level walking paths to challenging hikes up the side of numerous mountain peaks. Each participant will receive a pass for unlimited travel on all of the transport facilities in the area.
A trip to Murren would not be complete without a visit to the Schilthorn. Brought to world attention when it was chosen as the site for filming dramatic scenes from the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the Schilthorn summit (at 9,804 ft) offers a thrilling 360 degree panoramic view of snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, green meadows spotted with alpine villages and an occasional hang-glider silently soaring past.
Another day we will enjoy a relaxing boat trip on Lake Brienz, situated in the foothills of the Alps. Docking in Interlaken, which means “between the lakes,” the ship will stop for us explore the quaint village of Iseltwald, to see the magnificent waterfalls in Giessbach, and to visit the town of Brienz, famous for woodcarving.
The exceptionally spectacular Trummelbach Falls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley drain the melt from the mighty Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau glaciers. Inside the mountain and accessed by a lift, they are the only interior falls in Europe open to the public. Pulsing and pounding through narrow chutes at a rate of 20,000 liters per second, they provide a humbling glimpse of nature’s power.
After visiting the falls (and perhaps enjoying a cappuccino and pastry in the nearby cafe) we’ll walk alongside the icy gray river past the famous Staubbach Falls, that inspired Goethe in 1779 and still descend over the sheer cliff face, to pleasant Lauterbrunnen.
Another day we’ll walk the Wildflower Trail through meadow after meadow carpeted with the most amazing display of alpine wildflowers, many of which are protected. In mid-June the wildflowers are at their peak! This is Julie Andrews – aka Maria von Trapp – country beckoning us to twirl and sing, “The hills are alive…”
Along the way, we’ll stop at the “kase-hut,” the cheesemaking house, to watch the villagers make cheese the same way it has been done for centuries past.
Murren has a great Sporszentrum sports complex with a beautiful indoor pool, which you can use to your heart’s desire with the Goldcard Pass, which is included with your trip.
Transportation by mountain railway, funicular, cable car, boat and local bus is provided for all excursions. Admission fees are included in the cost of the program.
Murren offers an assortment of outdoor activities. Paragliding, mountain bike rental, tennis and squash can all be arranged at an extra charge. The Sportzentrum has a hot tub and sauna, which can be reserved at a discounted rate with your Goldcard pass. A variety of health and wellness services, including massage, shiatsu and cranial sacral balancing are also available. Services may vary from year to year. Appointments may be scheduled upon arrival.
Airfare to Switzerland and ground transportation to Murren are not included.
Sample Daily Schedule
9:30am-1:00pm: Adventure hiking
2:30-6:00pm: Writing workshop
8:30-10:00: Group stroll to take in the mountain air