Hiking Jungfraujoch, in Interlaken, Switzerland makes for a lifetime of memories.
After gazing at Jungfraujoch from the vantage point from the legendary VICTORIA-JUNGFRAU Grand Hotel & Spa in Interlaken, we decided that the time and the weather were perfect to visit the famous Alpine mountain, Jungfraujoch.
The Adventure 'Kids'
On a beautiful clear morning in October 2006, we walked the short distance from the hotel to the Interlaken OST train station, where we boarded the 9:20 am train marked Lauterbrunnen. Twenty minutes later, we arrived in Lauterbrunnen, and departed for Kleine Scheididegg at 9:55 am. We arrived in Kleine Scheidegg at 10:40 am, and once again changed to another train, which departed 5 minutes later for Jungfraujoch. By now, we were glad that we were not carrying any luggage as we switched from train to train, wondering to ourselves like children, "Are we there yet?" Did we mention that we were now riding Europe's highest cog railway? The Jungfrau Bahn built in 1896 by Adolf Guyer-Zeller, runs from Lauterbrunnen to Jungfraujoch, and climbs to 3,345 meters (11,333 feet above sea level) to reach the UNESCO World Heritage Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe.
When the train stopped for 5 minutes at Eigerwand (2,865 meters/9,400 feet), we rushed out of the car to observe the incredible views, and when we stopped at Eismeer (3,160 meters/10,368 feet), which means "sea of ice," we had our first glimpse of the glaciers! Now this was more like it. Imagine looking out a window and seeing rugged mountains and glaciers!
Back on the train, we arrived at Jungfraujoch at 11:37 am and immediately started to plan our discovery, as we would depart Jungfraujoch at 2:45 pm. There was so little time and so much that we wanted to experience!
In typical "Adventure Kids" style, we rushed off to discover the Ice Palace, where we walked through an ice cave with fabulous ice sculptures. We "skated" through the long corridors and had a great time as we stopped to pose in the many specially designed ice sculptures.
For our next adventure, we took the elevator to the Sphinx viewpoint (3,571 meters/11,760 feet), and had a remarkable view of the Alpine mountain Mönch (4,107 meters/3,475 feet) from the Sphinx terrace.
When we found out that we could take the elevator down to the glacier exit and step outside to actually experience the eternal snow, we could hardly contain our excitement. Suddenly we were part of nature. Imagine pristine white snow covered stately mountains, and long snow covered valleys. Experiencing Jungfraujoch was one of the most memorable experiences we ever had. We looked around dazed by the majestic beauty, our cameras whirling continuously as we attempted to capture the essence of our experience.
Of course, after a while, just looking at pristine white snow was too much temptation, and we had to venture out onto the glacier. We started throwing snowballs at each other and when we tired of that, we made angels in the snow. Feeling like children, we enjoyed every minute playing in the snow.
Since we were already covered with snow from our angel experience, we decided to try what the Swiss call "sledging" (sledding), only without a proper sledge, we used our coats! Debra went first and found that her leather coat worked quite nicely as she slid down the valley of the eternal snow. Not wanting to be alone down there, she convinced me that I should follow. Misery loves company, or something of that sort. I was wearing a Nautica windbreaker, and I found that perhaps it was not the best material for sledding, but lo and behold, although in slow speed, I soon found I was at the bottom next to Debra. Okay, folks, now we had to climb back up without falling too deep in the snow! Laughing like idiots as the snow reached above ankle height, we raced each other to the top, and when we reached our destination, suddenly we were a bit out of breath and perhaps just a shade bit dizzy. We wondered what was the matter, and then remembered "ALTITUDE!"
Debra Sliding on the Snow
Ed Sliding on the Snow
We found perfect places to rest and reflect on the magnificent sights in front of us from the vantage point of a snow bank, and on a red helicopter sitting in the snow. Ah, this was what we were looking to discover as we hiked Jungfraujoch - absolute perfection in nature.
Playing in the snow for an hour under bright blue sunny skies was truly a lifetime memory, but enough of a good thing for the moment. The snow had started to melt on our pants, clearly not meant to be used for sledging, and it was time to come inside, warm up, and have lunch at the Crystal Restaurant. With 360° restaurant views, we could warm up, still experience the mountain, and enjoy a lunch of Zartes Rindsstek, Pffersauce, Glasierte Karotten, and Berner Rösti (Beef steak, pepper sauce, glazed carrots and hash brown potatoes), and Gemüselasagne (Vegetable lasagna).
Satisfied and warm, we were ready to brave the elements again, although with the bright sun, despite it being October, the weather was quite comfortable. Our next stop was the Plateau, where we slowly committed to memory our spectacular day at Jungfraujoch.
Alas, it was time to say goodbye to Jungfraujoch and depart on the 2:45 pm train to Klein Scheidegg. From there, we took the train to Grindewald, followed by another train to Interlaken OST, where we arrived at 5:10 pm. Visiting Jungfraujoch had been an experience that we will not forget.
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For information on Switzerland, please visit: www.MySwitzerland.com. For information on Lucerne: www.Luzern.org. For information on Interlaken: www.InterlakenTourism.ch. For information on Bern: www.BernInfo.com. For information on Zurich: www.Zuerich.com. For information on Swiss International Air Lines: www.swiss.com. For information on Swiss Pass: www.SwissTravelSystem.ch.
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