*Tuesday – July 15: Day 4 in Swtizerland: When I woke up this morning I looked out the window and saw that it was clear out...not a cloud in the sky! Finally after all that rain we had. We purchased our Bernese Oberland Regional Pass at the train station in Interlaken which cost 224 CHF per person and would allow you to travel for 7 consecutive days on all trains, gondola’s, boats and busses for half price. Three out of those 7 days were free travel days and you could choose any day to be your free day. We decided today would be one of our free travel days as we would take a big roundtrip by train to go up to Jungfraujoch. If we had to pay full price for this trip it would have cost us over 300 CHF per person for this single trip, so our regional pass was paid for already.
From the Interlaken train station we drove to the Zweilutschinen train station where we parked the car for free and here we would start our journey to Jungfraujoch. The train would leave from Zweilutschinen and takes us to Lauterbrunnen. In Lauterbrunnen we would have to get off the train and take the train to Kleine Scheidegg. Once at Kleine Scheidegg we had to get off again and hop on the Jungfraubahn, the train to Jungfraujoch. Jungfraujoch is the train station inside of the Eiger mountain and it is the highest train station in Europe with an elvation of 3,454m/11,333ft. It was very busy on the trains because everybody wanted to take advantage of this beautiful weather. During the trip from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch the train enters a tunnel that was created within the Eiger and Monch. The train has to overcome an elevation gain of about 1,400m/4,600ft, so it goes fairly slow. On the way to Jungfraujoch there are a couple of stops on the way where you can have a look through huge windows created in the mountain wall to look outside and see the Eiger glacier and the Eiger wand (a straight mountain wall popular with mountain climbers). Once we arrived at Jungfraujoch we were able to visit different areas through a set of tunnels. Up here it’s like winter forever…it was 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) which is freezing and there is snow everywhere you look.
Up at Jungfraujoch there are several things to do and see. You can visit the Ice Palace which is created inside the Eiger Glacier, you can visit the sled dogs who can give you a fun ride on the snow up at Jungfraujoch. There are possibilities for skiing, snow walks and such. There are several areas to go outside onto the snow and glacier, the most interesting area was the Sphinx Observatory which is located even higher than Jungfraujoch. This Sphinx Observatory is located at an elevation of 3,571m/11,760ft. The views from the Sphinx Observatory were amazing, you could walk out on a big platform and see for miles and miles in the distance, the mountains were up close and you could also see the amazing Aletsch Glacier which is the longest one in Europe with a length of 25km (15.5mi). Inside Jungfraujoch there were a couple of restaurants, a gift shop of course and big windows for viewing the surrounding mountains and beautiful scenery.
After we spent a few hours up here we thought it was a good idea to in the afternoon as the train trip would be another hour to 2 hours. We took the train back to Kleine Scheidegg and from here we got on the train to Grindelwald which is on the opposite side of Lauterbrunnen. Once we arrived in Grindelwald we got on another train back to Zweilutschinen where our car was parked. We got back to our apartment/house around dinner time. My mom was tired as it was quite a long time on the train. So we had dinner and she went to rest on the sofa in the living room while Michael and I went up to Beatenberg for a trip to the Niederhorn as it would be a free trip as well.
We drove to Beatenberg which was about 15 minutes driving, we were hoping to get onto the Niederhorn gondola, but it was too late and we wouldn't have much time to spend up there. So, we would leave this for another day. As we drove along we stopped here and there to enjoy the views and to take some photos of the beautiful views. After we came back we enjoyed a swim in the swimming pool at the apartment. How nice to be able to enjoy an incredible view over Lake Thun and the mountains from the pool...it was heaven! Well, that was the end for today…we were tired and had a wonderful day. Finally we were able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine!
Some views seen from Beatenberg
View of the mountains from the swimming pool at the apartment we stayed at
Please see my next post "My life in Canada (July 2008)...Part 4" for the rest of the story!