25 September 2008

Jungfrau and Interlaken, Switzerland – Aug 2008

The next day of our trip started with a visit to the spectacular Mt. Jungfrau (at 3,454m above sea level) or should I say a visit to heaven…
Jungfrau - Top Of Europe
We drove till the town of Lauterbrunnen from where we were to take the cogwheel train to the peak. The Cog wheel train
Jungfrau was once very difficult to access, but now the Jungfraubahn cog railway runs inside the mountain, up to the Jungfraujoch railway station – this is the highest altitude railway station in Europe.
A village...The train journey from Lauterbrunnen to Jungfrau was just toooooo beautiful. It has some of the most awesome views of snow-covered mountains that you can imagine. Every glimpse of the mountain range had us gasping…and clicking away with our cameras…only about a 100 snaps from yours truly!!!
Eigerwand - We are higher than the cloudsThe train runs close behind the Eiger's north face. The train stops twice on the way for 5 mins to allow the people to go out and enjoy the view from the viewpoints. The first stop was at Eigerwand at 9400 ft. The windows here are halfway up the face of Eiger and have been placed in holes used to remove excavated rock from the tunnel during construction. This window was used for one of the scenes of the Clint Eastwood movie - The Eiger Sanction.
View at Eismeer -Sea of IceAt the second stop there is a window looking out on the Eismeer…described as the Sea of Ice…and it is like that…
Once at the top, we made our way to the Sphinx. Why it is called that…I don’t know coz it doesn’t look like a sphinx from any angle…but it does have some of the most spectacular views of the Aletsch Glacier. There is a vantage point and that’s where we spent a lot of time just soaking in the beauty of the place – chaste, pure and untouched.
I just felt this need to get one shot from each angle…no matter how many snaps I clicked…it just didn’t seem enough.

As we looked down, we saw these people walking across…its called ice/glacier walking. Ice Walking on the Aletsch Glacier For one minute I too wanted to be there, but we weren’t equipped with the right shoes etc…and damn the TV. I’m no TV freak but invariably when I do watch TV once in several months I end up watching some adventure/accident on some mountains and I still remember the dialogue from one such episode…"Hell is not hot, it’s cold". And all I could think was what if one of them falls into one of the crevices!!!
Having said that, I still think I want to revisit Jungfrau and try some ice walking!!!
From there we went to visit the Ice Palacethis is 30m under the surface of the glacier and is totally ice and has marvelous life-size ice sculptures. The walk down the tunnel was super slippery and we had to struggle to be on our feet. The sculptures were of course were brilliant – igloos, seals, eagles, kissing seals, bears and what not. There was one, which was a gloved hand that was nicely lighted with blue light…it just stood out.
The Ice Gateway links the Ice Palace with the glacier plateau. It was eternal…like walking in heaven. There was this lady who had got her poodle with her to the plateau and he looked so cute…
Out for a walk on the Jungfrau Plateau
After spending some time there we started on our way back…to earth and Interlaken to be precise. Interlaken is in the heart of the Swiss alps, situated between the Lakes of Thun and Brienz and at the foot the famous trio of peaks, the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau. Its just one of those scenic towns that one can walk around for hours in…just enjoying the scenery…

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