Saturday, July 12, 2008

Road Trip Europe: Post II

Plans change fast on a road trip, and this one worked out nearly the same.

When we got to Interlaken, our memories were jogged about Jungfrau, the tallest mountain in Switzerland, which just happened to be in Interlaken's back yard. We decided that going to the top would be the day's adventure, and set about to hope that the rain would stop long enough to enjoy things that far up.

So, we sat and watch the thunder storm half that evening, then got soaked in a walk around town. We didn't do much, since it was so wet and we were quite tired.

Early the next morning, we got up so that we could go to some of the tourist shops looking for some post cards and souvenirs. After, we headed up toward the mountain, more particularly, Grindelwald, where the the nearest train station to the mountain is located. When we arrived, we saw that we had only five minutes to catch the train, so I rushed into the station, grabbed tickets, nearly passed out from the price of them (over 150 CHF each! That is about $150 CDN each!), then quickly boarded the train.

The way up was kind of boring, the fog was so thick that we really couldn't see much. It was green on the bottom, and white on the top. But we were on a rack railway, so that was kind of exciting for Allen.

About 20 minutes into the trip, we had to switch trains to catch the train that actually went up to the top. As I walked up to the train, I saw only one door open, and just climbed in. was the baggage door and the train crew quickly shooed me along. Oops.

The next leg of the trip was about as exciting as the previous...until we entered the mountain. You see, most of the trip actually takes place inside the Eiger, then through the Monch for about 7km! There are actually two stations inside the Eiger where you can get out and see down the north face toward the valley below...on a clear day. It was mostly a white out when we went to see.

The train station at the top is 3454m up inside Jungfraujoch, where you there are restaurants, an "Ice Palace" (inside a galcier), as well as observation areas and a way outside into the snow. Our fist stop was the Ice Palace, where the Korean and Aussie tourists (well, almost all the tourists) where cold. I was walking around in my sandals, feeling quite warm. =) It was quite interesting inside, and Al and I had fun slipping and sliding around the floors. After one run and slide, I yelled out "Hurry! Hard!" which nearly had us both falling over laughing. For some reason, no one else got it...=P

Next stop was outside, where the snow was blowing sideways. It was -0.5C, and still mostly fogged in, but really cool to be standing so far up. Speaking of far up, we had to be careful not to exert ourselves too much, since we were over the altitude that even aircraft are supposed to be pressurized to keep people safe. We felt light headed if we moved too quickly, and early on there was some poor kid in the washroom chucking his guts from the elevation. Poor guy.

So after a few dozen photos, we went inside, had some good bratwurst and schnitzel for lunch then found our way to the top deck for a look. As luck would have it, the fog moved away, and the sun came out to show of the Jungfrau peak. It was interesting looking at the photos later, to see the young lady in the rock for which the peak is named.

While on the top, we met some girls from Adelaide, and a group from Toronto who was nice enough to take some photos of Al and I together.

Soon we had to leave, we needed to get toward Zürich. Back near at the bottom, we were soon back into the rain again...and slow traffic. I don't know what it is with the Swiss and their desire to go constantly under the speed limit, but it annoys me. At least do the speed limit, and it would be nice to have the speed posted on the motorways. They post to let you know that you need to go slower, like 100, 80 or 60km/h, but they never post what the top speed is. They also like to change speeds constantly, for various reasons. I got hit with a speed camera, not going too fast, but obviously over the limit. The tough part was that I had changed speed about 4 times in a couple of kilometres and really had no idea what the speed was supposed be! I just hope that with the out of country plates on the car, I don't get a bill in the mail.

So, now we are about 20km from Zürich, and it is pouring with rain still. We have decided to make a very short stop here, then drive back to Geneva again today to stay at Leanne and Alex's for the night. Not fun playing tourist in the rain.

Tomorrow we will drive back to Aix and then I can show Al around there and a bit of Provence before he needs to get on a train and leave to catch his plane in Paris. From what I have seen on the weather reports, it is at least nice down south.


Post a Comment

<< Home