Sunday, April 29, 2012

June 13 - Day 6 - Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

June 13 - Day 6 - Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

After our adventure from the night before I was ready for a good night of sleep. It rained all through the night and I kept waking up. As a result we slept in kind of late. When we got up our clothes were soaked from hanging them outside to dry. So now they weren’t clean and were wet. Remember that steep hill we had to walk down to get to the campsite? I was already dreading it with my bag, but now my clothes were soaked and weighed about five times as much as they did before. This wasn’t the way I wanted to start the day. Would these clothes ever get washed again? Would they ever dry out? How bad were they going to smell? It was pretty cloudy and we didn’t have time to deal with the clothes so we just through them in the tent.

Today we were off to see the Jungfraujoch. We began walking to the train station around 10:00 AM. The hike up the hill was about 1 ½ miles. It was great timing, we were able to get tickets for the 10:32 AM train. Our Swiss Pass train tickets didn’t cover this particular journey. It was a special train so we had to buy separate tickets. The price included the train rides and the entry fees. We had to switch trains at Kleine Scheidegg and take a special train to the Jungfrau.

It was still very cloudy at this time and I was thinking it may not be good weather once we got there. There were a lot of people waiting to board the second train. We were able to get on the train pretty quickly without much delay. It seemed like right when we got off one train, the next one was pulling in ready to take us up. It was very efficient. It took about two hours to get there.

When we got to the top it was kind of crowded. Surprisingly there were a lot of Indian people there. Apparently people from India enjoy visiting Switzerland because they were everywhere we went. We had to walk through a rock tunnel to get to the lookout area. The first thing we did was take our picture in front of a sign that said “Jungfraujoch The Top of Europe.” We were trying to wait until other people moved so we could get our picture with no other people in the way. That didn’t seem to be happening so rather than wait we just took the picture.

As we were reading a brochure to figure out what we wanted to do first we were approached by a girl that asked if she could look at our map. It seemed like a ploy because she asked if she could follow us around. We found out she was from Canada and was visiting Switzerland with a friend. She had family from somewhere in Eastern Europe and was going to be visiting them later in the summer. I think she said in Serbia, but I can’t remember. Her friend had gone canyoning in Interlaken, so she was left on her own. We said she could hang out with us for the day. It was good because for the past few days I had only been talking to my brother, this gave me someone else to talk with.

We had really good views of the glacier from inside the observatory, but it was hard to get pictures through the glass without getting reflections. It was starting to clear up, but there were still clouds coming through every few minutes.

We decided we would go outside and get better views of the glacier. The platform outside was just as crowded. We wanted to get a picture of ourselves in front of the Jungfraujoch Mountain in the background and had to wait for a  minutes until the other people finished. It was kind of warm considering we were so high up in elevation and there was snow all around. It was also very bright. So bright I could barely keep my eyes open. Finally for the first time in a few days it wasn't cloudy or raining. It was about as good of weather as you could expect for being in the mountains.

We walked out on the snow down a trail as far as we could. It was really slippery. You could have easily slipped and slid down onto the glacier. It seemed like a great place to go sledding. The sun was reflecting off the snow and I felt like I was getting sunburn. The European Championship for Soccer was being held in Switzerland and Austria that year so a huge snow soccer ball had been created. It was actually pretty neat. As we made our way back to the observatory we saw a few sled dogs. I think people were paying to have their picture taken with them. I didn’t really feel that was necessary, but I did take a picture of them. I remember they peed on the snow and you could see it.

The Jungfrau had an Ice Palace inside. It was carved out of the glacier and was highly recommended. It was lit up in different colors, similar to the one at Mt. Titlis, but it was much better. Every few feet there were sculptures made out of ice. They were of snowmen, igloos, penguins, and other random things. It was kind of like a maze. At times you had to duck because the tunnel was so low. It was actually kind of neat and we got some good pictures. The girl we were with, I don’t even know what her name was, wanted to take pictures of everything. She kept asking us to take pictures of her in front of things. Sometimes we were in pictures with her, sometimes not. She took pictures for us as well.

On the other side of the observatory was another trail on the snow. This trail was steep and gave views of the mountains, the glacier, and the Sphynx Observatory. We hiked up to the Sphynx and got a few pictures. Before we left I bought a shot glass for myself and we got two pins for my sister and mom.

We had spent a good amount of time at the Jungfrau and it was getting late and needed to get back in time for our train to Grindelwald. I think we left on one of the last trains down. Overall the excursion was really cool. It was expensive, 106.50 Swiss Francs, about $85-$90 at the time, but well worth it. It’s definitely something you should do if you are in central Switzerland with an extra day to spare.

We rode down to Kleine Scheidigg and talked with our new friend. At the junction we had to say goodbye. She was heading to Interlaken to meet back up with her friend and we had to go back to Grindelwald. Her connecting train arrived immediately, ours took a few minutes. Once we boarded I fell asleep immediately. I slept most of the way back. We got back around 5 PM.

Once we got back to Grindelwald we went to the grocery store and bought dinner. We bought bread, jelly, pasta, chocolate, and apples. The chocolate was really good and only cost about .40 cents. It would become a great treat for us throughout the trip, especially when we were starving. After grocery shopping we went to a few souvenir stores. I remember seeing a lot of neat things, but I didn’t get anything. Most of the stuff was too expensive and made in China. I wanted something that was Swiss. I kept seeing coo-coo clocks and wanting one of those, but the really nice ones were huge and cost about $250 or more. I didn’t want to pay that much or haul it around.

"Nexte Halte, Murren..."

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