Wednesday, April 30, 2008

To The Top Of The World

OK, its been way too long since I posted so you get a big one today. Here is an entry from my journal from when I visited Switzerland in August, 2005. Enjoy!

Wow. Incredible. Amazing. Awe Inspiring. Wonderful. Ok, just a couple words that can describe today! So, it has been raining on me and Switzerland for the past week or two. But not today!! I got up this morning and the sky was completely blue—not a cloud to be seen! I was hoping for that but really didn’t expect it. So, instead of going for that small little cog wheel railroad I tried yesterday I headed to Grindelwald to take the train up the top of the Jungfrau!! The peaks were completely clear and these are some of the highest Alps there are!!! A few clouds would form briefly on the peaks—enough to make the pictures interesting and then dissipate. It was incredible. Forget the Deutsches Museum (Ok, I liked that too) but today was really my kid in a candy store day. I just kept stopping and saying wow! And no people didn’t think I was weird, they joined me!

So, it is a cog-wheel train up and it takes a little over an hour with one train switch—quite an incredible, and pretty journey. Expensive though to say the least—round trip was $112! But, that included all the things at the top. Still—but hey, it takes you to the highest train station in Europe. -- 11715 feet high! There is actually an observatory up there and a viewing platform around it that you can walk out on which is where I started. It looks out and around with an amazing panorama. The Jungfrau on one side and another of the really high ones right next to it. Behind you? A really long glacial river and the rest of the Alps to your south. And in front? A wide open view over Grindelwald and green hills as far as the eye can see. You are kind of on the cusp of the glacial Alps here. So, spent quite a while taking pictures here. Next was a trek across the glacier over to a secondary hut perched around the corner with a view out over the Eastern Alps. The hike is about 45 minutes and, yup, you guessed it, beautiful! Had lunch there and then to top it all off I ended lunch with a cup of coffee. But hat sounds so mundane. I was actually standing on an outside viewing platform in the sun with my coffee, Baileys, and cream looking out over the snow capped Alps on a clear day. I can honestly say that it just doesn’t get any better than that. This was a truly ideal moment for me and a great way to end my travels here in Europe. I still have 5 days to go and some sights to but it doesn’t matter, this is an incredible memory to end the trip with.

After hiking back to the main lodge (OK, skating on tennis shoes down the snow ) I wandered through the “Ice Palace” which is a pretty cheesy, though still fun carved passageway through the glacier with several ice sculptures. That leads you out to the “Plateau” which is an open space on the other side of the observatory and looks west out over the Alps. More pictures here! And then, I am afraid that it was time to head back—I had been up there close to 6 hours after all! I skipped one train connection on the way down to do some photography in the green meadow region (lots of meadow flowers--including the one at the top of this post) and then finally made it back to the car. The only real drawback to today is that I didn’t think I would be on the top of the mountain anywhere near as long as I was, or out on the glacier and snow. So, I am afraid that I won’t need a light to read my book in bed tonight, the sunburn will be plenty! Ouch :) I did find a pharmacy (Apotheke) still open at the train station and after much searching we found some aloe that I am bathing my face in :) Yes mom, I knew better!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow. did you want to sing from teh mountaintops!