Six days in Switzerland and 75 years young – Part 1

After few hours on the train from Zurich with just the one change at Bern we disembarked from our
train at Interlaken Ost (East) not to be confused with Interlaken West.

The stations are at each end of town with a shuttle bus running between them so doesn’t matter which you choose but on the advice of our very friendly guard we choose the east as it was well within walking distance of our hotel, Hotel Du Nord, Interlaken. 
The view from deck outside our room
After a smooth check in and a bit of a rest we decided to set out and explore the very picturesque Interlaken, with hang gliders landing in the park opposite the hotel and snow capped mountains sounding us, it was exactly as I imagined only more spectacular . 

The blue sky and warm weather only added to our very first Swiss experience. after wandering, a sumptuous hot chocolate (I am forever spoiled when it comes to hot chocolate) and taking in the sights close to the hotel we headed for a little Chinese place we had seen earlier in the day for dinner. A dish and a rice and we were done and ready to turn in. 

 Interlarken surrounded by snowcapped mountains and with Hang gliders dropping in with regularity in the park across from our hotel provided us with picture postcard backdrop for the next few days. Below are few photos around Interlaken before the story continues with our day on the mountain.

Our Day on the Mountain              

We organised to head for the Jungfraujoch the next day as the forecast was good an on the advice of the hotel staff should do it while the going is good otherwise the weather could close in later in the 
weak and it wont be worth doing. Jungfraujoch lies at a height of 3,466 meters (11,371 ft) above sea level in the Bernese Alps, on the boundary between the cantons of Bern and Valais, halfway between Interlaken and Fiesch.

A complex tunnel connects the railway station to the Top of Europe building and an elevator to the summit of the Sphinx, A scientific observatory, the Sphinx Observatory, is also located here. a peak

Not they highest I have been in the world, that was Independence Pass (Colorado) It is at elevation 12,095 ft (3,687 m) but that is about as high as I want to go.

As promised the next morning dawned with another clear blue skied  day and we keen to set off on our first or a number day trips in Switzerland. Interlaken proved to be a great base for each of our day trips it was nice to be in one place for a a string of nights. Our first train was to the little village of Grindelwald where we wandered for awhile taking in the sights before boarding train two at Lauterbrunnen station, our final train for the trip to the top was a cog wheel train. 

The railway runs almost entirely within the Jungfrau Tunnel, built into the Eiger and Mönch mountains and containing two stations in

the middle of the tunnel, where passengers can disembark to observe the neighbouring mountains through windows built into the mountainside. 

It was great to be able to stop on the way up to check out the views.

Some two hours after leaving Interlaken we found ourselves at the Top of Europe, we decided to have lunch (not too bad food and price-wise for a bistro with a captive crowd) before heading up to the lookout and face the cold (or not as cold as we expected as it turned out).

At the Sphinx are enclosed and open viewing platforms, with views over the Aletsch Glacier and the surrounding peaks.  Also accessed via the tunnels is the Ice Palace, a series of ice caverns beneath the glacier, and the Alpine Sensation, which presents a display on the touristic development of the Alps and the history of the Jungfraujoch Railway.
The view from the platform was mind blowing and I would recommend anyone that has the chance to take the time to go up especially on a clear day as it feels like you are looking over all of Europe. Our stay at the top was interesting including a visit to the ice caves and standing out on the actual mountain.
How or why would anyone contemplate building a rail line up this majestic mountain is beyond me, it must have been such difficult job but they did it never the less.  After few hours wandering around and checking out all that as on offer we boarded the trusty little cogwheel train for the decent back down the mountain.  

Once we got off the cog wheel train back at Lauterbrunnen station which is a railway station in the village and municipality of Lauterbrunnen in the Swiss canton of Bern. The station is on the Berner Oberland Bahn (BOB), whose trains operate services to Interlaken Ost. 

The ice-cave carved in the mountain

We ventured outside to get the feel of bein on the mountain

It is also the valley terminus of the Wengernalpbahn where we changed trains to travel back to Interlaken Ost via Wengen, we decided to take Wengen side back to Interlaken so we could see the other side of the mountain and really get a chance to see some of the amazing waterfalls along this side of the mountain. Lots of end season skiers and snowboarder heading back down which only added to the experience and provided a small insight into what this place would be like in high season. One thing that amazed me was the number of hikers that we dotted all over the mountain taking in the various pre-marked walks. We arrived home and decided on soup for dinner so called into same Chinese place from previous night for quick bite before calling it a day. 

and this end our second full day in Switzerland.

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