After having finished our trip in Paris, we headed to the train station as our train was scheduled at 7pm for Geneva. We left our hotel and reached the station at around 5pm. We had to wait for 2 hrs for the TGV bullet train to arrive. In 3 hrs we reached Geneva. From the station, our hotel was just 5 mins walking distance but being there for the first time, we were almost lost. We called up the hotel for assistance and they guided us to the hotel.
Due to time constrains, we had time only to take the cogwheel train journey to the Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe, at 3454 metres Europe’s highest altitude railway station. So, early the next morning, we left for Interlaken station at around 7 am. At the station, we enquired about the tickets. After a lot of confusing information we realized the Swiss pass (CHF226)would be more useful than any other and bought them. It had free access to all the trains including the Golden pass and a 50% discount for the mountain trains.
From the Interlaken Ost station we took the train up to Lauterbrunnen. Here we had to take another train that took us up to the junction at Kleine Scheidegg. We were lucky that the weather was good that day as often I had heard people telling to avoid bad weather days. It was truly an experience to be remembered, passing through lush green meadows and over the mountains and valleys, wooden Alpine houses, snow capped peaks, and cows grazing in the fields. on the way we also passed by the beautiful Lake Thun.
You can also drive through Interlaken all the way to Lauterbrunnen and park in the big parking garage. From there the train station is across the street. It will take you from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen to Kleine Schedegg to Jungfrau.
It is advisable even in the summer to take along warm clothing, hiking shoes and sun glasses. One may experience shortness of breath, headaches and tiredness due to the high altitude and drop in air pressure.
On the way we also saw the signboards of the famous World cup downhill ski race.From Kleine Scheidegg we took the last leg of our journey on the Jungfraubahn train through the great tunnel to the top.
There was a brief stop in the middle of the Eiger tunnel for five minutes. Passengers were allowed to enjoy the spectacular view through observation windows hewn from solid Alpine rock. That also allowed the passengers to take it easy to avoid dizziness caused by drastic change of pressure due to the altitude.
Once at the top, we came across the reception hall which also had a view gallery and cafeteria. Through one of the passages we were led to Eispalst(the Ice palace),a cavernous area carved out of a glacier and featuring permanent ice sculptures on display.
From the Sphinx Terrace (3,573 m), we enjoyed the views of the Jungfrau and Mönch and the icy expanse of the Aletsch Glacier, Europe’s longest.Europe’s highest radio relay station, the Richtfunkstation Jungfraujoch, is installed atop the ridge to the west of the railway station.
There is an elevator to its summit, where a small viewing platform and a scientific observatory, the Sphinx Observatory, are located.
The weather was quite pleasant and we could click a few photos without our jackets. We also saw a helicopter land on the icy top of the mountains not very far from us. It was an forgettable experience watching the breathtaking panoramic view from the Sphinx Observation Terrace overlooking the Aletsch Glacier (Europe’s longest glacier) and the snow-capped peaks of the neighboring countries.
We then headed to the restaurant inside and surprisingly found a vegetarian Indian dish. We also got ourselves some veg noodles. The food was really tasty and the view from the inside was also astonishing. After a hearty meal we headed back. On the way we decided to make a trip to Mürren. We stopped at Lauterbrunnen and took the tram to Grütschalp and then a train to Mürren. We walked to the town and enjoyed the terrific views of the mountains.
As it was getting dark, we decided to make our return trip. Then from Lauterbrunnen we took the train to Interlaken. Just near the hotel we had seen a Kashmiri restaurant and hoping for some good Indian food, we ordered for a carry out. But I wouldn’t recommend the restaurant to any one as my husband said that the food tasted as if made by an inexperienced man whose wife is away and guests suddenly pop up.
The next morning my husband decided to go for paragliding but me having height phobia decided to stay below and watch. The van coming to pick my husband refused to take me along with him but guided me to the park area where the paragliders would land. At first I was shocked that I would be left all alone in an unknown place but decided to stay brave and left hubby to go for his adventure while I make my own. I walked through the streets window shopping and following the directions as given and soon came upon an open field. As I stepped into the open field, I was awestruck by the breathtaking view. The park also had some wonderful flowers and trees which added to the beauty. Hubby had taken the camera with him hoping to click some photos from the top. So I had to use my galaxy SIII. I wasn’t very familiar with its use but found ample time to familiarize myself with its features.
I had mixed feelings at that moment…angry for being left alone but also enjoying the solitariness. For a while I sulked but soon started enjoying, clicking photos and walking along the streets.
By the time I saw the first signs of the para gliders in the sky, I was in a happy mood and also glad I let hubby enjoy his dream. Excitedly I rushed to get some close pictures of him landing but couldn’t make out who was who as all looked same with their costumes and helmet. Finally I saw someone waving at me and I headed towards him. They landed very smoothly and hubby was excited to share his experience. Though it costs $221, the experience is worth the value.
We walked through the town and bought some souvenirs and then headed for Geneva. We reached Geneva at about 4pm. After a hearty late lunch at an Indian restaurant which we found just near the station we strolled around the area. As we had some time for our next train, we walked alongside Lake Geneva enjoying the view and the famous Jet d’Eau.
We sat in the park awhile and enjoyed a sumptuous icecream. We enjoyed the scene of the lake which also had many birds and swans that added to the beauty.
Finally it was time to head home and that was the end to our hectic journey as we sat on the train back to Paris.
“There is no happiness for him who does not travel… Living in the society of men, the best man becomes a sinner… Therefore wander! The fortune of him who is sitting sits; it rises when he rises; it sleeps when he sleeps; it moves when he moves. Therefore wander!”- Aitareya Brahmana (600 BC?)