17 December, 2006

Top of Europe - Switzerland

The Jungfraujoch is one of Switzerland's most attractive excursion destinations and vantage points. It has also proved to be an excellent location for a wide variety of research projects. The high altitude, clear air and easy access by mountain railway are ideal conditions for a wide range of scientific work. Astronomers, geologists, physicists, meteorologists and hydrologists - they all make an essential contribution towards our understanding of the environment.

A recommended route to follow to Jungfrau is
Interlaken Ost - Lauterbrunnen - Kleine Scheidegg - Jungfraujoch - Grindelwald - Interlaken Ost.

This unique round-trip by modern cogwheel railway takes you first to Kleine Scheidegg, altitude 2061 metres, at the foot of the notorious Eiger North Wall. We changed trains at Kleine Scheidegg and proceeded to Jungfraujoch as we were running late. We decided we would stop at Kleine Scheidegg on our way back to Interlaken. The train slowly chugged up the mountain. From here the Jungfrau Railway climbs to the station at Eigergletscher , well known for its mountain restaurant and polar dog kennels.

The trip continues through the Eiger tunnel to the stations at Eigerwand and Eismeer, with a five minute halt at each. Enjoy spectacular sightseeing through large observation windows hewn from solid Alpine rock.

Superb views extend as far as the summits of the Vosges Mountains in France and the Black Forest in Germany. The Great Aletsch Glacier, at 22 km the longest ice-stream in the Alps, begins on the Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe.

We were surprised to see snow on the mountain during summer! In fact the mountain peak is covered with snow all the year round. Before the summer heat can melt the snow away, the winter begins and the snow covers the mountains again.

I felt a little out of breath at that altitude. There were a few tables and chairs nearby. M suggested that I sit for a while on the chair and catch my breath. Only when I sat there did I realise that the tables belonged to the little restaurant nearby. A board that read something like "it is courtesy to buy a glass of drinks if you sit on these chairs" made me uncomfortable. I joined M who was by then playing in snow.

The main attractions on the Jungfraujoch are:

Ice Palace
Ice Gateway
Sphinx observation terrace
Plateau with hikes in the eternal snow
"Top of Europe" Glacier Restaurant
High Alpine Research Exhibition
ski & snowboard park, husky-drawn sledge rides,
adventure attractions: e.g. Tyrolienne, snow disk etc.

We met a couple from Mysore on our way to the Ice-Palace (more about the Ice-Palace in my next post). "Aunty" :) gave us "bombay mixture" to munch on:). They were excited to hear us speak Kannada and they walked up to us and introduced themselves. They said they were on their first trip to Europe and were excited. But we couldn't talk for long as they had to hurry and join their group who were ready to move on to their next destination. We proceeded to the ice-palace ...

The Sphinx observation hall and terrace, the glistening Ice Palace, a walk on the eternal snows of the Jungfrau plateau are the amazing all- year-round attractions on the Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe! The Ice Gateway links the Ice Palace with the glacier plateau.

The unforgettable trip to the high-Alpine wonderland of eternal ice and snow is the true "highlight" of a visit to Switzerland.


Ashish Agarwal said...

Great photos. Make me want to go there soon.

Casey said...

Thanks for checking my blog Ashish. Do share your experiences if you visit Switzerland.

Unknown said...

Hey Kavita, cant believe you have really been to all these places, , actually feels like some dream land, did you really go there or did you sit for a couple of hours on dreamweaver and flash,;-))

Your Blogs are turning to be more surprising by the day,

the mountains just mesmerise the whole mood , must shake hand with you real soon, for revealing this out.

Casey said...

Thanks Sunand :). That was a great compliment :)...

I was watching Gulmarg on news in the morning and it reiterated that our very own states of JNK and HP are no less beautiful than Switzerland. Let me know if KMA is organising a trek there and I shall try to join you guys.

Justin L. Brown said...

Getting the most out of your time on school ski trips in Jungfrau, both on and off the slants takes arranging. Why not let the specialists demonstrat to you how? Jungfrau, for one

Unknown said...

A very nice content along with very good information and it is very useful and helpful.Thanks for sharing your idea
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