Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Euro Trip Day 8: Jungfraujoch

The day that I had been waiting for was finally here!! Perhaps it was the climax of the whole trip as my main goals for the trip were to take calendar photos (i.e photos in great scenery) and to experience snow for the first time in my life.

The time taken to reach Jungfraujoch from Zurich was at least 4 hours. It required several change of trains at Bern, Interlaken, Grindelwald, and Kleine Scheidegg. It was quite challenging to change train at Bern and Interlaken as the time window was only 4-6 minutes. I tell you that it is no joke to run from the middle or back of the train (2nd class compartment) to the front, look at the board for the platform of the next train, run to the platform, and run to the middle/back of the train again in that short period of time. Miss any train and you have to wait half an hour for the next one. Not worth it to miss.

From Interlaken, there are 2 ways to go up: via Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. As Harry Potter geeks, the name Grindelwald was more appealing to my sister and I and we went via Grindelwald for the trip up and via Lauterbrunnen for the trip down. At Kleine Scheidegg, it was disappointing to know that some trains were reserved for tour groups. Sigh.. Gotta wait about 20 minutes for the next one. With all the heat and the crowd, it was not a nice thing.
The view on the way to Grindelwald from Interlaken
The view on the way to Klein Scheidegg from Grindelwald
From Kleine Scheidegg onwards, the change of elevation was quite steep. If you see the map, it seems that Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch is just one direct train. There are actually 3 stops in between for toilet breaks and acclimatization. Once we entered the tunnel, it got kinda boring and we were just waiting when it was going to feel cold.
The view on the way to Jungfraujoch (before entering tunnel) from Klein Scheidegg
We reached Jungfraujoch past lunch time. The hunger and the cold did not stop me from wanting to take photos in the tunnel. However, my sister was already like a car running out of fuel. No response when I spoke to her. The day before, she was boasting that she would not need to eat anything since everything was expensive up there. See la big mouth. In the end she also had to eat.

Firstly, we went to the Sphinx. The view was amazing.. the weather was amazing.. but the place was not amazing for photo taking. The area was rather small as compared to the crowd. In addition, there are a lot of wires etc. Taking photo of the scenery was also challenging due to the height. I was quite scared that I would shake and drop the camera. Haha..
The irritating poles and wires at the Sphinx
View from the Sphinx. Numerous zooming to avoid the wires
Next stop was the Snow Fun. Well, I did not actually walk to the snow slide part (which was too far) or to attempt the flying fox (no time already!). But it was still fun. The first time I stepped on to the snow: I slipped and fell down o_0 Haha.. It was kinda embarassing but who cares. The sky was clear and it was summer. The actual temperature was about 6 degrees C and according to science H20 exists as water rather than ice! Lol. No wonder the snow provided no support. It took us quite awhile to get used to it but we walked quite far. I even took jump photos. After falling once, no big deal of falling another few times but I did not fall haha..
See how far we could still go.. Those small dots on the snow are people
I gotta mention that I was absolutely pissed with my sister. All pictures that she took for me was dark. The snow looked grey -_-" In her pictures that I took, the snow looked white! The sun looked like a great spotlight and her photos looked great. I can even proudly say they are worthy to be in a magazine cover or a tourism brochure! Jeez.. and my pictures taken by her were all shit. Bleah..

For me who was so eager to play with snow, the melting snow was disappointing. It was like playing with the ice that you scrapped from the inside of your freezer. I was expecting something more solid. But oh well, something to tick off my death wishlist: I HAVE PLAYED WITH SNOW!! Tee hee..

The Alpine Experience and the Ice Palace were not particularly appealing to me. After spending 30 minutes under the sun and jumping a few times, I felt rather warm and I removed my winter wear. Surprisingly, the weather was now bearable even with my normal clothes. Lol.

The trip downhill was terrible. The queue was already snaking and I could not get a seat. Sigh.. It was very tiring for my legs to stand when the train was travelling down from a height of ~3500m to 2000m. I would roll towards the front of train if I did not use my legs as "brakes". And I was falling asleep during the trip too. Huhuhu... Thank God that the downhill trip has no need of acclimatization and stopping at the 3 stops in between. Otherwise my suffering would be prolonged by another 15 minutes.

It was great to be back at Kleine Scheidegg. We went up the hiking track for quite a bit to take gorgeous pictures. The view from Kleine Scheidegg is amazing.. even better than from all-white view from Jungfraujoch. One Japanese guy asked me to help take a picture of him. Why did I mention him? Because he had a unique camera. Instead of looking from behind the lens, I had to look from the top of the camera. It was quite weird. Haha.. In the morning, there was a guy with St Bernard dog for a phototaking opportunity. I was planning to have one but he was no longer there in the afternoon!! Sad sad sad dammit!! Ever since I got nothing to buy at the souvenir shop, I had been planning to get a picture of me hugging that cute dog!! Grr...
Kleine Scheidegg..
The picture does not do justice! The nicer pictures which I have contain my face and thus I can't post here
The trip back to Interlaken via Lauterbrunnen was mindblowing. It was a mistake to travel up via Grindelwald. The view from Lauterbrunnen was beyond description: mountains, valleys, greeneries, waterfalls. Simply WOW!! Unfortunately, due to unfavourable sun position as we travelled downhill, I took no photos to show the greatness of God's creation T_T 

Subsequently, it was another adrenaline rush to run for each connecting train. My parents went separately with a tour group and arrived back in Zurich about 30minutes later. I decided to go to nearby Starbucks to wait. I ordered something I could not find in Singapore: Banana Java Chip. The taste was not fantastic though. Haha.. But the seating area was amazingly spacious with sofa etc. Totally different from Asian-style of squeezy seating area.

It had been a tiring but absolutely amazing day. I definitely would like to go there again, especially to spend more time at the hiking area to enjoy the view. And the next time I go to Switzerland, I will definitely choose Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen to stay. Yesterday I wanted Lucerne but now I changed my mind. Lucerne is great but scenery beats town view hands down! Lol.. Plus it would take significantly shorter time to reach Jungfraujoch from Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen. I will love to go up before other tourists arrive and then go down when other tourists are going up. It will be amazing to be able to spend a longer time in the snow, perhaps even to try a skiing, playing the snow slide, and have fun with the flying fox.

Oh an another thing, definitely have to go there when the weather is slightly colder to play with more solid snow :D

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