Thursday, 21 July 2011

1000/493: 09 July 2011: Top of Europe

Off to the Jungfraujoch today and the highest railway station in Europe. But first it’s the train to Lauterbrunnen and then a cog railway up to Kleine Scheidegg at the foot of the Eiger. This is the view from the cog railway looking back at Wengen – the Lauterbrunnen valley is already well below us – you can just see one of the cliffs on the far side.Wengen, from the train to Kleine Scheidegg

This next shot is as we approach Kleine Scheidegg – we’ll be at about 6,500 feet by this stage. The Eiger is on the left and Mönch on the right. Pretty tricky shot to make anything of so I’m quite pleased with the way this one has come out (I’m not mentioning the 10 failures).

Eiger (in clouds) and Mönch from the train

When the cloud lifts it is even more stunning.

Every so often - the clouds lifted - Mönch

At Klein Scheidegg we change trains for the final leg of the journey through the Eiger and Mönch and out onto the bit between Mönch and Jungfrau. There are two stops on the way – one station has a window in the northface of the Eiger and the other a view of the Eiger Glacier. First up the station – inside the Eiger at 9,400 ft.

Inside the Eiger at Eigerwand station

And then on to Eismeer station at 10,368 feet and with cracking views – mostly down.

The view from Eismeer station - 10,368ft

And finally, Jungfraujoch – at 11,333 feet. Out of the maze of tunnels and into the snow. Obviously the mist is not something that features strongly in the tourism guides, but ‘you pays yer money and keeps yer fingers crossed’. Obviously I didn’t take this shot.

Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe (11,333 feet)

So now we’re here, what is there to do – as the view is not going to oblige for a bit. Well there’s an ice palace for starters with amazing ice carvings and a frozen Scrat the Squirrel from Ice Age.

Jungfraujoch - the Ice Palace Swiss humour!

Clearly I wasn’t going to joke about something as serious as Ice Age! There is also lots of rock and snow to look at. The decor is quite minimalist – all grey and white.

A bit of sticky-up rock with lots of snow

Then there’s a canteen, a Bollywood Indian restaurant (I kid you not) and the research station and souvenir shops. Oh – did I mention the snow and icy wind? Obviously youngest daughter didn’t notice them.

1000/493: 09 July 2011: Don't ask! On top of Europe

…And probably the highest zip-wire in Europe, if not anywhere. She’s got serious thrill issues, dude!

A zip-wire at the top of Europe

Before we knew it 5 hours had passed and it was time to make our way down. The thin air makes it quite tiring so it was a relief to be able to sit on the train…and in our typically British fashion we even found time for a restorative cuppa while waiting to change trains.

A restorative cup of tea

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