Thursday, February 5, 2009

Maiden Mountain Part I

I finally got round to continuing to blog about my Swiss adventures. Sorry it took some time and a few irrelevant posts in between. =)

Our 2nd day in Interlaken was thoroughly memorable because of the trip up the Swiss Alps. This is because it was the first time I saw and felt real snow (Not counting the man-made snow in Singapore's snow city nor pseudo snow a la foam party soap suds. I know, I am such a greenhorn) and the first time I was up in a mountain so high (at least 3,900m high).

As do most tourists, we took the most scenic route up the mountains - from Interlaken Ost via the pass between Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald Valley, where Kleine Scheidegg railway station lies. Kleine Scheidegg is also beneath the towering triple peaks Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. It is from Kleine Scheidegg that the Jungfrau Railway begins its incredibly picturesque journey to the Jungfraujoch -Top of Europe.

Getting to the top of Europe was only half the fun, and the fun begins the moment we step into the chugging train!

Taking the train up to Jungfrau

Glimpse of the mountains

The beckoning scenery

I spotted a waterfall!

I'm decked out in layers - tee, long sleeved top rolled up, jeans and I broke out my new checked fabric boots!

Excuse the poor lighting

Rest stop, Klein Scheidegg

The scenery was so post card perfect, you can imagine it was very difficult to choose from the hundreds of lovely snapshots taken between the 3 of us, to present here. Scenes after scenes of rolling greens, wispy clouds and majestic mountains -- I was beyond happy, I was swooning. And trying not to imagine myself as Heidi prancing about in the meadows.

A closer look at one of the fabulous peaks

The adventurers on their way to conquering the Alps
(Unfortunately, we haven't got that kind of stamina nor fitness to attempt this yet)

When the train entered the tunnel up in the peak

Mr Irish's dead beat

When we got off the train, we got to a large enclosed area with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the magnificent peaks. The Swiss must have been fantastic architects, to have built this viewing tower at such altitude! There were a couple of chairless table tops, where we settled our stuff there and had our lunch. We had the foresight to pack some bread, nutella spread and ham, knowing how incredibly expensive the stuff are here. I noticed that at one level above this viewing deck, there is an Indian restaurant (ironic that tourists prefer to have Indian food on a Swiss mountain peak?) and on the same level, there is a souvenir shop selling the usual post cards and knick-knacks. The great thing is, there is even a postal box here! So we took the liberty to purchase stamps and post cards and promptly sent them back home bearing the Swiss post mark.

As we were still not exposed to the outside elements while still in this enclosed area, we had no idea how cold it really is outside. I noticed there were doors leading to an outside balcony and decided to take the chance and step out. I was fully togged out in 4 layers - the long sleeve tee and tee shirt (in the photo earlier), a sweater and a cropped jacket, with a scarf I bought in Pisa wound round my neck. It was a little over the top actually, since it wasn't that unbearably cold (about 6-7 degrees). I've always been afraid of the cold, so it was an added precaution.

A nice gentleman offered to take his picture for me as I was alone at this time

I was fortunate to capture 2 birds flying across the ravine at this moment
I can't tell what birds they are though
. Falcons maybe?

Grasping real snow in my hand for the first time

According to Wiki, at the Jungfraujoch, the destination of the Jungfrau railway, there is a large complex of tunnels and buildings constructed, mostly into the south side of the Mönch peak. Incredibly, there is a hotel, two restaurants, an observatory, a research station, a small cinema, a ski school, and the "Ice Palace", a collection of elaborate ice sculptures. Another tunnel leads outside to a flat, snow-covered area, where one can walk around and look down to the Konkordiaplatz (large flat area of snow and ice lying just to the south of Jungfrau) and the Aletsch Glacier (largest glacier in the Alps) as well as the surrounding mountains.

There's so much to cover regarding Jungfrau, so I'd have to break this up to the next post. More breathtaking mountain views to follow, so keep a look out!

In case you were wondering....this post was so named because Jungfrau means Maiden/Virgin in German. It is also my maiden trip up a snow mountain.



Anonymous said...

it sounds realy i m triggered with a sense of energy to go up the alps!

Fleurgal said...

Hey Anonymous, thanks for your comments. I'm glad you're inspired to go up the alps. Are u CL/OST/LSM? Cuz your comments are always anonymous, and I can only roughly guess who'd normally comment. =)

I'd follow up with my Part II Jungfrau post soon!

Anonymous said...

most times i will jus click post bfore thinkin of leaving my name behind..

Interlaken and Alps...when will I get a chance to go?.....

Fleurgal said...

haha..I figured as much. I've posted Jungfrau part II - take a look! I'm sure u'd get a chance to go there eventually. =)


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