Sunday, May 1, 2011

Grindelwald: Day 3

For day 3 in Switzerland we decided to take the super touristy "Top of Europe" train to the top of Jungfrau. The train was built almost 100 years ago and runs to an impressively high altitude along a cog track. The actual Top of Europe tour starts at the ski resort from the last posKleine Scheidegg where you board the train. Then it stops twice on the way up for 5 minutes each before reaching your final destination at The Top of Europe. Here's the view from the first stop looking out at little Grindelwald below. Compared to the last post you can tell the first stop is already much higher!
The two pictures below are of the view from the second stop. Lots of snow and glaciers up there! The view was just amazing.

Then we were finally at the Top of Europe. Ok, this isn't actually the Top of Europe, but it is the highest railroad in Europe. Dale and I thought it was pretty impressive looking down 11,333 ft. Where we are from in Colorado, it is easy to stand 11,333 ft above sea level but the drop in elevation is no where near to what it is at this site.
It turned out to be cloudy when we got off the train so we went for a walk on the glacier to a hut built on a cliff. Here's a picture of me on the hike. It was snowing up there and our hair froze and we couldn't see more then a couple feet in front of us. I felt like I was in an Antarctic Whiteout! 
But we made it to the hut and we got hot cocoa and ate our picnic we brought along. We have since dubbed it the illegal picnic because we were told picnics are illegal there. So, if you go there, no picnics in the hut. There's my disclaimer.
Then we hiked back and it looked like it might clear up a little bit. In the picture above you can see a little bit of the surroundings. I'm actually a little glad it was cloudy. I'm scared of heights and I have a feeling I would've been pretty scared if I could've seen what I was doing! Next we headed over to the top lookout since we were hopeful the clouds were clearing up. But they were not. Here I am at the Top of Europe from where you can supposedly see all the way to France, Germany and Italy. I could barely see a couple feet though!
Yes it was a little disappointing not to be able to see far but there are plenty of other things to do at the Top of Europe so we still felt like we got our 'money's worth'. From the tower we headed over to the Ice Sculptures and in the Glacier they have carved out an Igloo/hallway type area where you can walk around and look at some ice sculptures. That was pretty cool! Pun intended! :) 
Then we watched a quick video about the making of the railway, pictures over the years, etc. and headed back down the mountain. Here's a picture on the way down looking back up at the clouds we had been stuck in. There was no wind so they were just hanging out there all day.
Here's a picture watching the train go back up the mountain. It's hard to capture on camera just how steep the tracks were. Some of the other trains are shaped like parallelograms to better suit the angle. 

That night we went out for fondue! In Switzerland, Dale's must-do list was ski, mine was eat fondue. And the fondue did not disappoint. It was yummy! Swiss cheese is divine!
After dinner we went back to the porch to have a glass of wine and watch the sunset on the Alps. 
It was another great day!
Love Always,


Mike said...

Best post yet! Top of Europe and great pic of your snacks and wine. Did being in Switzerland kinda seem like home/CO X10? The elevation drop is intense. Take Care Travelers!

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