Day 19. Luzern – Interlaken & Jungfraujoc – the top of Europe

In the snow on The Eiger – note the shades and bag full of chocolates

I said in an earlier post that revenge is a dessert best served cold. I probably got what I deserved last night, the bathroom light wouldn’t turn on for me, I tried and tried, the electrician tried, we came up with a Plan B and The Navigator just walks in pushes the button and it works, no comment just the look. I’m humbled and feel defeated. And it still works this morning!

Early start today, 5am out of bed, breakfast, walk in the dark to the Luzern train station to get the 6:05 Interlaken Express which takes 2 hours but actually the main train station is Interlaken Ost (East). Then we catch another train to Grunewald where the cable car starts up the mountain – TIP the Grunweald stop for the cable car is actually Grunewald Terminal, we lose Paul for a moment but he’s just visited the boys room, phew. He’s still not 100% well, and the Jubgfraujoch was one thing he really wanted to do, yesterday we took the punt on a window in the weather at the top of the mountain and we have our fingers crossed that Mother Nature is on our side.

The cable car up the mountain to where we catch the cog railway almost to the top of the mountain is a fantastic ride, the views are spectactular and as we get up further we see the snow line and it gets whiter and whiter, We”re all excited but none more than Liz who has never seen or touched snow before.

Now the education bit, if you don’t like the background stuff skip forward to where it might get more interesting, or more boring – depends on how tired I am. The jungfraujoch is a saddle connecting major peaks of the Bernese Alps, The Jungfrau and the Monch. Height is 3463 metres, but, The Eiger is 3967 metres its the peak that we are at, not right at the top but close. The Eiger is a challenge for climbers the world over and is one of the 6 classic North faces on the globe for climbers. They can have it, I can hardly walk up the path let alone climb in the freezing ice and snow. The Swiss have done a fantastic job getting access to this area, the staff are super helpful, everything is efficient, clean and works. The only problem we have is the clarity of the instructions on where to go, but we work it out, at least the Navigator does with her linguistic skills which involve hand waving and talking a lot and at a higher volume. She’s assisted by Liz who has now become an apprentice Navigator, she had a small test this afternoon and had to be coached into finding the apartment under pressure when are tired after a long day, BUT, she is improving.

So the punt came off, the weather at the top is unbelievably clear, the sun comes out, the view down the glacier is spectacular and then we get out into the real snow and ice. It must have snowed last night as there is a nice thick layer of powder snow on top of crunchy icey snow. Genelle and Liz lay down in the snow and do the star burst thing, juvenile behaviour but snow does that to Genelle. Once many years ago, just after we were married, she came home from doing pottery (yes readers – she was a potter – who’d a thunk it!) and it had just started snowing and demanded we go for a drive in the snow. The old Torana slipped and slid and we nearly died, f….k the snow I say. She has a whinge that her hands are cold, well they would be when you are rolling up snow and throwing at me and others. She encourages Liz to roll up a solid snow ball, she hasn’t quite mastered snow balls yet (But Paul has I think – he’s a bit chilly ) but she manages to ht me up the side of the head with a chuck of icey snow that momentarily stunned me. I think the problem is she’s not feeling well, she’s not herself, she has the wobbles, is light headed, we’re 13,400 feet high and oxygen deprivation has taken its toll. You can’t talk, throw snow balls, give orders and fend off pesky tourists without enough oxygen.

We find the ice cave and post a postcard to a small person in Cobar from the highest point in Europe, at least thats what they say on the wall at the to point of the Eiger.

We went up via Grunelwald and we came back to the bottom via the cog railway via Lauterbrunnen. The train trip is stunning, as we wind our way down from 13,000 feet, there are avalance barriers, huge valleys underneath sheer cliffs hundreds of feet high. The scenery is so much more stunning and the experience so much better that the Pilatus experience, if you have the opportunity to do one then do Jungfraujoch, its a bit more expensive but so much better

There wasn’t a huge crowd because the forecast was crap for the afternoon, but there were lots of Japanese and Thai tourists as well as Germans and Americans. Funny seeing Thai tourists, they were having a ball, guess they wouldn’t see much snow, less than us I suppose, and the Japanese crowd, despite being so gentle and friendly at home push and shove their way through lines and annoy a lot of people. Bit of a contradiction but thats how I saw it today.

The train home is quiet, except for the snoring from the sleepers, Liz snorts so loudly she nearly sets off the train alarm, if there had been curtains there she would have inhaled them and Genelle nearly trips the conductor 3 times with her legs over the aisle. Paul and I quietly enjoy the trip home. We’re home at 5pm, Liz is given the job of navigating home, a little hesitation but she gets us there with a little help.

Its been a long day so Cheers from Luzern for today – Pauolo


4 thoughts on “Day 19. Luzern – Interlaken & Jungfraujoc – the top of Europe

  1. Alison says:

    Snow angels is what shapes they’re making Paul, snow angels. I hope you two are still married by the time you get home.
    Photos are stunning btw. What dramatic scenery


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