Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe

Now here's the thing about Switzerland!!!

You can wake up early on a public holiday, look out the window and see the beginnings of a perfect day. Over breakfast you glance through the Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland and two hours later you find yourself transported to a seat on a cog train at Grindelwahl ready for a journey to the highest railway station in Europe.

Now to imagine this train journey remember the most picturesque scenery you have ever seen then at least double it, because that is the experience Jo and I had on the way to the top. The beauty of this trip is that you can get off at any one the small station platforms on the way and hike along the myriad of trails to the next station or the half way point which is Scheidegg (2063 metres). Trains run each way every half hour. At Scheidegg, after half an hour of experiencing every thing in Swiss scenery we changed trains for the tunnel section of the climb. This amazing rail line was constructed from1896 - 1912 using Italian labourers. The project was a vision of Swiss industrial magnate Adolf Guyer-Zeller. The last section of the track consists of 9.3 kilometres of tunnel that travels through the hearts of the Eiger  (3970 metres) and Monch (4107 metres) and finally delivers you to a saddle between Monch and Jungfrau (4158 metres) know as Jungfraujoch (3454 metres).

At Junfraujoch there are a range of restaurants to cater for all tastes, observation areas, ice carvings, all snow sports, snow walks and glacier hiking available. On a clear day, like it was yesterday, you could see as far as the Black Forest in Germany. Although the temp was a paltry -5 degrees the sun was shining and the wind was also on holidays somewhere further north. We had been higher in the Annapurna Himalayas but the view from 'The Top of Europe' struck me as more spectacular. I might add the cold and icy conditions didn't stop one woman wearing a black mini skirt and stiletto heeled boots. The main activity of the day outside appeared to be trying to stop yourself from slipping over on the shoe compacted snow as you entered and exited the buildings.

The Black Forest on the horizon

Observation deck that you access by lift
The glacier walk
 And life here is such that you can randomly go for a trip to the 'Top of Europe' and it is still a very small world. On top of the mountain we managed to bump into one of the teachers from Jodie's school and her husband. The really funny thing was we had also bumped into them in Marrakech when we were there back in February. On top of that coincidence, two girls sat opposite us for the tunnel trip back down. As much as you think you can, there is no way you can hide an Aussie accent from another Aussie. So we had all had a fun down home chat on the way back through the tunnel section. One of girls had been to Gallipoli for last month's Anzac Day ceremony which she said would make every Anzac day back home more memorable. Turned out she was from Lismore which is about an hours drive from my hometown in Australia.

Jodie practicing her ice ballet

A threesome hitting the ice
A fashion statement in ice and snow
On the final leg back down to Grindelwahl we jumped off the train at Alpiglen and walked ten kilometres of winding tracks in brilliant sunshine, surrounded by snow clad monoliths, wild flower fields and a symphony of cowbells. It made me want to yodel but I didn't want to frighten the squirrels.
These photos are of the walking leg

And check out Ueli Steck's world record north face ascent of the Eiger on youtube below. This guy is definitely a legend in any sport.


  1. Beutiful photos Rob!! I must say though, right now I can not even imagine going anywhere where there is snow after this long and cold winter ;))
    Indeed the charm of Switzerland is that everything is so incredibly close and reachable in thematter of hours. Quite impressive for somone coming from a large country (speaking about surface, not no of inhabitants ;)).

  2. Our almost winter back home at the moment is 25 degrees. We'll be swimming in it in six weeks. Take care.

  3. Is a place i know very well cause my grand-mother is fom the area of Brienz, (lovely village, woodhouses, flowers, bluelake, a perfect swiss postcard!!)Notlong time ago it came in my mind that it will be fine to bring my husband there. when i saw ur pictures there's no doubt anymore we will do it. Warm greetings to both of you


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