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|
|Jodie practicing her ice ballet|
|A threesome hitting the ice|
|A fashion statement in ice and snow|
|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.