INTERLAKEN: Journey to the top of Europe

One of the highlights for anyone travelling to Switzerland is the visit to Jungfraujoch. Located between the mountains Monch and Jungfrau, Jungfraujoch has the highest railway station in Europe. The station connects to a building which comprises of an observatory that offers panoramic views of the snowy world all-around and has many other interesting attractions.

We had bought our tickets to Jungfraujoch the previous evening itself from Interlaken west station. From our research we already knew that there are two routes to reach Jungfraujoch – one via Grindelwald and the other via Lauterbrunnen. Since we didn’t want to miss out on anything, we decided to take the former route on our way up and the latter on the way down.

We started our day early and took a 9 o clock train from Interlaken which got us to Kleine Scheidegg. From there a cogwheel train took us all the way to Jungfraujoch. The cogwheel train journey was a stunning experience in itself. Minutes after leaving the Kleine Scheidegg station, the train entered a tunnel, carved through the Eiger and Monch mountains, which lasted almost till the end. Inside the tunnel, the train halted at two stations where we, along with all the other tourists, got down to see breath-taking snow covered landscapes through the large panorama windows.

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View from Kleine Scheidegg Station
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On our way to Jungfraujoch
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The Eiger Tunnel
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View from Eismeer Station

On reaching Jungfraujoch building we took an elevator to the Sphinx Observatory which was located at the top level. Instead of remaining inside the warm observatory, we decided to go out on the open deck where it was quite chilly (read -3°C) and somewhat windy (read -31 km/hr). We somehow managed to click a few pictures and rushed back inside. We then went to the lower level which lead us all the way out on the glacier. With unblemished white snow all around us and clear blue skies above us, the setting was as perfect as it got.

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View from the Observatory decks

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After spending some time in the snow we came back inside and visited the ice palace which was completely made of ice and even contained cute ice sculptures of various animals. Next we went to the Lindt Chocolate shop. Therein, we saw how one of the most famous chocolates in the world is made and bought a few chocolates to take back home. Finally, after spending over 2 hours at Jungfraujoch, we took a train back to Lauterbrunnen.

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Ice Palace
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Lindt Chocolate Shop

Oh and I almost forgot to mention that one of the restaurants at Jungfraujoch is an Indian restaurant named “Restaurant Bollywood”!! In our previous blog we had mentioned how Switzerland was a favourite holiday destination for Indians. Well this just corroborates our point.   

A WATERFALL INSIDE A MOUNTAIN

Many people I have come across often proclaim that going to destinations such as Switzerland is a waste of money because, after all our Himalayas are more majestic than their Alps and I tend to agree with this statement. Indian landscapes are certainly no less beautiful than Switzerland’s but where the Swiss excel is at making all that natural beauty accessible to common tourists. We had already experienced this once before by taking a train to the highest railway station in Europe. We experienced it again when we went to the Trummelbach Falls.

So once we reached Lauterbrunnen, we exited the station and from just outside the station we got a bus for the Trummelbach Falls. The bus ride was as memorable as the cogwheel train ride. Nestled in the valley, were small houses surrounded by green meadows with a huge rocky cliff on one side from which several waterfalls cascaded downwards into the valley. One just can’t pass through such a setting without thinking about settling there.

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Lauterbrunnen
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Entrance to the falls

Soon we reached our bus stop and a 5 minute walk from there got us to the mountain which hid the Trummelbach Falls. As we approached the mountain we could hear the roar of the falls but could see nothing yet. This was because Trummelbach Falls is a unique waterfall that flows almost entirely inside a mountain. As one goes from top to bottom, one can see the 10 chutes of the falls from a very close distance. This waterfall is made accessible by a lift, tunnels, platforms and galleries which were lit with artificial lighting and displays the kind of Swiss excellence that I was talking about earlier.

We bought our tickets and took the inclined lift which took us halfway up the mountain. We first climbed up till the topmost chute and then descended to the bottom of the mountain covering all the other chutes. The air inside the mountain was obviously damp and the sound generated by the falls was almost deafening at some spots. The waterfall, which carries up to 20,000 litres of water per second was even strong enough to spray us with water at a couple of points. As we descended, we also got stunning views of the gorgeous Lauterbrunnen valley.

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The last chute

We wanted to walk back to the Lauterbrunnen station but it was getting late hence we took the bus and then a train back to Interlaken.

We had spent two surreal days in Interlaken but we had yet to fly over it.

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