Monday, 18 June 2012

Switzerland Day Two

Hey Everyone,
I woke up on day 21 in our Swiss chalet to the sound of water running in the river right outside our room. I also heard Rachael returning from her lover boy's room at around 6.30am and I was happy that she was getting regular snuggles on the trip. We all got ready and had breakfast before we had to meet at the camping sites grocery store that morning. That day I forgot my glasses and had to run all the way back to my room to get them because Mia told us it was going to be very sunny as the glare bounces off the snow. The rest of the group started walking and I ended up getting offered a lift from the camping site manager so I wouldn't get lost on the way to the train station. I was stoked because he had a nice Audi car and I made it to the train station first before the rest of the group. 

That day we were travelling on the train up to Jungfraujoch- The top of Europe. Jungfraujoch is 3454m above see level and from you can see the vosges in France and Germany's Black Forest. The only way you can reach the top of Jungfraujoch is by train and the tickets are very expensive (138 Sfr) but I was not missing out on this once in a lifetime experience! The Jungfrau station is the highest train station in Europe and has over 2 million visitors each year.  Adolf Guyer-Zeller was the man who originally had the first idea to blast a tunnel through the rock of Eiger and Monch to construct a cogwheel railway to the Jungfrau summit. Local people recognised the touristic potential this plan had and supported it. On July 1896 construction began with around 100 Italian labourers beginning work on the railway. The first parts of the railway were built with shovels, picks and man power. The Italian workers used to live in huts at the foot of the mountain with up to three men sharing a bed. Many Italian men died in the making of this railway system and explosions and Adolf Guyer-Zeller died of pneumonia in 1899 with his workers left to carry on what he started.

The train ride to the top of Jungfraujoch was a unique experience and unlike anything I had ever done in my life. Most of the snow on our way up to the top of the mountain was untouched and looked like crystals which was stunning. There were breath taking views of the surrounding areas, Swiss Alps and snow covered houses and mountains. I felt like I was in a movie watching the scenery go by and it was amazing travelling through actual mountain rock to get to the top. The train ride made our ears go a little funny because of the high air pressure and Steven was feeling a little sick after having a huge night at the Chalet the night before.
On the train ride with Tara

Catching the connecting train to Jungfrau

Views from the train ride

views on the train ride
After our 2 hour journey with the Contiki group we finally reached Jungfrau station. We got off and Rachael and I wanted to get something to eat before we did anything else. We walked into one of the nicer restaurants and waited for a long time to be seated. We weren't too impressed after looking at the menu and the bad service so we walked out and got some fatty food from downstairs ha We sat and admired the views from our window at lunch and I decided I wanted to get some souvenirs after we ate. I ended up getting a magnet and a nice red t-shirt for my dad because red really suits his dark skin and I know he likes buying shirts from the places he visits.
View from lunch

Views from lunch
After lunch we met up with Tamara who was on her own and was feeling dizzy and a bit sick from the high altitude on the mountain. She was going to go home before seeing anything because she felt so awful but I convinced her to stay and told her that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that she couldn't miss out on. This was also the first time in her life that she had seen snow which was such a great experience for her.

We walked through an Ice Palace that was a huge ice cavern in the mountain. The cavern covered an area of over 1000m sq with countless passageways. The Ice Palace was created in the 1930's and it has to be constantly re cut. The warmth that is generated by thousands of visitors means that the ice cavern has to be cooled to minus three degrees. Inside the cavern we got to see ice sculptures of polar bears, penguins, and igloos amongst other cool ice carvings.
One of the many ice sculptures in the Ice Palace

Tamara and I all rugged up in the Ice Palace passageways
We also got to visit the newly included Alpine Sensation area that was opened in April of this year. It presented images and information about the past and present constructions of the Jungfrau railway system. I enjoyed reading and learning information about the construction and people that helped to make this experience possible. When we got through these areas we were lead to the outdoor area which allowed you to step out and onto the snow at the top of Europe. It still gives me chills thinking about how excited Tamara, Rachael and I were as we got our first look at this amazing view! We were giggling and I was trying not to slip over in the snow as the girls helped me walk up to the top of the mountain. I was throwing snow at the girls and that was seriously the most snow I had ever seen in my whole life. It seemed to go on forever and I loved seeing how small people looked as they made what looked like miniature hiking trails. We got photos next to the Swiss flag which was hoisted on the plateau at the opening of the Jungfrau Railway in 1912. I remember being on the top of the mountain trying to think of something I had seen before that could be more breathtaking and stunning than this view-I couldn't this was it! It was seriously an amazing experience and view that I will never forget.

 After we had looked around for ages we decided to take the 2 hour train journey back down the hill to our camping site. Jess, Tara, Tamara, Rachael, Sharni and I were all so tired that we fell asleep laying over each other on the train. I tried to make myself stay awake for as long as I could to get some more photos as it was a beautiful day and most of the snow that was covering the houses and tracks had been melted. The camping site manager said that this was the best day weather wise that they had experienced all year so we were very lucky!
Past image of the making of the railway
Me at the Top of Europe
Me, Rach and Tamara with the Swiss flag on top of Jungfrau

Me and Rach on top of Europe!

Views of the melted snow on the way back down

Me loving this experience

Me walking through the streets of Lauterbrunnen

Our camping site

Peace out from Switzerland

Swiss chocolate at the camping site grocery store

Fondue on the menu at a Swiss restaurant in Lauterbrunnen
When we got back to the Chalet we were all so tired that we decided to have a sleep. It wasn't very often we had time to spare to ourselves on our contiki trip so we made the most of catching up on some much needed sleep. That night Rachael and I only just made the end of dinner as we slept for a little too long lol After dinner I started packing my bags for the Rhine Valley and I also washed and straightened my hair extensions. I've had my hair extensions for about 4 years now and I have worn them soooo many times and they have definitely been worth the money I spent on them. Some of the stitching that holds the hair onto the clips was coming off though and I asked Jessica could she fix them. She had already whipped out her sewing kit on the trip so I knew she could help lol She was teaching me to sew while she did the best job on fixing both mine and Tamara's extensions that night!

That night was the Swissco Disco and everyone got dressed up to head down to the party in their red and white outfits. Rachael, Tara, Sharni and I decided that we didn't want to go as the bar seemed pretty expensive and not that exciting. I loved the theme but had already spent so much money on the trip I thought I'd save my drinking money for Amsterdam! That night we all slept and I caught up on my dot points about the trip so far and noted them into my iphone. Hamed knocked on the door quietly that night to see me before he went to bed after visiting his family. He showed me some pictures from Zurich and he seemed so happy after his visit which was nice. It was funny being able to hear what people were talking about and listening to them carry on when they were drunk that night. A few people were hooking up in the hallways which was interesting as when they were drunk probably forgot that people who didn't go to the party could hear them ha

Love The Mountain Climbing Backpacker

1 comment: