My little dream of Switzerland! I’d never seen a country so perfect! Everything about Switzerland was just gooder than good. The boats, the still waters, the cleanliness, the chocolates, the classy buildings with a touch of history, the flawless transport system, the vibe, the food, did I mention the chocolates? Everything seemed to be effortlessly in place! It was my little piece of heaven, and the Lindt factory in Zurich was the cherry on top! It was so perfect you could forgive it’s expensiveness (Because it’s stupid expensive)!
After spending a couple of days in Zurich, it was time to say our byes and move on to Italy. But before we could leave this heaven, we had 1 stop to make. The famous Jungfraujoch/Swiss Alps nestled ‘at the top of Europe’! You should hear my fiance trying to pronounce Jungfraujoch, it’s more than hilarious!
We left our little hotel room at o6h50 rushing to catch a 07h32 train from Zurich train station. And anything before 08h30 is too early for me! I was so sleepy and just dragged myself behind Lovemore all the way to the station like 400 m away.
It didn’t help that we’d been out partying the previous night till 3 am and it also didn’t help that our hotel was under a strip club! I’d had had no sleep. But nothing an 18 franc (R240) juice and sandwich couldn’t fix!
The trip to the top of the Swiss Alps was broken into 4 legs, with a total travel time of about 4.5 hours and the combined ticket cost us R2500 each. Looking out of the train windows was rewarding and more than once I’d smile to myself and just feel happy to be there at that moment.
Leg 1: Zurich HB to Interlaken
Left at 07h32 and arrived at 09h28
Leg 2: Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen
left at 09h35 and arrived at 10h07
Leg 3: Lauterbrunnen to Klein Scheidegg
Left at 10h07 and arrived at 10h50
Leg 4: Klein Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch
Left at 11h00 and arrived at 11:52
At Klein Scheidegg we boarded the ‘Horgwarts Express’ looking carriage which took us up the mountains. The views of the mountains and beautiful little wooden houses were breathtaking.
The journey up was an experience itself. Imagine, sitting in a carriage-like train going through a tunnel up to an altitude of more than 3000 m!
We made two short stops to take in the views, first at Eigerwand giving us majestic views of mountains then at Eismeer (Sea of ice) we had views that said ‘Welcome to the world of eternal ice and snow, African!’. Eismeer was freezing, I thought I’d turn into an ice statue! But after getting to the Swiss Alps, I realised just how not cold Eismeer was!
Then we were at Jungfraujoch! We stood at 3454 m above sea level with nothing but snow (and tourists) all around! It was just beautiful and I wanted to just run around and play like a child (which I did). This was our first encounter with snow (ice skating rinks and freezers don’t count)!
Streams of icy air slapped my face, snow crumbled under my boots, and the view, that view had me catching my breath (Or was that just the cold air?). We walked around taking pictures of everything.
On one side of the mountain we stood facing the Mittelland up to the Vosges (snow capped mountains) and on the other side we stood face to ice with the Aletsch glacier, bordered by 4000 m peaks.
The terrible cold
Boy I was never ready for that cold! I had boots on and a biker jacket (clearly I had no experience with snow), in 30 minutes I was freezing out of my mind. But we had paid almost R5000 to be there so my toes could numb all they wanted, I was not about to give them any attention! After a while I got used to the cold and in a strange way, I started to like it.
Not to miss
The Alpine sensation
This is a 250 m corridor made of ice that leads to the ice palace. There’s beautiful ice sculptures and benches and you can take many pictures. Don’t sit on the benches too long because your jeans will get wet and you won’t be too happy 😦
Thankfully you don’t have to answer any riddles to get past this sphinx! You get into a lift that shoots up 111 m in 25 seconds bringing you to the observatory. This is a research station and as a researcher, naturally I was intrigued.
Snow Fun Park
Here you can ski, snowboard, sledge and related snow sports. We did the sledging and the zip lining and it was good. Time was a limiting factor 😦
Lindt chocolate heaven
We loved the Lindt chocolate shop because it reminded us of The Lindt Factory we had visited in Zurich a few days before.
I’ve read blogs and TripAdvisor reviews where people say ‘Oh Jungfraujoch is too far, opt for smaller hills around Zurich’. I say, they are like Jon Snow, they know nothing! The Swiss Alps is a world that you have to experience! If you are in Switzerland, go. Yes its expensive but it’s worth every cent!
What I liked
1. Ice sledging, we paid extra for it but heck we’d already paid 5 grand so what’s an extra few hundreds?
2. The ice caves in the ice palace were beautiful (freezing but beautiful)
3. Snow all around, yippee! We don’t get that in Africa!
4. The snow park! Unlimited fun.
5. The views! To die for.
Then around 16h00 it was time to kiss the snow goodbye and head back down to warmth. We travelled back up to Interlanken then boarded a train to Milan.