Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Alpine Adventures - Part 1

Monday our program really began. Our initial plan was to go to Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, or up into the mountains, specifically the the Jungfrau if weather was permitting. Well the weather forcast called for sensational weather, so Monday morning we got on the first of many trains and headed to Jungfraujoch. It has been a really long time since I have been to Switzerland in the winter and a really really long time since I have been here on actual vacation.

We passed one charming village after another on our way to the Jungfrau. Our first stop was Interlaken, which was straight out of a postcard. Swiss chalets, bright blue skies, massive bright white mountains in the background and of course, lots and lots of skiers. Next we boarded a panorama train to the next stop up in the Bernese Alps. The view was beyond description, our train climbed steeper and steeper around turns and bends with the Alps surrounding us. We switched trains again and got on the last train that would take us up to Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe. The train carried us on tracks that were first laid in 1896, up the mountains and into a tunnel that is actually in the Eiger north face. I could not help but be totally amazed by this feat of engineering and think about all those who have perished at the hands of the Eiger. This is a SERIOUS mountain.

We finally made it to our last stop, 11,387ft above sea level. Not a place to be running up and down stairs, a simple flight of stairs will literally take your breath away and that is before you take the view into account. Other members of my family have been up to Jungfraujoch but unfortunately they were not as lucky as we were with the weather. The views were jawdropping - the Eiger, the Jungfrau, the Monch, the Aletsch Glacier - it was more vivid than any dream or reality could ever seem to be. We took in the sights, played in the ice palace that is in the mountain, I tried to reenact a famous Anton Ono speed skating scene and successfully managed to fall on my ass, twice! Somewhat familiar to someone else I know who shall remain anonymous. Ha ha.

After taking in as much as we possibly could, we got back on the train (totally exhausted as high altitudes can take a toll on you) and headed back to Luzern, where we were treated to Raclette for dinner by Philipp and Radka. Raclette is a very typical Swiss winter dish. Essentially you have a mini grill on the table and you place slices of Raclette cheese into mini frying pans on the grill. You take the melted cheese and pour it over potatoes, mini pickles and cocktail onions. It is a delicious meal after a long day in the fresh mountain air.

As one can imagine, after a day like that and a meal like that we were ready to collapse into our beds, besides the next day we had another alpine adventure planned.


James said...

such a show off! < lol >

Pics look great! -- see you when you get back.

LUFTYLDR said...

Womens are crazy peeples...after the sunny/hot/humid climes of SEA, she didn't want to return to the COLD (?) of NYC. Understandable...but then she ends up where it's 300 degrees below zero. Have a great time, Christina..we still love you...Tom