After breakfast this morning, Raul and Lauren descended by cable car and crossed Lauterbrunnen Valley to the town of Wengen. Their first stop was the Coop grocery store where they purchased picnic fare: salami, Manchego cheese, baguette, butter, yogurt, croissant, and pastry. The plan was to take a lift to the top of a cliff overlooking the town and hike from there to Kleine Scheidegg, which is the train stop between Wengen and Jungfraujoch. Before taking the lift, they dropped by the Tourist Information and were dismayed once again to learn that the hike they planned to do is closed due to recent heavy snow in the region.
The travellers continued with their plan to reach Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe at over 11,000 ft. It is difficult to imagine that the railway line was built more than 100 years ago.
The weather today was perfect, which was good for Raul and Lauren, but also good for everyone else. The entire excursion from ascent to descent was very crowded. Similar to their experiences in Austria and the rest of Switzerland, it is readily apparent that prosperity has reached beyond the West. Whereas in the past, most travellers would have been from the U.S., Europe, or Japan, now there are more travellers from China, Korea, and India. At Jungfraujoch today, most of the tourists were from India.
At the top, they took in the views, particularly of three large mountains with an interesting storyline: Mönch (the Monk) protects Jungfrau (the Maiden) from Eiger (the Ogre). The viewing platform also allowed them a look at Aletsch Glacier, the longest in Europe at nearly 11 miles.
At this altitude, one can have fun in the snow all year round (it was in the 20s at the top today). Raul and Lauren did not ski, but there is a zip-line that crosses the slopes, which they both enjoyed immensely. Lauren did not cry this time. She knew one landed directly in the snow at the end of the line, but until she experienced it, she did not realize that one actually plowed into the ground at full speed. Luckily, they were wearing lots of layers, and they walked away unbruised.
Another activity at Jungfraujoch was a literal walk through a gallery of ice sculptures. They passed through a series of tunnels made completely of ice–floor, ceiling, and walls.
They stopped at one final viewpoint, and as they were heading out, Raul noticed a group of Indian travellers posing for a photograph and offered to take a picture of the whole group. After taking the picture with several of the group’s cameras, a couple of them were so grateful that they wanted to pose with Raul and Lauren. Not knowing what else to do, they acceded. It all happened so fast. One of them even took a headshot of Lauren, commenting how beautiful she looked in the sunlight. Perhaps it was her snow-white complexion. He asked for their email address, and they were glad to give it.
Descending to Lauterbrunnen, they decided to attempt a hike on the Gimmelwald side of the valley. The trailhead is at the top of a funicular from Mürren which had stopped running for the day only shortly before they arrived. Foiled once again.
They resigned to returning to their pension in Gimmelwald from Mürren following the service road that connects the two towns. It is a rather short walk, but they were in no hurry, so it took them about an hour. They were amused on the way down by munching cattle and prancing lambs. Raul led them through someone’s backyard where they saw some guinea pigs and rabbits.
At the pension, they enjoyed dinner on the terrace with fantastic views across the valley to Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger.
|Day 18||Saturday 2 June||Gimmelwald|
|Jungfrau Rail Timetables PDF|
▲▲▲Männlichen-Kleine Scheidegg hike & ▲▲▲Jungfraujoch
Depart Gimmelwald for Wengen on cable-car to Schilthornbahn station near Stechelberg
Total duration: 51m
|08:12||Bus 14108 to Lauterbrunnen|
|08:37||Depart Lauterbrunnen on R 343 to Wengen|
|08:51||Arrive Wengen, purchase picnic food across from station|
|09:15||Take gondola from Wengen to Männlichen, every 15 minutes, walk 10 minutes from lift station to peak|
Begin hike to Kleine Scheidegg
▲▲▲Jungfraujoch, take train from Kleine Scheidegg, sit on right side, S₣87 round-trip
Return to Gimmelwald, S₣18 through Wengen
|15:00||▲Hike from Gimmelwald Up Sefinen Valley to Kilchbalm, good for rainy day, don’t do in snow, 2 hours|