Sunday, 27 September 2015

Pre-Convention 2015 Part 1: Interlaken base & Top of Europe

    I was awakened by the rays of sun streaming through the oval window. A quick glance offered my first sight of Switzerland. Snow-capped mountain ranges greeted the eyes. The contrast of white snow sitting on the grey-brown rocks gave one the feeling of austerity. This was very quickly replaced by rolling green hills as the aeroplane flew over the little chalets that dotted the lush hillsides. It wasn't long when we landed in Zurich.
    From Zurich, we first took the train to Luzern and then changed to another. The second train wound through the mountains and forests of this beautiful land. The high windows offered the most beautiful views I've seen in a long time. Imagine steep mountains on both your left and right, capped with snow. Feeble waterfalls that ended in the bright green valleys which were dotted by little "huts" all along the way. Out of nowhere a stream appears and soon transforms into a river and then a lake. The sun reflecting from the water's surface gave it a shimmering azure sheen. This was the land of edelweiss and Ricola.
    Our base for this first leg was to be the Hotel Du Nord in Interlaken Ost. We found its location advantagous as it is situated between the Interlaken Ost train train station and Interlarken West. This is a four-starred establishment that offered the view of the distant mountains. We figured that the proprietors were more concerned about defending against the cold as the room offered no air-con. Thankfully a table fan was provided or we might have died from the summer heat. It had been a long day of travelling. We needed rest for our adventure the next day.
View from our room in Hotel Du Nord Interlaken Ost.
    Day 2 witnessed us up bright and early. The hotel breakfast was decent but nothing to shout about. We soon found our way back to the train station and on the way to the Top of Europe - Jungfraujoch.
View from the train on the way up the mountain.
View from the rock station of Eigerwand. There's no point
disembraking at both. Just choose one. The view is similarly
    To the uninitiated, the Swiss train system be extremely confusing. Most trips require a change of train or two. Going up the mountains, we first stopped at Lauterbrunnen and changed to a charming Jungfraujoch train. The final stop before the ascent was Kleine Scheidegg. No words can aptly describe the mountain views. No picture does it justice. The train from Kleine Scheidegg took us through Eigerwand and Eismeer, which were stations dug into the mountain rock itself. There were 5min picture stops at both. Then it was all the way within the mountain to Jungfraujoch and the Top of Europe.

Top of Europe - on the ice and snow.
Ice cave
On the Observatory ledge.
      We took the Grindelwald route back down the mountain. It was in Grindelwald that we had our first real Swiss meal.
Kleine Scheidegg
    A short walk around the village and we were back on the train. Hence concludes our Day 1 adventure.
Ground beef, on potatoes and lots of cheese, tastes like an
excellent lasagna.
Schnitzel coated with pan-fried sunflower seeds.

No comments:

Post a Comment