Altitude – 3,454 metres above sea level
Highest wind speed – 267.5 (km/h)
Standing on the observatory experiencing the snowstorm roaring around was an experience that I will never forget. As I ventured further on the observatory terrace, I was hit by the blast of icy air. Pulling the overcoat chain up to the nose and wrapping the scarf tightly I took few steps on the projecting walkway and WOW! the view took my breath away. The infinite expanse of snowclad landscape around was just majestic. As I took more steps the snow flakes crunched below and the wind whirled around me.
Visiting Jungfraunch – the highest pick of Europe, was an exhilarating experience. I felt the tininess of being human at the same time was amazed by the human accomplishment of reaching on the peak! From the Sphinx Observatory I could see a 3600 view of Jungfrau peaks. As far as eye can travel, I could see the eternal untouched snow. In few minutes the roaring wind calmed. The sky became clear and sunlight streamed on the vast expanse of snow. The landscape literally glowed and I felt glued at the spot awestruck by the sheer beauty of the Nature. Just unique!!
Switzerland was last stop of our vacation. We chose a train journey from Paris to Interlaken. As we entered Switzerland could see the snow-clad peaks of Alps. The mesmerizing landscape around and Alps ranges welcomes you in Switzerland.
We were staying at Interlaken and in the late evening we decided to take a walk. It’s a charming small town situated at the base of Jungfrau mountain range. Our walk on the peaceful roads was very refreshing. The dusk was settling, gentle breeze carrying smell of roses was teasing, the white Jungfrau peaks were beckoning… It felt just perfect… As the sun started setting, the white Jungfrau peaks bathed in orange gold sunlight. On the backdrop of darkening sky, the golden peaks looked so spectacular that we couldn’t take our eyes off it.
Slowly the night fell, and we returned to hotel eager to start our journey to Jungfrau Peak early morning.
It’s a 3 hr journey from Interlaken OST to Jungfrau. As the train started ascending, I could see Alps unfolding. The landscape changed. The pasture fields with streaks of yellow flower beds adorn the train track. Two storied buildings, small houses with bright flowerpots in the window tug your heart bringing cozy and blissful feeling.
Till Grindelwald station the journey was through the fields and small villages. From Grindlewald the ride is steep and trains are cogwheel trains. As train gained altitude green fields vanished under the blanket of snow. The train passed through number of tunnels. There was a drop in the temperature as train crossed tunnels. By the time we reached ‘EISMEER’ it was freezing cold. The train took halt at station for 5 minutes but those 5 minutes offered the gorgeous panoramic view of bluish, furrowed ice blocks. I started wondering this was how ice-age must have looked. Untouched snow everywhere. It’s grand at the same time quite intimidating. In this awestruck condition we reached Jungfrauch station. The station is built in tunnel equipped with moving walkway. The cold air was sipping through the clothes. I was pondering how long it will take to reach and suddenly tunnel opened in an assembly area of a 5 storied building. The EISMEER took me into ICE Age and this marvelous engineering structure brought back into 21st Century. This time travel left me speechless. The building was packed with activities that tourists will love.
As I entered the 250 metre long corridor, the chilly feeling increased not because of the cold, but because of the sacrifices made by the miners to open up the Jungfraujoch to the railway. 30 memorial tablets bear witness to this. The music on the way also gave me goosebumps: Images, created visions and display of tools brought back the life at the beginnings of the Jungfraubahn. Even if as a tourist I was very comfortable I felt a sense of relief at the end of corridor, posing in front of the giant snow globe couldn’t resist saying ‘At last! I made it’!
The Shopholics love Top of Europe souvenir shops on the Jungfraujoch. Victorinox pocketknives, all types of clothing, watches or hand-carved wooden figures, snow globes represent a small, piece of happiness that tourists can buy at lofty heights. The ‘Lindt Chocolate Heaven’ section is in true sense heavenly. The creamy Chocolate in numerous flavors is icing on the cake.
The Top floor of the building is Sphinx Observation Deck. The high speed lift climbed 108 meters just in 25 seconds. We stepped down from the lift in a circular corridor with panoramic windows. I could hear the wind rattling on the window planes. The corridor opened into a walkway projecting in the sky 3,454 meters above sea level.
Standing there I felt alive, enthralled, aware of every breath and still feeling non-existent. Jungfrauch top of Europe…an experience