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Tour de Alps - Switzerland

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Lauterbrunnen - Interlaken, Switzerland

Eiger - Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe Thursday, September 22, 2005
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Madison Wisconsin
St. Moritz
St. Moritz
Zermatt
Zermatt
Zermatt
Zermatt to Berner Oberland
Murren
Lauterbrunnen - Interlaken
Engelberg
Lucerne - Pilatus - Zurich
Zurich - Madison

Departing Murren

Funicular Down to Lauterbrunnen

After a basic breakfast at Alpina, we packed our backpacks and headed out for our days adventure. It was going to be a full day, and luckily, it was clear blue skies with lots of sunshine. Today we were going to head across the valley to visit Jungfraujoch. We boarded the short train ride laterally over to Staubbachf and then the funicular down the steep slope to Lauterbrunnen. The transportation was covered on our SwissPass.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 08 - JungFrau - Cogwheel Murren Down

Lauterbrunnen to Wengen

View of the Village of Lauterbrunnen from Cogwheel Train

At the train station in Lauterbrunnen, we put our backpacks in lockers and waited about 10 minutes for the train up to Wengen. The SwissPass we had covered our cogwheel train ride up to Wengen, but from there it was private rail, so we needed additional tickets. We boarded the cogwheel and it was absolutely packed. On a sunny day like this, it can be expected. Tourists will wait down in Interlaken, and on a sunny day venture up to visit the Jungfraujoch.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 08 - JungFrau - Cogwheel from Murren

Wengen - Wengernalp - Kleine Scheidegg

Wengen Train Station

On the train ride up to Wengen, the conductor offered us to purchase the ticket (round-trip) from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg, which saved us a stop and getting off the train which stops only briefly at Wengen. Wengen is a nice little town with more amenities then Murren. If you want more hotel selection, I'd go to Wengen. It has a great view of the valley.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 08 - JungFrau - Kleine Scheidegg

Kleine Scheidegg

Kleine Scheidegg

After passing through Wengernalp, we arrived at the small resort of Kleine Scheidegg. This stop is on a small pass and on one side you can see Grindelwald, on the other is Wengen and the valley of Lauterbrunnen. There are a few hotels here, giftshops and outdoor restaurants for the breathtaking view of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. The place was teeming with tourists and we actually skipped the first train up because it was so crowded.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 08 - JungFrau - International Flag

Train station at Kleine Scheidegg. Trains depart for the Jungfraujoch about every 30-45 minutes.

View of the legendary Eiger from Kleine Scheidegg.

Kleine Scheidegg tourist map.

Panoramic view across the valley to Murren - located on a cliff. The Schilthorn and Piz Gloria are located at the upper right just obscured by a cloud.

Jungfraujoch Cogwheel

Eigerwand Station

We got on the next train up and got good window seats, which was great for the first 10 minutes, then the rest of the ride was in a long tunnel through the Eiger.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 08 - JungFrau - Eiger Window in Cliff

Tunnels

Inside the Eiger

Most of the cogwheel journey is through a long maze of tunnels in the Eiger and Monch. This has to be an engineering wonder since they have to tunnel through, and up the mountain. There are a number of stops where you can get off of the train and look out the large windows cut into the rock. These windows give access to rescue teams for climbers in distress on the Eiger.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 08 - JungFrau - Arriving at Top

You arrive at Jungfraujoch still well underground at the train station in the tunnel. Take a deep breath, you're at just over 11,000 feet, and still not at the top.

The underground tunnels lead to elevators to get up to the observatory platform.

Here is a photo of the map of the huge underground network up at Jungfrau.

11,782 feet - not quite the top of Europe (there are much higher peaks) but it has a great view to be sure.

Sphinx Terrace - Jungfraujoch

Observatory Deck

After a series of elevator rides, you arrive at the top of the observatory deck. The view here, when not obscured by clouds, is amazing. On one side you can see the valley from which you came, and on the other, a huge glacier which helps feeds Europe's water supply, and helps generate most of Switzerland's power via hydropower. It's snowy and cold up at this altitude.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 08 - JungFrau - Observatory at Top

Looking down from the outdoor observation deck to the glacier below. Note how small the people look.

The observatory.

The tunnel carved in the rock below allows you access to the huge glacier.

You can hike amongst the giants (Eiger and Monch) to a mountain hutte, which is about 45 minutes away. The hutte has a small restaurant.

On the Glacier

Jane and Pepe

With the sun out, it was quite pleasant on the glacier. We saw one couple sitting on a space blanket (emergency foil blanket) popping a bottle of champagne. Of course, we looked at eachother and said wondered why we hadn't thought of it first.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 08 - JungFrau - Departing Helicopter

View of the observatory - look way up on the rock.

Another view of Jungfraujoch. Follow the line of people and you'll see the tunnel at the bottom of the rock.

The glacier trail leading to the mountain hutte.

Another look at the observatory.

Jungfraujoch.

Jungfrau rail information in .pdf format.

Rail ticket up to the mountain.

Rail ticket for the Jungfrau Bahn.

Jungfrau to Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken

After some time on the glacier, we caught the cogwheel Jungfrau Bahn and then the next train down to Lauterbrunnen. It worked out great having our backpacks in lockers there.

We inquired about our route to our next destination - Engelberg - but it was difficult to get there because of the floods that washed out the rail, so we just headed to Interlaken Ost first.

Interlaken and Dinner
Bus Train Train Bus

Once at Interlaken, we got our revised route printed out for us - it was a mix of bus, rail and bus to get us to our destination. Since we had a 45 minute wait for the bus which was departing around 6:00 pm, we decided to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant there at the station.

After quickly eating our dinner, we boarded the bus and headed out of Interlaken through Brienz, Brunigpass and then down to Sarnen, where we boarded a train. The train took us to Hergiswil, then we got on a bus from Stans and finally up to Engelberg, where the only road in was still being repaired from flood damage.

Movie - Swiss - Day 08 - JungFrau - Engelberg - WaldEgg Room

Arrival at Engelberg - Mid Evening

We finally arrived at Engelberg around 8:30 p.m. The train station was closed (due to renovations because of the flood). The place was dead - nobody around. This was the part of the trip where I didn't make any reservations - so we really had no clue were to go. Luckily, I had some inspiration. When I looked up, I saw in huge illuminated letters, Waldegg. That's where we'll go. Shortly after a taxi stopped by and we had him take us to the Waldegg, which wasn't far away, but up on the slope overlooking the village. The hotel wasn't full, so we booked a room, had a small dinner and settled in for the evening. The room was spacious, and more modern compared to our rustic accommodations at the Alpina in Murren.

Additional Photographs: Eiger - Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe

(click on photos to enlarge)
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