JUNGFRAUJOCH Leaves me Breathless – in More Ways than One!
The Jungfraujoch region of Switzerland is so beautiful that it doesn’t seem real. It’s like a film set; which of course it has been many times, including the James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
More about that in a later article.
A lot of built-up areas are eyesores in the middle of natural countryside. But uniquely, all the Swiss buildings blend in to the stunning Swiss scenery, actually enhancing their surroundings. I can’t explain why!
We stayed in Wengen for a few days, using it as our base.
Wengen has no road up the mountain to it, and no cars on the small town’s roads. It relies on the railway to transport everything there.
The trains are colourful and regular, running frequently.
We caught a train up the mountain to Jungfrauhoch. It looked a bit scary, staring out of the window at the upwards route. But it was smooth, comfortable and an easy trip.
The train eventually goes inside the mountain, with several stops so that everyone can get out and walk along short tunnels to large windows to take photos.
At each stop, there are immaculate public toilets. How civilised!
I’m full of admiration for the workers, who were mainly Italian, who walked up the mountain, camped there and drilled and blasted thousands of tons of rock, and shovelled it all out for 16 years, starting in 1896. The tunnel is 7 kms long. That’s a lot of dynamite! The railway opened on the 1st August, 1912.
At that altitude, up to 3,454 mts high, it was extra-hard to work and they must have been gasping for air all the time.
When we reached the end of the line, I stepped off the train and, after walking along for a few minutes, I felt quite breathless.
There are emergency buttons to press every few yards, so the altitude obviously disagrees with a lot of people.
We emerged outside, and I felt as though I’d swigged a couple of glasses of wine on the train. It was quite nice, but hard to go to the barrier and look down as my head was swimming slightly.
On one side is Northern Europe, and southern Europe is on the other side.
The Rhine is in the North, and the Rhone in the South.
Then we visited the Lindt Chocolate shop, the highest confectioner’s in the world, surprisingly with lower Lindt prices than anywhere else.
After we’d finished our shopping, we had a very impressive meal in the restaurant, with wonderful views out of the windows.
On the way down, we got off the train and hiked to the next station.
It’s strange as the snow suddenly stops and the grass is absolutely alive with a vast array of wild flowers in different colours.
I was breathless if we went up the slightest incline, but perfectly alright when we were going downhill.
Within half an hour, we’d gone from thick snow to hot sunshine.
Even the UK’s not that changeable!
For more information on Switzerland visit www.MySwitzerland.com or call our Switzerland Travel Centre on the International freephone 00800 100 200 30 or e-mail, for information firstname.lastname@example.org; for packages, trains and air tickets email@example.com.
Swiss International Air Lines
UK to Zurich:
SWISS offers up to 110 weekly flights from London Heathrow, London City, Birmingham and Manchester to Zurich. Fares start from £63* one-way. Our fares include all airport taxes: one piece hold luggage and free ski carriage (exclude “hand luggage only” fare). (*Please note this is a leading fare and is subject to change, availability and may not be available on all flights. Terms and conditions apply.) For reservations call 0845 6010956 or visit: www.swiss.com
UK & Ireland to Switzerland:
SWISS operates up to 200 weekly flights to Switzerland from London Heathrow, London City, London Gatwick (seasonal during winter), Manchester, Birmingham and Dublin from as little as £38 one-way* (Geneva Economy Light Fare only includes hand luggage). The all-inclusive fares start from £63 one-way*, including all airport taxes.
(*Please note this is a leading fare and is subject to change, availability and may not be available on all flights. Terms and conditions apply.) For reservations call 0845 6010956 or visit: www.swiss.com.
Swiss Travel System
By road, rail and waterway throughout Switzerland: The Swiss Travel System provides a dedicated range of travel passes and tickets exclusively for visitors from abroad. The Swiss Transfer Ticket covers a round-trip between the airport/Swiss border and your destination.Prices are £104 in second class and £167 in first class.
For the ultimate Swiss rail specialist call Switzerland Travel Centre on 00800 100 200 30 or visit www.swisstravelsystem.co.uk.
Thomson Lakes & Mountain (www.thomsonlakes.co.uk and 020 8939 0740) offers a week’s half board at the four-star Hotel Silberhorn in Wengen from £748 per person (based on two sharing) including flights with Swiss from London to Zurich and train transfers. Direct flights available from all major UK airports