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Old 17th November 2011, 17:40   #226
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Travelogue is really make us see daily what is tsk1979 is going to show today.
Great going and the narration is good too.Fortunate to see two Glaciers
at the same time one from Darang Drung Glacier (Padum) the other one from your travelogue glacier called Aletsch.
I hope you saw Jungfrau without clouds these things really matters when you have taken
all the effort to see this Oberland region.
When I went to the Swiss alps took the morning first train from Zurich at 5.20am and then changed over at Bern to reach InterlakenOST and took the train from Interlaken at around 7.45am.Made me nostalgic.
Waiting for Jungfrau pictures.
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Old 17th November 2011, 21:36   #227
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Default Re: Day 7 #1: Another day in Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
...
And our first stop of the day, a railway crossing
I stand a few feet away, and wait for the Train.
...
The picture of the railway crossing where each bar only blocks half the width of the road, i.e. the part meant for traffic in that direction only, is thought-provoking.

Imagine this type of crossing in India. Anyone want to bet how many cars, bikes, or even big buses or trucks would take advantage of the gap and snake thru?
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Old 21st November 2011, 23:33   #228
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Default Day 7 #3 : The Aletsch Arena

Its big.
And long.
And made of ice.
And its not going to be there after 100 years, or 50 years, or as some believe 20.

We are at the middle point. We can see both its source, and its tongue.
However, the viewpoint seems a little low.
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1552lrxl.jpg

So we have a choice. Either we climb a peak to our left. Or we climb a peak to our right.

Yes, two peaks to climb.
We decided to do both.

Imagine, if you wanted to climb a peak quickly. Where would you go? Hatu peak. And you would have to drive a lot to get there.
Here they get you to the base of peaks, so you can be a mountain climber for 5 minutes.

So we set our sights first on the lower peak, which no-one was interested in climbing.

Maybe, because it was a lower peak?

I decided to turn my eyes to the other side.

And guess what, buddhists were here too!
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1553lrxl.jpg

We reach the base, and realize, that nobody is climbing this peak, not because its smaller, but because its this
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1554lrxl.jpg

Its not a climb like Hatu peak climb peak. Its more like, scamper on all fours and pray there is no earthquake peak

So, climb we did. When you elevate yourself, the view becomes nicer.
So here is a picture of Aletsch.

Its taken from a peak called Klein Eggishorn
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1556lrxl.jpg

Why is it called that. Well because its smaller than the Other peak, which is called Eggishorn.
There are no eggs on Eggishorn. If there were, we would called it Eihorn.

So where is the peak without any eggs?
Here it is, far away
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1557lrxl.jpg

As for Aletsch, it originates from a place called Junfgrau
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1558lrxl.jpg

Yes, you can see Jungfrau from here.

Looking west shows you a tiny lake. If you walk further west (10-12kms), you reach a place called Bettermalp, which has proximity to another Aletsch view point. Further west near the mouth is Riederalp.

We had chosen Eggishorn due to two reasons. First, it has the best viewpoints, and second, it was the cheapest due to our pass.

A signboard on the rocks with info about the glacier
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1568lrxl.jpg

Since its almost 2pm, its time for hunger. There is a restaurant here where you can have a nice hot meal for 35Fr/head, It would be nice and filling. We did not go to the restaurant, We decided to sit on the rocks and enjoy some bread and cheese
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1569lrxl.jpg

This is going to be our staple lunch for for next few days.
Hot breakfast and dinner cooked in Chalet, and cold sandwich with cheese in the afternoon.

Not tasty enough, but it keeps you moving.

Far down below, the glacier moves slowly. It moves at the rates of a few cms a day.Or maybe it was a few cms every week. I have no idea
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1571lrxl.jpg

At Jungfrau, the clouds have cleared. So all those who took the good afternoon train, are in for a treat too!
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1572lrxl.jpg

WE finish lunch, and get up. Energy needs have been taken care off, and now, its time to move forward, to the Eggishorn.

The path is trecherous, though no ropes needed, and the climb will take a good 20 minutes atleast, according to a very mountaineer looking fellow tourist
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1575lrxl.jpg

So Eggishorn, here we come. Our first "20 minute mountain climbing"
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Old 21st November 2011, 23:37   #229
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Default Re: Day 7 #1: Another day in Paradise

Quote:
Originally Posted by gajadonga View Post
Travelogue is really make us see daily what is tsk1979 is going to show today.
Great going and the narration is good too.Fortunate to see two Glaciers
at the same time one from Darang Drung Glacier (Padum) the other one from your travelogue glacier called Aletsch.
I hope you saw Jungfrau without clouds these things really matters when you have taken
all the effort to see this Oberland region.
When I went to the Swiss alps took the morning first train from Zurich at 5.20am and then changed over at Bern to reach InterlakenOST and took the train from Interlaken at around 7.45am.Made me nostalgic.
Waiting for Jungfrau pictures.
Thanks donga!
Drang Drung glacier is definitely on my TODO list. Someday.......
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.sinha View Post
The picture of the railway crossing where each bar only blocks half the width of the road, i.e. the part meant for traffic in that direction only, is thought-provoking.

Imagine this type of crossing in India. Anyone want to bet how many cars, bikes, or even big buses or trucks would take advantage of the gap and snake thru?
In India few would get creamed by the train. Then there would be a hartaal.
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Old 22nd November 2011, 18:57   #230
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Default Day 7 #4: The Eggishorn

The Eggishorn is not significantly high. At 2900m, it stands lower than many of our "normal hill stations".

But the climb to the Eggishorn is a little tough, because the path upwards is basically stones stacked. It takes 20-30 minutes, depending upon your speed, to reach the top. On the "aletsh Arena", its probably the highest viewpoint for viewing the glacier.

So we started, climbing upwards and upwards.
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To the south you can almost make out the Matterhorn, obscured by clouds
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As we gained altitude, the tongue of Aletsch came into full view.
As you can probably make out, there is a forest there
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Near the top came these rocks, over which we need to scamper
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Towards the east, another smaller glacier(I am forgetting the name) comes into view
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And finally around quater past 2, we are at the peak. A sign reading 1989 is on the top. I have no idea what it means
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that said, I am sure 1989 is not the manufacturing date of Eggishorn.

I try to get both the glaciers in my view
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Far north, is Jungfrau. I think you can proably walk down from Jungfrau till here
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This is the classic Aletsch view. To be frank, I really don't know what else to show you. From Eggishorn, all you can see is Aletsch glacier
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Meanwhile dark clouds gather northwards. This is worrysome. If it gets cloudy, we cannot go to Jungfrau tomorrow also! Two days are already gone
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A blue lake towards the south-east. If we had time, we would have spent the entire day exploring. But its a 1.5 hour trek!. I guess to fully explore the Aletsch arena, you need to arrive here by 8am
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I also decide to take a 6 shot panorama
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-dsc1601lrdsc1606lrxl.jpg

This is the shot very similar to what you find on most Aletsch Brochures
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And then, we have a visitor
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I did not know what it was, but now I know, its the Alpine Chough
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As it flies away, we decided to vacate the peak for another climber
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Its time to head downwards.
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Old 22nd November 2011, 19:12   #231
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Lovely, Tanveer. So the excitement continues!!! What happnes next?? We are glued.
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Old 23rd November 2011, 17:13   #232
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Default Day 7 #5 : Goodbye Aletsch

Normally, downhill is always better than uphill. But here its not the case. The stones are loose, and slipping is a real possibility.
However, if you have wings you do not worry
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The lake called Marlenjsee and two Glaciers
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On these rocks, jack and jill came rolling down
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Prayer "stones" again
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We are back at the base, and start walking towards the glacier, navigating a maze of stones, some prayer, some not
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I wonder for how long have they sat here balanced like this
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A shot from the "edge" of the ridge connecting the two eggishorns
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A close up of the surface of the glacier
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Its half past 3 now, and its time to say goodbye to aletsch
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Time to catch our Gondola
Which is red in color
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The restaurant of Eggishorn with very expensive food
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Entrance to the Gondola station. Its red too. Swiss have a fascination for red, I guess it comes from their FLAG
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This is a weather station, and it houses a webcam too
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We change Gondola at fieschertal, which is the midway station between Eggishorn and the town of Fiesch.
Like most mountain towns its a car free town, and thankfully, its not a concrete jungle dotted with construction cranes
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In this Gondola we have company.
Its a dog which looks like a Bear. Its extremely friendly. Its owner informs us that "she" is a russian terrier
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On most swiss public transport systems, dogs travel like people. You have to buy their ticket. and ensure that they do not eat your co-passengers.

This big one is scary to look at, but actually fully docile.

We get out around 4pm. There is a tiny dog continuously barking at the big terrier, and as you can see, she is pretty unfazed by the little devil
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We get to the parking lot, pay our 4Fr... And now its time for the drive back... To stechelberg
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Old 23rd November 2011, 18:32   #233
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Default Day 7 #6: The greenscapes of Valais

Today has been a good day. We got sunshine, we saw the Aletsch.
Our good fortune continues. Unlike yesterday, there are no pesky traffic jams. Its 4:30pm, and we are approaching gletsch at a fast pace.

But in Switzerland, you often need to make a pause, just to look at the grass so green. This green grass has not been put here for me to take a picture, but for cows to eat. Nevertheless, its good that the grass is green, even though the sky is not blue
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Here, the sky is blue, and the grass is a different shade of green, or maybe its just different WB setting of the camera.
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Small chapels dot every village.
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And so do flags and streetlights
The round circle with two cars side by side and "/" across. It tells you that "no-overtaking zone" ENDE
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We proceed forward from this little town, and are forced to stop again
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Another view
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Proceeding forward, we stop again at yet another village. Slow progress to our home base, but I really do not care. This is a place where you stop.. and stare
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We fast approach gletsch from where the pass climb starts
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Only to stop again
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And Again
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This is our last stop for the day. The light has fallen, and the mountains await. Time to step on the gas, and then... I notice this monstrosity on my tail.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 23rd November 2011 at 18:35.
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Old 24th November 2011, 12:22   #234
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Default Day 7 #7: How to lay an egg

It has round lights.
But its definitely not a porsche.

Its not an Elise either.

Nor is it some perfomance Japanese import.

But its definitely very scary to look at.
Imagine a Tata Ace, a Mahindra Maximo, and Maruti Eeco went out and had a threesome and produced a child. This thing in the RVM looks just like that.

I look out for turnouts to give it way, and there aren't any. People in Switzerland tailgate with abandon, but this thing is literally kissing our rear bumper.

I look at my speedo. I am doing a brisk 65kmph, a good 15kmph less than the speed limit.

But its a curvy mountain road.

To shake this thing I decide to speed upto 70. And then 75, and then right until the speed limit.

This thing keeps up, but only barely.

But I am really having a blast. The donkey engine revs to almost 3000rpm, and trip computer tells me "shift to 5th".

I ignore it.

Couple of hairpins later this thing has fallen back. It tails us all the way to Gletsch. But I have tasted blood. Its really nice to drive within the speed limits on these alpen road. 70-75-70-75 with tires squealing.

I still get overtaken by a couple of superbikes.

Now I understand why do they have signs for bikers to watch their speed. They are doing good 90+. This proves one thing. They do not read the signs. They will rip the alps as fast as they can, esp in this region, where cops are far and few.

I however, have decided not to risk fate, and keep within the limits. Even if I wanted, I could not cross the speed limit. 90 donkeys or not, the MPV is not made to take hairpins at that speed, so I just go as far as I could, and that as fast as I could is significantly less than the speed limit.

A couple of videos of our drive




All that brisky driving as a good side effect.

We enter our bernese oberland region much before sunset. Today, we can buy more eggs, since our Livigno eggs are over.

Unfortunately, supermarkets are closed. Its 6:30pm, and supermarkets close at 6:30pm.

This is Europe for you.

Thankfully, I spot a fuel station with a 24h market. These kinds are slightly more expensive but we have no options.

40 franks buy us 22.86L of diesel

Fuel is sure expensive here.

Now its time to buy eggs. We hunt the ails, but cannot figure out where the Eggs are. I decide to ask at the counter. There are a few customers, and a salesgirl, none of which speak english. So they do not know what eggs mean.

I turn to my wife. Unfortunately, her german lessons did not have this bit of wisdom. So what are eggs called. Of course, there is google translate, but to save money we have not taken any data plan.

This is a log jam.

I decide to try my hand at sign language. I make circles, rounds, shapes with my hand. But all I get is a blank look.

Finally I am frustrated. I sit on the floor in "squatting position". make cluck cluck sounds, and then pickup an imaginary egg from the floor. In other words, I lay an imaginary egg.

and then one of the patrons bursts out laughing, and tells us we want Eier(Prulal for eggs). They are in one hidden corner.

Thankfully, they are not frightfully expensive. We buy 10 of them. I know for sure, they will finish in 2 days.

A short drive later, we are at our chalet. The time is 7:30pm, and sunset is still 30 minutes away. but ours being a deep valley, sunlight has all but vanished

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We cook a nice hot meal, and I kill a few more flies. We sit outside, and admire the view. Tonight we will sleep early, and try for Jungfrau gain.
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Old 24th November 2011, 13:47   #235
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Default Day 7 #8: GPS LOGS

Here are the GPS logs of our trip

First the car GPS tracklog and the elevation profile
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-sept2.jpg

Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-132212192722283p122.160.203.110.png

We did 213kms that day. The peak is the Grimsel Pass in the Elevation profile

While on foot and Gondola, I did not log the full length, but you can see the highest point is the Eggishorn
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-sept2_p.jpg

Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-132212170122188p122.160.203.110.png
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Old 24th November 2011, 16:28   #236
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Default Day 8: #1 : Quest for the young lady

It is Dark. Very Dark. But its not unusual. Its 5am in the morning, so... its supposed to be dark.

I switch on the TV. Which again shows us dark.
I go out, and stars are visible.

So far so good.
Today is our third day in switzerland, and it appears, that the weather gods have indeed bestowed their blessings.

We cook our meal for the Breakfast, and also for the rest of the day.
Today is going to be day we keep our date with the Young Lady, or JungFrau

Technically, Jungfraujoch, the "saddle" between mount Monch and Jungfrau.

German translation of the word means young lady. A wise man on a swiss forum told me, that this young lady is expensive, but then which young lady isn't!

On a budget trip, you have to minimize all expenses. Today, we will use the Free day on our pass. Free day means we travel to Klein Schedigg for free, and from there we take the mountain cogwheel train at half price.

So our return journey would cost us some 45 Fr. per person, instead of the 90 franks.

Since we have 3 free days on our 7 day pass, we also have to pack in as much as we can on this day.

As it lightens up, the webcams start showing a clear orange hue.

Today, we will go to Jungfrau. It is certain.

And this means, today's day will have to be like clockwork.No delays, no resting.

Just a spring.

I take out a sheet of paper. Its very valuable. It has the timetable for the day, and it has many entries.

642am Catch the bus to Lauterbrunnen.
We decide to skip this. Instead, we will take our car to Lauterbrunnen, and park for 10Fr. there. Expensive, but this means we can be back at our chalet at night without waiting for the bus.

We have to be at the platform before 659am, when the train to Klein Schedigg leaves.

Thanks to driving, we are there well in time, and its time to catch the first train... to Klein Schedigg.

Its the first train of the day. Its also called the "Good Morning Train". As its the first train, its cheaper going to Jungfrau via this train. Hence... the station is incredibly crowded!
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Swiss rail system, more often than not, operates like clockwork, and this train is no exception.
We are on our way to the Klein Schedigg station, which is the place where we will change trains.

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Right on time... we are at Klein Schedigg.

Klein Schedigg is a lovely little station, and we are there at 7:40ish
Our Jungfrau train will leave at 8:00am sharp, and at 8:55am we will be at Jungfrau.

The sheet of paper in my hand says so, and I have no reasons for doubting it.

the Jungfrau Cogwheel train
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The station gives you some stunning views.
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The journey is about to start. Contrary to proper believe, only a very small part of the Journey is "scenic".

Jungfraujoch is one of the toughest pass in the alps, and till 18th century nobody even seriously tried to climb it from North.

Today, Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch are hot favorites among alpen climbers. There is infact a gentleman by the name of Daniel Arnold, who climbed the peak in 2 hours and 28 minutes.

In the train, they show us a video of the climb. After all, tunnel walls are not very sceninc, arent they?

However, you do not need to do all this climbing business to get to Jungfraujoch. All you do is pay and take the train.

The train in itself, and the tracks and the stations.... they are an engineering Marvel. First of all, consider this, that the work started in 1896, and completed in 1912.


Even today we go ooh and aah about 6-8km long mountain tunnels, imagine how they would have done it in those times.

The 9.3km track from K.Schedigg is 80% tunnels. They cut through Alpen rock, to land you straight at Jungfraujoch, or the saddle station.

The first stop is Eigergletscher. This is the non tunnel section, and it takes just a few minutes. After that its all tunnels, with two stops till Jungfraujoch.


The first one is the Eigerwand viewpoint, and the second is Eismeer viewpoint.These viewpoints are stations inside the rock, with a dirty glass window as your only contact with the outside world.


At exactly 8:00am, the train started... and we were going to JungFrau!
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Old 24th November 2011, 18:48   #237
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Default Day 8 #2: Jungfrau!

The open section of the 9.3km track is just about a km. You can have view of the North face of Eiger etc.,
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Sun is up, and mist is losing
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Eigergletscher?
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The green Bernese Oberland region
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View from a window at the stop en route. I forget whether its Eismeer?
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At 855am we alight at Jungfraujoch!
There are warning signs everywhere, warning tourists to take it slow. The altitude is 3500m, and since everybody has come from much lower, AMS is a real possiblity.

The first thing you notice however is the Bollywood restaurant, which serves expensive food, just like most resturants in Switzerland
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A Coin press. See how not to use Rupees is the first warning
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Outside, its all snow.
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I enable wifi on my phone, just to see if there is internet access here, and voila there is.

Currently I just have swiss maps on the phone. This seems like a good opportunity, and I start downloading austria and Germany too, after all we have to drive to Salzburg eventually!

Speed is blistering and 12 minutes later, I have half a gig downloaded. We also use this opportunity to talk to family back home. You gotta love free WIFI!

Now at Jungfrau, there are multiple options. You can take a walk outside at the eastern edge, and play in snow, you can go to the viewing platform at the top, or you can go to the mouth of the Aletsch glacier itself.

As far as manmade things go, you can see the ice palace.
We decided to do just that.


Ice palace is just glacial ice carved. Its very slippery and very cold. Come to think of it, outdoors are very cold too, but with sun shining you are comfortable. Not here.
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Sculptures in the ice
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Another tunnel
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Blue lighting inside
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Penguins
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Its a short tour, and not really what we came to see. At Jungfrau, what holds you is the classic Alpen view.

Alps are what we had come to see. So first... it was time to head eastwards
Jungfrau and Aletsch are unesco protected sites
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We head out, and get our first view of the Aletsch, yet again.
But no matter how much you look at it... it always feels different
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Old 24th November 2011, 19:54   #238
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

@ tsk1979 After all the effort Jungfrau without the clouds is fantastic.
When I travelled I was there at Interlaken OST to catch the first train. But I was carrying luggage with me
I was serching for the cloak room but to my surprise there were lockers in platform
we needed some swiss coins to use the locker.There was a small shop on the Platform selling
hot coffee where I exchanged for coins and so was the delay and could not hop into the
first train.
The facilities available for the tourist is amazing. We had to take the second train change at Lauterbrunnen
and then at K.Schedigg.Wonderful pictures.

Last edited by gajadonga : 24th November 2011 at 19:58.
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Old 25th November 2011, 16:33   #239
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Default Day 8 #3 : Jungfrau cont...

The North-East edge of the Jungfrau has a lot of snow too.
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Thankfully, its not wet snow. Else, our sneakers would have been drenched
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Northwards, you see the Bernese Oberland region
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Swiss flag flies high here too, just like other tourist places
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Its 9:45, which means, we have 1:15 according to my "sheet".
We decide to head to the other side, which has the high viewing platform, as well as the glacier exit.

The walk is long, through a tunnel, which has lights. I take a picture while walking
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A lift takes us to the viewing platform. If you suffer from Vertigo... this is not the place, esp since you can see below you feet.
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A wide shot from here.
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It looks very small? Right. Infact, even when standing there, you do not realize the scale of the glacier. White snow can dull your sense of perspective.

In the above picture, look at the bottom left. Do you see dots? They are people waiting for a helecopter. Yes, its people.

Another view. See the snow ploughs. People are now more towards the right, left and above of watermark
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Five minutes later the helecopter arrives. Its red in color(obviouisly)
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We decide to go down to the "Glacier" area, since thats where we want to spend most of the time.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 25th November 2011 at 16:35.
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Old 25th November 2011, 17:58   #240
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Thumbs up Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Thank you tsk,
for these beautiful almost surreal pictures, your travelogues are to be blamed for reigniting the nomadic DNA's in other members.
Just wonderful.
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