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Monday, August 5, 2013


At the moment I'm in the throes of making an online book about our recent holiday.
I'm using Blurb as I had great success with the book I made about our last overseas holiday.

While we are on holiday we write a holiday diary every night and we email this home to our elderly parents who get a great kick out of sharing our holidays.
These emails are then passed around the Retirement Village so quite a few oldies share our adventures.
I use these diaries (edited quite a bit !!) to add the text to our photo book so it becomes a great momento of a wonderful holiday.
Of course making this book has a lot of side benefits...
I'm reliving  a wonderful holiday in detail.
Which brings me to the subject of today's post.
A visit to the top of this huge mountain is a wonderful experience so I thought I would share it with you. Here's is a little episode from our Travel Diary written by Tony:

" Even though the weather was cloudy we were in the car by 7.30 heading for Thun as we had a three hour rail journey ahead of us .

We had our return tickets purchased by 8.30 for a 9am departure. The railway attendant was extremely helpful and printed out a schedule including platform numbers as we had three train changes. The tickets cost CH240 for the two of us and would normally have cost CH480, so we have recouped our Half Price Fare purchase already.

After an uneventful trip to Lauterbrunnen we made our second train change to the special Alpine train which is a little like a tramcar as this was where we commenced climbing to the highest railway station in the world at 3454 metres above sea level. The track had a third line in the middle with teeth that help pull the train up the mountain. Jungfraujoch was a further two hours from there.

The scenery from here was wonderful - high snow -covered mountains, green valleys specked with dark brown chalets and cascading waterfalls.
We continued to marvel at the scenery when we reached Kleine Scheidegg and changed trains again.

The final leg is the engineering masterpiece of this railway that took sixteen years to build - a tunnel through  Eiger and Monch seven kilometres long. Finished in 1912, it was built at high altitude in inaccessible mountains and using no machinery- all the way to the top of Jungfraujoch.

How did they do that ?

There were two stops as we journeyed through the long tunnel deep inside the Eiger. They contain viewing windows and toilets and everyone piles off the train to see the view of the mountains. At the first one, the window was completely covered with ice so back to the train we went.
When we stopped at the next one people were a bit reluctant to move from their seats but we always give it a try and to our delight this view was not blocked at all.
It was a terrific view of a huge glacier.
Up really close.
Now usually, you  only see the end of a glacier where it's all dirty and yucky but this was pristine.
Huge white ice boulders tumbled upon each other.
Quite a sight.

On arrival at Jungfraujoch we entered the building and gathered our thoughts. If you wondered about the tunnel, how did they build this five story building on top of this mountain?

This building has shops, restaurants and a conference centre all with glass panelled walls for maximum viewing.   

We arrived at an elevator in the tunnel labelled the Sphinx, so we took this very fast elevator to the very top of the mountain and arrived at a steel mesh viewing platform outside. We took the plunge out into the snow and waited for the mountains to appear out of the clouds.

Unfortunately, apart from the odd glimpse, they were not going to be kind to us today. A clear day in the mountains at this altitude probably does not happen a lot in the spring time.

Next display of interest was the ice tunnel bored through ice, a round trip walk with ice carving displays.

The Plateau was another outdoor viewing area of interest. You go out a big door onto a fairly narrow snowy outcrop that has a 200 metre dog leg walk up a slope to the top where a Swiss flag is.
Helen was the first to go and started doing wheelies and a balancing act as the high traffic area snow had turned to ice ! By then the wind was blowing and the snow was getting heavy.

I quickly followed and we got half way up the hill and Helen decided not to go any further . You know she is an accident waiting to happen so probably a good call. Deciding to continue alone, I then became the official photographer for Jungfrau as every couple wanted me to take their photo under the Swiss flag because I was alone.
Before long I had frost bite and could not press the shutter anymore!
I handed the cameras back and headed for the exit hanging onto a rope strung between posts. 
Feeling a little disappointed because everybody but me had a picture of themselves standing under the Swiss flag, I consoled myself with a pleasant lunch looking at the mountains as they occasionally broke out of the clouds.

We had thoroughly enjoyed Jungfrau "top of Europe " and headed for the station to start our journey down the mountain.

On the journey down we got to talking with the conductor, who seemed to speak every language in the world. He suggested to us that we get off the train at Allmend and walk downhill to Wengen then pick up the next train that came through.
You can see people walking along the trail in the photo below.

By then we were well below the snow line and in a very picturesque valley so we decided to take the challenge. We hopped off at Allmend and the ticket man was good enough to show us where the trail was behind the station round behind a restaurant !

Now the trails here are clearly marked and are mostly bitumen, sometimes gravel. This is a very big walking area through the Mountains with all grades of challenging tracks.

 Of all the walks we have done this was one of the best, it was like walking into a Swiss postcard !
Just when we thought it couldn't get any better a farmer and a dozen cows with cow bells passed us heading up the hill.
We quickly put the camera on movie mode to record the sound of Switzerland !

Eventually we arrived at beautiful Wengen and were on the train heading home
after a stunning day."

Well if you have made it this far congratulations !!

Must get back to making my book.



  1. What a fabulous day out you had - I'd love to go there myself. Your holiday book looks great - must look into making one like that of my own days out sometime. Thanks for sharing this stunning trip.

  2. The pictures are amazing! I don't ever recall seeing views like that. The story was wonderful too. Sorry you didn't get a picture under the flag but you got so many great pictures, it probably won't be missed. Thank you both for sharing your trip. I loved it!

  3. I really enjoyed this - fabulous scenery and I love those cow bells! I'd love to visit switzerland and I love how easy it is to print a book these days - I'd love to do it for our holidays (we haven't had as many as you!) but I don't know when I'll find the time to go through all the photos I took and try to remember all the details! I am on holiday at the moment, I should make an effort this week to record things as I go for a book at some point!

  4. Fantastic scenery and what a great idea to make a book of your photos and memories.

  5. Nice blog Helsie. Writing a diary every night is a holiday must as remembering schedules, place names etc. can soon slide from your memory. It also makes writing a book easier as daily diaries can be copied and pasted into the book software. Matching photos to the diary also becomes a lot easier.

  6. Your pictures capture it all in such detail. Amazing scenery and a wonderful description to go with it .

    I spent most of this weekend uploading pictures of our last holiday to one of those photobook sites and it nearly drove me crazy!

  7. Wow! That was one amazing day! Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Wow! you had a lovely trip - wish I could go back there again. I was twelve when I went on a school trip at they you don't notice things..
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  9. I wonder what would have been in the thought balloon of the first cow when it saw you on their track? I guess it would have included a couple of Swiss swear words.

    I must get round to making one of those online photobooks myself. It's a shame when your photos only exist on the old computer screen.