A Travellerspoint blog


The Top of Europe

27 December 2008

sunny 5 °F

This am it looked really ugly down at our level but we decided to risk it and try for the trip to Jungraujoch. It is touted as the Top of Europe at 13,642 feet. That’s higher than Cusco, Mom!
It is supposed to be gorgeous when the weather is good with views into France and Germany.
In order to get there you have to pay an outrageous amount of money and take 3 trains. The ride is about 2 hours and 20 minutes. The last trains are cogwheel trains that seem to go straight up the mountain. Along the way you get to see all the skiers going down the slopes right next to you!
There is a bunch to do at the top. They have an observatory where you can risk frostbite to go outside and take photos of the glacier.
There are also some crazy birds that soar around up there.
Even thought the weather was bad in Interlaken it was gorgeous at the peaks. There were a lot of clouds but it just made the view even more magical.
One side of the mountain has the Swiss flag and quite a bit of wind. Inside they have restaurants and of course a shop.
The other star attraction is the Ice Palace. It is built inside the glacier and you can “skate” thru the tunnels to see the carvings.
They have polar bears, igloos with fisherman, penguins and eagles all carved out of the ice. It is pretty impressive.
We had some fries for lunch before catching the crowded train back down to town. There is not much else to say – I’ll let the photos do it!
When we got back to town we stopped in a shop to get a fondue pot! We just had to! Dinner was at Des Alpes because they had a fondue spread. We apparently stressed out the waiter when we ordered it because we had to move to a bigger table and he asked us to go the salad bar while he got everything set up.
We got an outrageous amount of food. The cooker in the middle of the table had 3 layers – the top was a fondue pot for the turkey and pork. Then the middle was a grill for the vegetables, bacon, shrimp and pork. The bottom was the part for the raclette. This is a little shovel that you put a slice of swiss cheese on. It melts and they you scrap it off onto your bread or potato – FANTASTIC! And it was a change from our cheese fondue. The stuff also came with an assortment of olives, onions, pickles, fruit and rice. It took us 1.5 hour to eat and we didn’t even get close to finishing. Curt was exhausted form all the cooking though. Dinner wore us out so we went to the room to pack. Tomorrow we go home 

Posted by ErinDriver 01:53 Archived in Switzerland Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

Skiing in the Swiss Alps....or not!

26 December 2008

sunny 30 °F

The good news is we made it thru the day and there were no visits to the ER or casting room. The bad news is we DSC05411.jpgdidn’t get to ski!

So there we were, showered, breakfast and dressed in 10 layers with our skiis by our side. The bus pulls up and the driver and a couple of passengers tell us that there is a storm at the top of the mountain and no gondolas or trains are running!!!! What a heartbreaker – we dragged all this equipment to Switzerland and might not even get to use it!
So we just decided to walk around town and pop in some of the open shops. We didn’t find much of interest though. We had pizza and the local beer – Ragenbrau – for lunch followed by a ice cream and fries at McDonalds. I know, I know – but they did have the local chocolate Caradellis in the McFlurry.
We went back to the hostel and took a nap hoping that we will be able to do our midnight sledging!
Before sledging we went to a chocolate show at Schuh, a local chocolate shop that still makes everything by hand.
In the showroom they had displays of what students had to make as their project. It was amazing – there was a skier, dragon, dog, penguin, and mountain goat - all made of solid chocolate.
The chef went thru how we get cocoa and did manage to break our hearts by telling us the white chocolate is nothing but fat. It is the cocoa butter with sugar and vanilla!
She demonstrated how to make hollow chocolate santas and truffles. We learned the secret of the edges on the truffle – they just roll the chocolate ball over the metal bars on the little grate! We also got to eat lots of chocolate during the demonstration.
Next up was the midnight sledding! We got to go!!! A bus picked us up at the Interlaken train station and took us to Beatenberg where we took a gondola to Neiderhorn. Up here we had the best cheese fondue ever! The night before had nothing on this fondue in a little chalet looking restaurant in the Swiss Alps.
When we were done eating we got plastic sleds with no way to steer what so ever! Our only instructions were stay on the sled trail! The only marks on the trail were little glowing orange lamps that didn’t really illuminate anything. The object was to sled to Vorsass where there was another restaurant and a gondola. The route was about 1.5 miles we guess and you just go flying down the hill with nothing for brakes but your heels and no way to steer. The first round was absolutely terrifying. But the mountains were gorgeous in the moonlight and the stars were brilliant.
After the first run we checked in to the restaurant for the gluhwein and work up the courage to go again. It seemed as if most people walked down and didn’t plan to go again. The gondola went back up to the start every 30 minutes so we barely got 2 runs in before we had to catch the gondola back to the Neiderhorn. The second trip was much faster and more fun, and we didn’t fall off that time! It was a blast! After the gondola and bus back to town it was after midnight until we got to sleep!

Posted by ErinDriver 07:22 Archived in Switzerland Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

A Korean Christmas in Switzerland!

25 December 2008

30 °F

A seven hour train ride brought us safely to Interlocken, Switzerland although it felt more like we stepped off the train into Asia. I am not kidding when I saw we are about the only 2 tourists here that aren’t from Korea! Mom – I’m sure you will appreciate that :)
A few blocks from the train station was our hostel – The backpackers Villa.
It is very large and seems upscale as far as hostels go. Our room has a sink and a little couch and the bathroom is right outside the door.
After dragging all our ski equipment to the third floor we headed out for a walk. Even though it was Christmas many restaurants were open. There was a chocolate shop with a huge display of chocolate including a santa on the main road. I thought you might appreciate picture of that mom.
Of course I was looking for some cheese fondue and soon found it at the Bernenhof. We sat outside by the Christmas lights and a heater. Inside was packed with Koreans who were celebrating Ivan's birthday. One of the waiters was entertaining them with that Ricola horn!
Tomorrow we plan to ski so we went to the room to have some hot chocolate and get ready for an early morning.

Posted by ErinDriver 06:56 Archived in Switzerland Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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