01 July 2009

Excursions from Interlaken

Firstly, we went to Lauterbrunnen - a small village situated at the entrance of an amazing valley
- where we saw the unique Trummelbach Falls
which thunders down in 10 magnificent leaps
nside the mountain and made accessible by an impossible network of man made tunnels running parallel to the falls.
This is one of those places that is impossible to capture in photos, you have to be there to hear the roaring fallsand feel the glacier cold mist on your face
to understand why this place belongs in an UNESCO world heritage site listing.
The second place we visited from Interlaken was Jungfraujoch - popularly known as Top of Europe.
To get up there we took Europe's highest train journey through some amazingly unspoilt settings and breathtakingly beautiful vistas. The construction of the Jungfrau Railway began sometime in 1896 and is situated at an altitude of 3454 metres above sea level. The railway station at Jungfraujoch has an eerie effect because it’s in a tunnel and there is no daylight but the experience is very exciting and indeed an experience of a lifetime.
From here you have a choice to either go up to the Sphinx observation terrace
(from where the above photo was taken)
or to go out into the snow - but in reality you can't come all the way here and not do both!
The one most striking (and slightly disturbing feature) of this leg of our tour was the super high percentage of Indian tourist up there at the top of Jungfrau (probably as high as 75%). Striking - because I was clearly not expecting soo many Indians (mostly Maharashtrian families and just married Gujurati couples) - and Disturbing - because of their ridiculously unruly behavior - they were extremely loud, impolite (to anyone who wasn't part of their large Kesari/SOTC tours' group) and completely inconsiderate to everyone around - who were there to enjoy the beautiful peace and tranquil of the high alps!
The evening was spent exploring Interlaken - a place as it's name suggests geographical positioned between the lakes. This is one of the oldest tourist resort towns in Switzerland, and remains one of the most popular, but most frequently visited by adventure-seeking backpackers. Interlaken is home to numerous backpacker-friendly hostels (like the one in which we stayed) and companies that provide guided services in skydiving, canyoning, hang gliding, paragliding, and skiing - sadly we had no time for any of that!

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