Jungfraujoch is a considerable feat of engineering. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that every traveler must experience. Passing through the seven kilometers long tunnel that took 3000 men 16 years to drill it, fills one’s heart with reverence for those who went through the unimaginable hardships. And with great courage, skill and strength, they made Jungfraujoch the highest train station in Europe (it opened in 1916) that still draws millions of tourists every year. While coming back, we lingered at Kleine Scheidegg for a while before getting on to the train that would take us to Grindewald (we did the round trip). The station has restaurants where you can sit and soak in the sun and some dazzling views of Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Watching the red train snake on the snow-covered mountain is a treat in itself. From Interlaken, one can choose either of the two routes, one that goes via Lauterbrunnen and other takes you via Grindewald. Trains from Grindewald and Lauterbrunnen stop at Klein Scheidegg, from where the last stage of the journey begins and takes you to Jungfraujoch. In between, the train makes two stops at Eismeer and Eigerwand where panoramic windows on the stations offer incredible views. Many tourists also base themselves at Interlaken for making a day visit to Jungfraujoch. While we chose to stay at Lauterbrunnen, a small village nestled in the deep valley and surrounded by rising rocky cliffs and some seventy-two waterfalls.
Those of us familiar with the idea of "Himalayas" as the abode of "Shiva" would be pleasantly surprised when you reach "Top of Europe" Jungfrau. The head of a young woman, etched by nature on permanent snow at a height of nearly 4000 meters, bears a striking resemblance to Lord Shiva, with his tresses and the third eye. The Jungfrau (maiden/virgin in German) is the highest peak located in the Bernese Oberland region of Swiss Alps. Accessible by train, hotels/restaurants, an Ice Palace,an Observatory are some of the attractions at Jungfrau.
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
Europe's highest altitude cable car gets you to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise at 3883 metres and grants you with the most alluring views of around 40 mountain peaks and a dozen glaciers. If in case you decide to skip Gornergratbahn, Europe's highest cogwheel railway that allows you to gaze at Matterhorn at 3000 metres, the Glacier Paradise should make up for the guilt. Apart from being a Mecca for ski-lovers, both children and adults are kept busy by virtue of an ice-palace and an ice slide. This place will make you realize that paradise can really be expensive as the tickets for the 40 minute cable car ride from the Valley Station in Zermatt come for about 80 Swiss Francs. Everything shuts by 4 in the evening so do keep track of your time and check the weather before departing.
While the Matterhorn Museum looks like a modern architectural marvel from the outside, its dark and somewhat depressing interiors tell stories of the brave souls who lost their lives while ascending the Matterhorn. It also provides visitors an insight into the history of Zermatt and the daily lives of the simple townsfolk. Make sure you take a good look at the disreputable rope that broke in 1865 and turned what could have been a splendid conquest of the mountain into a tragic tale. Also take some time out to read Teddy Roosevelt's letters to his sister, documenting his experiences with the Matterhorn, the Grim Reaper of a mountain that claims up to twelve lives each year. You have to be very experienced, fit and brave to climb this giant. The entry to the museum which is open from 11am to 6pm is around 15 Swiss Francs with an audio-guide and tickets are available at the main entrance.
Furka Pass, SwitzerlandOne of the most striking mountain passes in the world, the Furka Pass is at an elevation of 7,969 feet and connects Gletsch, Valais with Realp, Uri, in the Swiss Alps. If panoramic green, rolling hills and pretty snow-capped mountains are what you’re looking for during your journey, the Furka Pass will deliver! The drive offers some gripping photo opportunities so don’t forget to carry your camera!