Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Winter Spirit day 3-4: Lauterbrunnen

Day 3: Paris to Lauterbrunnen (Switzerland)
Again we for up for an early breakfast and departure. I felt like death. The bus ride was basically hell. I started feeling better as the scenery started changing to beautiful mountains! Just before we crossed the Swiss border we started seeing snow!! We arrived just before 7 for dinner where we had soup and pork with green beans and taters. Then we went outside to play in the snow! Our accommodation was in a valley in a little town called Lauterbrunnen and it was like a dream, high cliffs surrounded us, covered in snowy trees and waterfalls running down them. The snow wasn't great for playing because the top and melted and refrozen so it was ice, but we managed to build a pretty great snow man and had a snow ball fight! We walked up to town while everyone else was in the bar and ate snow and Maree made a snow angel. We walked to the church and then it started snowing! It was sleet at first but by the time we got back to the backpackers it was snow! We had a drink in the bar but decided to have a bit of an early night so we could make the most of the next day (and Maree was going skydiving!)

Day 4 Lauterbrunnen and the Jungfrau railway!
Today we took the railway up the mountain to Jungfraujoch. Jungfraujoch Europe's highest railway station, and it is quite pricy to go up there, but definitely worth it!  The trip took 2 hours and a change of trains but it felt like no time at all because the view was spectacular! We had our eyes (and lenses) looking out the window the entire time with our jaws wide open. The pictures really don't do the place justice. We saw people skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing the whole way up. 
When we got up the top we were all a bit wobbly from the altitude (11700 ft) but we did the tour around the station and went up to the view point with 2 other guys (a South African and a Mexican!) and our tour leader. There was a sign saying it was -18.5*c outside but with the wind chill factor I think it was a lot colder! It was quite cloudy at the top, but we did see a bit of a view when the clouds cleared for a bit and it was beautiful. We couldn't stay out for long because the wind was blowing snow everywhere and freezing our noses and fingers, but the snow was really soft! We went to the ice palace to see ice sculptures of polar bears, penguins and eagles, and slid around the whole time, almost as fun as ice skating! 
Then we went out to another view point which is usually a path to the top of the mountain, but it was so windy it was closed off. We got a picture of all of us, but it was so cold that when we smiled our teeth hurt! We went and had lunch, veal sausage with loads of fries, and then made the most of the free wifi they had. We sent a postcard back to the pub, and took another magical train ride down so we had time to look around lauterbrunnen. Unfortunately a lot of things were closed because it was Sunday (like the supermarket) but the souvenir shops were open and we bought lots do things. Toby got a green Swiss Army knife, a colour you can only get in Switzerland, and I got a rubber duck in the shape of a cow!! 
We walked around, took pictures, made snow angels and threw snowballs before heading back for dinner which was a delicious cheese fondue, and veal sausage again! We went to play in the snow a bit before having a few drinks in the bar and went to bed at a much more reasonable hour than in Paris.

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