We are off and racing on the 60th birthday European Vacation. Of course you all know my birthday was back in August and it will actually be Bob’s birthday (for the THIRD time) that will actually occur while we are in Italy. But August is way too hot and busy to be hiking around the Swiss and Italian Alps and it is sort of special to be able to have one of our birthdays over there.
The plane trip to Dubai was pretty good – knocking over three movies and catching 4-5 hours sleep- followed by a pleasant daytime trip to Zurich which had unfortunately had spectacular cloud cover meaning no spectacular view of the Alps.
(On a side note and I know I did promise myself and others that I would stick to travel blogging and not be banging on about bladders, bowels and pelvic floors for this three weeks, but I do want to just say I found it very disconcerting to be calmly sitting on the loo at Dubai airport (after what seemed like a very small amount of time… and you know my favourite saying to patients is: “When emptying your bladder- if you make the time to go to the toilet, you have to TAKE your time!) and suddenly, without my permission or any action on my part, the toilet starts flushing. What the??? It is also worthy of note that in the absolutely ginormous Dubai International Airport there seems to be a dearth of female toilets. Honestly architects and designers, women do use the loo and I know you are possibly right into bladder retraining on their behalf, but don’t be lousy. The queues were huge.)
After 27 hours of travelling, we still had to jump on a train and head to Wengen – 3 hours from Zurich (and about 4 train changes). If going to Switzerland, I promise it does cost and an arm AND a leg to travel on the trains. I would recommend a Swiss 3 day pass if going to the Jungfrau region as all the trains and cable cars are very exy. The 3 day pass costs 180 CHF (Swiss Francs) each which is much less than what we have forked out for all the transport over the last couple of days. We didn’t plan to do all the train and cable car travel because we thought we were walking most places, but the weather sadly failed us and we had to use the trains and cable cars.
The first morning after our arrival, we decided regardless of the cloud cover and rain, it was all systems go for Jungfrau. We missed it 5 years ago due to rain and cloud and i wasn’t going to miss it this time. There was some early morning sunshine and to get the “cheaper” (135 CHF instead of 170 CHF each) fare up there we had to be on the 8am train and leave on the 1pm train. There are plenty of picture opportunities on the way up – IF and its a big IF- the clouds and mist stay away. Once they descend, you have absolutely no idea what majesty lies out there.
Sun peeking above one of the peaks on the way up in the train.
View on the way up to Jungfrau above Kleine Sheidegg
Aletsch Glacier viewed from Jungrau- its 22 kms long and 1km deep
Jungfrau and the region around Wengen is truly spectacular and because yet again the weather has prevailed, it guarantees a return trip sometime in the future. It is so peaceful, with babbling brooks and cowbells the only sound to pierce the peace and quiet. Today one of the highlights was a walk from Stechelberg to Lauterbrunnen (I am hosing in 10000 steps on this trip).
The babbling (well it was really roaring) brook we followed on the walk.
Wearing my new Schilthorn beanie which I had to buy up there because I saw it was minus 4C on a sign!
We are off to the next set of Alps in the Dolomites in Italy at the crack of dawn tomorrow. It will be 9 hours on the train and I am mostly praying to the rain gods (to stay away) because I am breathlessly awaiting my view from our Val de Funes hotel.
I hope the view is like this
Gute nachte and abschied von Wengen (Good night and farewll from Wengen)