Monday, December 11, 2006

Jungfrau Mountain

Our second day in Switzerland was spent exploring Jungfrau mountain, the highest mountain in Europe. The mountain is 4158m high, but we only went as far as 3454m. Beyond that is only for serious climbers. We took a train half way up to a station called Kleine Scheidegg, then changed to a cog railway which took us up the rest of the way. It's a special type of railway that can handle to steep incline. Below is a view from the train into the valley below where we came from.

The altitude changed pretty rapidly, and many people bought chips just to watch them puff up as the pressure outside decreased. This is Ankie (from South Africa) with her bag of chips. We thought for sure they would explode, but the bag was just too strong. :)

This mountain range actually has three peaks, Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. There is a legend that the Ogre (Eiger) was putting the moves on the young virgin (Jungfrau) when a monk (Monch) intervened, and somehow the three were turned to stone. (I probably should have paid more attention to the tour guide. :))

The train heads for a plateau between Monch and Jungfrau. On it's way it actually goes THROUGH Eiger mountain. And periodically there are stops were we could get off and look out of windows dug out of the side of the mountain. Wow.

After about two hours on the train, we finally made it to the pleateau! The altitude gave me a bit of a headache, but that went away pretty quickly. The only other effect of the altitude was just how much harder it was to hike through the snow or walk up stairs. We'd get out of breath quickly, and it was easy to over do it!

This is us with Jungfrau behind us... the highest point in Europe. This is also the highest post office and highest train station in Europe.


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