Heavenly Switzerland Part II
Day XVII: The City Between the Lakes, Interlaken
After having Chef Vatsal's pasta for breakfast, We headed to Lucerne Train station for the Jungfraujoch adventure. Another 90-minute panoramic train ride on a different route but with similar jaw-dropping views!
We reached Brienze at 11:00 AM and requested an early check In. Thankfully, we got our room. This was undoubtedly the most scenic room of the entire trip. Just look at the view from our Balcony and our Windows! We dropped our luggage and went out to explore Brienze.
Brienze was a quiet town located at the bank of the gigantic lake Brienze. While travelling in Swiss, I realised one should at least spend a couple of days in one of these villages. "Grindelwald, Wengen, Lauterrurnnen, Interlaken or Brienze!" I loved Wengen & Brienze because Brienze would provide you with a magnificent view of the lake while Wengen would provide you with the feeling of staying in the mountains of the Alps. Both experiences would be amazing!
We were roaming in the quiet streets of the Brienze aimlessly. After a while, we got hungry and went for lunch at a small lakeside cafe. We ordered Pizza with chilled Beers. Post lunch, we went to Lake Brienze and sat for a while. The place offered me great peace of mind! according to one of the famous Insta quotes: 'Life moves fast, If you won't stop, you might miss It!' The lake was one of those places, I loved stopping at! These lakes and Mountains reminded me of the mighty Himalayas. Altitude wise there was no comparison but in terms of the vibes and the beauty, the Alps were identical to the Himalayas :)
Remember we were the Swiss travel pass holders? It was time to reap the rewards by going for a mesmerising cruise ride in Brienze Lakes for free ;) Don't think of the cruises as the ferries we used to see in India! The lakes in these parts of the World were insanely huge that cruises that generally, operated in Seas and Rivers were operated in these lakes. It was a 90-minute journey in paradise. On the way, it stopped at multiple ports. Some of those ports had only a single Hotel. We were travelling in the middle of the glacier lakes, surrounded by mighty snow-capped mountains & beautiful Swiss villages! After the initial photo and video sessions, we sat at a place and never got tired or bored of the view or the journey.
We got down at the Interlaken port and went to the Casino where the Swiss government had built the statue of the famous Bollywood movie director Yash Raj...They built it to honour Yashraj because it was his Films of the 90s that had inspired a lot of Indians to travel to Switzerland.
The day we decided to visit Switzerland, we wanted to shop for a cuckoo watch, a few Swiss knives, a cowbell [i.e. because Kajol bought it from Siwss in DDLJ :P] & Fridge magnets. The entire road of 2 kilometres from Interlaken Ost to Interlake West was filled with shops of Swiss watches, chocolates & souvenirs. And, we visited all of them until we found the Swiss knives, fridge magnets & cowbell & cuckoo watch of our liking and under our budget of course ;). To be frank, finding a cuckoo watch under budget was the biggest challenge and at the last cuckoo watch stop we found the one! Indeed, सब्र का फेल मीठा और हमारे case मे within our budget था :P".
It was late and we were tired after walking from one end of Interlaken to the other. Hence, we had a hotdog & coffee before heading towards Interlaken Ost. We didn't want to cook and eating outside was costly in Swiss so we went to COOP ( their D-Mart ) and bought frozen pizza, Kababs and some of the local beers! On the way, we found a beautiful church. So went there before catching a train to Brienze from the Interlaken Ost.
When we reached home, both of us were starving. So, without wasting any time, I prepared the food in the microwave & went to the balcony to have dinner with a million $ view! By the way, Aayushi wasn't aware of any such arrangement. therefore, after setting up the table, I casually asked Aayushi to come outside. When she came, asked her if she would like to go on a date. She had to say "YES". because she was starving ;)
Day XVIII: Jungfraujoch, Top of the Europe
Unlike, Mt. Titlis, the weather report suggested that it would be a sunny day. It made me extremely happy because when I would reach Jungfrau, I wanted to see the view from the top of Europe. And, without sunny weather, it wouldn't be possible. We wanted to complete the circuit. meaning reach Jungfrau from Grindelwald via cable car, then take a train from Eigergletscher to Jungfrau. While returning, from Eigergletscher, take a train to Lauterbrunnen via Wengen!
From Brienze we took a train to Interlaken Ost and then a bus to Grindelwald. From Grindelwald, one had to take a ticket to Jungfraujoch that would cost 144€ after a 25% discount for Swiss travel pass holders. One could choose to stay one day in Grindelwald and explore famous sights like Great First, First Cliff Walk.
From Grindelwald, we took the cable car to Eigergletscher. The best part of the ride was the mesmerising view of the Alps.
Eigergletscher station was the starting point of a few of the skiing routes. The weather and the view from there were pleasant as well as the place was open to tourists. So we went outside the station. The station was surrounded by the mighty snowcapped mountains of the Jungfrau region. The mountains were so tall that to look at their peaks we had to completely look upwards. As the skiing route started from the doorsteps of the Eigergletscher, there was a lot of snow around the place. "When you dive in the Snow, you won't get hurt instead your dopamine level will be released." To test this theory, I tried some of my Kung Fu moves by diving in the snow. It worked by the way ;) While we were there, we also made an adorable snowman! Unfortunately, his lips were yellow and not red because Aayushi didn’t give me her lipstick and I had to compromise with small pieces of cheese :P To follow our rituals, we danced in the snow. While returning to the station, In a mere hundred meters of walking, I fell a few times and that time It hurt a bit because it was hard snow :D
Time for the last train journey that would take us to the top of Europe, Jungfraujoch. A few interesting facts about it, It was 15 minutes train journey passing through the Mountains & Glaciers of the Alps. It was built in the late 18th century and at a height of more than 3000 M from the sea level. Glaciers were very fragile objects and building train routes from them that too, in the 18th century was nothing sort of a miracle. That's why even today, Europe is way ahead of the rest of the world. By the way, Jungfraujoch was the same place we had seen in countless famous Hollywood thrillers, amongst those, Mission Impossible was the most famous one! Recently, even Bollywood started shooting there, I guess in the movie Pathan they performed one of the action scenes here.
We reached Jungfraujoch by noon. Jungfraujoch to me felt like a Maze that even Google Maps couldn't able to solve. We open the brochure and figured out, there were 10 total sights amongst 1st was the train station from where we came. As soon as we entered the Jungfraujoch building, we found Snow Palace not sure if it was 7th or 9th but with that, our excursion to Jungfraujoch began. Everything built inside the snow palace was made of snow including the statues of different wildlife animals and swiss villages. I was amazed by its creativity!
From there we proceeded to point number 3, known as the Jungfraujoch viewpoint because it provided fascinating panoramic views of snowcapped mountain ranges of the Alps and 4th was the famous view of Jungfraujoch Tomb. Both the 3rd and the 4th points were nearby.
On our way to the Sphinx lift, we crossed point number 7, which was the replica or the prototype of Jungfraujoch. I was amazed by it because it described our journey to Jungfraujoch via a single tiny object.
The 5th was the actual top of Europe because its the terrace of Jungfraujoch. And the only way one could reach there was via Sphinx Lift because, at 3200 M height, nobody would wish to climb hundreds of stairs :P. Also, the place felt ordinary because it was overcrowded and provided the same view that we saw from the Jungfraujoch viewpoint.
The 6th Point was what we loved the most, It was the other side of the Jungfraujoch building and after circling the entire Jungfraujoch building twice, we were able to find It. The place was kind of separated or you could say hidden from the rest of the places and hence less crowded. We lay down in the snow and admired the view for a while before moving towards the main building.
As we hadn’t done breakfast, we were starving. So we went to Cafeteria and ordered Chicken Curry & Rice ( Finally Something Indian ) with Fries and Beer. The food was way better than the Mt. Titlis restaurant's food. was Delicious. After having lunch we went to see the 8th and our final point of Jungfraujoch, Lindt Museum which was nothing compared to the Zurich one. We left the museum as soon as we entered :P. From there we went straight to the train station. unfortunately, we reached a bit late and missed the train. The next train was in another 30 minutes but we were exhausted. Therefore we waited at the station itself.
As I had already mentioned we wanted to explore the complete Jungfrau circuit, we took the train route from Eigergletscher. Thank god, despite being super tired, we chose the train journey to Lauterbrunnen instead of the comfortable cable car journey. Because it was not one of the best but the best train journey of my life.
On the way to Lauterbrunnen, we had to change trains at multiple stations. I must say these were some of the best stopover stations I had been to. The beginning of the journey was full of snow. everything was white and bright. Everything was insanely bright that without sunglasses I wasn't able to open my eyes. Had you ever experienced something like this? Anyways, After the first station, the level of snow had reduced and we could able to see more trees. Because of panoramic trains, we could able to enjoy a 360° view of the Alps. After our second stopover station or I would say a few kilometres before Wengen, the train started to descend at a declination of more than 60°. Because of this, the transparent roofs too, started playing a role in increasing the beauty of the journey.
I had heard a lot about Wengen and when the train stopped at Wengen station for 15 minutes, I realised why the place was called heaven. Not staying in Wengen for a day and not doing Glacier Express were the 2 big misses on my end while preparing the Swiss itinerary.
As soon as we reached Lauterbrunnen, we got off the train and ran towards the bus as it would be departing in another 5 minutes. Despite the bus being overly crowded, we entered the bus and somehow managed to stand at its door. we reached Interlaken Ost in 20 minutes.
We came from the top of Europe, now it was our time to go to the top of Interlaken. That too, via the mode of transport, we hadn't used on this trip, Harder Kulm. It was eight minutes of a thrilling ride where we literally moved horizontally at an inclination of 80°. The viewpoint was mere 200 meters of walk. The view from the top was incredible and the evening colours of the sunset were increasing the awesomeness of the place! We stood in a queue for 20 minutes only to take selfies with this beautiful view. Was that 20 minutes worth It? I felt it was! later, we found a nice place where we sat and cherished the sunset over the Alps. "अब इतने अच्छे view को complement डेने के लाइन एक Beer तो पीनी ही पड़ती है!". I felt that Corona (not the virus but the beer) had doubled the awesomeness of the evening!
After 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM, the frequencies of the trains would reduce. Instead of every half an hour, there were trains every hour and the last train would leave Interlaken Ost at 11:04 PM. In our case, the next available train to Brienz was at 9:04 PM. We had time on our hands and we were hungry therefore we decided to eat something in Interlaken itself. Also, We were tired of eating frozen pizzas and wanted something fresh and homely. So we went to a nearby Indian restaurant and had delicious Chicken biryani!
It was one of the most tiring yet satisfying & memorable days of our trip!
The last part of the Heavenly Switzerland, A day trip to Zurich is here 👉 Heavenly Switzerland Part III