Thursday, July 07, 2005

Europe 2005 - Switzerland

L. and I took a little detour up to Switzerland. We stayed in Interlaken for 2 days just to relax. Driving in was all over mountain roads, but they were all in really good condition so not that hard to drive. There were a lot of tunnels, about one every for every mile we drove. The longest tunnel we drove is the longest one I've ever driven through- it was 10 miles long. All the tunnels were messing with the GPS and made us miss our exit a couple times because of lost signal.
Interlaken- the city is at the base of the Jungfrou mountains on one side and the Matterhorn on the other side. The Matterhorn is bigger and more covered with snow than what is at Disneyland but hey, I guess there are always compromises when using paper machiĆ©. It was really relaxing just driving and walking around the city since everyone was really courteous to pedestrians. Everyone there spoke English. When there are 3 official languages in Switzerland what’s learning one more since it is a tourist town. And to think, I have trouble with 1 and a half. I do think that it was part of the reason that it was so relaxing there was not trying to communicate in broken words we know from the local language. It was also good because it was the first place since England that had English newspapers so that we found out about the London bombings.
The main reason that people go to Interlaken is to take the train up to the glacier at the top of Jungfrou mountain. We ignored our budget and went too. You have to transfer trains 3 times with each one able to go up steeper mountains. They all travel through swiss towns where the train is the regular mode of travel outside of the cable cars that go to the places to steep for trains. The last train just travels through a tunnel the whole time. Once at the top ( after the 3 hour train ride up) we went out onto the glacier. just wearing our rain jackets and pants trapped enough heat to keep us warm for the while we were outside the building. We could not resist getting into a snowball fight. It is really weird that just a couple of days before we had had over 100 degree weather and beaches. They have built an ice cave through the glacier with permanent ice sculptures. The walls are clear ice with the little trapped air bubbles. we had just been walking 7 meters above on top of the glacier from where we were now. Leslie and I had fun sliding around on the ice floor.
There is a science observatory here that is the highest point but Leslie and I did not spend that much time here as it was also the most windy area and the snow was getting past our sunglasses and into our eyes.
There was also an area to go skiing and sledding, well sort of- you had to stay in the roped off area as they did not want anyone falling through a hole in the glacier. We went sledding but the first time down my sledding disc got away from me and took a chunk of skin out of my finger. So I only got to go once but that didn’t stop me from having one of those I'm sledding on a glacier in the middle of July moments. We slept on the train ride down and I was able to write a few posts to catch up.

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