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VariousTo the Top of Europe

On 18 May 2008 from Reuver, Netherlands , trackback

When the rare opportunity of a 5-day weekend presents itself, I just have to cross some country borders (well, I would already do that with a 4-day 3-day weekend). The succession of Queen’s Day and Ascension Day presented such a weekend. So I hit the Autobahn and drove to Interlaken in Switzerland. Fewer towns are more beautifully located: in between two lakes and surrounded by mountains.

Since Thursday started off as a rainy day, I went to St Beatus Höhlen with some people I met at the hostel. This network of caves leads deep into the mountain. Afterwards we drove to Grindelwald to go for a hike to the Oberer Gletscher and around the Gletscherschlucht. Unfortunately I happened to have picked the time to visit the mountains when almost all the cable cars were in maintenance. Nothing unusual, as they do it every year between the skiing and hiking season. But it was making it next to impossible to do the hike I wanted to do, since there was no way to get to and from the trailheads. Therefore it was over to plan B for Friday: the very touristy train to Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest train station, and therefore dubbed ‘the Top of Europe’.

Jungfrau Railways are not only Europe’s highest railways, but also its most expensive, so any discount was welcome. The Good-Morning Ticket did the trick, even though that meant taking the first train at 6AM. At least it was very uncrowded at the Sphinx, the futuristic observation building. Too bad it was still very cloudy early in the morning, but when the clouds disappeared the view of the Aletsch Glacier – Europe’s longest ice stream – was absolutely amazing. I would have wished to stay longer, but the Good-Morning Ticket required me to go back at noon. On the way back I got out at Lauterbrunnen, where I made a nice hike through the beautiful valley, before taking the train back to Interlaken. There I got back in my car and cruised to Luzern, where the best pizzeria served me dinner. And then it was on to the final destination of my trip: Zürich. After checking in to my hotel, I met up with Michael and we hit the town for some drinks and fun.

Saturday morning I met up with Michael again, and we went up Uetliberg Kulm for a nice view of the city. It was followed by a proper city tour, only to be interrupted by the best foods Switzerland has to offer (Mövenpick is my new favourite). We took a little afternoon rest on the grass of the city park next to the lake. In the evening we had a real Swiss dinner at Crazy Cow before looking at the not-so-impressive city lights from Polyterrasse. Obviously Saturday night was spent drinking and partying in the surprisingly hip and trendy banking capital of Switzerland.

Sunday morning’s only activities in the Swiss Confederation consisted of breakfast and filling up with cheap fuel. But this little 5-day trip definitely marked a renewed interest in the small neutral country in Central Europe. Ich will Zurück nach Zürich 😉

 

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