It is wrong to it claim it as top of Europe as Mt. Blanc at 4808 meter at France Italy border is the Europe’s highest point. But I think it is one of the marketing strategy to popularise Jungfrau. But it is indeed the highest point a non mountaineer can reach in Europe. It is a popular tourist destination in Switzerland.
My travel in Switzerland started with the visit to Jungfrau. Having started early from Basel, I had travelled to Interlaken and taken another train to Lauterbrunnen. Dropping my bags at the hotel, I went and brought the train tickets to Jungfrau. The platform at Lauterbrunnen railway station looked like a scene straight from Manali or any other Himalayan hill station!! The platform was noisy and I was hearing only Indian languages. Most of people were Indians!! Chinese were in equal strength though.
The first leg of the journey to Jungfrau was the mountain train journey from Lauterbrunnen to Kaine Schenigg. Couple of coaches were booked for group tours but there was no issues in getting seats. Needless to say, I was surrounded by few Indian families and I started having short conversations with them.
The ticket collector came for checking and none of the Indians sitting around me had tickets!! Train tickets to Jungfrau are very expensive. Since I had Swiss travel pass, I got 25% discount but still I had to pay 132 CHF. Few of them started pleading ignorance that they need to have ticket for that leg of journey. Some of them had an voucher issued by travel agent but that need to be converted it to ticket. Ticket collector in strong voice told that they need develop the habit of reading all documents they get!! I also felt that how could one be so naive!! I can understand if one is from village without exposure to outside world but the people in Jungfrau train on that day did look so. But I felt that it is possible to get confused in a foreign country and they should be given benefit of doubt. More importantly, ticket collector also felt so!! She asked to get the tickets in the next station.
Meanwhile, the train had slowly started gaining altitude. The forest gave way to open lands and the snow cover started increasing. The train slowly reached Kaine Schenigg. It had taken about 45 minutes.
We had to now change to the train to Jungfrau. Train connections were nicely managed. There was enough time between trains not to rush and at the same time the waiting time was not long to cause boredom.
Kaine Schenigg was surrounded by massive mountains like Eiger, Jungfrau and other. It was amazing to see the tunnel being dug under the massive Eiger mountain. Swiss people had done it in 1890’s and 1900’s. Yes, the railway line was constructed more than 100 years ago!!
Within minutes of departing from Kaine Schenigg, the train entered into the tunnel which lasted for about 35 minutes till it reached the terminal station of Jungfrau. The train stopped in between for crossing. There was an opening here to view the mountains.
The weather at Jungfrau was changing every time. While it was perfectly clear on one side, the glacier side was cloudy. It looked like we could not get any view. One of the prime attraction at Jungfrau is Aletsch glacier which is about 23 km long. While I could get the view of the glacier, it was not clear enough to get good photographs.
It was time to get down from balcony and enter into snow field. I was doubtful whether I could walk on snow with the shoes I was wearing. But the snow was hard which made it easy for me to walk. It was a nice experience. You can see the variation in weather in two photographs. I was walking in clear weather and within a minute I could not even see anything in front of me.
Another touristy point was Ice cave in Jungfrau which was indeed a nice experience.
Bollywood restaurant at Jungfrau. An expensive restaurant but it was expected!! It looked like it was the lunch place for almost all Indian tourist groups!! I had no intensions of having food there and settled with the food I purchased at Lauterbrunnen railway station.
It is better to keep a full day for Jungfrau. It takes about 2.5 hours to reach Jungfrau from Interlaken. There are two routes from Interlaken. You can reach Kaine Schenigg either via Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. Irrespective of Swiss passes, the tickets have to be purchased from Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. The trains leave very 30 minutes. It is always better to check weather before leaving. There is no point in paying huge amount of money if the weather is bad. Important to be flexible in plans.