I have no words for today that could possibly do it any justice.
Today I led an excursion up to Jung Frau Joch, the highest mountain in the Swiss Alps also called the top of Europe. We got on the 7:40am train, so it was a very early start, we then walked 44 people down to the train station and I exchanged our voucher for the tickets. We boarded the train and changed once at Grindlewald and then again at Kliene Snciddeg. As we went further and further up, we saw more and more snow. We saw cows with bells so large they looked as if they might fall over we saw pretty little villages nestled in the most stunning scenery on Earth. It all looked like a little picture book, until we got on the last connection, the one that would take us to the top of the mountain.
We went into a very long tunnel which is actually chiseled out of the mountain, and enormous feat of engineering. We were allowed off twice so we could run and take photos out of the windows that had been cut away. It was getting colder and colder the higher we went and I was worried about only having my jumper, now that I had left my huge coat in Slovakia for the summer.
We arrived at the top and immediately went up to the view point which is called the Sphinx, because it is perched on a precipice looking out at the rest of the mountains. What I saw was unbelievable, so much white! Even more than in Moscow or St Petersburg, the mountain was shrouded in mist and when you looked down it seemed to go on for infinity. I stood there and actually wondered if this is where the idea of heaven had come from, a great big white world in the clouds.
It wasn't as cold as I expected either, my hands were cold when I took them out of my pockets to take photos, but the sun was shining and the clothes I had picked seemed to trap the heat in my body. Just when I though it couldn't get anymore beautiful, it started to snow, not too much but just enough to put a smile on our face. That stupid silly grin I get sometimes, when I'm facing something amazing. My grin fascinated Garry our coach driver no end.
We came down from the Sphinx and had a hot chocolate, before going down onto the mountain for some snow fun, and fun it was. I spent a lot of the morning posing in the snow with the group, throwing snow, diving into the snow, rolling down snow covered hills and getting snow in my underwear! I even went for a walk on the glacier and then came back and sat in a chair and sunbaked out in the snow, it was that warm!
There was an ice palace which was chiseled out of massive ice blocks, with ice sculptures of penguins and igloos. There was even an ice block with Scrat, the little creature off the movie Ice Age frozen inside it. After the ice palace we went over to the other side of the mountain and walked around for a bit, there was another group there and one girl was having her picture taken in only her knickers and bra! Before I knew what was happening it started to snow and everyone around me started stripping off and jumping in the photo. I looked at Garry and shrugged and proceeded to strip down to my bra and jump in the photo, giggling like a school girl the entire time.
Eventually, the snow stopped and I could see the mountain on the backdrop of the brilliant blue sky. I could see dunes of snow, much like the sand dunes in the Sahara desert, which towered and then wound down towards us. I could almost imagine the trials of a sidewinder or the tracks of a scarab beetle, to snake across the snow. It was so different, yet so familiar.
At 1:30pm it was time to meet back up with the group and take them back down the mountain, we went through the town of Lauterbrunnen this time, which was again very pretty. Some of the group went with Garry back to the hotel, while the rest went into Interlaken with me. I lost most of them, but that was ok, hanging around on my own has never bothered me and it is such a small town that I kept bumping into everyone anyway. I bought myself a nice red singlet top with the Swiss flag on it and some Jack Daniels Swiss chocolate.
I made my way back to the hotel on the bus and then settled in for dinner. After dinner I stayed up chatting to Urs, the hotel manager I shared my Jack Daniels chocolate with him and he shared his Jack Daniels with me. He insisted I drink it straight, not something I usually do. I loved talking to Urs, he used to be an Olympic Ski champion and he has some great stories. After one of the most amazing days of my life I went to bed, completely shattered, wondering how the rest of this tour would ever stack up.