Grindelwald to the “Top of Europe”

I really don’t know how to start talking about Grindelwald. This place is surreal. I went to New Zealand during the winter and already thought the scenery was amazing…Grindelwald, well, it’s on a whole other level.

The view at my hotel Gletschergarten was already pretty amazing. DSC_0100The location is très bon. Far away enough from the main part of this small town to avoid the huge crowds and other tourists, but close enough for you to walk to the train station within 10-15 minutes. The best part, of course, is landscape….I mean look at that. My family and I spent a good half hour taking pictures on our balcony when we first arrived….LOL.

This charming residence has been a family business for 150 years! The hosts are super nice, and the hospitality/services is very friendly. My mom, being the mom that she is, always likes to ask a bunch of questions when she’s at a new place…both the husband and wife showed amazing patience. DSC_0102They also serve dinner, but you have to make reservations in advance (it’s 42 francs/person for their set menu). It’s not fine dining, but good enough for me! They’re also very flexible and can actually cater the entire meal to you if there are things you specifically want/don’t want. It is better than what I’ve tasted/seen around the town. We ate at the hotel for two nights and really enjoyed ourselves, mostly because the dining place is, although full with other guests, intimate and quiet. Just the atmosphere we were looking for after a long day.  An added note about this place – it’s three stars, and made the 2014 Michelin Guide. Can’t go wrong with this place.

DSC_0111Okay…now on to the main point of this trip – Jungfrau! It is quite a trip to get there, around 2 hours of train ride, to get to the very top. We caught the 8am train so we could avoid tourists. The two-hour train ride actually goes by pretty fast. It starts out pretty scenic but then you’re in tunnels the rest of the way. They let you off a few times to catch a glimpse of the mountains…but OH MAN, IT’S COLD!

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Once you are at the final stop, you’re basically at a huge viewing tower.DSC_0182 Make your way to the top to get the most panoramic view. As you fight with other tourists to for photo-ops…STAY WARM. My feet were  so cold they started to hurt! It’s also because my shoes got really wet in the snow. They have other cool view points too.My favorite is the “Ice Palace.” It’s super cool, and actually the LEAST cold out of all the places at the top.

There are actually a few ways to get to the top. Our hosts recommended that we hiked up from a certain point..it would’ve been a 2 hour hike, so yeah, no thanks. Especially at 8am. We decided to hike down the “Eiger Trail,” and fortunately for us, the weather was amazing! It eventually got hot enough for all of us to strip down to short sleeves. The entire trail is gorgeous. For every 10 steps you take, you get a completely different view. Don’t just keep walking forward though! If you look back, you’ll get different perspectives of the peaks as well….simply amazing. Really. Photo-ops everywhere, and no one to fight with you. The hiking crowd is pretty spread out, and few attempt it. DSC_0252DSC_0238 DSC_0213

Hiking down is definitely easier than hiking up, but not as good for your knees, I suppose. Either way, the views are surreal.

So my advice to you to fully enjoy your trip: Go early to Jungfrau to avoid the tourists, and choose a good weather as well. We heard a lot of other tourists complain about foggy weather and couldn’t see anything, so they had to make another 2-hour trip. Another advantage of going early is that you get great views and great weather when you are hiking down (if you choose to hike down).

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