December 27 2011

Trip(Leukerbad — Jungfrau — Zermatt)

Day 1 : Leukerbad

Leukerbad (French: Loèche-les-Bains) boasts the biggest thermal baths in Switzerland with about 3.9 million liters gushing out each day from what is considered to be Europe’s largest reservoir of thermal water. Thermal bath is generally available and for free in local hotels, but finding yourself in, say, even the largest resort isn’t gonna cost you much either. With 21CHF (at Linder Alpentherme), you can enjoy 3 hours in both the indoor and the outdoor pools (28 CHF for a day, unlimited, as in our case).
Since I didn’t bring the camera to the pool, only the outside view (middle & right image) is shown here. It snowed heavily that day, just about perfect to experience the true essence (my personal definition…) of alpine thermal bath: Imagine you have snow falling down and melted upon dropping on your shoulder while the rest of your body is kept well warm in the thermal bath…
Oh yes, we (Yinbin and I) did try burying our bodies in the snow for as long as we can before throwing ourselves back into the thermal water, and I won that contest…

Day 2 : Jungfrau (Lauterbrunnen)

We took an early start the next day to visit the Jungfrau region. The Jungfrau, with its altitude of 4158m, is only the third highest mountain of the Bernese Alps, but was made one of Swiss’s most popular and most visited site thanks to the Jungfraubahn cog railway that can bring tourists up to the Jungfraujoch (3453m), the highest railway station in Europe.
(ticket price is 100 Euro for the train, round trip, with Swiss Pass and around 130 without)
The ice tunnel and sculptures are open all the year round, but the view point was unfortunately closed for security reason as a result of the bad weather (heavy snow plus very low visibility)…

So we put up another contest…at the farthest and hightest point that we can reach…between two utterly bored Chinese single…

The shortened stay at Jungfraujoch granted us some time to visit Muerren, a nice town not far from Lauterbrunnen and to walk all the way down to Gimmelwald. Just remember to bring a sledge if you are planning to do the same next time…

Day 3 : Zermatt

Now Zermatt is a place worth talking about. In order to prevent air pollution which could possibly obscure the town’s view of the Matterhorn, the entire village is a pedestrian zone with all cars being left at the nearby town of Tasch. The village itself is a combination of countless hotels surrounded by Switzerland’s highest peaks and offers 365-day skiing experience whole year round.

With the access to the Matterhorn being blocked due to high risk of avalanche early in the morning, we decided to first visit the Gornergrat (3089m) instead. While the peak is only accessible by cog railways, similar to what we experienced at Jungfraujoch, the composition of the passengers were totally different. We expected to see the same 95% of asian tourists, only to find ourselves the only ones carrying a camera, together with some fifty of skiers…So…with our camera hidden away from sight, no pictures were taken during our way up as part of our plan to act “normal”…
And here we are, finally at the Gornergrat. You can see, on one side, skiers anxiously preparing themselves so that they could get away without having to buy the return train tickets, and on the other side, the viewing point most delightedly welcoming us to be its first visitors in days with a generous half-meter-thick-snow.

We then decided to made part of our way down on sledges (equipment rental can be found at the Rotenboden station). On Zermatt’s official website, the tobogganing run from Rotenboden to Riffelberg is marked with difficulty-easy and should last normally 6 mins. The second part is true, well, at least partially, it did take me around 6 min on the “road”, that is, however, to exclude the other 20 mins that I spent in the “wayside snow”, trying to pull myself back in track while watching kids aging from 7 to 10 passing by with their advanced type of sledge equipped with not only a break but also a steering wheel which, constantly reminded me that I come from a developping country…
Some photos taken at Rotenboden, a video of my first tobogganing experience will be hopefully available soon…

Having successfully resurrected my toes in the hotel, we started off in the afternoon for the mighty Matterhorn. The cable car trip up to Matterhorn glacier paradise (3883m) costs 49 Euro (round trip with Swiss Pass) and takes about 40 min.

Day 4 : Glacier Express (Zermatt -> St. Moritz)

The ticket for the Glacier Express scenic train is normally included in a Swiss Pass, though an additional fee (9 Euro/person) will be charged for seat reservation. The entire trip takes about 8 hrs and will cover some of Switzerland’s most amazing landscapes.

Day 5 : Lucerne & Geneve

Lucerne…

and Geneve…(plus some photos taken in summer 2011 when the flower clock was still “alive”)




Posted 27/12/2011 by Tao in category "Uncategorized

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