The most beautiful scenery in quite possibly the world...
15.08.2008 - 20.08.2008 18 °C
Today we left for Switzerland for the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. It was a different world. The lakes were a blue that I had never seen in nature before. The air was clean, everything was so green, the only way to describe the environment is pristine.
Our camping ground was located 800m above sea level, I didn't actually realise till we left Switzerland that my ears had been blocked the whole time from the air. We both had been really sick for the first 2 days in Switzerland so I blamed my ears on that, but then my hearing wasn't any better till we returned to sea level! The camping ground was nestled in between the Swiss Alp, an amazing sight! It was the middle of summer and a perfect 24 degrees, with not a cloud in the sky and the snow capped Swiss Alps could be seen from our camping ground...it was perfect! Our first meal in Switzerland was a traditional rosti (heart attack material!!)
The first day we went to the Top of Europe! The Jungfrau Mountain, is the highest point in Europe, 11,333ft above sea level. To get there you had to take the highest railway to the higest point that has the highest post office! The 1 hour train trip was a steep 300 Swiss francs, but it was worth every penny! For someone who has never seen snow, Jungfrau was a pretty amazing introduction. The snow capped mountains were just the most beautiful thing. The train stopped a few times on the way up and gave you 5 mintues to run out and look out the windows of the mountain, sounds weird but the railway is actually built through the mountain and they have cut little caves into the mountain and put in windows!
At the top was a restaurant, post office and an Ice Palace. Grant and I were both very sick this first day in Switzerland, we had caught a cold off the girls in our dorm in Nice. And being at the Top of Jungfrau in an Ice Palace was not good for the sick! But we battled through determined not to waste a single day!
Day.2 Today we went to a ropes course in Interlaken...it sounded great fun, flying through the treetops on flying foxes, walking on ropes from tree to tree. Well what started out fun ended in two very sore bodies! We got to the park and started on the easiest level, then went to do the next hardest. But a guy on busabout stopped us and said to go straight to the hardest otherwise you will be too tired by the time you get to it, so we stupidly took his advice! It was ridiculous! I have never put myself through so much pain before! Let me run through a few of the challenges in getting from tree to tree...
One involved a rope between two trees, the rope had rings hanging off, and you had to get across by stepping onto each ring! Unbelievable! My legs were swinging everywhere, I was nearly doing the splits at one point! Grant decided to cheat and wrapped his legs around the rope and with his hands and slid across, but I couldn't bring myself to hang upside down that high up! Another involved a horizontal rope ladder between the trees that required a lot of balance while trying not to look down. On some of these I was half way between trees and wanted to give up! Now these similar "challenges" continued for about an hour, until the end was near....
The last challenge 'seemed' easy in comparison to the others, it involved swinging like tarzan from the highest tree to a rope ladder on the other side...but of course what happend, I didn't swing hard enough, didn't catch the ladder and Grant had to pull me in!! Then finally we made it to the end and our reward was a super long flying fox...which scared the shit out of me, so I grabbed the rope trying to slow down but swung around and I crashed into the tree at the other end! Meanwhile behind us, the whole time were these two super human, super fit, super good looking, European couple just breezing through the course! Probably thinking 'look at these pathetic unfit Australians, why are they even bothering'! (you need to read that in a Swedish accent and picture two blonde fit Europeans)
That night we quite possible had the worst meal any backpacker could have. We bought a 1.2kg tin of "meat" ravioli for the equivalent of 2 AUD. How bad could a tin of ravioli be you might say...well let me tell you it was the most putrid thing I have ever eaten! And of course as we are poor backpackers now we ate half the tin and saved the rest for the next night! I recall laughing at a couple eating boiled Spaghetti, with no sauce, just plain spaghetti. I said god why wouldn't they just buy cheap tin ravioli, atleast it has some sauce...then after one mouthful I realised why they were eating dry spaghetti.
Day.3 Today we headed to the Trummelbach falls. These Waterfalls are the largest cavernous falls in the world and drain Jungfrau, amongst other huge glaciers! The amount of water running through these falls was crazy! 20,000L of water per second gushing through the cavernous mountain makes so much noise it is quite scary. The water running through the falls was a coolish 2 degrees.
On the last day in Lauterbrunnen, I went paragliding off the Swiss Alps...now that was amazing! The views were amazing! It wasn't as big as an adrenaline rush as skydiving, it was more relaxing and peaceful. I did feel very sick by the time we landing though, I thought I was going to vomit! Towards the end the instructor asked if I wanted some excitement so I said of course. Then he made us spin all the way down, and I had to tell him to stop for fear of spewing on the people watching from below!
Our last night in Switzerland we splurged on a Swiss cheese fondue, we try to eat the local food everywhere so when in Switzerland eat fondue! But we didn't enjoy it at all. Apparently in a good fondue you shouldn't taste the white wine, but all we could taste was wine, instead of cheese...it was a bit disappointing. Then on the walk back to camp, it absolutely poured down...lucky it was our last night and we had perfect weather the whole time, so we couldn't complain.