Our next stop took us up little by little to be closer to the mountains. The train trip to the quaint town of Grindelwald from Interlaken took 33 minutes, to be exact! We walked a short distance to find Hotel Belvedere, where we would stay for the next three nights. Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, but the lady at reception offered us a welcome drink, which we enjoyed on the terrace.
Every hotel where we stayed included breakfast, but it wasn’t just any breakfast. Large rooms greeted us with tables of food. There were eggs, sausages, pancakes, toast, lunch meats, Swiss cheeses, loaves of bread ready for slicing, cereal, yogurt, and fruit. Some places had coffee machines with buttons where we could choose a latte or cappuccino. The Hotel Belvedere had a beautiful restaurant where we enjoyed all this, plus seeing and tasting honey from a honeycomb.
The highlights of our stay were walking about the town to explore the restaurants and take in the picturesque views.
Another highlight was when we took a round-trip ride on a cogged wheel train from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg. Kleine Scheidegg has an altitude of 6,761 feet and sits at the foot of the Eiger North Wall. (The movie The Eiger Sanction was filmed here.)
From Kleine Scheidegg, travelers can take the Jungfrau Railway, which climbs to the Eiger Glacier Station. This trail travels partway through a mountain at quite the incline, with a few stops on the way. I wasn’t sure about going on this next jaunt, but my husband talked me into it. When we reached the top, which has an altitude of 11,332 feet, we disembarked to go to a building. There are many tourist attractions, such as a tour, ice palace, hikes, restaurant, shops, and observation decks. We did not stay long because my husband had a reaction to the high altitude, so we headed back down the mountain as soon as we could. This was okay with me, because I felt a little light-headed too. Luckily, we got our Jungfrau-Top of Europe Passport stamped before we left!
As we traveled on the Jungfrau Railway, we couldn’t help but appreciate all the work that went into its construction. The construction began in July 1896. From our Jungfrau–Top of Europe Passport:
Swiss industrial magnate Adolf Guyer-Zeller has an audacious idea while on a hike. The “railway king” wants to blast a tunnel through the rock of the Eiger and Monch and construct a cogwheel railway to the Jungfrau summit. Local people recognize the touristic potential and support his plan.
The workers make rapid progress in the tunnel; however the mountain takes its toll. On 26 February 1899, an accident with explosives claims the lives of six men. A miner’s daily wage is only 4.60 francs. Strikes break out, whereby the management reacts with dismissals.
As an incentive, a reward is offered to the shift that makes the breakthrough. On 21 February 1912, the miners use more dynamite than is permitted and blast through to daylight. The shout of “Through!” echoes along the tunnel and the workers fall into each other’s arms. The masterpiece has finally been achieved!
Mr. Guyer-Zeller died in 1899 from pneumonia, but his family carried out his plan. In the beginning of December 1905, there were some financial problems that forced the work to be halted for two years. After a 16-year construction period, the final station to Jungfraujoch opened on February 21, 1912.
Here are some pictures from the cogged wheel train trip:
It was nice getting closer to the mountains, but we didn’t mind seeing them from afar either!
When we left the hotel, the hospitable lady at reception gave us this little package of Swiss chocolates!
I hope you can join me next time for our last stop of the trip: Lucerne.