Thursday, May 13, 2010

Falling for Switzerland

By Claire
We are at Camping Jungfrau, an astonishing €33.20 per night, located at the edge of the village Lauterbrunnen, right below the Staubbach waterfall, one of the highest in Europe formed of a single unbroken fall. The height of the cascade is between 800 and 900 feet. We have a perfect view of it from Homer. This photo shows about 1/4 of its length.

There are 72 falls among the mountain scenery surrounding us. We’re parked once again beside a rushing river and the sound lulled me to sleep. I can’t say much for the birds that so cheerfully woke us at 6 am this morning. We had no plan to get up early since it’s been mostly rainy and foggy. Our walk today was for later when it “warmed” up.

Camping Jungfrau, named after the three towering mountains: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

Meanwhile, what a great campground. I stayed here 21 years ago and remember it well. In fact, this and our stay in St. Martin bei Lofer were the most memorable from that time. It has a wonderful dishwashing/laundry room with even a clothes drying room. I am amazed. There are racks to hang your clothes and a hot blower that dried the things I had washed by hand this morning in about 2 hours.

They even have a dog washing room.

There are so many hikes and gondolas and cable cars and trains that we spent last evening going over the huge map comparing single ticket prices to a Jungfrau Pass—it’s 200 Swiss Francs each, or €140, so we want to do this right. The pass is good for 6 days but they are consecutive so we haven’t bought it yet. Also, we’re optimistically waiting for the fog to clear so that taking these modes of transportation high up into the mountains to find Heidi, Peter and the Grandfather will be worth it. We’ll decide tomorrow.

Today we chose the Trümmelbach Glacier Waterfalls, an easy 20-30 minute walk from Camping Jungfrau, depending on how many photos you stop to take along the way.

House built in 1923.

We arrived at the falls just as a tour group crowd was leaving, bought our tickets (€7.70), then rode the 60 second tunnel lift inside the mountain to the steps leading inside to various caves and viewing spots. Spectacular! Naturally, it’s impossible to get good photos inside mountain caves. You’ll just have to come and see for yourself. This is from Wikipedia:

The Trummelbach Falls (In German: Trümmelbachfälle) in Switzerland are a series of ten glacier-waterfalls inside the mountain made accessible by tunnel-lift and illuminated.

The Trummelbach alone drains the mighty glacier defiles of Eiger (3970 m), Mönch (4099 m) and Jungfrau (4158 m) and carries 20,200 tons of boulder detritus per year.

Its drainage area is 24 km², half of it covered by snow and glaciers. Up to 20,000 liters of water per second. The only glacier-waterfalls in Europe inside the mountain and still accessible.

The Trummelbach Falls belong to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area and is listed in the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance of Switzerland.

Here we are again, in a cave.

We walked back down the steps provided, with more views of the falls from the outside. We both managed to get soaked by the mist inside.

The walk back was lovely even if the weather isn’t perfect.

Do they mow it or do they use goats?

The soul of man is like water. It comes from heaven and rises again to heaven, it ascends to heaven and falls again to earth, eternally alternating. The pure stream flows from the high, steep rock face, falls softly in cloud-waves onto the smooth rock and, gently accepted, rolls and ripples into the abyss. ~ Goethe, after visiting the Lauterbrunnen Valley in 1779


Bob said...

Whew! I read the heading and thought one of you did the falling.

Chuck and Claire said...

No, we were lucky this time.

Elisabetta said...

That was an amazing post. The house with the grass roof outdid any eco-friendly dwelling I've seen in CA! But Goethe's quote reminded me of a friend's email address:

Now I know why!

Tai said...

I've been blown away by the scenery in you last few venues, and this is no exception! Just wondering if you are encountering any discussion of the names of the mountains. I noticed Jungfrau which I translated as 'young wife' (babelfish preferred 'virgin') but no luck with Eiger or Monch. Are those just names or is there a deeper meaning? I keep envisioning those alpine valleys covered with snow as per The Eiger Sanction, one of my favorite movies.

Chuck and Claire said...

Glad you're enjoying the scenery. The story I originally heard was that the Ogre (Eiger) is after the virgin (Jungfrau) and the Monk (Mönch) is protecting her.