A Travellerspoint blog

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Rhine Falls

The lure of the whitewater

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The largest waterfall in Europe are the Rhine Falls near Schauffhausen a little over an hour north from Zurich and the canoeist in me had to see it.

This felt a far grittier tour than the Zurich City Tour I had done the previous day as we all climbed into a minibus & there were concerns about ice on the early morning local roads we were going to need to take because of a crash on the motorway.

This actually turned out to be good news as it meant we could see more of the northern Swiss villages & countryside.

Forest road on the way to Schaffhausen

Forest road on the way to Schaffhausen


A Swiss Village on the way to Schaffhausen

A Swiss Village on the way to Schaffhausen


The Munot Medieval Fortress above Schaffhausen

The Munot Medieval Fortress above Schaffhausen

The Falls themselves are spectacular, they are 150 metres (450 feet) wide by 23 metres (75 feet) high & the flow over them during summer averages 700 m3 per second. Apparently they are at their best during the summer because of all the snow melt but with all the snow the Alps have had in the last fortnight & the bright sunshine I don't think we could have done much better!

Rheinfall, Schaffhausen, Switzerland

Rheinfall, Schaffhausen, Switzerland

View of Rhienfall from the top

View of Rhienfall from the top

Picture of me at the top of Rheinfall

Picture of me at the top of Rheinfall


Last view of the Rhine Falls

Last view of the Rhine Falls

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Switzerland Tagged waterfalls snow tour videos solo Comments (0)

Jungfraujoch

The Top of Europe

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Jungfraujoch is a vantage point 11,782 feet (3,571 metres) up in the Swiss Alps & is about a 2 hour drive South West of Zurich.

Sign at the Sphinx Vantage Terrace at Jungfraujoch

Sign at the Sphinx Vantage Terrace at Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch was always going to be a highlight of my few days visiting Zurich and I had been monitoring the weather forecast for the previous week trying to identify the best day to go. It is marketed as the "Top of Europe" and on the way up we were warned to be wary of altitude sickness by taking it slowly and keeping ourselves well hydrated & fed.

First stop was Interlaken where we were dropped for a 40 minute comfort break by some high value tourist shops (Swiss watches, designer handbags, etc); I was expecting blatant selling like that later in Thailand but not on the Swiss leg of my trip! Interlaken has some lovely Victorian hotels but is very touristy if thankfully quiet (like most of Switzerland) on a Sunday. The best bit of Interlaken was watching the paragliding down onto the Hohe-Matte Park in the centre of town from a ridge high above.

Interlaken Church

Interlaken Church


Paraglider about to land in the centre of Interlaken

Paraglider about to land in the centre of Interlaken

We then began our epic trip up the mountain on the historic cog railway (100 years old in 2012) to the highest railway station in Europe.

View from the train back towards Lauterbrunnen

View from the train back towards Lauterbrunnen


Trackside house on the way up from Lauterbrunnen

Trackside house on the way up from Lauterbrunnen


Sun on the High Alps

Sun on the High Alps

We had to change trains at Kleine Scheidegg which was a hive of activity with skiers scurrying everywhere carrying their skis and trying to get to the slopes. As our train continued up the Mountain the already spectacular views seemed to get better around every bend in the track.

Skiers de-train at Kleine Scheidegg Station

Skiers de-train at Kleine Scheidegg Station


Cable Cars and Skiers near Kleine Scheidegg

Cable Cars and Skiers near Kleine Scheidegg


Classic view from Kleine Scheidegg

Classic view from Kleine Scheidegg

Once we reached the top the views were awesome! Apparently on a clear day such as the one we were there you can see as far as Italy, France and Germany.

Me at the Sphinx Vantage Point at Jungfraujoch

Me at the Sphinx Vantage Point at Jungfraujoch


The Sphinx Vantage Point at Jungfraujoch

The Sphinx Vantage Point at Jungfraujoch


The view from the Sphinx Vantage Point

The view from the Sphinx Vantage Point

From the vantage point it was backdown into the mountain to make our way to the Glacier Plateau passing through ice tunnels and carvings of ice.

Me inside an Ice Tunnel

Me inside an Ice Tunnel


Yvonne and Mary, a couple of new friends I met on my trip to Jungfraujoch

Yvonne and Mary, a couple of new friends I met on my trip to Jungfraujoch


Ice Carvings in the Ice Palace

Ice Carvings in the Ice Palace

Venturing out onto the Glacier Ice Plateau it was bitterly cold, the gauge read minus 22 degrees Centigrade but the views of the mountains (Eiger - 13,026ft, Monch - 13,475ft and Jungfrau - 13,642ft) and the Glacier can only be described as awesome. The Aletsch Glacier that flows from Jungfraujoch is 14 miles (23 kilometres) long making it the longest glacier in Europe.

The Glacier Ice Plateau

The Glacier Ice Plateau


Me out on the Plateau - minus 23 degrees Centigrade!

Me out on the Plateau - minus 23 degrees Centigrade!


View of the Aletsch Glacier from Jungfraujoch

View of the Aletsch Glacier from Jungfraujoch

Having survived going out on the glacier ice plateau all that remained to do was to return to the train and make our way back down; 45 minutes mainly underground to Kleine Scheidegg and then to change trains to get down to Grund where our coach back to Zurich was waiting for us.

Getting back on the train at the highest railway station in Europe

Getting back on the train at the highest railway station in Europe


The train down to Grund

The train down to Grund

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Switzerland Tagged mountains snow trains glaciers tour videos solo outdoor_pursuits Comments (0)

Luzern Carnival

Fancy Dress and Partying

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By coincidence my stay in Switzerland coincided with the annual four day Lucerne Carnival culminating in a big parade on the Monday before Shrove Tuesday. A major feature of the parade are the "Guggemuusige" or improvised (masked) bands and we began our visit by joining the crowds watching them lining the Seebrucke Bridge.

A Band crossing the Seebrucke Bridge during Luzern Carnival

A Band crossing the Seebrucke Bridge during Luzern Carnival


Luzern Carnival

Luzern Carnival


Luzern Carnival

Luzern Carnival

Amongst the bands there were also many elaborate floats, most of which had very dark themes.

One of the many floats at Luzern Carnival

One of the many floats at Luzern Carnival

And it wasn't just the parade members that dress up but about 90% of the spectators as well! We couldn't get fancy dress at short notice (apparently dour reformist Zurich doesn't go in for that sort of thing and leaves the partying to Catholic Lucerne) but nobody seemed to care and we had a great time.

Carnival goer at Luzern Carnival

Carnival goer at Luzern Carnival


Me at Luzern Carnival

Me at Luzern Carnival

When the parade was over we sampled some of the history of this beautiful medieval city with its famous 14th century covered wooden pedestrian bridge (seriously damaged by fire in 1993 but now restored) and narrow streets.

The Kapelbrucke Bridge in Luzern

The Kapelbrucke Bridge in Luzern


Rathausquai during the Carnival with the Jesuit Church on the other side of the river

Rathausquai during the Carnival with the Jesuit Church on the other side of the river

Meanwhile the partying was set to continue right through the night. The bands were now making impromptu performances around Lucerne including on some steps by the river.

Band playing on the steps during Luzern Carnival

Band playing on the steps during Luzern Carnival


Luzern Carnival

Luzern Carnival


Luzern Carnival in full swing on Rathausquai

Luzern Carnival in full swing on Rathausquai

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Switzerland Tagged bridges snow city party videos Comments (0)

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