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First Stop Zurich

My Odyssey begins with trams and snow

snow 2 °C
View 2013 Round the World Trip on FrancisRTW's travel map.

First stop on my trip was Zurich, with predictable Swiss efficiency I passed through the clinically tidy airport in record time and found myself on a double decker train into the centre of the city. On cue it began to snow as soon as I arrived and walked to my hotel only a short distance away.

Double-decker train at Zurich Hauptbahnhof (Railway Station)

Double-decker train at Zurich Hauptbahnhof (Railway Station)

My hotel in Zaehringerstrasse is in a quaint part of town with narrow cobbled streets with lots of bars and restaurants, as well as a few establishments of a more dubious nature!

Cobbled Street in Zurich

Cobbled Street in Zurich

Exploring the city in the evening for something to eat and to get my bearings Zurich seems to have a nice unhurried visitor friendly atmosphere.Trams are everywhere, Zurich must have the most comprehensive public transport system in the world and is something the locals are very proud of.

Bahnhofstrasse - the main shopping street in Zurich

Bahnhofstrasse - the main shopping street in Zurich

Spent my first day doing a tour of the City, apart from a Spanish couple everybody else on the coach was Australian with absolutely no connection to each other!

We drove past all the sites (including for my friends in Cheltenham the global headquarters for Swiss Re and Zurich Insurance), the University where Einstein taught as well as walking around the older historic part of town down by where the River Limmat flows into Lake Zurich.

The clock face of St. Peter's Church

The clock face of St. Peter's Church


A shop window that caught my eye in the old part of Zurich

A shop window that caught my eye in the old part of Zurich


Grossmunster, Zurich

Grossmunster, Zurich


River Limmat flowing through the old part of Zurich just before it reaches the lake

River Limmat flowing through the old part of Zurich just before it reaches the lake

Stopping briefly by the harbour we then drove south beside the east shore, passed Tina Turner's House (who is now a Swiss citizen having recently renounced her US citizenship) to take the (surprisingly speedy) ferry across the Lake.

Me beside the Lake in Zurich Harbour

Me beside the Lake in Zurich Harbour


The gates to Tina Turner's House on Lake Zurich

The gates to Tina Turner's House on Lake Zurich


Taking the ferry across Lake Zurich

Taking the ferry across Lake Zurich

The coach then climbed up to the Felsenegg Cableway which took us up to the summit where there where spectacular views of Zurich and the whole lake. Australians seem to have a fascination with snow and snow ball fights ensued as we walked through the woods to a cafe for a warm drink (note to self remember to wear gloves when snowballing!).

Travelling up on the Felsenegg Cableway near Zurich

Travelling up on the Felsenegg Cableway near Zurich


Picture of me on the Felsenegg Summit with a view of Zurich behind me

Picture of me on the Felsenegg Summit with a view of Zurich behind me

On the way back we passed the Lindt Chocolate Factory, birthplace of all those gold wrapped chocolate bunnies so favoured at Easter time.

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Switzerland Tagged lakes snow trains boat city tour cablecar solo Comments (0)

Rhine Falls

The lure of the whitewater

semi-overcast 3 °C
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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

snow -23 °C
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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)

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