Today was magical.
We went up to the Jungfrau and witnessed the Swiss Alps first hand.
Unfortunately, there was a blizzard at the summit which blocked the horizon; however we still thoroughly enjoyed the Ice Palace,
the views and the walk into the blizzard for approximately 2 or 3 minutes (all we could physically cope with in the cold and snow and wind!) before heading back into the warmth to enjoy a hot lunch.
We have lived all of our lives at sea-level, on the coastal plain in Perth, and suffered some discomfort from the altitude. We were not the only ones. It was a Bollywood day, and the majority of the people were from the sub-continent, many of whom were worse off than us.
I saw a swiss mountain guide and we approached him as he looked friendly. He said that his name was Claude and that he was guiding a team out through the blizzard.
He was from a town near Chamonix, and brought parties to the mountains for a living. We were fascinated at the speed with which his team (all young men) were able to rush around the foyer and the mountain buildings, completely kitted out, as Mum and I were seriously suffering from the altitude. We both felt light-headed at first but we were thrilled to be in the thick of it all.
We spoke with many tourists today which was lovely. A nice couple from the US, a Korean girl, Claude from France and many others to make the day a happy one.
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We are at the Hotel Interlaken, with a window looking out to two churches, one of which seems to have some information about the Compostela Way, and one of which seems to be part of an educational complex. As a backdrop to the churches and their surrounding parks, we look out to the encircling mountains.
The room is nice and large, and has all the comforts of home. The last one we were in provided a humbling reminder of how things can be, so we are really appreciating this one. I think a label says Byron stayed here once, and also Felix Mendelsshon. Now the Martins!
We love hearing from home. It has been hard to get to the computer, due to our heavy schedule, so I have made a few notes here and there.
Near our hotel in Interlaken, the para gliders and the hang gliders landed in a field of tall grass. The former were driven by four wheel drive to their destination and jumped off a tall mountain, whilst the latter were delivered by a helicopter to their take off spot. We saw many para gliders, their coloured chutes showing up against the dark green trees as they came sailing down. A little girl came in with her tandem guide as we drove by.
We found a Laundromat near the River Aare, and did masses of loads of washing. I went for a walk and found a supermarket, but could not find a taxi rank anywhere.
We are off to Milan in the morning. We have booked in at the beauticians here in Interlaken first thing tomorrow for maintenance!!