. At this point Shannon cinched up his pack, pulled his socks high and with his ice picks headed for the summit. I on the other hand, chose to take the elevator. Each ding of the elevator as we passed every floor brought me closer to the most beautiful sight mein eyes had ever seen. The elevator doors sprung open, I was stunned at the most awe inspiring vision I could have imagined.....the gift shop. A person can get awfully hungry traversing the Alps. Therefore, Shannon and I headed to the cafeteria for some really crappy food. Its almost like an MRE that had been in our packs too long. Oh and it was five billion dollars. At lunch Shannon presented me with birthday cards from my friends and family. Thanks so much everyone!! I cried a little bit, and not because I'm old now either. Shannon made me wear some pretty embarrassing "I'm 30" regalia. Oh well, it only happens once. Now that we had food poisoning, we decided that a pretty good place to die would be in the Ice Palace. This is essentially a cavern that is completely covered in ice. Floor to ceiling, we would be slipping around like penguins. I would need to be lifted down the stairs with a stair climber. No worries because a nice dude would help us accomplish this task. He noticed it was my birthday. I'm not sure what cued him into that conclusion, maybe it was the flashing button I was wearing which read "Kiss me, im 30!" Thanks a lot Shannon!!! Anyway, I asked him if the word "Jungfrau" meant young lady or young girl. He was trying to think of the words in English and finally came up with "young virgin". I explained to him that I was neither young nor a virgin!! He really got a kick out of that and called me a "naughty virgin" for the rest of the day. I'm really spreading some class all over this continent!! The Ice Palace was amazing. I mean its pretty simple, just a cave full of ice. Its something you might have imagined as a kid. Could this really be possible? It was so fun to watch people slide around and feel the ice all around
. I could barely wheel myself because I kept drifting around every corner. Awesome!! Shannon could fit through the narrow parts and he loved the tiny ice penguins. I'm not sure how the Swiss avoid getting sued over broken hips and tailbones, but it sure does make for good entertainment. After this pleasure palace, we took a few more elevators to "the Sphinx". It's the highest observation deck, only accessible by elevator. Its shaped like the Sphinx so I guess that's why they named it that. Aye aye Captain Obvious!! We had to fight to get our spot in the photo areas, but we got a few good shots. We took people's cameras and snapped a few shots for them. It was really chilly up there but the sun was warming the metal grates below us. What a breathtaking view!!! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Donning his harness for the rappel down, Shannon began his descent of the Jungfrau. I was packed into a full railway car and sent careening for the bottom. They weren't as fond of us on the way down. Our camera was full of photos and the altitude sickness had only caused us to buy a few postcards. All in all it was the perfect day!! Thank you prehistoric glacial movements for shaping what turned out to be a great 30th birthday.
When we reached the bottom at Interlaken, we headed into town for a birthday fondue dinner. We only found a little hole-in-the-wall, recommended to us by the lady in the train station
. We had a cheese fondue with bread and some ice cream for dessert. It was pretty decent and not touristic, as they say here. Interlaken is a pretty little town situated in the heart of the Oberland region under the Swiss Alps. We wished that we had more time here for photos but it was getting dark. We did have time to snap a shot of Shannon at the Interlaken "Hooters". God Bless America and thank you for this gift J If you had to go to one place in the Swiss Alps, this town would be your destination. Its so picturesque!! Having had our fill of cheese, we wearily climbed aboard our final train back to Bern. I did not feel 30 at all, because this altitude and these views make you feel 10 years younger. Now that's something to yodel about!
Herr Shan and Frau Rach
Today we woke up early and headed to the train station. It would be a very exciting day because by 10:30 am, we would be at the highest point of Europe. The Jungfraujoch, is the highest peak of the Swiss Alps. There would be 3 transfers on a cog railway in front of us. Unfortunately, this is also the day that I turned 30 years old. Shh don't tell anyone. At this point only you and the Swiss know. We would be looking forward to alpine vistas and snow covered peaks. Well, really I'd be looking forward to the cows with bells around their necks and Shannon was looking forward to yodeling in his lieder-hosen. All in good time Shan, all in good time. The train lurched up the mountain and we were vertically inclined. We met a family from Dubai who didn't seem to know what was going on. They kept trying to get off at every stop. Thank god I was there! Sheesh! The train climbed ever closer to the sun, up the craggy spine of the Jungfrau until we plunged into the darkness of a 6km long tunnel. We had made it to the end of the line