July 8, 2018

Dear Mickey/Mom,
Hello from the beautifully cool Swiss Alps.
We were three weeks in Provence in the south of France where the temps started out in the mid-70s when we got there and were climbing to 93 by the time we left.
We left our cousin Hanne’s house on a 90 degree morning and drove for eight hours across France to Switzerland, arriving in a rainstorm.
We thought the border crossing was pretty funny. Peter had our passports out and open to show the border guards. But instead of asking for our passports, they stopped us and asked for forty bucks cash, then waved us on. We have no idea what was up with that.
We drove to a central location and dropped off our car. Then we took a train up into the mountains. When we got off, we then boarded a rack rail train that goes up mountains on a cogway. The higher we went, the more mountains we saw, although it was getting late and the rain clouds were still fairly low.
When we got off in Wengen, we had to figure out where our chalet/hotel was. We finally just asked Siri and followed a robot voice up the mountain. It turns out the reason I got such a great rate on the hotel is because you have to hike uphill to the outskirts of a town already clinging precariously to the side of a mountain.
The town doesn’t allow gasoline powered vehicles—electric only, so the only traffic essentially is golf carts and creative variations thereon. I suggested we summon one of these that is a taxi to haul us and our one piece of luggage apiece up the hill.
However, it turned out that Peter’s great traveling father Bill Jensen would never have done such a thing, so we weren’t either. I will say that hike burns some calories every time we have to do it!
So we arrived, checked into our room, and it was past dinner time. We didn’t want to hike back into town for dinner, but had noted the hotel served dinner. Down we went to inquire. Yes, they served dinner. If we wanted a Sri Lankan dinner or a cheese fondue, we would have to wait 45 minutes to an hour because the cook would have to hike into town to buy the ingredients, then come back and cook.
No, we didn’t want Sri Lankan food or fondue. What else did they have? Spaghetti with Bolognese sauce. Fine. We’ll have that. Plus a beer for Peter and a glass of rose for me.
We sat down and waited thirty minutes instead of fortyfive, but no problem.
The, yes, the Sri Lankan (surprise!) cook showed up with two plates of spaghetti with sauce on it. Fine. We can do spaghetti. Don’t need no salad nor bread nor fancy extras.  We were hungry and polished off the spaghetti. No further offers of dessert were forthcoming—that was it, we were done. Time to pay the check.
Are you following along? That’s two plates of sphaghetti, a beer, and a glass of wine. $60!!!!
That’s the way it is when they have to haul food up a rack railway. Lunch the next day was also $60 and dinner was over $100, and I only had two starters for my meal.
No problem. Easy come; easy go.
We dropped, fully pasta loaded, into bed. Peter got up first in the morning, went out onto our balcony and yelled, “Get outta bed—you’ve got to see this!”
I got up, staggered out onto the balcony, and saw this:
Dawn over the Jungfrau as viewed from our second floor balcony at the Hotel Brunner.
Dawn over the Jungfrau as viewed from our second floor balcony at the Hotel Brunner.
Right then, I knew it was going to be a very good day.
After our $60 lunch, we got on a gondola (with a return on a rack rail train, for two people $95–Switzerland is not for the faint of heart!) and rode up to about 7000 feet. At that elevation, we were surrounded by 11,000 foot peaks, including the famous Eiger.
Gondola view
View from the gondola

 

To get to the return rack rail meant what they posted as an hour and a half hike—of course, we made it into three hours as we had to photograph every new flower and scene along the way. The trail ran lengthwise under a ridgeline and was like Mt. Rainier—just one phenomenal wildflower garden.
Swiss alps, wildflower meadows
Wildflower gardens of the Swiss Als
We could see down the valley pretty much forever, like this:
And looking up, we could see the Eiger wreathed in a necklace of cloud,  like this:
The famous Eiger wreathed with a necklace of cloud
The famous Eiger wreathed with a necklace of cloud
I love walking on the top of the world. Here is a picture of me and Peter wearing huge smiles as all of Switzerland opens at our feet:
Jensens Wengen
Jensens in the Swiss Alps
Naturally, I think of you, Mom, and Daddy, and all of our family and our love of these high, wild places, whereever are in the world.
Today I do a hike that invloves climbing gear and a mountain guide; tomorrow we will go up in a helicopter to get and even larger view of this spectacular place.
Much love to all,
Sandy and Peter

Sandy Brown Jensen

I am a retired writing instructor and faculty tech specialist from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. I still teach and am also a photographer, poet, blogger and digital storyteller (short videos).

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4 comments

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  • Absolutely breathtaking part of the world! Thank you for sharing so much of these experiences!

  • Laurence has been saying humans are meant to gawk. Such beauty! Heart filling beauty. Can’t stop smiling beauty.

  • Jaw-dropping magnificence! I may never make it there, but thanks to your gorgeous photography I feel like I’m traveling with the two of you. Thanks for taking us along on the adventure!

Sandy Brown Jensen

I am a retired writing instructor and faculty tech specialist from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. I still teach and am also a photographer, poet, blogger and digital storyteller (short videos).

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