The late night led us to sleep in a bit once again. We went downstairs for breakfast around 9:30 am. My parents were even later.
After the meal we parted ways for the day, with a plan to meet up again for dinner in Interlaken.
My husband and I had train tickets to Jungfraujoch, and headed to the station in the late morning. The train ride was in 2 parts: Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Schedegge, then changing to a different train up to Jungfraujoch. A pretty town, Kleine Scheidegge appears to host a ski resort, and affords a fantastic view of Eiger.
On the second leg of this journey, we reached a vista at Eigerward, which is at 9400 feet and deep inside a remarkable tunnel engineered through the mountain. Passengers are encouraged to disembark and take pictures; here, we were in the middle of a glacier and the chill was refreshing. This is not really a station, just a vista point and a way to stop temporarily and allow passengers to become accustomed to the altitude. When we returned to the train, my husband suddenly didn’t feel well at all, so we disembarked. I spoke to a conductor, and she arranged for a colleague to wait with us and stop a train coming back down from Jungfraujoch to Kleine Scheidegge; returning trains don’t normally stop at Eigerward. While we waited I made use of the German/English dictionary borrowed from my mother to communicate with the conductor who remained with us as he spoke only a few words of English and I know only ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in German. I tried to explain that my husband had been recently ill with pneumonia, we thought he was better, but apparently there were some lingering effects. This provoked some confusion with the man – my pronounciations were probably shamefully bad – but amused my husband. It was very cold as we waited, and the nice man led us to a warm break room, located inside the rough-hewn tunnel.
When the returning train arrived, our companion had to walk out on the track and hail it to stop. The train was quite crowded – not a seat remained. After a rapid conversation between the conductor and the train operator, we were asked to cross the tracks and enter the engine compartment. The train operator opened a pair of fold-down seats, and we sat next to him and we descended the mountain!
Though it was a shame that we did not make it to Jungfraujoch, we did something few, if any, tourists had done before. The train operator could understand us pretty well, though he did not speak English well himself. He pointed out Murren, and nodded toward Schilthorn saying, James Bond, to indicate that this was where the famous gondola scene was filmed.
After conveying our gratitude to the train operator we disembarked at Kleine Scheidegge and lunched at a hilltop restaurant, where the smiling proprietress brought us capuccinos with cinnamon dusted in a heart shape.
The train ride back to Lauterbrunnen was fortunately less eventful. We met my parents at the hotel, and decided to try a local restaurant recommended by two of the concierges, rather than take the train into Interlaken. The restaurant was very good, and we lingered over our good coffee and wonderful desserts, sharing the unexpected events of our day with my parents.