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The House Above the Clouds.

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

For many who visit the mountains there is often a connection that is felt with these natural giants; their sheer size and presence can help provide a sense of balance and perspective when you are stood in their shadow. The Bernese Oberland is blessed with three of these peaks; the Jungfrau, the Mönch and the Eiger, and to us each one of these has its own undeniable character. For me there is a beauty and sense of calm surrounding the Jungfrau that we have been lucky enough to experience both at a distance and, up close as well.

The Swiss Bernese Oberland is blessed with three mighty peaks, the Jungfrau, the Mönch and the Eiger, each of these has its own undeniable character.

We have travelled up to the Jungfraujoch on several occasions over the years, taking the Wengernalp train from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg and then the Jungfrau Railway through the Eiger to reach the ‘Top of Europe’ and the highest railway station on the continent.

The Wengenalpbahn train waiting at Kleine Scheidegg station waiting to take tourists to the Top of Europe, Jungfraujoch, Sphinx Observatory, Railway through the Eiger.

As the train ascends through the mountain, there are a number of stopping points where you are able to leave the train for a few moments to look out of the viewing galleries at the ice, snow and rock that makes up this magical landscape.

The railway was completed in the early 1900’s with ‘The House Above the Clouds’ opened in 1924 allowing visitors to access the mountains without climbing ropes and pitons. Over the years the ‘Top of Europe’ has been developed to cater to the demands of the tens of thousands of tourists that flock there. In all honesty there are now elements that we do not enjoy, but a visit to the Ice Palace, created initially for the tourists of the 1930’s, along with the viewing platform of the Sphinx Observation Deck are two that are worth taking the time to see.

Once outside, the Snow Fun Park is again there to appeal to the visitors and offers a wealth of activities. When we first visited the Jungfrau back in 2000, there were husky sledges, a small skiing course and plane rides to take you as close to the peaks and faces of the mountains as possible. Things have certainly changed over the years; I remember watching Russell take off in the smallest plane I had ever seen, with rust holes in the floor and a rather wonky landing wheel and wondering if this would be the shortest honeymoon on record! Despite the rather bumpy flight the experience of flying as close as the birds to the North Face of the Eiger, looking down on to the Aletsch Glacier and seeing the snow perfection that covers the Silberhorn has stayed with Russell to this day.

Being in the snow, amongst some of the most beautiful peaks in the world, has always been one of the things we return to time and time again, and one of the walks we have done as a couple, and again as a family was from the Jungfraujoch to the Mönchjochütte.

The walk to the hut is estimated to take forty-five minutes but we found that we needed to take a slower speed than normal due to the altitude; given the scenery that surrounds you though, you wouldn’t want to rush anyway! On the days we have done the walk we have been blessed with clear blue skies and sunshine that only seem to enhance the whiteness of the landscape. The trail is clearly marked and on the way to the hut it does take you uphill some of the way. Walking past deep crevasses that seem to glow blue with glacial purity and folded layers of pure white snow makes this walk feel as though you are setting off on a real adventure.

Once at the Mönchjoch, you are rewarded with a warm and welcoming, traditional Swiss hut serving freshly cooked mountain food – Swiss macaroni cheese with apple sauce or Bratwurst and rosti washed down with local beer can’t be beaten! Looking out of the windows of the hut across the snow-covered slopes makes it a hard place to leave but each time we do, we know that we will be back there again and maybe next time we will stay just a little bit longer.


We'll see you down the trail

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