Journal: Pages 1-2
SWITZERLAND REVISITED: 28th June - 7th July 2002
28th June, Friday: LAX - ZRH
Uneventful flight from LA to London, then to Zürich
The world eagerly awaited the 3rd place playoff game of FIFA World Cup between Turkey and Korea, then the finals between Brazil and Germany.
29th June, Saturday: Zürich - Wengen
It is often said that Switzerland is one big train set; this is an accurate and fortuitous assessment for its proud citizens and awestruck visitors. With my 8-day Swiss Pass (upgraded to 1st class with a pittance), I casually train-hopped my way from Zürich to the idyllic Bernese Highland (Berner Oberland) retreat of Wengen in one afternoon.
One last comment about the excellent Swiss trains: their uncompromising efficiency can be downright intimidating, as stops at some major cities often do not linger past three minutes, before the clean, well-kept (and with some, spanking new) trains roar on to their next station with utter punctuality. We Americans and Britons can only envy.
The cogwheel electric trains of the Bernese Highlands are well worth the holiday in themselves: gravity-defying, they go often straight up at steep grades and avail the passengers to one breathtaking vista of the Jungfrau area after another.
Wengen, auspiciously chosen from the guidebooks because of our shared namesake, used to be reachable only by train -- there's a small road from Lauterbrünnen now. It overlooks the spectacular glacial valley (I'd like to say it's a canyon or gorge) that is the Lauterbrünnen and peers immediately onward to the Berner Oberland's three greatest peaks: the Eiger, the Mönsch (Monk) and of course the Jungfrau (Maiden). I am just as impressed by the near-perfect pyramid summit of the Silberhorn, clad in an unbroken veil of ice all year around.