I was nearby 35 years ago as an underfunded traveller and could not afford the trip. So I wandered the fields of Grindlewald listening to cow bells and telling myself that a cog rail could not be worth that much.
It is! - and since it still costs less than many young people will spend on a night of clubbing, I think it is great value.
Being so close to the top of the mountains, in the snow fields, biting cold and beautiful visions, it is just the best way to pass a full day. And it is worth taking a full day over the trek.
Let me chat about nationalities and languages again. All announcements on the train are in German, English, French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and I think some kind of Indian language, that I am not sure about.
The highest count by nationality up there today was by far Indian. I think half the people up there were Indian. There were lots of Australians, some Americans, various Europeans also and a few Japanese and Chinese. Added together they would not have equalled the Indians. The Indians were in big family groups not in couples like the other nations.
There is one thing I noticed today that seems the same the world over.
The 14 year old girl syndrome.
I saw it with Indian, British, American and what I think was Italian today. The 14 year old girl, I am guessing 14, who is being imposed upon to visit this amazing place. She pouts, ignores, grunts and plays with her phone. Mums look to dads to fix her up, dads fail to notice. Girl goes back to her iPhone to gain sympathy from her girl friends wherever they may be. Regardless of the language the pained look on her face is identical.
I met a young Korean as I walked back through the snow. I had hiked for what seemed like hours across a snow field to reach a wonderful retreat for coffee. It was a retreat, it was not wonderful enough to hold my attention. It was too hot inside, uncomfortable, so I headed right back.
Getting back included one of the most dangerous things I have ever done. Descending a slope with little or no handrails, in ice that was so slippery each step could be my last, well last with a camera anyway.
I reached the bottom after a long slow descent and looked back at my effort. I was just in time to see the Korean skip and dance his way down the slope. In his basket ball shoes. We walked and talked haltingly along the track back and he asked me my age. I answered and he laughed, clapped, stamped. I was a little bothered, perhaps just a cultural difference, till he said.
“My dad’s not even that old - and he could not possibly do what you have just done - how do you do it?”
So I felt great.
I had beat some Korean kid’s dad at long distance snow walking. I must be a hero.