Perfect winter ❆ Switzerland : Heading up to Grindelwald-First (pronounce as ‘Fierst’)

Grindelwald, Firstbahn and the view of Eiger.

Special thank you to Jungfrau Railways (Top of Europe)
Waking early and being the first at the restaurant to have a hearty breakfast before heading out for a day of adventure, when you have this-kind-of-beauty at your doorstep . . . who would not wake early to explore Grindelwald-First Top of Adventure?

Metabolism kicking in perhaps due to winter chill, the energy seems to burn more faster and the stomach indicates hunger at a whole new level! When in Switzerland … your typical breakfast includes lots of fresh fruits, creamy cheese selection such as Gruyere or Berner alp cheese the finest of Switzerland, amazing selection of pastries, and not forgetting the star local breakfast offering – rösti which is made from crispy bits of potatoes pan fried.

The view of the Alps from within the breakfast area is as magnificent as ever here at Jungfrau-Victoria Spa Resort, looking out from within the austere soft golden glow of the restaurant while sipping a cup of hot coffee . . . ah the ultimate feeling!

The mountains of the Bernese Highland behind the Jungfrau-Victoria Hotel The hotel is nestled at the foothills of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. Opened in 1856 as the Pension Victoria hotel.

A hearty breakfast selection . . .

Different type of rolls . . . freshly baked.

The magnificent view of the mount from the comfort of the breakfast table . . .

No pun intended, first let’s head up to Grindelwald-First (pronounce as ‘Fierst’).

Without spending much time this morning to luxuriate the fine breakfast, we head out to Interlaken Ost once more catching the train to Grindelwald Bahnhof (or Grindelwald train station). The village of Grindelwald is famously known as the gateway to Jungfrau region, where adventure awaits. Upon arrival at the Grindelwald Bahnhof, we can’t help but “click” our way through Grindelwald a village located at Switzerland’s Bernese Alps at a height of 1,034 meters.

The view of the beautiful towns from Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald bahnhof (station).

Alighting from the train, even right here at the train tracks, the view is superbly covered in snow!

There is so much too see while walking through the village, feeling guilty at not-stopping to explore, we head on to the gondola operated by Grindelwald-First (Jungfrau Railways) which will take us up to the summit of First! Trust me, the struggle is too real . . . when one is torn between wanting to explore this quaint village or head up to more adventure!

We can see many winter holiday makers, either traveling alone or with family. Look at the cuties, all warmly bundled up in the right winter gear, up ready to sleigh!

In the end the head won over the heart by telling oneself, upon ascending the summit there will be time to explore the village. The gondola travels in relatively good-pace which makes a perfect view and lots of photo-taking opportunities of the snow covered pine trees and mountains as we rise higher and higher. During summer the view is different I’ve been told by our guide, turning a carpet of green with wild flowers dotting the hillside and the cows wearing Switzerland’s famed cowbells grazing grass. Both season different but equally breathtakingly beautiful.

Duration is approximately about 25 minutes up to the summit, where upon alighting there is a store where you can purchase winter mountain gear items or rent proper winter gears, as well as sledge and ski too. Having don on the proper gear! It’s out to brave the cold, the wind, the view and most importantly Top of Adventure!

Where we board the gondola up to the summit of First, having walked through Grindelwald village.

Ready to board the gondola up . . .

The snow covered view of the alps as we head up . . .

Upon reaching the summit for First (pronounced as Fierst).

Look at all the skiis waiting to be used!

The store offers many types of winter apparatus and apparels to buy or rent.

First Cliff Walk by TISSOT

Having suit-up for the weather a top the summit of First, we are ready to head out for my very first cliff walk! Stepping outside it was a little like being in a snow globe. I can’t help but imagine Santa-Claus was looking in at these tiny-humans on the tip and shaking the snow globe.

The view outside once we are suited up with proper winter hiking gears.

There is information board at real time on the ski slopes, indicating the different zones (beginners or advanced) green is go and lighted red meaning no-go!

The indicator of First CLiff Walk by TISSOT with the original watch of course!

Feather light snow was floating around us whenever there was a soft gust-of-wind, the floor covered with inch of snow. The trek along the side of the First Cliff Walk is amazing, being close to the rock formation with its jagged edge, but the view of the Eiger North Face and the valley below covered in pure white snow is what takes your breath away. As you trek your way to the Bergrestaurant at 7,100 feet and walk out the terrace which rises 45 metres out into the void.

The view from the starting point of the First Cliff Walk . . .

Lining up single file, we begin to explore . . . feeling safe and filled with wonder. We naturally can’t stop capturing the magnificent views.

Eiger North Face : Our view today was obscured by the weather, but there are binoculars and information plates. Was told in summer the view is beautiful covered in emerald . . . grasslands and sunshine.

Bachlager Waterfall, frozen in winter. The water is from the alps and glaciers.

There is a short walk across a bridge hanging in-between the two cliffs. Walking across you can look down if you are not afraid of heights.

Ahead is the restaurant perched at 7,100 feet and the 45 meter terrace structure out into the void by TISSOT.

As you enter, the warmth of the restaurant engulfs you and feeling your blood warmed-up is the best feeling in the world, and especially the nose area. Where it picks up the delicious aroma of piping hot food served up here. In winter, you can expect to smell the aroma of cinnamon spiced wine, as you down some feeling the warm spiced wine slowly flowing through warming your blood vessels which were numb by the cold. But hey . . . with an awesome view and experience I have no complains of the weather!

Bergretaurant First (Berghaus Bort) at 7,100 feet is an awesome restaurant and a hotel.

The deck tables and chairs are currently piled up with snow … but in summer you can opt to dine out while enjoying the view at the summit!

The view looking back from the tip of the 45 meter structure.

Catch the warm atmosphere, a welcomed difference from the cold outside.

With delicious food served as well. After having climbed and braving the cold outside . . . a hearty choice of lunch!

The Eagle is taking off – First Glider!

The snow fall picked up after lunch time, some of the activities were not able to experience due to the heavy snowfall, but this did not dampen our spirit, instead it made it more magical. We were lucky enough to be able to ride on the latest addition to the many adventures found here – the First Glider!

Strapping in a maximum of 4 persons, the First Glider is pulled backwards from Schreckfeld towards First at 72 km/h. Propelling you forward again by gliding the 800-metre-long flight route at up to 83 km/h with snow falling down. Make sure you are warmly clothe during winter when riding the First Glider. The only downside is I did not get to document my experience, as no camera (even if you are a professional) is allowed on the ride. Unless perhaps you have been commissioned to shoot a commercial I guess!

Truly the place for alpine adventure!

Take a gondola up and ride your way down with an adventure!

Grindelwald-First truly lives up to its name as the Top of Adventure and I now understand why adrenaline junkies would want to stay here in Grindelwald for at least a minimum of two nights stretching to a week or two and some even more. The amount of things to explore here is amazing and if you are up for it, how about a lil’ mini alpine amazing race?

In summer time when one reaches the summit at First by gondola, to descend they would speed down from First to Schreckfeld with the First Flyer, at Schreckfeld you must ride the First Glider (as mentioned above), race with the Mountain Cart from Schreckfeld to Bort and see who will be first to finish the final lap by exchanging the cart for TrottiBike Scooter all the way down to Grindelwald.

Of course in winter, the race would be a little different. Adrenaline junkies can purchase the First Sledging Pass (1-day pass). Ride the gondola up to the summit and sledge down passing the 2000 meter altitude mark towards Grindelwald. If that can’t keep your blood racing, head out to White Elements Snow Park where there are halfpipe for both beginners and advanced freestylers. Having been well known in the snowboard and freeski community as the top meeting place.

For avid skiers, there is Skicross which stretches 800-meter-long. The starting gate is the sames as that used for the Skicross World Cup. After all Switzerland is the birthplace of these winter sports.

Winter games . . .

The view on the way down riding the gondola, we were not able to sleigh down till Grindelwald village, due to the heavy snowfall. But it was still lovely!

Literally a snow globe!! Maybe for the locals this is not enjoyable. But for a person from Malaysia where it is warm . . . this is awesome!

Grindelwald village has many shops and stores to explore.

Snow covered playground with an obscured view of the alps. You can expect on a bright clear day, the view would be superb.

More info on Grindelwald-First Tickets:
➣Departure Interlaken Ost
Arrival Grindelwald – short walk through the village to the cable car station
➣Departure Grindelwald
Arrival First – Top of Adventure
Experience the First Cliff Walk by Tissot and try the First Flyer, First Glider and many more . . .

Too many choices? How many days should I purchase for? Can I hope off and hope on?
Call APPLE WEST at 03-2143 3939 for best advice on ticket type to purchase.

Click: APPLE WEST Enquiry

Interesting Facts:
Switzerland is a country you must visit at least once in your lifetime. Unique with four national language spoken here, are Swiss German taking up a bigger pie, French, Italian and a smattering of Romansh. The location of the spoken language is very much influenced by the countries bordering Switzerland. Being a landlocked country by France in the west, Germany in the north, Austria and the principality of Liechtenstein in the east (which also speaks German), Italy in the south. Where as Romansh language is spoken in Graubunden in the east side.

Be sure to visit Interlaken, located in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, north of Switzerland where the Swiss-German language is widely spoken here. Interlaken is one of the most prettiest fairy-tale resort town, in between two lakes (hence the town’s name – Interlaken) and surrounded by breathtaking Swiss Alps. Winter season here is the peak with lots of fun filled activities taking place.

Read More on A Perfect Winter ❆ Switzerland:
1) Having Charlie Chaplin in Vevey
2) Welcome TO CHAPLIN’S WORLD by Grevin
3) PerfeKt winter at 3,454 meters on a fine Thursday