Wednesday, December 22

The top of Europe

Another brief post to update you on our movements. Since leaving Liechtenstein we've travelled the length of the Swiss Alps on the aptly named Glacier Express train, stopped for a day in Bern and caught the world famous Jungfraujoch cog railway up to a dazzling snow-covered observation platform 3,500 metres above sea level (both photos in this post were taken from my lunch-time restaurant seat at Jungfraujoch).

Thank goodness we left the UK when we did. As a result we've avoided the travel chaos that's swept across Northern Europe for the last four days thanks to unseasonably heavy snowfalls. Thousands of flights have been cancelled, stranding ten of thousands of passengers and transforming airport terminals into temporary camp sites.

Airport operators says that the sheer volume of snow - in some areas 12.7cm (five inches) fell in just one hour on Saturday - led to extensive ice build-up around aircraft on the ground trapping aircraft at their stands.

Fortunately, we've been far enough south to avoid the worst of the foul weather. Instead we've been blessed with blue skies every day an alpine outing has been scheduled or have enjoyed a cheery dose of light, fluffy (romantic Christmas quality) snow on days where it made for an ideal backdrop.

I'm currently writing this post from the lounge at Frankfurt Airport where we've just checked in for our flight to Chile. We've checked in without a problem but have been told our flight will depart at least two hours late. The flight has been leaving late for the last four days (we've been checking online every night) so tonight's delay appears normal at this stage. The airline gave each of us a €10 voucher to spend at half a dozen restaurants in the terminal so we're happy.

On our way into the terminal we did see the hall where hundreds of camp beds were set up on Sunday for stranded travellers. We saw this scene and other chaotic images on CNN last night and so we wondered what might greet us when we arrived this afternoon. Fortunately most camp beds were empty today but there are plenty of queues at airline desks around the terminal. The departure board is also showing dozens of cancelled flights and plenty of lengthy delays.

Merry Christmas everyone. This may be my last post until we return from our cruise in Antarctica.

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1 comment:

rhonda said...

And a Merry Christmas to you too. Enjoy Antarctica, We'll be thinking of you!!!