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Is Jungfraujoch worth the trip for a CLAUSTROPHOBIC person?

Is Jungfraujoch worth the trip for a CLAUSTROPHOBIC person?

Old Jun 10th, 2010, 04:30 PM
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Is Jungfraujoch worth the trip for a CLAUSTROPHOBIC person?

Are there any travelers out there who suffer from claustrophobia and have taken the train journey up to the Jungfraujoch? Through the looong scary 45-minute tunnel?! Is this expensive train journey worth the trip? Is it really the memorable journey of a lifetime? Is it really a must-see? Or are the other mountain views in the Berner Oberland area just as wonderful (without the tunnel!)

My claustrophobia is mainly a problem when I can't escape. So yes I can take an elevator...because I can always get off if I need a break or if the elevator gets too crowded. But I get very nervous in those tunnels which traffic occasionally has to drive through...especially if it's a traffic jam and I'm "stuck" in the tunnel.

I don't like flying due to claustrophobia...but getting an aisle seat on a big plane, and looking out the windows, does help to make it bearable. I also have xanax but only for flying. I don't like to depend on meds so only use it for flying. Besides the dose of xanax I have to take for flying makes me disoriented, which isn't a problem while flying because I am just sitting there and can snooze. But I wouldn't want to be walking around the top of a mountain while disoriented with xanax anyway.

So...are you claustrophobic? Or perhaps your traveling partner is claustrophobic? And did they enjoy the Jungfraujoch, or did they regret going? Or maybe they were unable to go at all?

One problem with claustrophobia is that if you can't escape right away...it can cause lingering anxiety all day which would spoil the whole day. But if I can escape right away, the trapped feeling subsides quickly.

If my husband wants to take the train up to Jungfraujoch without me, I can find something else to do. But he says he doesn't know anything about it so he isn't sure if its worth the price.

Thanks in advance for your helpful experiences.
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 04:38 PM
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There are other mountains that you can ascend - but almost all require either a cable car (small) or a train/tram (also small) but both have windows. IMHO a cable car is a lot more scary than a tunnel. From Lucerne you can easily ascent Mt Pilatus or Mt Titlus.

You should know that the Jungfrau is a good idea only on those days when the top is not socked in the clouds. We had to wait until our 3rd day in Interlaken before it was clear at the top. (And I didn;t find the tunnel at all scary - but I don;t have claustrophobia - and the train cars are not that small).
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 04:56 PM
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I'm not claustrophobic but I found it very difficult to breathe at that altitude and took the first train down. For me, it was very much not worth the cost.
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 04:57 PM
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nytraveler, thanks for your viewpoint. I agree that cable cars are scary too...I get scared on the gondola ride at the zoo! But it's an exciting kind of scary...I still enjoy the experience. But phobias, like claustrophobia, are a different level of fear...it's NOT enjoyable.

However, one traveler told me the trains are lit up and you can't actually see the tunnel...and you say that the train cars aren't too small which also helps...so perhaps it doesn't feel claustrophobic...it's hard to say until I'm there. But it does help to hear from other people who have been there.

However if it does feel claustrophobic, 45 minutes would be very long! Sometimes I can go for weeks without feeling claustrophobic. But then if I feel trapped somewhere, it sets off strong anxiety which can then cause me to feel claustrophobic even in places that don't normally bother me.

Anyway I welcome everyone's experience...please share. It helps me to picture myself there so that I can make the decision that will be best for me. Plus I will have more info for my husband.
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 08:30 PM
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Fra_Diavolo: That sounds like one of the symptoms of altitude sickness. Sure enough the cure is to go back down... I'm sorry the experience was unpleasant for you. Hopefully other experiences on your trip were a lot more fun! I've never been up that high yet. (Well not counting flying but since the cabin is pressurized I don't think that counts.)
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 10:14 PM
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Congratulations Melissa5.

This is your 17th thread on visiting Switzerland.

You're not a little paranoid, are you?
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 10:47 PM
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schuler: Not a little...a lot! Am I only up to 17 threads? Thanks for keeping track for me.
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 11:19 PM
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Melissa,

My take on this:

- 10 days in the Berner Oberland is a lot but there are many things you can do there. In fact, it may be just what the doctor ordered to calm your nerves and smell the roses (or enzian in this case).

- You'll get lots of info from the tourist office there. And tons of people speak English.

- Jungfraujoch: if you suffer from claustrophobia or altitude sickness, don't go. It's as simple as that. Your husband will have plenty of time to decide if he wants to go during your visit.

I went to the Jungfraujoch last year and we had a perfect day. However, I was sluggish from the altitude and didn't feel 100%. I also didn't like the overpowering smell of curry that you can smell in some parts of the building.

You've planned, booked and now the itinerary is settled. Do bring the right clothes (layers for wind/rain/cold/hot)and a backpack that you can use for hiking. Bring a guidebook on Switzerland so you can plan your days which will be dictated by the weather.

I get nervous for you just reading some of your posts.
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 12:40 AM
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schuler, thanks for reminding me that I've planned, booked, and now the itinerary is settled. Yes! Time to open the suitcase and start piling a lot of clothes next to it, plus my guidebooks and hotel info. Then after about a week when the pile is huge, my wonderful husband fits it all in the suitcase for me. (The trick is, he secretly leaves out what doesn't fit...this plan works great!) schuler don't make me get nervous about you getting nervous for me just reading some of my posts.

I remember now why my husband and I are going on this trip...to enjoy the Swiss Alps and each other! I also remember my goal in choosing the itinerary...to plan a trip with a very relaxing pace, with a maximum of 4 hotel changes. Woo-hoo! Murren here we come...to meditate upon the wildflowers and the musical tinkling of cowbells...Wengen and Lauterbrunnen and Lucerne...here we come, scenic lakes and awesome Alps! And cheese...and chocolate...

We really need a vacation, having just married off 2 daughters and welcomed our first grandbaby into the world...all in less than 2 years... Now it's OUR turn to have fun!
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 01:04 AM
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The bells are so soothing. I'm hearing sheep, goat and cow bells right now while at my computer. I live in the country and still can't get over the beauty of it all. That's the magic of Switzerland!
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 03:10 AM
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Schuler--You have brought back such a precious memory.

When we stayed at Kleine Scheidegg eons ago, the hotel there was in pretty bad condition, but I'll never forget the magic of our night there. The curtains blew in and out in the soft breeze, and one could view a ceiling of stars, a carpet of lights from Grindelwald far below, and pinpricks of lights from the tunnels of the Jungfrauroch railroad on the Eiger. And all night, we could hear the sound of bells, bells, bells, bells, bells.

Amazing. Worth the entire trip.
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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schuler: Lucky you! Enjoy the magic. Sometimes I see a hummingbird while sitting at my computer.

AlessandraZoe: That's a lovely description of your memory of the night at Kleine Scheidegg. Isn't it interesting how precious memories are often NOT of ritzy hotels...they are of spontaneous experiences in extraordinary places which could easily be humble places... Maybe magic hides in humble places.
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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absolutely.
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 07:01 PM
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I experienced neither claustrophobia nor breathing problems, and thought Jungfraujoch was a highlight of the trip. Definitely recommend it if the weather is clear.
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 08:55 PM
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I would do Jungfraujoch trains beside others (Schilthorn, First cables, etc) as long as the weather cooporates. You will be staying 6 nights in Wengen. You will have plenty of time and being in Wengen, you are already on the way to the top.

Claustrophobic? I am not one but I hate to be in a elevator full of people so you cannot even move. On the Jungfrau train (I have done a few times), it's not like that at all. You have enough space, you can chat with your husband and other travellers and time will fly. It is the dullest part of the travel, being in the tunnel with no view but think about you will be being transported in the tunnel dug in the alps (what a work!) and the reward you get once you reach the top. You will be in the area for the first time and when next time? All considered, I think it's worth. You hate even flying because of claustophobia? Hmmm, then only you can decide. Other possibility is you can stay in Wengen or take the train down and visit the valley of Lauterbrunnen with its waterfall "Staubach". Or perhaps you can accompany your husband only to Kleine Scheidegg (no tunnels until there) and you wait there, doing short hiking, lunch.

Beathing problem? How many visitors go up there a year, perhaps hundreds of thousands? A few do have but most don't. But eveybody feels a bit light (or heavy?) headed. If you are that worried, perhaps you might want to get an oxygen canister called O-Pur that's sold at Swiss pharmacies. It comes with a mouth piece. Never used one myself though. It might cost about CHF15.-, the small one.
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Old Jun 12th, 2010, 01:04 AM
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Seamus and kappa1, Thanks for your reflections and advice.

kappa1...Maybe I will consider that oxygen canister sold in Swiss Pharmacies. Don't know much about that. But since my husband is undecided as well, we do have plenty of time to decide. Maybe we will just go with a spontaneous decision...yes or no... as the mood strikes us...and depending on the weather!
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Old Jun 12th, 2010, 01:19 AM
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The advantage of staying 10 days in Berner Oberland is that you are flexible. Mountain weather changes quickly. One day it can be miserable and the next absolutely breathtaking. On the poor weather days, you can explore Bern, Thun and even Lucerne using the train as transportation.

Then, on the sunny days, you can plan some hikes or just go up to a favorite restaurant and enjoy the views while drinking some cafe zwetchgen or a nice glass of wine. Simply divine.
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Old Jun 12th, 2010, 01:22 AM
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O-Pur
http://www.opuruk.co.uk/
It's not you would need it. Just for piece of your mind. And even for a laugh, or may help some other traveller with that... You never know. ;-)

> we will just go with a spontaneous decision...yes or no... as the mood strikes us...and depending on the weather

Agreed!
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Old Jun 12th, 2010, 01:31 AM
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> piece of your mind.
PEACE !
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Old Jun 12th, 2010, 01:49 AM
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On the way down from the Jungfraujoch, a young boy vomited. The smell was awful and you couldn't escape it. Needless to say, it was a long ride down.
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