The feeling of infinite expanse

Fatima Silva Dos Santos and Martin Fischer enjoy a view that is unrivalled when working on the Jungfraujoch: for her during the breaks, for him because of his work.

Fatima Silva Dos Santos has pulled her zip up to the tip of her nose and shivers on the platform. When she gets into the first train on the Kleine Scheidegg in the morning, it is barely light and way below zero degrees. A handful of hikers entertain themselves at the other end of the compartment. Otherwise she is alone.

 

Fatima works at the Top of Europe shop on the Jungfraujoch. She climbs 3,454 metres daily. She likes the early shift and the ride in the first train. Then, when she presses her face against the window pane and shields the neon light with her hand, her reflection disappears and she can see out.

«The view on the Jungfraujoch sometimes takes my breath away.»

Powerful and majestic

The majestic sight of the Alps against the morning sky, still pink on the horizon, is striking. Fatima can recognise the morning star, which will soon make way for the sun. Then the train disappears into the tunnel – time to doze, until the train arrives on the Jungfraujoch after a good seven kilometres.

Every now and then, Fatima enjoys the view from this sublime height into the distance during a break. Nowhere is the air as clear as it is here, and you can never see as far as on a cold winter's day. She lets the seemingly endless expanse sink in. She enjoys this feeling.

Weather outlook

Martin Fischer also enjoys the view, yet it is a part of his job. The manager of the Jungfraujoch research station reports to MeteoSwiss, the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, five times each day on visibility, cloud types and altitude or possible precipitation. His observations form part of the weather forecast.

«I enjoy the calmness of shovelling snow in the early morning.»

Best in winter

On the Jungfraujoch, the conditions for viewing the expanse are particularly favourable. Especially in late autumn and winter, there are significantly fewer dirt particles, to which water droplets can condense and thereby obscure visibility. The air is particularly dry, so you can see even further.

180 km of visibility

In high-pressure weather, for example, the Jungfraujoch is radiantly beautiful and often comparatively mild, while in the valley below the damp air remains hanging. Or particularly clean, dry air falls from the stratosphere around 40 kilometres down to the level of the Alps and ensures a perfectly clear view.

On such a beautiful day, Martin Fischer can see up to the Vosges, which lie at a direct distance of 180 kilometres. And Fatima Silva Dos Santos would prefer to stay up high until the starry sky stretches over Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.