There is not a single person who hasn’t really dreamed of Switzerland, the Swiss Alps ever! I am sure it’s a destination that’s on every persons list. And who ever has made that trip none have come back disappointed. Being in this city is all about moving to places only to slow down by the magnificent beauty of blue shimmer lakes, classic snow covered hill top mountains, the alpine ski-resorts and several vast quaint landscapes. So many of these places will make you want to stop and stare till infinity at their powerful yet calming beauty.
Making my very first entry to this country, like any other traveller Zurich was my first encounter when it came to exploring Switzerland. And only once you set foot on this enigmatic place you unfold why it is the most desirable city in the world, the most livable city in the world and the birth-point of art and music. In fact, so great is its fame that it is often misconstrued as Switzerland’s capital (over its actual capital, Bern). No Switzerland traveller gives Zurich a miss in my opinion.
As usual not selecting a cliché destination I wanted to wander a bit further to the mountains and chose the city of Grindelwald as my base stay. Yes exploring this Alp country is all about staying at one spot and moving around making one-day trips! But only after my arrival did I realize that it was magical, but in an entirely different way. I booked an apartment right at the foot of the Alps and every time I drew the curtains to let the sunlight in, a giant in the form of Mount Eiger stood in front of me.
On my very first day I was lucky to witness what the locals call as the Alpenglow. For seconds the view outside my balcony looked setting ablaze in gold! As poetic and mysterious as the name sounds, Grindelwald is a humble, tiny village situated on the foothills of the Eiger, the Wetterhorn Peak and Mettenberg. I would not be exaggerating when I say that you can see the whole of the settlement in a matter of minutes; you start from a particular point and in the blink of an eye, you’ve reached the end.
This however in no way dissuades this cozy hamlet from attracting travellers from all over, especially wanderlusters like me.
I however found myself in the village because I intended to see Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest train station. 3500 meters above sea level, an expanse of blinding snow coupled with bone-chilling winds, I was all ready to embrace the surreal views.
With a cogwheel train taking me through the stunning snow-covered landscapes, the sight of undulating peaks going as far as Germany’s ‘Black Forest’, sparkling glaciers, a vast Ice Palace gallery were dazing.
Only on reaching the destination and making my way through the ice palace confronting the minus temperatures I was submerged in the pure beauty of this glacier.
And ahhh the breathtaking views of the Europe from the peak! I truly did unravel the meaning of ‘breathtaking’ standing there in solitude. A moment edged in my travel memories.
Next day trip was to explore the much spoken about city of Interlaken. Starting with exploring the city by the cruise on Lake Brienz I was already gasping with so many shades of blue existing around.
To explore even further I took the cable train to visit the highest point to get the city view at Harder Kulm.
And being so fascinated with the view from this highest point I couldn’t wait to take the plunge to paraglide over these swizz alps and lakes. The entire feeling and view was so adrenaline-charged. With one step off the mountain I was flying like a free bird all over the Swiss Alps.
Also when in Switzerland a place definitely not to be missed would be the electric-cars and horse-drawn sleighs city of Zermatt. Being a small snowy village it is more of an unpretentious and quiet destination away from the glitz of Zurich and city life.
Entering this car free city, a long beautiful walk takes you to the base of Matterhorn from where boarding the gondola took me to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (3,883 metres above sea level) It laid stunning 360O panoramic view of the Swiss, Italian and French Alps.
Another mountain peak that I did not give a miss was the so famous Mt.Titlis. Starting off a cable ride from the valley base up to the 10,000ft high mountain, which is wrapped in a snow blanket round the year.
The journey to the mountain top involved an exciting Rotair Gondola ride, the world’s first revolving cable car offering a 360 degree bird’s eye view of the magnificent surroundings.
Walking through the suspended bridge between the mountains was the most nerve-wracking experience! I so never wanted to cross sides!
But exploring this ice-clad mountain was more of a fun ride than the solitary experience at Jungfrouch. Taking the snow slides, the tyre tube rides down the snow hill was just as much as fun I could have imagined.
Moreover taking a ride over the ice glacier in an open chair lift and enjoying the breathtaking views of icefalls and crevasses was a view I never imagined to witness. It was like unfolding the mystery of these gargantuan ice glaciers so closely.
Another city to visit when in Switzerland is Lucerne purely for the picturesque ancient town by the Lake, with many notable medieval landmarks to see. My excitement was to walk down the Chapel Bridge, one of the town’s most recognisable landmarks, and Europe’s oldest surviving wooden covered bridge.
Only while walking across it I was amazed with some 17th century paintings that were added on the interior triangular frames of the bridge to illustrate scenes from Swiss history. Pure beauty held with some historic values.
The dying Lion of Lucerne is also one of the world’s most famous monuments and is carved out of natural rock in memory of the heroic deaths of the Swiss soldiers.
I spend my remaining day lunching at the cafes enjoying the scenic of the Kapellbruke on the Lake Lucerne taking me back in time.
On my last day with so many things on the card yet to see, I boarded a train without any destination in mind and just wandering the roads of Switzerland. On having a random conversation with a local on the train I was suggested to not miss the Trummbleback falls, which were quite near by the city of Grindelwald. Without a hesitation I changed trains at the very next stop and made my way to the little town of Murren.
The way to reach Trummbleback falls involved 3 trains, 1 bus ride, and 2 cable car rendezvous and obviously not to be missed the hike up the fall. On that bright sunny day, it was all about experiencing the valley of 72 waterfalls.
This UNESCO World Natural Heritage waterfall drains the mighty glacier defiles of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau and carries 20,200 tons of boulder detritus per year. On reaching the peak it was elating to see and hear the waterfall gashing between the big rocks. It definitely was a delight to catch a glimpse of the only glacier-waterfalls in Europe inside the mountain that are still accessible!
Largely I still can get over the everyday train ride passing through some of the most beautiful mountains and gorgeous views of the Swiss countryside.
Gosh I am going to miss the beautiful window-framed scenery so much! I sight that was about to end, moreover the feeling of breathing the fresh air of the mountains was already being missed. I couldn’t get enough of the strolls along the cobblestone streets and admiring the glory of those beautiful sunsets.
When this is what you have seen and felt after having been in a country for a little over than a week, you know mountains can change any complacency. They surely did mine!
- Paragliding over the city of Interlaken
- Taking the highest cable train to Harder Kulm and enjoying the world’s coldest beer there
- Having a solidarity moment at one of the mountain peaks
- Getting lost in one of the small Swiss villages
- Hiking up a mountain peak
- Enjoying the fun snow rides
- Ditch the hotels stay in a Swiss Chalet
GlobeTrotting365Days: Switzerland 26th July 2014.