In the lap of Alps

Right from my childhood, whenever I saw the picture post-cards of the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, I would dream of visiting that beautiful country. And my dream came true a while ago. I did not believe that I was going to Zurich, even until I boarded the flight and pinched myself!

I was thrilled to watch the heavenly Alps from the flight for miles and miles, with snow splattered here and there, which looked like someone had poured milk over them.

Lovely little rivulets and streams flowed in the valleys, pretty little villages/towns were spotted here and there. Green meadows and fields of different shades, with bright brick-coloured tile roofs and while walls in between, were a treat to the eyes.

I marvelled at the wonderful transport system of Zurich and was awed by the cleanliness and sparse population. It seems the population of the entire country of Switzerland is almost as much as the population of Bengaluru!

Though ugly modern buildings had sprung up here and there, most of the residential buildings were of the traditional type with tiled roofs, chimneys, lovely little gardens, white walls, windows and blinds of aesthetic colours. There is hardly anything that is gaudy in the whole orchestra. It is a pleasure watching people cycling or skating or moving around on wheeled shoes, peacefully. Can you imagine such a sight on the congested roads of Bengaluru?

Of course, the city itself is a delightful place for a person from a thickly populated city. I visited Limmat river and Lake Zurich and the ETH, where Sir Albert Einstein was a professor. This institute has produced quite a number of Nobel laureates.
Planning a tour in Zurich is so very convenient and hassle-free. All you have to do is go to the Reisburo at Zurich HB (the main railway station of Zurich). There is a very organised system of enquiry and assistance here.

We decided to go to Pilatus. Within 40 minutes, we were transported to a height of 2100 metres above sea level from the base. From there, we got a very wonderful view of Luzern city, a lake and the other peaks of the mountains.

We spent a good three hours on the top, watching the tourists from around the world, the adventurous tourists, who were hang-gliding or climbing the tough rocks or just trekking along the mountains and of course the beautiful Alps and its greenery.

The next weekend, we set off to Mount Titlis, because I wanted to see the Alps, my ‘dream mountains’ with snow!

We travelled by a couple of trains up to Angelberg and then by gondolas and cable cars to reach the Titlis glacier, which is at a height of 3000 metres above sea level. The entire route was a treat to our eyes — lush green meadows, lovely tiled houses in between, hillocks here and there and of course the snow-capped mountains at a distance.

Angelberg is again a very lovely town. As we went up the mountains, the temperature started dipping and on top of the glacier, it was just two degrees centigrade. Many Bollywood scenes have been shot there or Bollywood stars and other prominent people like cricketers have visited this place, which are all recorded there!

The glacier was heavenly – a thick white cake all around us. After reaching the top, we are transported by ‘Ice Flyers’ to another spot on the glacier. The best aspect about the whole tour was the way all these places are maintained spic and span. Even on top of the glacier, there are clean toilet facilities. There is absolutely nothing littered over there.

We get a wonderful view of many snow-capped peaks from this point and there is also a natural statue of Buddha, which was discovered by a Japanese adventurer.

We never felt like coming down from Mount Titlis but all good things have to end and so we descended half-heartedly. Thus, I fulfilled my lifetime dream of visiting Switzerland and the beautiful Alps but definitely not quenched my thirst of spending more time in that beautiful country!

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