Menu

Switzerland

February 17, 2010 - Europe, Travel Diaries
Switzerland

When we were in India, we used to watch Bollywood movies a lot. Romantic songs of many of those movies were shot in Switzerland’s beautiful places and thus it became Indian’s dream destination. We were among them. The Alps with white snow, green meadows and blue lakes and in clear weather the blue sky makes this country the most beautiful. When we got the chance to spend eight days in Switzerland, it was like a dream come true. We were there from 18th to 25th July 2009.

Though it is a small country but for the nature lovers its huge. Eight days were not enough to cherish every part of this country, so we selected some of the places from the most attractive regions like Central Switzerland, Bernese Oberland, Jungfrau, Lake Geneva and Valais.

18th July, Saturday : We took a morning flight to Zurich from Hanover. But we didn’t go around Zurich on that day, we had to return from there, our plan was to see it on the final day of the trip.

We went to the ticket counter in the airport for the train tickets to Lucern, our first destination. Here we should mention that there are many options for tickets, according to our need “Half Fare Card” was best suited, with this card one can buy all the train tickets in half the price and also most of the cable car, ferry and funicular tickets. So we bought two half fare cards for 99 CHF each. Along with the tickets to Lucern, we also reserved tickets for Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur and then from Chur to Zurich in a regional express.

We boarded the train from Zurich airport station and reached Lucern within 2 hours. The weather on the day was not quite good and it had started raining by the time we came out of the station. We were very disheartened and rushed to the information centre in the station to plan for the trip to Pilatus and local sight seeing. They said we should plan for Mount Pilatus the next day.

We went to the hotel first and then after a little freshening up went for a walk around the town.

We had to walk in the drizzle for sometime but the weather became better gradually and we managed to see the places around. The Chappel Bridge was our first sight and was very near from our hotel and the station. We crossed the bridge and then started walking by the lake side and reached a church nearby, sat there for sometime, consulted the map and walked towards the Lion Monument. The small and nice place was already full of tourists and local people. After taking few snaps we got out from the place and started roaming aimlessly here and there. After a long walk we entered a souvenir shop. It was a small shop with impressive collections. We bought one Swiss Army Knife and engraved our names on it. It was already a hectic day and it was not possible for us to walk anymore, so we took rest beside lake Lucern until sunset and went back to the hotel.

Lake Lucern

19th July, Sunday : We got up early and looked out of the window and was greeted by the clear sky. We had to catch the evening train to Interlaken, so had to start for Pilatus as soon a possible. Quickly had our breakfast  and went to the information centre. We took the round trip tickets to Mount Pilatus. There are three different options, a combination of ferry, cogwheel train, cable car and bus. The prices depends on the option chosen. We choose to start with the ferry in lake Lucern till Alpnachstad and then the cogwheel train to Mount Pilatus. While coming down, first it was the bigger cable car till Fräkmüntegg and then the smaller cable car till Kriens and finally by bus to Lucern.

The ferry boat jetty was just opposite to the railway station. There were not many people on board and we easily got the seat with the best view. Whatever the name Switzerland invokes, we saw just that. The combination of blue lake and lush green meadows with beautiful houses was wonderful. Then there was the sound of bells ringing, from bells that were dangling from the neck of the grazing cows. That filled the air with the sound of the cow bells that was typically swiss. It was an amazing experience. We reached the station for the cogwheel train, found a long queue but it didn’t take much time. We had our baby’s stroller with us and we managed to take it in that train.

It was very cold and windy on the top of Pilatus and little foggy, so we couldn’t get the view of  lake Lucerne. We waited there for couple of hours and visited the souvenir shops, but had no luck and decided to go down. As stated before, we took the cable car for getting down. There was one change in between. First we took the big cable car to Fräkmüntegg. When we reached there, we are amazed by the sight and the weather.

The View From Fräkmüntegg

It was a clear sky and we saw the lake which we couldn’t see from the top. And people were spending time by playing a variety of games and activities. We stayed there for quite some time and enjoyed the view. Then we took the second cable car, the small one, to Kriens. And it was really a long way and we enjoyed the ride and the view both. After getting down, we searched for the bus stand for the bus to Lucerne. We had to walk for about 8-10 minutes to reach the bus stop. The bus was crowded but we somehow managed to keep the stroller and finally reached Lucerne station.

We went to our hotel to bring the luggage and came back to the station as we had to catch the train to Interlaken. We went to the ticket counter and took the tickets to Wilderswil, the next stop to Interlaken Ost (East) by showing the half fare cards. When we came to the platform, we found that our train was the Golden Pass Panoramic train and there were not many people in the train. We took our own chosen seats as seat reservation was not required and enjoyed the view throughout the journey. It took around 2 hrs 30 min to reach Interlaken Ost. For Wilderswil, the next stop, we boarded another train which took 5 min.

Wilderswil was quite a calm, scenic and small place. We asked few people for the direction of our apartment. It was a little far from the station but the scenery was so beautiful that we hardly realized the distance. It was already 8.30 in the evening and we were very tired to explore around, so we thought of staying back at the room.

20th July, Monday : It was a clear and sunny morning. We thought it would be the best weather to go to Jungfraujoch. We went to the station and took the return tickets to Jungfraujoch. Trains to Jungfraujoch go via Wilderswil.  The train had different boogies for Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. We boarded the Grindelwald compartment to reach Kleine Scheidegg. It can  also be reached via Lauterbrunnen. Kleine scheidegg is a small and very scenic place. A few restaurants and souvenir shops are there.

A Train From Kleine Scheidegg To Jungfraujoch

We took the cogwheel train to Jungfraujoch, which was quite crowded. The train passed through a long tunnel and stopped twice for the passengers to get down and view the glacier through the large glass windows. The journey took nearly 1 hour and 10 minutes.

From the train station, we took a lift to go to the  observation deck at the upper level. We went out to the viewing platform and saw people walking on the glacier many feet below. The all round view was simply breathtaking.

Glacier In Jungfraujoch

But we could not do the same with the baby stroller and enjoyed it from there only. From there we headed towards the ‘Ice Palace’ . The place was nice with all the ice sculptures but very risky to walk on the ice floor and we saw few people falling down. After that we had nothing to do but came back to the train station and we boarded the crowded train again to reach Kleine Scheidegg. We had our lunch in a restaurant there and waited for the announcement for the next train to Lauterbrunnen. We took the connecting train to Wilderswill from there and reached our apartment. That day went superbly and we were tired enough for a long sleep.

21st July, Tuesday : Before starting our trip to Switzerland we were undecided weather to take a boat trip in lake Thun or lake Brienz, in Interlaken. The train from Lucern to Interlaken passes by lake Brienz and we had already seen the beauty of the lake while coming to Interlaken. So we thought it would be better to take a boat ride in lake Thun. We went to Interlaken Ost station from Wilderswil and then took a little long walk to Interlaken West. The starting point for the ferry is adjacent to the station. People went to the upper deck with first class tickets and we went to the lower deck with the crowed. The  boat stopped several times in the journey to Thun.

A Village By Lake Thun

It was an amazing experience in that beautiful lake .We got down from the ferry and walked to the nearby Thun station. Upon seeing that still we had time for our train and since we had already taken the train tickets from Thun to Interlaken, we went back to the lake and relaxed till it was time for our train’s departure. The train took an hour to reach Interlaken West and we took another train to Interlaken Ost and from there finally the train to Wilderswil. After coming back to our apartment we still had time to explore Wilderswil.

In Wilderswil

So we walked around the place near our apartment and enjoyed the evening sitting beside a small river.

22nd July, Wednesday : That was the day for a long journey from Interlaken to Zermatt via Montreux. We started early from Wilderswil. Our plan was to stay in Zermatt, before that we wanted to cherish the beauty of Lake Geneva region. So we decided to go to Montreux first. For that we had to take a train to Zweisimmen and then another train to Montreux. Zweisimmen is a small scenic village. We cherished the essence of the place until the departure of our connecting train to Montreux. We found picture perfect stretches of Swiss meadows just after the train left Zweisimmen.

A Beautiful Stretch

Before reaching Montreux we saw lake Geneva which seemed to be endless. Our plan was to see the Chateau de Chillon, a castle by the Lake Geneva in Montreux. We asked for the castle in the information centre and headed towards the bus stop. We did not find any left luggage counter in the station and had to carry our bags. We asked around and walked for the bus stop. It was funny that the bus driver could not tell us which ticket to buy. We asked several people and then a policeman in the bus helped us with that. The bus stopped near the castle. The place was amazing and we walked around the castle and sat by the lake but did not to go inside with the stroller. There was a ferry service to the castle and we saw people coming in ferry and getting down there.

Chateau De Chillon By Lake Geneva

We wanted to stay there a little longer but it had started raining and we had to go back to the bus stop. We had tickets with a validity of 90 minutes and we took a bus to the station with the same tickets.

We waited for about an hour in Montreux station for our train to Zermatt. The journey to Zermatt which is in Valais region, is totally different in view. The mountain rises more sharply and there are no meadows. Though it is as enchanting as the other regions. When we reached Zermatt station it was already 7.30 in the evening and we were too tired to roam around with all the luggage, so we headed towards our apartment. It was about 800 mts. from the station and also uphill hence quite tiring to walk with the luggage and the stroller. After dinner we went to the bed for a long sleep.

23rd July, Thursday : We woke up early, had our breakfast and went to the information centre near station. We had two full days in our hand in Zermatt. So we choose Gornergrat as our first destination. The cogwheel train station for Gornergrat is just opposite to the main train station. We took the return tickets and boarded the train. There was a rush in the train and hardly any place for the baby stroller. The journey was short and beautiful. When we reached Gornergrat ,the weather became cloudy and unfortunately we could not see the Matterhorn from there. We only saw the glacier under the gloomy grey sky and nothing else. It was too windy to stay outside for long, so we went inside the building housing souvenir shops and restaurant. We stayed there for sometime and decided to come back as there was nothing to do. People preferred walking downhill but it was impossible for us with a baby stroller, so we came down by the train. It was drizzling in Zermatt, still we roamed every corner and street. We tasted various Swiss chocolates and bought some for home. The place was like a hill station with ups and downs. We sat on a bench near the station and enjoyed the flag show with Swiss horn music.

Swiss Horn Music In Zermatt Station

And before coming back to the apartment we visited some souvenir shops. Those shops had almost the same stuffs and as we had already bought a ‘Swiss cow bell’ and a ‘Swiss army knife’ from Lucern, we decided not to by anything else and came back with the chocolates.

24th July, Friday : We woke up in the morning praying for a sunny day and went to the balcony. We saw the Matterhorn for the first time from the balcony and pushed ourselves to get ready fast. We went to the information centre again for that day’s planning. They suggested us for the Sonenga Paradise trip to see the Alpine lakes. The cogwheel train station for Sonenga Paradise was little far from the station and we walked for 15-20 minutes to reach there. We took the return tickets and boarded the train. After coming up we got out of the station and saw the Matterhorn. We found a small lake at a distance. We consulted the route map and found the name of that lake, Leisee. We reached the lake by walk and saw a clear reflection of the mighty Matterhorn on the lake’s water.

Reflection Of Matterhorn On Leisee

We relaxed there for couple of hours. We saw people playing with kids in a small playground, swimming in the lake and of course posing for the photos. That was really an awesome place to see the Swiss beauty. From there we took a cable car for the upper level. One can see five beautiful alpine lakes one after another by following the route map. We started walking for the second alpine lake called Stellisee. That was the toughest road to walk with the stroller, but we did it. It took approximately an hour to reach Stellisee but what we found at the end was wonderful. We can not explain it in words. We were speechless by the sight of the lake at the  foothills of Matterhorn.

Stellisee

We stayed there for hours and decided not to go further with the stroller. We walked around the serene lake and choose the best place to sit. We took the same way back to the cable car station and from there the cogwheel train to Zermatt. That was the last evening in Zermatt, so we went around nearby places and finally went back to the apartment. We had to pack our bags as we had our train to catch in the morning.

25th July, Saturday : The last and final day in Switzerland. We took the ‘Glacier Express’ train at 9 o’clock in the morning. Reservation is mandatory in this train and we took our seats. We were going to Chur from Zermatt by this panoramic train. The journey was the best we had in Switzerland, we have no words to explain it. Only thing was, we were thinking of the Bollywood film songs which were shot in those places. The journey up to Chur took five and half hours and we took another regional train to Zurich from Chur. That train took around 2 hours. We still had few hours to catch the flight, so we walked aimlessly in the central area and had our dinner. We sat beside the Zurich lake for sometime and then went back to the station to board the train to Zurich Airport. Our flight to Hannover was on time, so we boarded the flight in time.

After this trip we still did not have enough of Switzerland, so we have to plan another trip to some other parts of this beautiful country, if possible.

Click for Switzerland Picture Album

Leave a Reply