Pinch me I whisper to my friend to make sure that I am here amidst the snowcapped Alps , cascading waterfalls, verdant valleys, serene lakes, colorful meadows and chalets. I realize that I am in this splendid postcard perfect countryside. It is Lauterbrunnen the spectacular valley of Switzerland.
Our first stop was at Trummelbach falls. As we got closer, we could hear the falls making us keen to see it. Climbing up the slippery stairs where water sprays against your face, one has to appreciate the engineering feat involved in building caves along the falls. A part of the falls have been illuminated as the caves are dark and to enhance its beauty. It is an awesome experience to be so close to the thundering falls which spirals its way through the mountain at he rate of 20000 liters of water per second! The water does not cascade over the cliffs like other waterfalls in LauterbrunnenValley, but are funneled into the mountainside. It comprises of a series of ten glacier–waterfalls inside the mountain. The falls is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The view of the valley from the falls leaves us spellbound by its beauty. When we climb down we get to see one of the best views of the valley. It starts drizzling when we reluctantly leave the place for yet another wonder – Jungfraujoch, the heart of the Aletsch glacier. The train journey itself is an amazing experience. As we ascend towards Jungfraujoch in the cogwheel train the soft drizzle turns into rain and then to snow . Spectacular views of the valley and the dramatic change in the greenery which changes from meadows to snow laden beech trees is so magical.
We reach Junfrajoch around one pm – I was famished. We were thrilled to see the Bollywood Restaurant which offers Indian cuisine in such a spectacular setting. Besides the restaurant, an interesting thing to note is that the eateries had their food items also labeled in Hindi too.
This is the most chosen destination for many Indians as Switzerland has been featured in Indian movies quite extensively. Almost every third person I saw was an Indian. We ventured to see the famed IcePalace. It is a cavernous area carved out of a glacier and featuring permanent ice sculptures on display. The snow plateau was quite inviting with many tourists playing with snow. I was apprehensive too, to play with snow but seeing an Indian lady clad in saree slide down the snow in a tube changed my mind. I learnt that she was a part of an exclusive ladies contingent from Gujarat.
The child in me was awakened when we played throwing snowballs at each other! We clicked some pictures in the panoramic setting. One always thinks that bright colors appeal but Alps disproves this. It is indeed a wonder as to how shades of white, grey and black can be so beautiful.
We went to the Sphinx Observation Terrace overlooking the Aletsch Glacier, one of Switzerland’s most impressive landmarks is not only a favorite tourist attraction but also a useful indicator of climate change. At some 23 kilometers in length, the Aletsch glacier is the largest in the Alps, and a major part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn UNESCO World Heritage site.
At the end of the trip I promised to myself that I will come back again soon as possible and will spend more time here in the Alpine wonderland.
This article was published in The traveller – Hindu