A Slice of Heaven ―Interlaken, Switzerland

I landed in Zurich Airport with my family and a mind loaded with images ―images of lush green valleys dotted with exotic alpine blossoms & the snow-clad Alps at the backdrop. Oh yes, how could I forget the cogwheel train cleaving its way through a blooming dale?

Yet, the train journey to Berne seemed just commonplace! Where were the limpid lakes with snow-white swans? Where were the snow-topped hills? Where were the Arnicas, the Chamomiles & Edelweiss? We changed trains at Berne & headed for Interlaken & the landscape of my dreams began to unfold..

Azure waters overseen by jade green hills, all spelling cheer and joy began to unfurl. It was as if a toy train was chugging slowly into some kind of a magical fantasy land! 

We alighted at Interlaken Ost & hailed a taxi to our homestay.  I’m indeed going to wax lyrical; not that you don’t know why..

It was cold & the warm sunshine formed the perfect hygge, warming up our hearts. The colors of the Earth seemed clearer; the scent ―purer, tree trunks ―browner.

The roads were spotless and even the stones sparkled!Amid the standard white houses, were a few colorful ones too, done in brick red and chrome yellow, but they too apparently blended with the scene.

We had entered a silent valley that echoed with a quiet cheeriness.It was a lovely day and a mackerel sky cast its summery glow over the Earth. And on this blue firmament were people paragliding freely into the wide blue yonder..

The atmosphere was celebratory even in the absence of garish clamor. I felt the presence of humans yet the roads had very few people. It was as if an unfading spark was already present in people’s heart and hearth.

The very few who moved about, did so without much ado, as if they had a happy mission to accomplish & another day to look forward to.

Colonial homes & shops lined the neat paths & each establishment had a patch of green sprinkled with countless colorful blossoms.

Each seemed to beckon us for a cup of coffee and convivial conversation. The salutary air of well-being & prosperity rang loud and clear.

We took a peek from the patio of our homestay & a few Pines and snowy peaks peeked at us from afar. Summer, & the day stretched interminably.

Pin drop silence & nary a soul in sight. Yet, there was life. The chirping of birds & the gentle zephyr were a comforting constant.

Soon, the mountains that resembled icings on the cake, began to appear as if sprinkled with cheery cherries! The sun was going down and the snowy mountains were aflame with a crimson glow.   

I soaked in every bit of what was visible till the Earth plunged into darkness.

Day-2 Luzern

Dawn dawned & progressed into a sunny noon & we headed for Lake Luzern.

An hour long train ride brought us to the lake.

Limpid & pristine, the lake served as a mirror for a whole lot of elegant structures that had surrounded it, perhaps to marvel at their own reflections on its pellucid waters.

We took a cruise that had halts at several villages. The wind blustered aloud, casting ripples across the waters & in our hearts. The skies were streaked in silver & grey.

Every village seemed straight out of a fairy-tale book.

Rolling green hills dotted with charming little chalets ―each flaunting a garden sprinkled with resplendent rhododendrons & other spring blossoms, greeted us.

Hours sped by & it was time to disembark.

As we had started late, we missed the iconic Chapel Bridge. New Year calendars of yore portraying spellbinding pictures of chapels & chalets, lakes & bridges almost always had a picture of the Chapel Bridge & thus the icon will always remain a nostalgic vestige of my childhood days. Sadly, we had to give that a miss..😭

Hohematte Park

Nestled in the heart of the town was Hohematte Park that was brimming with life. With flowing fountains, chirpy birds, frolicking children, bookworms & folks who indulged in brown study, the park wore an Edenic look!

Each seemed to be on his own, happy & enjoying the moment & none seemed to bother another. And overseeing this blissful hamlet were the snow-capped mountains resting peacefully like aged parents ―content after a parenting job well done!

Lo & behold! ‘Garden Angels’ of the Earth had sown the choicest of Nature’s bounties and the Invisible Gardener had perhaps conspired to shower the best of colors & features on this gentle soil.

Pansies & daisies spilled forth & vied with violets & tulips, gentians & primroses, yarrow & azaleas.

Every corner appeared gay & vibrant, yet the garden in its entirety looked gentle & soothing ―its colors carefully chosen from Nature’s sparkling palette.

The place had the power to brighten the weariest of eyes, to spruce the dullest of spirits, enliven the dreariest of moods. It had the power to heal & enthuse!

In short it was a breath of fresh air in an already paradisiacal land!

Its strategic placement at the heart of this heartland was perhaps purposeful. On one side were entrapments to satiate human wants & here was this oasis that we so need.

While tourists moved about with a newfound joy, locals did so with a quiet confidence that comes with order & harmony.

Paragliders landed here with a wowed look & eye-popping wonder, after having surveyed this heavenly haven from the heavens above. Lovestruck couples on their honeymoon went arm in arm with a surety that life was surely a bed of roses.

And it rained…

A mild shower the following evening had cast a unique spell. A pall of gloom & a veil of mist hung over the snow-swathed Alps, deepening the mystery further.

We were to beat a retreat but in no time, the erumpent sun served as a silver lining, throwing a new light on this peachy place.

Dew drops danced atop the countless flowers & foliage, which pirouetted merrily with renewed vigor.   

Like sacred altars, these pretty posies had their pride of place at every nook & cranny, every intersection on the streets, every home & every inn.

Back in our inn, despite the frosty weather, we gathered at the patio to capture the rain drenched scenes. The mist had cleared & the snow mountains yonder beamed with a renewed pride.

Japanese Garden

This literally unmissable beauty spot should never be missed! I say this because we had made a few mistakes & one was to have shortened our stay in Switzerland. So, due to paucity of time, we had to content with only a glimpse of the façade.

Every morning we vowed to visit in the evening but when evening came, we hurried back promising to visit the following day. And the days just passed..

Those who’ve stepped in were so entranced that they had to drag their feet out, I’ve heard.

The next day’s drizzle had drenched the streets & structures, & this marvel looked even more splendid, its silhouette sharper & the backdrop richer in color.

How I wish we had more time!

Above is the memorial of Adolf Guyer-Zeller, the Swiss entrepreneur whose brainchild is the Jungfrau Railway that has made the Top of Europe accessible.

How could we leave Interlaken without posing with Bollywood’s renowned bigwig ―Yash Chopra?

This life-size 350 kg statue is undoubtedly a tourist honeypot. That the Bollywood behemoth, a recipient of Brand Ambassador’s Award for promoting Switzerland through his many movies, has left his footprints on foreign soils, is definitely a matter of pride for Indians.

The following days saw us traveling to Mount Titlis & Mount Jungfrau. However, every evening, it was to Hoheweg Street, Interlaken that we rushed back to lock in the beauty & look for souvenirs.

Switzerland ―Clement climes, perfect soil, perfect people, a flawless government, canny decisions of the past, adherence to armed neutrality had all gone into the making of this land of milk & honey!

Nothing was amiss. Not a twig of a tree out of place, not a roof run down; not a person peccable.

This was the land of Tissot watches, of Swatches & Lindt chocolates, of Rolex & Omega.

So, little wonder then that this was undoubtedly a wonderland that turned boons into phenomenal sensations, benisons into gratitude.

This is also perhaps God’s vacation home that he fashioned Himself, which no humans could taint. Perhaps that’s precisely why the Edelweiss is invoked to ‘Bless my homeland forever’..🤗, to bless the borders, to bless the neighbors..

PS: Do join me on my train journey to the Top of Europe on my next post ―again on Switzerland..

 

Comments

  1. Excellent capture and beautiful words that tell the tale of nature so beautifully. Thanks!

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thank you, Deepa Sriram, for finding the time to read & respond..Beautiful place, indeed. Truly heavenly..

  2. Lata

    Simply wow 😮. I could feel humans but saw few people- nice line with a deep meaning

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      So nice that someone dwelt on that line. That feeling of not sighting many & yet feeling their presence made me wonder that day, why do we misconstrue celebration with noise?

  3. Sabina

    Seriously it looks like God’s vacation home. I could see and feel Switzerland through your words and the way you described it. It is surely on my wish list

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      You must make it soon. In fact I wish we had extended our stay. It was a costly mistake that we didn’t

  4. Vasu

    Superb Shubs.. Swiss has always been my favourite destination since i first visited..Loved the way you have written

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Now that you spelt it, let’s make another trip, this time to Swiss!! That will, I’m sure be another fun trip-memorable & nostalgic!

  5. Prema ramakrishnan

    Wow. Shubrata. Yoir writing and the photos so fresh, captivating. God bless you

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thank you for reading & liking it. While clicking the scenes, I had great difficulty in deciding what to click & what not to. In fact at one point I had to keep my camera aside & just let me eyes take over.. Thank you so much for the blessings too..😊

  6. Manoj Kshirsagar

    Enjoyed your superb write up on Switzerland… So many lovely photos revived memories of my visit many years ago…. Easily one of the best destinations of he world…. Your style of writing makes for a cool experience to go through the blog… Once again compliments for the same… look forward to more such beautiful destinations of the world post the current COVID 19 pandemic.

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Glad you enjoyed it. As i said, it was truly difficult to decide what to click & what not to. And it was even more difficult deciding which snap would go into this travelogue & which wouldn’t. Yes, truly awesome.

  7. Deepa Suresh

    Wow tq so much bhabhi for sharing your travel experience..it’s superb ..I am a big fan of your write ups ..and the pictures wow. . beautifully captured the beauty of Switzerland. It’s really a wonderful experience to go through your blog.. tq so much..

    1. Deepa Suresh

      Wow tq so much bhabhi for sharing your travel experience..it’s superb ..I am a big fan of your write ups ..and the pictures wow. . beautifully captured the beauty of Switzerland. It’s really a wonderful experience to go through your blog.. once again tq so much..

      1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

        Thank you & do watch this space for more..

      2. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

        Thanks for liking it. Your kind words are very encouraging..do watch for more

  8. Paritosh

    I couldn’t have described as much in depth. However, after going thru the entire post I realized that the very detailed descriptions of too many things would have fetched me +A in any essay competition.

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thanks for that. Some places on Earth do elicit a recapture..

  9. Sanjeev Thakur

    Beautiful pictures and locations captured. Very nicely described.

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Glad you found it good..Heaven on Earth indeed..

  10. rita nayak

    Beautifully explained. Feels as if I am there too, enjoying the place like you. Simply great….

    1. Vasanthara

      Thanks for taking me through ur photographs taken by u which I enjoyed more and it was apt to each of your description . I enjoyed going through the tourist spots u have visited . I always wished to see Switzerland and glad that u took me to all those places which r indeed beautiful, it reminded me the European trip I had gone the places like Vienna , Norway Sweden etc, u enjoyed though the pictures of this beautiful country and tell u what I r a good photographer c and had an eye for that.

      1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

        yes, you must make a visit soon. You would love it.

    2. Vasantha

      thanls for the joyful ride of this heaven on earth through ur beautiful and poetic description and befitting pictures taken by u which I enjoyed

    3. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thanks for taking the time to read & enjoy..Do watch for more

  11. Purty

    What a glorious journey! It felt like I was with you on this trip…you have written it so well😀 And love the clicks too! Thanks for sharing this journey Shubhrata!!!

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thanks for enjoying, Purthy. Do watch out for my next blog on a ride to the famed Swiss Alps.

  12. R S Kumar

    Well penned shubh…beautiful pics with vivid commentary. Start a travel grp for friends …and u can lead..

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Haha! Maybe sometime. Until then do watch out for more..

  13. Mamta Shetty

    Scenic view Shubrata.Loved watching and reading your writeups.You really took us to an Europe tour.

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thank you so much for liking it. Yes, truly a scenic place..

  14. SHANKAR RAMASUBRAMANIAN

    phoolon ke rang se dil ki kalam se that song seem so apt and yes indeed switzerland is beautiful . Great thing to know that we were able to make this trip with our parents . This makes me very very content. If GOD wills will again visit this lovely place.

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      It was your dream too as the song has always fascinated you..Your mention of a revisit surely gives me an adrenaline rush!

  15. Shital

    Swiss- written and captured exquisitely. Had only visited through Yash Chopra’s movies. Reading and gazing at pics, makes me change my order on bucket list of places to visit. Truly a slice of Heaven.

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thank you, Shital. Yes, it must be made a priority on your bucket list. My journey too began from watching Yash Chopra’s movies, of course not to mention the way people drool over the very mention of the place!

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    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thank you. keep reading..

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  21. […] A Slice of Heaven ―Interlaken, Switzerland […]

  22. shobha

    Wow Shubs..honestly you brought back some beautiful memories..yes this french speaking region is very expensive!! I hope I am able to visit Switzerland once again as 4days is a sure sin ..not at all enough to view the beautiful region..thanks for sharing pics and detailed guided tour very informative and helpful ..🤗

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      May you make a revisit soon.. ☺. You never know, you could..

    2. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      You never know,you might soon..

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