Sunday, July 17, 2016

Snow, Smiles and Living the Dream #SwitzerlandTravels Part 1

As we walked out of the airport towards the city center, the red Rathaus shined through the Basel landscape oozing history and culture. It was a wet day and we had a couple of hours in Basel before catching a train to Interlaken, so after having a deliciously hearty meal we spent our timing lazing at the banks of the river Rhine.





Basel is unique in its geographical position as it connects three countries - France, Germany and Switzerland, and this is reflected in the city's food and culture. We stopped for lunch at Restaurant Lallekonig (a king who sticks out his tongue) which sits right on the banks of the Rhine near Mittlere bridge. Despite the language barrier, the owners understood us and brought us delicious home cooked food with a mug of refreshing beer, after which we took a nap beside the Rhine in the company of curious ducks and cool breeze.





After our brief siesta, we walked to the Basel SBB train station. The snow capped Alps were calling out to us and we followed the Pied Piper's tune to Interlaken. The views from the train were breathtaking, especially when the train crosses Thun, emerald lakes and pristine white mountains all the way.

Let me take a moment here, to acknowledge the precision and efficiency of the Swiss trains. They deserve all the praise! Trains were the only mode of transportation we took throughout Switzerland and were amazed by the integration between the cities, the time and logistics on which it is run and the facilities provided inside the trains.


Tip 1: So the first thing to do even before landing in Switzerland, is purchase the Swiss Travel Pass. The Swiss Pass allows you unlimited travel by rail, road and waterway, free travel on most panorama routes and almost 50% discount off most mountain railways. 

So where were we? Interlaken...Surrounded by the Bernese alps and the turquoise lakes of Breinz and Thun it’s almost like being in a dream! Unfortunately the weather wasn't too kind and by the time we reached our hotel we were soaking wet. While the pitter patter continued outside, we made our way to our room, put our feet up and enjoyed a hot cup of tea in the midst of glorious views.


The two nights at Hotel Chalet Swiss were absolutely wonderful and a full review will be up soon.

Tip 2: Hotels provide a free Guest Card, which allows you to free travel on public transport within Zone 80 and to Iseltwald, Saxeten and Niederried. We did not use the Guest card as the city center was walkable from our hotel and the Swiss pass met rest of our transport needs.

The rains were incessant event the next morning, but that did not deter us from taking a trip to Jungfrau (Top of Europe). The journey to Europe’s highest-altitude railway station at 3454 metres, is an experience in itself. First we took the train from the Interlaken Ost station to Lauterbrunnen. Then we took a second train to Kleine Scheidegg and then the cog railway to Jungfraujoch station. The last stretch is a bit slow and inside tunnels, as the train penetrates through mountain cliffs and glacial ice. It makes two stops at Eigerwand and Eismeer, where panoramic windows command a tremendous mountain vista.


And then there was snow.

We decided to head straight to the Aletsch Glacier. For miles ahead it was just the two of us and carpet of snow. The eerie silence enveloped us as we rolled in the snow. Because of the weather we couldn't see the peaks of the Bernese Alps nor the Aletsch Glacier, but still going up here was all worth it!




There's a lot more one can do at Jungfrau - go up to the viewing platform and the Sphinx International Research Station, hike upto the Mönchsjochhütte, or enjoy creations at the Ice sculpture. We headed back to Kleine Scheidegg and after a late lunch at Restaurant Bahnof went for a little trek in the quaint little village of Grindelwald.



Back to Interlaken we called it a night and headed straight to our room to get some rest while planning on activities for the next day.

* Linking to Blogchatter's Half Marathon Blogging Challenge

15 comments:

  1. What an awesome trip and your vivid description makes me want to be there just so.The facilities given by Switzerland to the tourists are amazing. Wishing this adventurous couple many more such enjoyable trips, while we continue to enjoy vicariously till....

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  2. The weather you described is similar to what it was when we were in Switzerland.. But it was just as beautiful as you described... In a different life , Switzerland is one of those places I would love to live in...:)

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  3. Snowww ���� i have never seen it in real life... Thanks for all the tips... I love reading your travel stories ... They are so enticing.

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  4. all beautiful.. so much fun

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  5. Those were nice tips for someone like me for whom a visit to Switzerland is aspirational. Having a nap by the river side sounds cool. The photos are lovely. What am I talking about? Those are Switzerland's photos, they can be nothing else but lovely :D

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  6. So much snow. Wow!. Switzerland is a dream destination. And you look like a happy kid.

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  7. Gorgeous, Aditi. And so magical. Switzerland always brings on fantasy visions to me. Definitely on my travel list. Those are good tips! Looking forward to reading more about your trip!

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  8. Looks like you had a wonderful time in such beautiful places

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  9. Lovely images and interesting narration

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  10. It looks like an amazing time for you both! What great scenery. That tourist pass should be available in all countries!

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  11. Lovely images and interesting narration
    nice blog!!!
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  12. Oh wow! Switzerland is so pretty. Loved your captures, Someday, I'd want to go there. And you are right, those passes are the best ways to travel in Europe and save some money as well.

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  13. Travel seems to be very easy there. And one can avail various discounts. I envy you right now. This place is on my bucket list. Beautiful and fun-filled captures.

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  14. Beautiful captures. I haven't been to Basel but can surely vouch for Interlaken and how mesmerizing it is. Guess it's only become even more beautiful over the years :).

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  15. wow..looking forward to other parts.. Happy to connect #zarahatkeblogreads via #MyFriendAlexa @blogchatter

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