My first Swiss trip: 2 Days of Pure Swiss Alps

The Austrian night trains felt better than German night trains. The thrifty backpackers reserved seats on the night train and felt elated when the face-to-face seats could be reclined to join and make a bed. So in the 6 seat compartment, 5 girls happily slept the night from Vienna to Zuich, while the 6th gentleman tried his best to adjust and sit in the remaining space.

The first sight of snow capped Alps is just about enough to send shivers down your spine and put a grin across your face. We reached Zurich at 6 in the morning and after booking our next night’s train, hopped on the train to Baden where we were to be housed. Some people just love to play host. Seriously, aunty just fed us without minding the amount we ate like week-long-hungry-growing-children. And then the paltan decided to hit Jungfraujoch, the highest peak in Switzerland. Again, courtesy host, we got a printout of the trains to catch and the timings. Made it just in time to Baden train station. Then began the absolute “paisa vasool” of the Eurail pass.

Interlaken, on the way
Baden to Zurich. Zurich to Olten. Olten to Interlaken. From Interlaken, we got a discount on the pass to get to the top of Jungfraujoch peak. Well, that was a hundred francs.

The train journey left us breatheless in all senses. Swiss Alps are more beautiful than my vocabulary can extend. But the way up in the train was totally worth. Though after a good height, the train just passes through tunnels, you can hop off to check out the view from the view points.



Up there, it was a foggy afternoon. Except that disappointment, everything else was excellent. I even skied a stretch using a returning skier’s gears :-)

Ice Palace is a marvel. However could someone cage ice at that height and carve it out into different shapes and also preserve it for years. Switzerland, on the whole is a country where you can just gape at the technology they have used to achieve!

One funny thing is a majority of the visitors at Jungfraujoch were Indians and Chinese. Mostly Indian families. One Indian family bugged us with their loud chatter on the first train to Interlaken. The kid finally told mommy “you tell me to be quiet and you are talking so much”. Mommy probably heard our giggles.
When the same gang got on the same train from Interlaken, we screamed “bhaago!” on their faces and ran to different seats. That was the beginning of “bhaago” on the trip.

We came back and hot steaming biriyani and rose wine awaited us for dinner. I didn’t find any broken bones but I was still not sure if I had died and reached heaven!

View from Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe
The next day, we wanted to check out the city of Luzern. So the train journey again.
Baden to Zurich. Zurich to Luzern.
Oh! By the way, we also used local transport, the bus. I bought a ticket one way. The other way, you know,,,, how I traveled ….

Luzern town is very pretty and just as we got off the station, Su wanted to only check prices to Mt. Pilatus and your’s truly wasn’t all game to shop at a pretty town in Switzerland for an entire day. As soon as we checked out the prices, we just hopped on the cruise to Mt. Pilatus. Got a discount again on the Eurail pass but hey, somethings are worth more than discounts, Swiss peaks for example.

This was a boat ride in a huge lake surrounded by mountains and small towns here and there. The scenery again leaves you awestruck. The boat is like public transport for locals. It stops at regular intervals and people get on and off. The crew didn’t seem one bit bored to anchor the boat at each bank. How could they! I would kill to get that job.

As soon as you get off at the bottom of the mountain, you get on the Steepest Cog wheel train in the world, which takes to right on top of Mt. Pilatus.

Up there, it was a lot clear than the previous day’s foggy disappointment. We had our picnic lunch, took loads of photos and even trekked up a little higher and more girly fun stuff.

The way down was even more beautiful. Cable cars. Thousands of them along the same ropeway. All the way down, you can see green meadows and hear cow bells and birds chirping. I am seriously thinking of becoming a cable car operator in Switzerland!
The cable car ride for 40 minutes just made my day! Well, all of Mt. Pilatus made my day!

Back to Luzern by bus, we shopped some authentic Swiss chocolates in confectionary stores. And again “bhaago” to Baden and home. “bhaago” to another uncle’s place for dinner. “bhaago” dinner and then “bhaago” to the station and “bhaago” onto the platform with all our backpacks. Oooof!

You might find these useful if you are interested in Visiting Swiss:

Visa: Schengen visa for tourist. Apply to Swiss consulate. Their turn around time is 5 working days.
Places to Stay: Youth hostels. Google for them!
Internal transport: bus. Inbetween cities, use the trains. If you have a Eurail pass, these train rides are a bliss.
Climate: Cool in May.
Food: Chocolates are the best from local stores. Worth every franc spent. Try the butter cookies at local confectionery stores. If you stay in big cities like Zurich, the food is very expensive. I would recommend super market food unless you plan to splurge on a meal.
Language: German. English speaking population wouldn't have a big problem, thanks to the tourists.
Currency: Swiss Francs
Souvenirs: Chocolates, chocolates and Chocolates. You can also pick up the cow bells, cuckoo clocks and cheese.

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. simple and shortly written, liked the way you presented it
    especially "Bhaago"

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  3. Bhaagooooo girl, make up your mind - cable car operator or ship steward;)))Need help with a work visa? I enjoyed your story very much - you are a wonderful ambassador for my country :) So sad that the view from the Jungfraujoch wasn't good :( Next time you go you HAVE to let me know.

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  4. Sure thing.. i am already missing Swiss.. been a year exactly

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