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Weekend

Updated on: Saturday, October 16, 2021, 08:56 AM IST

Summer in Switzerland: Explore the snow-capped mountains, learn the art of watchmaking, feast on delicious swiss cuisine and just soak in the sun

If you are planning an escapade to the Alps, be ready to be awe-struck by the stunning country. Beautiful, magical, charismatic, every word is too less, too imperfect to describe Switzerland. Come! And discover the mesmerising land which is much more than fondue and chocolates
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I am travelling to Switzerland exactly after two years. Yes, you can enter Switzerland if you are fully vaccinated with Covishield. In front of me is the beautiful town of Engelberg, its complete area fitting in my vision. Beside me is my daughter Akanksha, completely awe-struck. We have come to sample the Swiss late summer.

After a night’s rest and dinner of local Swiss produce at the Kempinski Palace, we are all set to take a gondola up to Mount Titlis the next morning to enjoy snow and the panoramic views of the mountains – a popular part of this country that we are eager to discover.

Walking around there is an awed hush. The passionately lush landscape has stunned us both and the weather and the view are just perfect. It’s lunch time and we are starving. Entry to the restaurant is only allowed if you are carrying your vaccination certificate and an ID proof.

As I poke my fork and knife in the delicious Rosti, I listen attentively to Tobias from Titlis Cableways talk about how each gondola has a country’s flag imprinted on it, which makes for an interesting learning activity for children. The mood at the lunch table, is happy, but soon it’s time to leave.

Zermatt & Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

We bought a Swiss pass for the duration of our stay, which allows us access into unlimited trains, trams, buses and even museums. Our next stop is Zermatt. I am reading a book on enchanted and fascinating fairy lands and the next minute a blindingly gorgeous town straight out of the book is in front of me.

There is a splash of colour to my left where rows of houses are painted green, blue, yellow; in front of me is the main square where outdoor cafes and Swiss flags add more colour. I want to stop here for a week maybe, explore the town on foot, go on small treks in the mountains that form the backdrop, but I am hungry to explore the other parts of Switzerland as well.

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So, I choose to do the must-do here. We ride the gondola via Furi and Trockener Steg to Klein Matterhorn. The journey takes about 30 minutes. I am biting into a Toblerone, (this soft, nutty, delicious chocolate is inspired by how the Matterhorn looks) and struggling clichés as we ride past hills of unbeatable gorgeousness.

Beautiful, stunning, charismatic, every word is too less, too imperfect for this backdrop; I need new words to describe what is around me. The beauty of the Matterhorn has completely thrilled me. Here, we dive into the magical glacier palace 15 metres below the surface and also enjoy the panorama from the viewing platform: A breath-taking view of Italian, French and Swiss alpine giants from an altitude of 3,883 m.

Lucerne & Pilatus

Lucerne is, or should be, a big tourist attraction; it is a pretty town by the lake and has a charming centre complete with quaint trams and little shops. We spend two nights here. On one of those days, we head off to Kriens to ride a series of two panoramic gondolas and a cableway to get to the top of Mt Pilatus. We stop at Fräkmüntegg, the second station, a popular spot for adventure lovers and do all the rope climbing adventure.

The next stop is at Mt Pilatus Kulm where we enjoy the sun, some wine and Rosti for lunch. There is a lot one can do here – paragliding and of course trekking and hiking are almost made for this country; in winter, there is the charm of skiing and snow-shoe walking. Or merely soaking in the charm of a snow-clad landscape.

Luxurious Geneva

A truly luxurious stay that I won’t forget is my signature suite at the Four Seasons. That evening after a massage at the hotel’s spa, we head to the two-Michelin star restaurant Domaine de Châteauvieux which is much more than must-see gourmet restaurant and is a reference address for gastronomy lovers. Here, the experience is sensory, where the seasonal produce is king. By working the ingredients as close to their nature, structure, and consistency as possible, the dishes reveal their aromas, flavours, and originality.

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You can’t come to Geneva and not learn watchmaking. The next morning, we are at Initium that offers a comprehensive involvement in the mesmerising world of motorised timepieces. Its drive is to disclose the enigmas of watchmaking, an inherited talent which over the centuries has become tantamount with a complete region, a whole country.

Lessons in philosophy and exercise from a master watchmaker help us penetrate the secrecies of a machine-driven movement. Screwdriver and tweezers in hand, we experience the matchless buzz of seeing the pounding heart of the watch we assemble come to life.

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That evening, we embark on an absolute journey through the ages. As we step back in time in warm, relaxed surroundings and whisk our tastebuds off on an expedition of unearthing discovering the glees of Swiss cuisine, we tuck into some home-grown specialities such as our ‘Zurich-style’ sliced veal, old-style grilled Swiss sausage and the two-cheese (Vacherin and Gruyere) fondue accompanied by a delicious Swiss cold cuts platter.

It was difficult leaving the breath-taking place. An RT-PCR test in Zurich before our flight back home is what travelling in the new normal looks like.

Covid measures

RT-PCR test: Please check with your airline if an RT-PCR test report is required to board the flight. Vaccination: You can enter Switzerland if you are fully vaccinated with Covishield and it has been 15 days after the second dose. Remember to carry your vaccination certificate and passport to enter a restaurant in Switzerland.

Forms & processes

Please fill the form before departure

(To fill the form, visit: https://swissplf.admin.ch/formular)

Transportation within Switzerland

For a comfortable journey across Switzerland, buy a unique all-in-one first class Swiss Travel Pass which gives you unlimited travel by train, bus and boat. This includes public transportation in more than 90 cities and towns, mountain excursions to Rigi, Stanserhorn and Stoos and free entry in more than 500 museums in Switzerland.

Download the two free informative apps for your journey: Grand Train Tour of Switzerland app and Swiss Travel Guide app

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Published on: Sunday, October 17, 2021, 07:00 AM IST
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