Living the Swiss Life

Living the Swiss Life

Switzerland: the ultimate dream destination! A breathtaking panorama of snow-capped mountains, lovely Alpine landscapes, and a plethora of natural beauty – the mere mention of Switzerland evokes images oft seen on the Bollywood silver screen. Be sure to check out these wonderful things to do the next time you’re in this wonderful European nation.
 
Stay in a stunning mountain village
Within view of the iconic Matterhorn, the charming Alpine village of Zermatt, with its quaint houses that date back to the 1800s, will definitely steal your heart. Count the pealing of the church bells as you stroll, and watch old folks dozing in the warm sun. In this appealing, car-free township, listen to the whistling wind and drink from the many water fountains that dot the village.
 
Experience chocolate
Enjoy the warm atmosphere at Le Petit Royal in Zermatt, where you’ll be served hot chocolate topped with liberal doses of fresh cream and love, accompanied by an assortment of chocolates. Forget the calories and dig in as you listen to the background and history of each ingredient. Buy some for the delicious taste and for the memories that will linger as the cocoa does on your tongue.
 
Open air rack railway 
 
Enjoy the snow
Take the highest-altitude, open-air rack railway for the 33-minute ride through idyllic forests up to the Gornergrat. Surrounded by 29 peaks, a sunny platform offers a simply matchless mountain panorama. One of the best viewpoints in the Alps, stand on top of the world and admire a breathtaking vista that includes Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn, and the Gornergrat Glacier.
 
Mix medieval and modern
Bern, the capital city in the heart of Switzerland, makes an ideal hub for trips all around. In this UNESCO World Heritage Site, take a guided tour through the Old Town to see Prison Tower, Parliament Building, Einstein House and the unique fountains, each with a story of its own. Over three miles of arcades allow visitors to stroll and shop in any weather.
 
Watch an alphorn being made
The alphorn is a wind instrument that’s been used in the Swiss Alps as a signal instrument since medieval times, sometimes filling in for the lack of church bells. The last of the alphorn makers (by hand) live in the beautiful Emmental region. Spend a few hours traversing the scenic valley to watch the Buchmanns make alphorns in their workshop. Strongly recommended for music and art lovers.
 
Enjoy the snow 
 
Bake some cookies
Discover the secrets of fine biscuit-making at Trubschachen, just a 45-minute ride from Lucerne by train or car. At the world-famous Kambly, master confectioners will assist you (by prior appointment) in creating and baking your own biscuits and cookies. At the shop, take your pick of over 100 varieties of biscuits (you can sample!), plus a great selection of exclusive and seasonal Kambly specialities. Admission is free.
 
Check out the swans
Lucerne’s incomparable charm lies in its Swan Lake in the midst of the city. Stroll around the place, and admire its trademark Chapel Bridge and octagonal water tower. Along with the Spreuer Bridge and the Musegg Wall, they used to form part of the city’s ancient fortifications. Saunter through the Old Town’s narrow lanes with a guide to learn interesting and fun facts about Lucerne’s history, churches, bridges, balconies, alleys, towers and squares.
 
Switzerland Food 
 
Enjoy the most delightful ride
Trains simply glide, offering stunning vistas right from their glass windows. There are people who stand throughout, taking pictures or just looking. Switzerland is a small country, and with these fast and efficient trains, it doesn’t take more than an hour or two to reach another city. And the rail pass is very pocket-friendly.
 
Dine well
Restaurant Kornhauskeller in Bern, with its murals and restored medieval architecture, has a romantic ambience and an interesting past (it used to be a corn house). Ristorante Verdi in the Old Town of Bern is themed after the great Italian composer and specialises in Emilia-Romagna, cuisine from Verdi’s region. The magnificent vaulted cellar houses home-grown wines and grappa from the Vallocaia vineyard, as well as rustic products from Tuscany.
 
Text and photographs by Vijaya Pratap