There always is something about your very first European vacation. There is a windmill of emotions running in your mind (especially if you are travelling alone, with a few friends, you have recently made), happiness, exhilaration, confusion, fear… almost everything… and of course it always is worth everything and every single minute. After months of diligently managing finances with care, getting my passport renewed, getting the visa process running… we finally were heading to the airport to Switzerland…

And like everyone else, our first impressions of Switzerland were the snow-capped mountains… Switzerland is that and much more. Since we had a midnight flight at 2 am… and from Mumbai, so from Pune to Bombay being adventurous and wanting to save the money, we headed out to Mumbai in a bus, fortunately ‘Volvo’ buses are rather comfortable and easy… and thanks to the Pune to Mumbai and vice versa expressway.. Realising that the food at the airport would cost us a bomb, we satiated our hunger with vadapav and pohas on the way and rode on…

Reaching the airport on time we went through the tedious process of going through immigration and customs… we went into ahead into the airport.  Now the only thing left to do was wait for our flight… We had a transit at Doha before we headed to Switzerland… Bleary eyed and utterly disoriented (with the lack of sleep of course) we got into our flight… as we just thought we had got an eye shut… we were woken up at the Doha airport… so our 4 hours of transit was spent looking at duty-free shops eating at a café and getting back to our flight…

Again the saga of grogginess and disorientation continued till we reached the Zurich airport… and then excitement simply overpowered the grogginess… We were at our destination! And the one thing we did is look in awe…  like children lost in a candy store! Soon after the regular work of immigration we walked into the city of Zurich… and our very first European city welcomed us with the famous Swiss flag!


Waiting for the cars and people to zip past we walked into the subway station to our journey to Territet, a small village in Montreux in the French side of Switzerland… So we had to take a train from Zurich to Montreux and from the station walk down to our Bed & Breakfast destination or more commonly known as our youth hostel…  there is something eerily silent about the streets of Switzerland in the night… tarred streets, cobble stone paths… while beautiful completely deserted and empty… (Coming from Mumbai, it seems a wonder that people can even sleep at night!)

Drinking in as much of Switzerland around us as possible, in our supremely weary state we stumbled into our nicely toasty warm hostel… awakened earlier than usual and after freshening up… I decided to walk outside and look at the view around… and was I stumped… maybe the weariness of the night and darkness had drawn curtains over the lap of beauty we were living in… right opposite our hostel was the beautiful Territet Lake, and the ever famous snow-capped mountains… not to mention the snowy woods that surrounded the region…


While I can go on about the time spent in the region, us going to Geneva, Bern, Zurich, Interlaken… but I want to really write about our journey to Zermatt… known for mountaineering and skiing… especially the massive and hugely towering Matterhorn mountain…. Surrounded with breath taking beauty – the first car-free village in the alpine cantons of Switzerland….

As Zermatt is a good 144 km away and we had to change trains, we left early and began our journey to the laps of the Alps… meeting skiers and mountaineers on the way… changing trains at the appropriate stations… after 2 to 3 hours, we reached Zermatt… surrounded by the fabulous mountains of Monte Rosa and Matterhorn… being a beautiful car free zone, Zermatt is truly worth visiting in the whole of Switzerland. A town with only 5-6 streets, with no vehicles, is definitely worth walking around in the midst of utter tranquillity.

Whether there are the church bells ringing or the sound of people talking, there is something very peaceful and calm about Zermatt.

Soaking in the beauty of the Swiss Alps around us as much as possible, we decided to walk aroung the place for a while, and then we chanced upon a cycle rent shop… picking up our cycles, we rode around the curvy paths of the village, stopping to take pictures at different zones! There is so much you miss and do not notice while you are focussed on reaching Point A to Point B, but when you are cycling with no destination in mind, you look at the beautiful green meadows, beautiful winding roads, the hamlets around… While we were very eager to mountain bike, the time of the year did not allow us to do the same… snowy paths like many said could be treacherous… but cycling around the city was equally beautiful.

People whizzed past, the wind began cutting across us… when it’s cold while beginning to cycle might be difficult… but nevertheless, after the initial few rounds we just kept going but did not want to stop! The beautiful church bells nevertheless brought us back to reality…we had to take the train out of Zermatt and head to Montreux, for the next day we had to head to Interlaken…!



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