THIS TOWN – MEMORIES OF SWITZERLAND
Our only trip to Switzerland, in my memory, is full of snow and ice. I had never laid my eyes upon so much ice ever before. We were in Lucerne, the city of cobble-stoned, narrow, and enthralling streets. When I step up on the streets of Lucerne, instantaneously, the background music of bagpipes and violins starts playing in my head. A stoked feeling settles upon my soul.
Lucerne is also the city of lakes. Photogenic lakes, each one of them. In the morning the sunlight first strikes the streets, bathing them in gold, and then creeps its way to the lakes, and the light ripples created by the light breeze make the sunbeam dance across the glassy water surface. The banks meet levitated streets which are towered by marvelous architecture. Buildings with slant red tops that are coffee-colored, mud-brown, sand-colored, chocolate-brown, and all other shades of the brown and yellow line the street margins. Coffee and snack counters are present on the edge of the streets with the lake in the background creating a vista. Colorful umbrellas shading delicate chairs and tables precisely lined the margins of streets and lakesides. The shops were extremely lively and happening. There were so many display windows which made me forget my surroundings and stop and gawk; stare, but buy nothing.
A top view of a street would luridly illustrate brightly-colored specks jostling around, little crowds at display windows- all amongst small-windowed buildings. The roads of Lucerne are spick and span and tempt one to walk to the center of the road and enjoy the pretty view of superb greenery set before one’s eyes. The trains in Switzerland are also extremely attractive. We took an ice train, ICE-143. One can capture great photographs with trains and people in the foreground and Mt. Titlis and blotches of myriad shades of green in the background. I think Lucerne’s natural beauty makes time lazy and suave.
Paragliding is one of the best activities that can be enjoyed in Lucerne in order to open your senses and let your soul soar. This activity is best pursued over Lake Lucerne, near the Alps. You can feel free. Feel like you’re on top of the world. It is definitely an unprecedented experience. The road trails to the point where ascending of the huge mountains start are broad and passable. A beautiful road stretched out, disappearing in the distance with lush green trees lining it, people moving around in warm jackets, and above all, the Mt. Titlis in all its grandeur towering the scene. Aah! The perfect photograph of Switzerland!
Our trip to the heights of Mt.Titlis began with a sweet cable car. The wonderful picture of Lucerne with the viewer hovering in the air floats in front of my eyes as I reminisce about its beauty while I write. It was an elfin experience indeed; where one felt as though he were rapidly increasing in height with the surroundings cover before oneself. As we continued creeping towards heaven, I could feel the temperature drop and the cold settled upon us as if it were a silvery-soft cloak. Our breaths turned misty and our surroundings went white. Hands started stuffing into coat and jacket pockets and in no time, everyone around was bundled in snow jackets and caps. Only the twinkling eyes of the children were showing as they were wrapped in layers of clothing.
Mt. Titlis is latitudinally sliced into sections in accordance with various heights. Personally, I found 10,000 feats the best experience and quality memories. We were transported from one height to the other by cable cars. I realized that it wasn’t THAT cold as people thought. It was just the mental block. Now, let me help you picture this– we stand the icy breath of the Snow Queen gazing at her stupefying and vast kingdom. We feel our insides relaxing and refusing to function. Sunglasses shade our eyes from the blinding sunlight; challenging us to take them off and giving at least a cursory glance at the fulgent white and vast spreadsheet of snow loomed by ice and rock giants. As our gaze crept down the icy slopes, bursts of green and plant life became blatant; and far below were velvety soft patches of green and the complete jolly Engelberg lay unfolded before us.
The chuckling part of Mt. Titlis– Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, the dazzling stars of the box office hit Bollywood movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge are still from the latter. An Indian frisson blew up like a soap bubble inside me. I know, the essence of India is always a part of everywhere. After that, things got icy. We entered the Glacier Cave. The temperature dropped tangibly and silence complemented by beauty took over the show. The glacier’s heart was pervaded by atmospheric light and sound. Crystal clear but burning cold sculptures were all around. I could almost hear the silence whisper its poetry.
We were then invited to look at the ice kingdom and fulfill its wish to boast a terrific vista covering up all its ups and downs and a few points that served as unguarded Doors of Death. It was the Ice Flyer Chairlift. It was indeed breathtaking. A brilliant blue sky with laudable and bold clouds–not in a poetic mood; but a cheerful and almost impetuous style dwells above our heads. The chairlift could accommodate four in one go and would hover a neat thousand feet from the ground. It was perhaps the most memorable part of the trip.
TITLIS GLACIER PARK
Next, it was time to prove snow fun. We headed towards Titlis Glacier Park. Snow can really be some serious fun toy! Throwing snowballs at random people, sliding over piled snow, and getting our bottoms sore; I think I’ve had enough snow for a lifetime.
Coming to proper snow sports, we were served with snow tubes, snow scoots, snow sleds, and a lot of other snow toys. I found snow tubes the best. You are first on the edge of a nice, long, and steep slope; you are bundled in a rubber tube with so-called handles that are no larger than a soup bowl’s handles on either side. You see an arguably long way down and all sorts of thoughts swim in your head. “What if I crash into that big rock and prove myself an excellent nincompoop? What if I never stop sliding? What if I–” and your flow of thoughts cease abruptly and you are pushed really hard from the back and off you go!! The former pleasant breeze morphs into icy tentacles, stinging and slapping your skin as you skid away. Great! Now you’ve got to have your tire all the way up the grateful slope which just gave you a killing ride. Phew! Tiring, but worth it.
After leaving no snowy stone upturned and having enough snow for a lifetime, we began our journey earthwards with a paneer roll in each one’s hands. We encountered so many Indians that I began to doubt the number of residing natives. In fact, the alarming dominance of Indians had compelled a lake to be named ‘Chopra Lake’ in honor of the greatest Indian director Yash Chopra.
Our experience was surreal, and whenever we throwback to our icy trip the memory freezes in our brains, making it numb with nostalgia and a maddening desire to run away to the sound of silence once again.
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