Mt. Titlis is one of the highest mountains of Switzerland. Permanent ice and snow all through the year. We reached the foot of the mountain after a breath taking beautiful view of the country side on the way to Lucerne. Our guide asked us to look up. The mountain was so high up, you couldn't even see the top. Yeah, we had to go there. First there is a cable car ride that covers a major part of the altitude. You can imagine the steep climb given the height we had to cover. The view as you ascend is like nothing you have ever seen before. I cannot express enough how beautiful everything was. Miles of greenery, snow laden mountains partially covered with clouds and the famed swiss cows quietly grazing. It also meant a lot of anxiety and fear for someone like me who has altitude phobia. I was torn between the desire to take in the view or to just keep my eyes closed and pretend nothing was happening :-P
|see the angle of ascend here?|
|Isn't this view breath taking?|
Once we could start seeing some of the peaks surrounding the mountain, we had to alight. The trip to the top of the mountain was even more interesting. A gondola that spins 360 degrees takes around 30 people to the top, at once. So as it ascends, it also spins so everyone can have a look around the mountain and its peaks and the snow. This one was even scarier and yet, incredulous. The top is blinding white. There is snow and clouds everywhere. That is one place you just can't do without your goggles. I fell down quite a few times going up and down the snow mounds. Even though it sounds funny now, at that time, I had my heart in my throat for the fear of just sliding down and going off the mountain edge. It was so cold at that height and I was also petrified for the little one. But she did well :)
|Yes, the gondola has it written in Hindi, considering how much we Indians contribute to Swiss tourism :-P|
The husband was as usual his excited adventurous self. I fought with him and accused him of trying to kill me when he tried to take me to the other side of the mountain via the sky bridge. Now that bridge is the highest suspension bridge in Europe at a height of 10000 ft. And as soon as I would walk a little, he would start shaking the bridge vigorously. Imagine the plight of an already petrified altitude phobic. Anyway, once we had a screaming match right there, we both decided to behave. We held hands and crossed the bridge. Don't even ask me how my legs were shaking with fear.
After all the adventure, we had some nice and very hot "hot chocolate" at the restaurant also located at 10000 ft. Trust me, it has never tasted better. The ride back to earth felt much less scary after the extreme weather and sights :)
We also visited the Rhine falls in Switzerland, which are actually the source of Rhine river that flows in Germany. Since it rained heavily that day, we couldn't stay at the falls for a very long time but it was beautiful as well.
Did you know that in all of the cities that we visited in Europe during the last one month, we came across the most number of Indians in Switzerland. No surprises there, yeah? I mean everywhere we went, we would find people - couples, families speaking in Hindi. And would you believe,at the foot of the mountain (Mt. Titlis), there is a chai ki shop, run by an Indian family who sell samosas and vada pavs and masala tea. You wouldn't believe the rush. Felt like mini India. And having hot samosas and masala tea after a freezing rendezvous was definitely the next best thing.
The little one also made a lot of friends during our visit to Mt. Titlis as she was the youngest child there. Some people even sent "looks" our way. Irresponsible parents waale! I don't blame them though. I had no idea the weather and surroundings would be so extreme. But she thoroughly enjoyed herself - laughing and waving to everyone. So many people took her pictures and posed with her and also promised us of sending us those. We are still waiting :\
I know this post is getting excruciatingly long but Swiss deseves that, trust me. Swiss chocolates were had at every oportunity we got. Melting in the mouth and oh-so-yummy! The only thing that pinched were the prices. Swiss is very expensive, even by European standards. The food, travel everything. But I guess, best deserves the best! Swiss lived up to eery bit the hype it is :)