Sir Edmund Hillary once said, “Despite all I have seen and experienced, I still get the same simple thrill out of glimpsing a tiny patch of snow in a high mountain gully and feel the same urge to climb towards it”.
For me, this was to be the first experience of a real snowfall but I still understood what he meant. Back in India, I am yet to make my first trip to the magical land of Ladakh but an opportunity arose and luckily, I found myself high up 2,128 meters of the Swiss Alps. I had taken an overnight bus from Munich to reach Zurich early morning. Thanks to the Swiss Pass, transportation across Switzerland wasn’t a headache and it also saved me a lot of time.
The Zurich Railway Station is just a few hundred meters from the bus stand where I was dropped in the morning. I had my train to the city of Lucerne in another 10 minutes and my ride was already waiting! Another hour of a journey through the most picturesque train ride I have ever been, the surprises were yet to come!
15 minutes from the Lucerne bus stop, I was at the gates of my hostel. I put my luggage into the locker and without even checking my room, started out for the run! A snow clad peak was looming right above me and I was not ready to miss the daylight. Thus started the journey to Mount Pilatus! A kilometer of walk and I reached the cable car station that operated the ride to the top of the peak. Another opportunity to use my Swiss Pass! The view of the Swiss Alps was breathtaking!
As the cable car rose higher, the city of Lucerne around the emerald green lake was a revelation I wouldn’t forget for the rest of my life. My eyes were fixed down below and suddenly my box of a ride got cold! For a moment, I could tell that that something amazing was ahead of me and I took a pause before turning my head and breathing in the smell of snowfall!
The way to the Swiss Alps ahead was through the Pilatus Kulm, a glass room of warmth before you step into the white outside. Well, I wasn’t looking for a cup of hot coffee, not at this point in time! It’s the same kind of excitement when you would have waited for something for a long time.
The first fifteen minutes, it was all about getting the scene captured on my camera and the rest couple of hours I spent, I put a smile on my face and adored the distant void. It’s a heavenly experience that I was sharing with travelers who have come from all different corners of the globe.
I ensured to take the last ride back to the city of Lucerne since this was a scene that I knew I would be longing for the rest of my life.
The sun was already setting down when I finally came down and after a brief time in my dorm bed, I had put on a new pair of socks to go around the city.
I woke up early next morning to get a full breakfast (food is pretty expensive in this part of the world as is everything else you wish to buy!) and headed to the train station to claim my Golden Pass! The Golden Pass Line took me across Switzerland, from Zurich to Geneva and this was a postcard of a ride. Most of the route went through Interlaken and the landscape was a perfect representation of heaven on earth. I had always heard about the beauty that Switzerland is and now that I was living it, it was a sense of accomplishment. My eyelids never fell and what wasn’t captured in my camera took a special place in my memories.
I needed to head back to Zurich before evening to take my bus to Rome but this was a destination that I would come back again in my life. Also, the next time I am at the Swiss Alps, it would be with my climbing gear!