Euro Trip With Friends (Part 2 – Switzerland)

So after a largely uneventful stay at Munich, it was time for us to leave for Switzerland. We left Munich on the morning of 24th August and after negotiating some city traffic, we were on the road to Interlaken. The road to Interlaken is peppered with scenic views – first the German countryside and then the Austrian and Swiss alpine beauty. We also passed through Lichtenstein, one of the smallest countries in the world, en-route.

The closer we got to Interlaken, the better the views became. We stopped twice just to soak in the natural beauty. Our first stop was at Mühlehorn, a beautiful community set on the shores of a lake with pristine blue waters. After soaking in the serenity we motored onward. We have driven for a couple of more hours when another alpine lake inspired us to stop. The view was particularly nostalgic for me. The lake was very similar to the lakes in and around Nainital, with the waters reflecting the greenery of the mountains that surround the lake. We clicked some pictures and then moved on towards Interlaken.

Scenic Muhlehorn
The lake at Muhlehorn
Another lake en-route Interlaken

Interlaken is a lakeside town, set in a valley, surrounded by Alps. We had booked accommodation in an Airbnb in a village called Darligen. Interlaken is just 5 km from Darligen. Darligen is relatively untouched by the pressures of tourism and has a laid back, relaxed environment. No one seems to be in a hurry. After checking-in, we drove to Interlaken and strolled the streets. Like any tourist place there are many souvenir shops and hotels. Also like any place popular with tourists, everything is expensive. But the place is beautiful. It has everything a mountain town can have – a lake, fast slowing mountain streams and a view of snow-clad Alpine peaks. After we had roamed the streets to our hearts’ content, we had dinner and then drove back to Darligen to retire for the night.

View from our room in Darligen
Beautiful view up close

The next morning we woke up and drove to Lauterbrunnen. If Interlaken was beautiful, Lauterbrunnen was heaven. Quaint Swiss chalets, plunging waterfalls, mountain streams, towering peaks and massive glaciers – imagine having all of these in one frame – Lauterbrunnen has it all. This view has been immortalized in a popular wallpaper that ships with Microsoft Windows. Lauterbrunnen is also the rail-head for the train that takes tourists to the highest railway station in Europe – Jungfraujoch. The train climbs steep mountains and affords unparalleled views of the Alps and surrounding valleys. It is probably the most instagrammable rail ride in the world. The railway itself is a testament to Swiss engineering. Building a railway line to a glacier and that too a 100 years ago – incredible. The Jungfraujoch railway station opens on a saddle on the Aletsch glacier- the largest glacier in the Alps. The Jungfrau mountain towers above. On one side can see the Aletsch glacier flowing downhill for several kilometers while from the other side one can see all the way to the Black Forest in Germany. It is a view that will stay with us forever. We spent around 3 hours at Jungfraujoch, taking pictures and just absorbing pristine Alpine beauty.

View from Interlaken
The train that scales mountains! Notice the grooves in the tracks for brake assist
Where all the goodness of Swiss dairy comes from!
View from the train!
At Jungfraujoch!
The Aletsch glacier!
Another majestic view from Jungfraujoch!
Really feels like the top!

The journey downhill was as beautiful as the one uphill (it is the same track). However, we sat on the other side of the train to catch the view we had missed on our way up. Switzerland had cast a spell on us with its beauty and we enjoyed every bit on it. We had a quiet dinner (Indian food after a long time) at Interlaken and then quietly retired to Darligen. We slept early as we had to start early for our onward journey to Venice. More on that in the next post.

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