Switzerland, one of the happiest nations on this war-torn planet, has her unique landscape and lifestyle so surreal that make her truly a heaven on Earth.
My trip started in Zurich, Switzerland’s biggest city and one of the world’s largest financial centre. Unlike the hustle and bustle in London and Paris, Zurich is peaceful and the pace is slow. The old town of Zurich is cozy enough to allow tourists to ramble around without getting lost. As expected, Zurich was not the most ideal and exciting destination for youngsters, so I stayed in Zurich for a night, before taking an early train to Lucerne the next morning.
Cruising Lake Lucerne
Lucerne is a nice city like Zurich. The cruise in Lake Lucerne was a complimentary ride from Swiss Pass, and was a relaxing journey to save the summer heat. I hastily paid visits to the major landmarks of Lucerne, after which I departed for Interlaken, the gateway to Jungfrau(少女峰), which was probably the reason why I went to Switzerland. The journey from Lucerne to Interlaken was a scenic train ride which tracked along the signature Swiss crystal blue lakes and the Alpine ranges.
After taking a brief stop in Interlaken to stock up for the night, I took the evening train up to Grindelwald, around 1000m above sea level. Grindelwald was a classic Swiss mountain village right at the middle of the Jungfrau region. Thunderstorm swept across the valley on my first night in Grindelwald, but the pouring rain did not did not hamper the beauty of it. Literally living among the clouds, the view over the damp valley was surreal, especially when the rain stopped briefly at dusk.
Interlaken before sunset
The next morning, I took an early cable car journey up to First, which later proved to be one of my favourite hiking trail in the Jungfrau region. The weather at Grindelwald was cool with sunny intervals, but as the cable car slowly ascended up to around 2000m, the sight was completely blocked by fogs and clouds. The visibility was horrible and it was freezing on the mountains, but I decided to hike further up despite the weather. The hike itself was not difficult, but there were snow patches along the way so I had to be extra careful.
Hiking trail from First
After an hour of uphill mountain trail with nothing but fogs, I finally reached my destination – Lake Bachalpsee. The tranquility of the lake was unshaken by the presence of tourists, and it stays calm right below the magnificent Jungfraujoch despite the fierce Alpine winds. Though the view from the lake was not as clear as the ones I have seen from Google, it was the most surreal and breathtaking lake I have ever seen. I forgot how long I have waited until the clouds cleared a bit and I got to witness the mountain ranges and their reflections on the lake. At that moment, I realised all the hike and wait were well worth it.
Lake Bachalpsee among the clouds
Apart from the trail to Lake Bachalpsee, First is also famous for mountain activities such as zip line and cliff walk. The cliff walk was free of charge, so I instinctively took the path along the cliff walk. After several metres I was already a few hundred metres above the valley, it was so terrifying that I had to crawl my way through the rest of the walk.
After descending from First, I took another scenic train ride up to Schynige Platte. The wooden train was well designed for truly enjoying the surrounding mountains, as you can lower the windows to feel the breezes and catch the scents of a Swiss summer. As the train slowly climbs, the brilliant views of the two lakes around Interlaken unfolded.
1000m above Interlaken
Interlaken was an even more beautiful town glancing from 1000m above. The train struggled up the steep slopes, and occasionally stopped for farmers and their livestocks to pass through. Continuing upward, the train fissured through several tunnels before the majestic views of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau unveiled, while the train speeded alongside the cliffs and forests. The train terminated next to a botanic garden 2000m above sea level, and tourists were free to rest in a cafe or go on a short hiking trail before the downhill train set to depart. The plants and wildlife in the botanic garden was indeed impressive, and I was surprised to find lounge chairs in the botanic garden, where I laid down idly and savoured the panoramic views of the bewitching mountains standing right before me.