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The Switzerland story

Group Size : 10

Day 1 : Reach Zurich and travel by train to Interlaken

The Zurich airport was bustling with people and the sign boards were loud and clear. No one can ever get lost here in this country.


We had  pre-booked  the "all in one" SWISS PASS that gave each one of us the liberty to use all the public transport in this beautiful country for the next 15 days, though we needed it only for 10 days.  It proved highly beneficial for us.  The group had 3 children and the entire internal travel was absolutely free for them under this PASS, as they were accompanied by parents. 

It takes more words and feelings to describe this kind of unique and one of the BEST TRANSPORT SYSTEMS in the world.  So punctual, so clean, so efficient.  There is no need to worry about how to get from point A to B , even in the remote areas.  You will be guaranteed of either a train, ferry or bus, as soon as you get down from your previous means of transport.  It is so amazingly timed, that you do not need to wait for a long time or queue up for hours.  You just simply get off one means of transport and depending on your next destination just get into the ferry, train or bus readily waiting for you at a minimum walkable distance from your earlier transport stop.  It is very inspiring to see this work like a clock.  


Trust me, you will love any country more, when you travel like a local.  

TIP :          Some places in this country, do have a cut off time for public transport or may be have them at a lower frequency.  If you want to be prepared when you get off a particular mode of transport, just download the SBB app in your mobile phone much in advance.  In that way you are totally ready to go !  

We took the train in the airport, underground, to reach the central railway station of Zurich.  We were in awe of the natural settings of this beautiful country, as our train sped towards our destination.  There is enough and more space and plenty of vacant seats, at  any time of the day, especially during off-season.  


We just needed to flash our passes to the ticket checking officer , each time we boarded any mode of transport. From Zurich central station, we boarded our train to reach Interlaken West.  Our self- catering accommodation "City Chalet" was at a walking distance of 5 minutes from this station.   The roads were smooth enough to pull our luggage along.   The air smelt so pure, it was like a fairy tale as we stepped out of the train to reach our new home.

We chose to stay put in INTERLAKEN and travel around the country from here each day, due to the following reasons :

1. This town is almost the central point in Switzerland and any place can be reached from here, maximum in 3 hours, making all our day trips super convenient.

2.  There was no need to tug our luggage from place to place throughout our trip.  It made sense for us as we had children in the group

3. The self-catering option  actually made life easy.  Of course, it was a little bit of effort on cooking all 3 times.  But, we didn't  mind that as we had plenty of time to explore places at our own pace once we got there, without worrying about our next meal or 

Interlaken and the lovely "City Chalet"

spending a couple of hours trying to find VEGETARIAN options.  We just picnicked in any place we liked and did not spend more than 20-30 minutes eating.  This ensured that we saw more places.

The accommodation was huge, beautiful and had 5 bed rooms and 2 baths.  We relaxed that evening, made ourselves a good dinner and called it a day.

Day 2 :  Interlaken - Chur - Glacier Express - Andermatt- Zermatt- Interlaken West

Zermatt 1

Our day began quite early.  We packed our breakfast and left home at 7 am, walking briskly, enjoying the surroundings, to reach the train station at Interlaken West.  The train arrived on time to take us to Chur in  about 3 hours.  We reached Chur around 10:40am.  

We were to ride the most raved about GLACIER EXPRESS from Chur to Zermatt, passing through Andermatt.  The Entire  "express" journey lasted about 6 and half hours.  Making it's way  through mountains, valleys, exquisite lakes , plains, small towns and villages, the GLACIER EXPRESS reached us to Zermatt by 5:30 pm.

The large size windows and glass edged rooftop of the  train, made the journey very special.  It was like movie magic right through the "Theatre screen like" windows.  The gourmet food served to us was yummy, we opted for vegetarian.  The entire journey was silent, smooth, gliding through beautiful scenery.  The scene changed from thick snow, to milder snow ,  then brown coloured  to fully green coloured meadows and woods, before finally getting to Zermatt. Do Cast a glance at the photos here, to have an idea of what views we witnessed during this extraordinary journey,  by just staying put in this masterpiece of a train.  No wonder the world raves about scenic train journeys in Switzerland.

Glacier Express Journey from Chur to Zermatt

Almost down south of Switzerland is this rare jewel called ZERMATT.  It is split into new and old village. We collected the map of Zermatt village from the tourist office located in the Zermatt train station.  Suggestions came in from a petite fair lady in the tourist office, who marked circles on our map, suggesting two "doable" routes.  This gave us a fair idea of what to see in the limited time we had.   We preferred taking a quick tour around the old village.


The rare ancient architecture of the entire village,  which seemed completely made of wood coupled with dead silence on the roads gave us a complete feel of the life that could have existed during ancient times here. Zermatt is the house of the famous peak the MATTERHORN mountain.  


Fun fact No. 1 - A local, educated us on the fact that, the very widely known chocolate brand "TOBLERONE" got it's solid triangular shape as a result of inspiration drawn from the shape of this peak of MATTERHORN.  Oh ! that was cool to know. 

Zermatt Village walk

Fun fact No. 2 - The top portion of this Matterhorn peak, i.e what comes to one's view when you stare at it,  seemingly belongs to Africa !!  Yes...As the years passed Africa kept drifting away  from Europe, in Stages. In experiments conducted by geologists,  the samples of the top portion of this mountain consists of rocks formed thousands of years ago in Africa, whilst the samples of the rocks down under the Matterhorn belongs to ancient Europe. therefore the top portion of Matterhorn is confirmed to be of African origin.  During drifting of land, the peak somehow found its way towards Europe.   Cool ! isn't it ?

We spent about an hour loitering in the streets, enjoying sights of the busy markets around the train station and then stopped for some coffee.  We were back at the train station waiting for our next train, to get back to Interlaken West.  Thus ended our bright and sunny day.

Day 3: Interlaken-Bern-Zurich Zoo- Winterthur- Schloss Laufen - Schaffhausen- Rhine falls - Basel city - Interlaken

So, how did  "Interlaken" get it's name ? Simple - this beautiful city just lies between the two important lakes "THUN" and "BRIENZ". 

A lovely day to step out,  we walked to the train station to take a train to Bern - the capital of this country.  It took less than an hour to get there.  Another train to Zurich took about an hour or so.  Outside the train station, we took a bus to the Zurich Zoo.  We spent  

zurich and basel

solid 2 hours around the Zoo.  It has a large collection of various species of animals and birds.   My favourite were the colourful frogs, birds and fish. Take a peek at the slide show below this write up to catch a glimpse of a few of them.  Never had I seen so many variety of frogs before. The kids loved it.

Zurich Zoo

Next , we took the bus back to the main station and our train raced its way through WINTERTHUR, SCHLOSS LAUFEN TO SCHAFFAUSSEN. Another short train ride of 5 minutes to Neuhausen station and we were right in front of the RHINE waterfalls.   Don't worry these places are only difficult to spell and pronounce, but not to get to:).

The RHINE falls

The RHINE waterfalls had assumed full glory. We could hear the roaring water from a distance.  A short walk would take people up to the castle just above the waterfalls.  We didn't have enough time to get to the castle though.    We instead took a short boat ride to get close to the waterfall.  It was a swell experience.  We were dropped on the opposite side. We were free to climb up the a steep and narrow stairway leading to  the view point, which lay at a closest proximity to the waterfall.  The view from this point was just out of this world.  It was worth

all the puffing and panting on our way upward.   This is where we heard the actual ROAR of the falls.   Watch the video to understand what I am saying.   With water sprinkling all over us continuously, we  experienced bliss. We were so happy with what we got to do.  We didn't want to get off and get back to the next ferry, but we had no choice.  We rode another return ferry, back to land.  We walked back to the train station and took our next train.  

Basel City - click & slide for photos

A direct train from Schaffaussen took us to a city on the northern borders of the country - BASEL.  We  got off the train and walked aplenty around this city, trying to find the main buildings and other tourist places ourselves, using a mobile app. We also used trams wherever required. Famous among the spots was the HAMMERING MAN , which is a tall structure hammering continuously at a building and it works purely with a simple motor 24 hours a day.  


It was fun climbing in and out of local buses and running across streets.  Once we were done, we took a direct train back to Interlaken west.  It was fun and fruitful day.  There were many more to come and we couldn't wait to experience all of them.  

Day 4: Interlaken - Lucern- Vitznau- Mount Rigi- Arth Goldau- Lucerne City- Interlaken

Yay ! We are on day 4 ! 


There are several ways in which one can travel from A to B in Switzerland.  This can be altered based on time availability and your interests.  Like I said before, transport should be the least of your concerns in this country.  There are absolutely zero chances of getting lost or stranded especially if you have a Swiss pass on hand.  Of course, the more cheaper option would be driving around, yourself.  This again 


 differs from person to person.  We found it extremelyconvenient with kids to travel with a pass.  In any case the kids were travelling for free.  


The fastest route to Lucerne from Interlaken is a direct train from Interlaken Ost ( East) station.  


We walked our way from home to Interlaken west and took a train to reach Interlaken Ost .  This took about 7 minutes.  Almost all trains from West, stop at East Station.   You just need to keep an eye on the electronic display boards, that keep you well informed on timing and names of stops of all trains that comes there.  


From here, the direct  IR train reached us to Lucerne in a little less than 2 hours (1 hr 51 minutes to be precise).  There are many trains that leave the Interlaken West station, but some of them do not reach Lucerne directly.  They stop at Meringen, from where you need to take another train to Lucerne.  Best is to keep the SBB app handy on the mobile phone and check out on trains and transport from the available schedule, that suits you.  We, however, planned all this well in advance, using this app, so that we didn't have to waste time finding out "What / How next"

Mount Rigi Tour

Lucerne City is one of my favourites.  It has this uniqueness about itself.  It is vibrant, vast and peppy. People smiling away and seemingly very relaxed.  I couldn't wait to explore the city in the latter half of the day.  

First came "the climb up mount Rigi"...No No ! we didn't have to climb it up physically, we were to take the funicular up this mountain, from Vitznau.

The quay just outside Lucerne main train station, had a ferry waiting readily, that took us to Vitznau.  It was the first of our short ferries, in Switzerland, usable with the Swiss Pass.  

In fact, the entire RIGI tour is free with this Pass.  By now, we were quite well versed with how the pass worked. We would flaunt the passes with confidence to the checking officer, who was most likely to just glance at them and return them with a smile, looking at all of us and nodding in concurrence. Never once did we have a problem with the punctuality of the entire transport system.  You reach at 1:04 for a 1:03 train and you will find that it has left the station leaving you behind for sure.

We got into the ferry and found ourselves a place.  It wasn't too crowded.   The journey lasted about 57 minutes to be precise. We preferred standing outside, on the deck, instead of cozily sitting inside the cabin, despite the extremely chill weather.  The scenery was to die for and worth all the tolerance of the nail biting cold.

Once we got to Vitznau, we just needed to walk up to the Cog wheel station to go up to Mount Rigi.  This funicular was Red in colour.  It took us about half and hour to reach RIGI -KULM ( station atop MOUNT RIGI).   It was way to foggy out there. We could hardly see each other and so never tried to lurk away from the group.  We couldn't really hike up the mountain any further, like we had dreamt of, or neither were we lucky to have an aerial view of the city from there. Our legs turned numb and we got very hungry.  The restaurant atop RIGI, played our saviour and we had some hot unforgettable soup with bread sticks.  The inside of the restaurant had good room heaters and we felt warm in there.  We bought a pair of good boots for one of our kids and a few other souvenirs from the adjacent shops.  

After waiting in vain for a while, in hope of witnessing the clear skies, we walked our way to the other side of the  Rigi station, to go down by a blue train to Arth Goldau.  The entire experience was unique and well worth the time.  We got into the blue train that arrived soon and it took us roughly half an hour to reach the foot of the RIGI on the other side of the mountain, at Arth Goldau station.  It was deserted.  We walked down the streets to get to the main railway station of Arth- Goldau,  for a train to Lucerne city from there.  


Oh yeah ! finally reached my favourite city LUZERN to explore it.. sadly it rained a bit.   The roads looked all cleaned up.   Though the clouds provided a dreich atmosphere, it did not stop us from moving around.  We got to the SWISS TRANSPORT MUSEUM first. !! It is one of its kind and is massive.   It can attract just about anyone to get interested in vehicles.  None can  leave this place without learning loads of  interesting facts. 

The first thing to make an impression on our minds was the huge WHEEL at the entrance of the museum.  It was nearly 5 times the height of a normal human being.  Our cameras were clicking away.  The museum was split into different levels and floors, but were quite continuous in nature.   It easily took us around 2 hours just to move around quickly .  There was a collection of all kinds of transport from old to the new, with explanation of how each vehicle was created, a comparison drawn between old & new methods of vehicle creation.   As I said earlier, the transport system of Switzerland is regarded as one of the best integrated systems in the world.  How better can we understand its success than study the application of latest technologies  resulting in this speedy growth.  From buses to trains, cars to trucks, ferries to ships, funiculars to cable cars the museum covered the entire history and the current scenario behind each one.  The visitors were allowed to sit or walk around in any of the large dummy vehicles and learn about them right inside the vehicle.  It was fascinating and was way beyond our expectations.  

The SWISS Transport Museum

Therefore the walk around the museum never made us tired. We were busy getting in and out of various vehicles and experimenting on various buttons provided inside those vehicles for learning more about their parts.  There was an ocean of information behind the mechanics and the functioning of each and every part used in a particular vehicle. Hats off to the persons who made a mammoth of an effort to put all this together.  

It was worth every penny we paid for this visit.  We went gaga over the racing cars displayed.  There were models of each and every kind.

I would like to request travellers not to make the same mistake we made.  An entire day at the museum would be ideal, especially if you have kids aged 10 and above.  They will love this place.  We didn't do any justice by visiting this place just for 2 hours.  

We took a bus from outside the museum and within 10 minutes got back near the Central Station.  The idea was to explore the city on foot for the rest of the day.  We walked up to the iconic CHAPEL BRIDGE , which is built of wood, . The Long bridge is built diagonally across the river Reuss connecting one side to the other.  The bridge, as we know, is roofed to its full length and is thus one of a kind.  The interiors of the bridge has many interesting paintings and murals that date back to nearly the 17th and 18th century.  Plenty of such art work on these wooden walls were destroyed in a fire that burnt a major part of the bridge in August 1993.  The cause of the fire is believed to be a discarded, live cigarette.  The bridge was later rebuilt.  The bridge has the Jesuitankirche at one end and St. Peter's Chapel- the one that gave this bridge it's name, at the other end.   The octagon shaped tower, attached to  this bridge, seemingly was a prison earlier which was used to imprison and torture prisoners.  This tower is never opened for public.  


While walking the full length of this ancient bridge,  we got to eavesdrop on old stories narrated by a tour guide, to another group.   Interesting !  

En-route to the famous LION MONUMENT,  we crossed the HOFKIRCHE - the main church in Lucern with its unique structure.  By then the rain had completely stopped.  We enjoyed the cool walk, crossed many shops and monumental buildings  and finally got to the Lion Monument.  Most people know the story behind this monument. A Lion bruised by a spear, lying in pain near its shield, (which is the COAT OF ARMS - a symbol depicting achievements) etched on a single rock, that's what it is.  This was constructed to  pay tribute to the brave guards who laid their lives during the French Revolution. There were as many as 760 guards who died in the war.  

Lucerne city and Lion Monument

What attracted me the most to this monument is the "pain" in the Lion's eyes.  The sculptor must have been one of  the best during his period, to be able to get across such emotion on a piece of stone.  It looked so alive.   Take a look at it in the pictures above , if you can.  

We walked to the nearest bus stop and took a bus back to the Central Station.  We were back in Interlaken by the next available train.  It was a super cool day !

Day 5: Interlaken- Wilderswil - Grindelwald- Kleine Scheidegg -  Eiger - Monch- Jungfrau - Murren - Gimmelwald -Lauterbrunnen - Interlaken

Map of the onward journey to Jungfrau

The 5th day saw all of us with great vigour, waiting eagerly to get to the top of the JUNGFRAU.  It was situated around the Interlaken area.   We were to go uphill this time, cutting into caves, gliding through mountain passes and some snow peaks with loads of picture-postcard type villages all along.  All  this was by train, walk and bus. 

It was a cold morning and we sat waiting for a bus this time, at the Interlaken-West station. 

The bus rode us to Wilderswil from where we took a train to Grindelwald and then from there to "Kleine Scheidegg".  This is a mountain pass,  which is the entry point to reach the Majestic Jungfraujoch.  We crossed the mountains of  EIGER and MONCH and all this was through the tunnel railways.  Our train cut through these massive mountains in quite a speed and we could see nothing but darkness here.  It was a fantastic experience.   The ears do get blocked for a while due to both- altitude and tunnels. There were short stops at the tunnel stations of these 2 mountains,  just to have a peek at the outside world through few cave holes, that served as windows.  We were then instructed to quickly get back into the train, to reach Jungfraujoch - the final destination.  This station is also a cave station.  As soon as we got out, we noticed that the train had tribute inscribed on it, dedicated to Mr. YASH CHOPRA - the Indian Movie director, who has patronised this beautiful country by shooting many of his  block buster movies here. 

We made our way to the main hall that was shaped like a dome, leading to the viewing deck.  The dome was fully covered with glass walls , from where we could view the wonderful mountain range from all sides. A few steps upward in a spiral fashion and we got to the point where there were doors to get out in the open and right on to the viewing deck.  The floor of the entire deck was built with netted iron and there was nothing under our feet but this.  When we looked down, we could see through the netted squares the steep  sides of the mountains just dropping downward.  For miles and miles there was no land under our feet.  The wind blew hard and it got very very cold.

We could feel ourselves being blown upward,  by  strong winds.  We were laughing away and trying to hold ourselves together.  Looked ahead and there she was ! The mighty Jungfrau.  The peak was just amazing.  We quickly gathered around for photographs whilst trying to keep ourselves firm on the floor.  After a few clicks, we rushed back indoors, to make ourselves warm again.

We rubbed our palms to feel warm .  We walked to the Museum called ALPINE SENSATION.  This cave like museum had recorded  on its walls, the names of ALL the labourers and management who successfully built this station at the top of the Jungfraujoch

The entire history of its building process and loads of photographs taken at that time were enough to occupy the entire museum. It is really unbelievable to find something built of such "PERFECTION" on top of a mountain, by cutting relentlessly through the mighty rock.  You must see it to understand and feel what those people had dreamt of and how they realised this dream, making it all happen.  We are privileged today to be seeing the huge peak "eye to eye", courtesy their hard work.

The next stop was at the EISPLAST - the Ice Museum.  In here we got to see many ice sculptors.  By now we were used to the cold.  In fact in snowy regions one can feel the cold only when its windy.  When there are no winds , the minus degrees are still bearable.  It was a good way to pass time.

Soon, thereafter, we  followed instructions and reached  thick door, past which lay the vast snowy glacier land,  with the peak of  mighty Jungfrau perched on it giving it the look of a small  hill top.  There were people queuing up,  going in and out of that door and each time the door was opened by any visitor,  a sample of the cold air outside would blow at us, sounding off a  warning of what to expect while standing on this white iced land.   We still stood inside warming ourselves a bit longer, before attempting the plunge. We had carried a few colourful balloons which we tried blowing and tying together in that inadequate space, amidst people rushing in and out.  The floor was slippery and watery and we had to tread carefully.  Finally, it was our turn to go.  We pushed the door open and were instantly slapped by cold.  We could hear the noise of the blowing and whistling wind.  Until then, I had heard this sound only in Cinemas.   In that gushing noise of the wind, we soon found ourselves holding on to a strong rope , walking one behind the other in a straight line , up the mountain slope,  to get to the mountain peak of the Jungfrau. My eyes were watering and I made great effort to look around.   Suddenly something untowardly happened. One of my group member, a little behind me in line,  stepped out  on the slippery ice and skid.  He fell with a thud on the ice,

but was still holding on to the rope.  As he tugged at the rope while falling, that  part of the same rope held by me, moved with great speed instantly scrapping my hand.  I was hurt.  It took a while for the burning sensation to subside.  But I wouldn't give up on the idea of flying the colourful balloons high up in the white background.  A little walk up hill lead us to right in front of the peak.  We were all ready to pose for a while clicking as many pictures as possible. After this literally CHILLING experience, we got back indoors. We took the lift to go up to the restaurant for some hot coffee and eats, which was much needed.

Once we were done, we stayed a while looking around the in house shops.  The visit to the peak was pretty much through.   We made our way downhill to get back to Kleine Scheidegg Station.  Began our endeavour No. 2 of the day. 

We took a train to Lauterbrunnen first.  We had a while here at the station.  We waked around this beautiful village. This village is surrounded by mountains and  has a total of 72 waterfalls, which means more than one dropping off,  from  each of the mountains. Residents can spot at least one waterfall from any one of the windows in their house. After an hour we  boarded a funicular type of train to reach Murren village, which is at a higher altitude than Lauterbrunnen. We walked the complete straight stretch of this village starting from this 

Map of the return journey from Jungfrau

Lauterbrunnen-Murren funicular station upto Gimmelwald cable car station.  Many people do the peak of Schilthorn (famous for its BOND movie connection), from here.  We chose to spend more time around the village.  The quite little village , so far away from everything in this world, covered with untouched beauty all around & is the place one should stay for a long long time.  I am  sure it promises long and healthy life to anyone.

 We frolicked on our way, making balls of snow, where ever we found a patch of it, and flung it at each other.  It was approximately a half hour walk and there was no doubt that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  We sat on benches & steps on our way, ogling at those rugged pieces of oddly shaped mountains, covered here and there with snow, glistening away in  sunshine, smiling at us.  It was a visual treat.  We could hear our voices echoing on the roads, it was that deserted.  Do people live here at all ? I wondered.  What peace ! What calm.   Those big wooden houses, with lovely clean big windows, green turning meadows on which they stood,  Pine and other trees that added colour to the entire scene...Oh ! it was heaven. We were so impressed that we were discussing all along on settling down there.

As we kept walking, we found a few restaurants and shops and spotted some humans. The journey to Schilthorn peak (  the one I earlier mentioned of  James Bond fame) began from this point. We crossed the road and found  another couple of downward winding roads and immediately sensed  that the cable station  of Gimmelwald was somewhere in the vicinity.   A few steps further and we stood in front of the cable station. The cable car was so huge that it could 

 easily fit 50 and odd beings.  A few people had their lovely dogs with them.  We kept walking in and out of the open car, busy with our photo shoot,  as there was a lot of time before our journey could begin.  We stood against the railings next to the opened cable car and saw the steep mountains drop. Soon it was time to close the doors of the car, when the timer sounded off.  Our journey from Gimmelwald to Stechelberg was a slide down into that valley and lasted for 5 minutes or so.  It was memorable.  For the first time that day, we saw perfectly green mountains with plenty of houses , without any snow around - a true picture of  Green Switzerland !  We soon reached Stechelberg and took a train from there back to Lauterbrunnen.  After a few photo shots, we took a bus to Interlaken and got back home.  What a fabulous day !

Day 6: Interlaken- Bern - Friburg -Bulle- Broc Fabrique (Chocolate factory) - Gruyeres (Cheese Factory) - Montreux - Vevey - Lausanne - Interlaken

Another happy day. The "off track" destination day. The Dress code was red and white. The Majority of us were dressed in red.  

We took a train from the Interlaken West Station to Bern and another one to Fribourg.  This journey took us around an hour and half.  From Fribourg we got to the "Chocolate factory" at Broc Fabrique village.  This journey was for about one hour.  The chocolate factory in Broc-Fabrique is at a walking distance 

gruyeres montreux

from it's railway station.  The CALLIER factory of Nestle was spreading its chocolaty aroma all around.  The Main building is like a  "Parliament House" in Europe.  The open land in front of this building consisted of a central fountain, a garden and the reception like little office was in the shape of a cut piece of chocolate.  There were giant chocolate bars installed in the garden and there was also a  giant tea cup & saucer there.   The factory has a large hall, which has display of chocolates on one side and souvenirs on the other.    


First, we lined up for a beautiful presentation in the form of dramatics, as to how chocolate originated.  We moved from room to room as instructed by the voice over, which was explaining the entire history.  There were many props and secret doors opening up for the immediate continuation of the theatrics. The entire experience was more like treasure hunt / escape room.  We enjoyed the entire story.  The facts were really interesting.  The final room had a display of various types of choco beans.  It was all aromatic. We were also taken on a tour of the chocolate processing. It was interesting to watch many large machines, processing chocolate from start to finish.  The final product was neatly packed and ready for sale.

It was great to watch the machines work at a great pace making, cutting, shaping and wrapping the chocolates as required.   The highlight of the entire episode was the free display of chocolates in the final room we entered.  There were more chocolates than a chocolate lover could possibly gulp.  Trays and trays of free chocolates of very rare and different flavours were openly displayed.  The Vistors could pick & eat whichever they liked.  People were gobbling as many as they could .  We tried a piece of the display on each tray initially, towards the end we were saturated by the sweetness that we couldn't tolerate chewing it anymore. We couldn't stop buying 

 chocolates at the show room.  The display seemed endless and we couldn't decide which to buy and which not.  We had to STOP ourselves forcibly to stop shopping.  There was a big life sized cow made with pure chocolate.  After filling our bags with loads and loads of various differently flavoured chocolates, we left for the railway station to get to our next stop - GRUYERES.  

The name of this lovely village is so synonymous with CHEESE.  The Gruyeres' cheese is world renowned.    The train stopped near the Cheese factory.  On the right side we spotted the entire village, just like those pictures in the advertisements which depict this country.  The green meadows lay carpeted on the majestic hillocks running up and down at regular intervals, creating a perfect scenery.  Trees planted at irregular intervals but so nicely shaped as if pruned regularly, enhanced that "Swiss village" effect.  We spotted plenty of  fluffy looking cows, with those bells around their necks mildly tinkling away in the fresh breeze that surrounded the area.  


Before we explored this beauty of a village by foot, we entered the cheese factory.  The tour of the factory was a must to understand the level of precision and cleanliness maintained in each and every big room, meant for a separate process.  We moved from room to room as the loud speakers meant for us tourists,  gave enough information on the entire process.   It smelt cheese everywhere.  There were barrels and barrels of milk being processed each day.  We were taken to the store room which stored tons and tons of variety cheese, neatly layered in all the shelfs there.  The most yummy thing about this tour was it's ending.  We visited  the restaurant of this factory.  We ordered some vegetarian eats . We had ordered cheese and bag of small potatoes.  We were really surprised at the quantity of cheese we got.  On our table there was a little fire kindled on which they placed a whole pot of melting cheese.  The bag of  herb infused baby potatoes were so delicious.  We had ordered various other stuff and found all of them very yummy.  Some members of the group couldn't stand the strong smell of cheese though.   Can't trace many pictures of the Cheese factory at this point in time.  Will update when I find them.

Our next stop was uphill - the CASTLE OF GRUYERES.  It was a good long walk, just like I have always dreamt of...walking up and down the green meadows in Switzerland.   The path wound its way to the top of the hillock to reach this castle. The castle was a different world altogether.  It was strange that though not man people were seen out in the open, there were loads of them inside the Castle compound. We couldn't get to see much of it's interiors, but we were glad we walked up all the way.  In any case our next stop was also going to be a castle visit . 

The Chateau de' Chillon was situated in Montreux.  We made our way back to Bulle, from where we took a train crossing Vevey - the town which maintains the  home of Charlie Chaplin, to reach almost the doors of the CHILLON CASTLE.  The Castle is built at the edge and on top of LAKE GENEVA.   The interiors of the castle was guided by a tour guide, who poured a lot of information regarding the ancient times here and how the castle was built.  The dungeons were scary.  We were glad to see the beer barrels still maintained for centuries.  We walked up to the very top of the castle where a particular window throws stunning views of the Lake.  After educating ourselves with a lot of history, we made our way back home by taking a train back to Interlake via Lausanne and Bern.  We called it a day.

 Chateau de' Chillon

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Day 7: Interlaken - Bern City - Beatenberg (Beatus caves) - Interlaken


Feeling ecstatic on this day, we set out to our beloved railway station to catch the train once again to Bern City.  This time, we were going to look around the capital city itself, instead of just using it as a stop to change trains.   We noticed that most trains we took till date, had a change of trains in BERN.  


We stepped out of the station and took a bus towards the city centre.  

We walked around the city a bit, breathing its lively atmosphere and reached the oldest monument of the city - The  Zytglogge clock tower, a little before 12 noon. This clock tower has been there for 800 years, so we can imagine the history behind it.  The clock is installed on this tower is split into 2 zones, one that has a completely gold dial and is a normal clock, and the other below it, mostly in red, black and golden on a grey base, both of which have Roman numerals.  It is built at a height, at the central place, bustling with people.  I could write about its history and mechanics using  innumerable pages.  It is something so wonderful. If you wish to know more about it read here


At the strike of every hour, the characters  and  miniature figures  installed on it for decorative purpose, offer little theatrics. At twelve noon, most of the action happens. Therefore arose the need to get there by then.  We stood around and ogled at the people and streets, made photographic memories at a nearby small fountain, whilst waiting for the clock to perform.  A crowd too gathered quickly, to witness the same.  

Much to our dismay, at the strike of 12,  amidst all the action, our eyes wandered all around the clock.  We were trying to focus on all the fixtures at once, which was impossible.    As we were ignorant of the order of their performance, we could, with much difficulty, spot a rooster flapping its wings,  the seated CHRONOS ( a greek god, personifying time) striking his shaft to the beat, a tiger headed being, banging it's head to the side, at the same beat.   It was all over before we could even digest the scene. Luckily , a video made at that time came handy. It is being played  right here, to get you to understand what I explained.  Click to enjoy.

Down the same street as the clock tower is the erstwhile house of Albert Einstein referred to as the "EINSTEINHAUS". The house, now turned to a museum is opened to visitors throughout the year. It is the first house where Einstein began to earn his living and got to spend the days during his first marriage and child.  The house is an ordinary one, which has narrow stairs to reach it,  from a single door on the ground floor.  A display of photographs and scripts, reminiscing his entire childhood, youth and middle age, proved informative.  His entire life is penned down for people to read, including his divorce. The house maintains the few furniture, even clothes used by the couple and a crib of their baby.  It was interesting to imagine how he lived in this wonderful city, before he grew famous.  We gathered that he did not have a happy personal life.  One often only gets to see the glamorous side of the lives of famous personalities, but no one knows the deeper facts of what their life's journey has been about.   It was a shocking revelation for us.  


We soon got back on the streets once again.  I loved the way the buildings were lined up against each other on this street. They all looked similar and the  entire line of buildings gently sloped downward  along with the road.  Colourful flags displayed on many streets added colour to the city.  We took a short stroll down the streets looking at important buildings and landmarks.  We finally landed near the Bern Cathedral.  It was under renovation.  We therefore could not get many pictures.  Also, the place was crowded and surrounded by policemen.  A crowd that gathered,  was being controlled and instructed through loud speakers, by the police, to stay behind the designed barriers.  We learnt that the city was expecting the arrival of their Mayor to preside over a small meeting there and address the crowd.  We stood around a while and experienced the enthusiasm amongst the crowd there.  People were waving flags and seemed happy.  We couldn't wait longer to witness the actual event. The growing crowd hinted that it could be difficult to get out before the entire event came to a closure.   We split and walked to the huge garden right behind the Cathedral.   We stretched out a bit and opened our lunch boxes here.   The Kids played around for a while. It was green and beautiful.  We not only got to watch the other side of the city the lay across the waters but also got to see the labourers working on the steeple of the Cathedral.  It was a great feeling and a good time to rest our legs.

After the lunch break, we walked up to a bus stop to take the next drive to the weirdly shaped museum of art - THE ZENTRUM PAUL KLEE.  The museum is more famous for its unique and exquisite external structure that its interior displays.  It is said that almost all the artistic works of the artist PAUL KLEE is found here.  His daughter-in-law apparently gifted as many as 600-700 of his entire life's works to the government of the city.  The city then decided to dedicate a museum with these works, that was designed by an Italian.  The excellent wave like, silver exterior catches the eye of any onlooker.  The

entry to the museum is free.  We looked around the many floors.  The art-works seemed a little complicated for us to comprehend.  Nevertheless, it was worth a visit.  We soon returned to the Central station by a bus. Our next train was to Interlaken West station , but we were heading to the St. Beatus caves.  We couldn't help notice the beautiful town of  " Speiz" ( pronounced Shpee- et- zz), on our way.  We later learnt that this was a beautiful place to holiday - one of those remote tows  which is self-sufficient and offers a promising holiday.  We put that on our bucket list . 

for another time. Our train got us back to Interlaken West in about less than an hour, as usual.  From here we boarded a bus to reach the caves, which made a stop at the Beatus-hohlen (bus-stop).  This is right across the caves and is therefore super-convenient.  


The stunning vast expanse of  "Lake Thun" lay on the same side as the bus stop. We couldn't help clicking photographs, posing by the bridge, overlooking the lake.  We crossed the road and reached the caves. The cave was a portion of a might hill and looked carved along its edges at a height.  It therefore lay on a much

higher plain than the ground. A glance from top to bottom at the entire frame in front of our eyes, seemingly flashed an extraordinary set-up. There was a wooden bridge  criss-crossing its way upward to the main entrance. Also housed was a waterfall , a small tunnel on the way upward.  It just had us engrossed the whole time till we got to the reception counter.  There we were introduced to our to-be guide for the upcoming tour.  She was young and beautiful and in a matter of time, the entire crowd including us followed her into the caves. The tour lasted about an hour .  The guide explained the history and narrated  a lot of information about the cave formation.  

It is here we learnt the difference between the Stalagmites an Stalactites. Both are rock formations inside the caves- The Stalagmites rise from the ground forming a sharp peak on the top and Stalactites are rock formations that hang from the roof/ceiling of the caves and mostly form sharp pointed ends downward. This is a result of the freezing of the water saturated with minerals dripping down.  It was a chilling experience literally, as the inside of the cave got colder.  There were small waterfalls inside the

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cave at irregular intervals.  There were clear waters in few places, forming perfect mirror reflections.  Overall, it was an enjoyable outing, where we learnt a lot.  It was evening by the time we got back to Interlaken. We had a short stroll around the Interlaken town.

Day 8: Interlaken - Geneva - Morges Tulip festival - Lausanne - Interlaken

It was a bright and sunny day.  We reached the lively city of GENEVA in 3 hours time.  The map beside, will give you the exact route of how we got there.  

We took a bus outside the station,   to where we could spot the well known  WATER JET - Jet d' Eau, that shoots itself to a great height of 140 metres.  It nearly shoots 500 litres of water upward  in one second.  After ogling at it from a distance for a while , we explored the surroundings. We walked around the entire area

geneva and morges

including the garden, where the giant flower clock lay.  We relaxed here for a while, before we took the toy train around the city  from nearby.  This train stopped at the closest proximity to the Water Jet.  We walked up to the Jet and enjoyed getting sprayed with water for a while.  We then continued the toy train tour for a bit. We walked around the city centre exploring shops and restaurants.  We then took a bus to the United Nations BUILDING. One kind handsome gentleman in the bus, guided us on the stop for this particular place.  There was apparently some road works due to which the routes mentioned on Google had changed.  He instructed us clearly as to where to get off exactly and take another bus that would reach us right in front of the said building.  ​

We spotted the building at a distance with plenty of flags , of all member countries displayed outside it.   In the vast Garden, flooded with pink coloured trees, stood the MIGHTY WOODEN CHAIR with one of it's legs broken. The International Disabled Persons' Federation initiated its installation in front of this important building in 1997, as an appeal to citizens to pay attention to the harm being caused by the landmines, during war, affecting all civilians. Today it has turned a tourist spot. We noticed a crowd of tourists standing under the broken leg to click their pictures, just as they would against the leaning tower of PISA.  We also had our turn 

After a bit of wandering, we set off to catch our next train to Morges.  The tulip festival in Morges takes place every year during the worldwide tulip season of April - May.  We had seen the tulips in KASHMIR during the same months, the previous year.  We were threfore just curious to see what this one had in store. The festival houses all types of tulips in the Independence Park, situated behind the MORGES CASTLE.   We got off the train and walked our way to get to the venue. The walk lasted about 20 minutes and we witnessed the pleasant  Morges

town in the bargain.   There was a mini fun-fair in the town centre.  The children couldn't help taking a ride in the merry go round and grabbing an ice cream along with some cotton candy.   After this welcome break, we continued our walk.   At a distance, we could see people parking their vehicles in the parking lot.  The Castle looked  so  gorgeous.  It seemed bustling with energy, with visitors moving around and inspecting the various varieties of colourful tulips.   Suddenly the town seemed more populous than ever.  I could not get myself to compare it with the tulip show held in Kashmir the previous year.  This feel was totally different, from the one in the home country. This one seemed more structured, but the quantity of flowers around were no less than that in Kashmir.  Flowers seemed to be planted at quite a distance to each other, but were welcoming.  After all, it didn't matter where and how they were sown.  We were discussing as to how it would be to see the world famous KEUKENHOF gardens ( in The Netherlands) in just around the same time of the year.  It was indeed a colourful evening.  Once we explored the entire garden and lay around in the grass a bit,  we walked to a nearby bus stop and got ourselves ferried to the train station.   It was then a train to Lausanne, through Bern, to finally reach our home in Interlake-West.   Super experience.  The day was fruitful.

Day 9: Interlaken Ost - Brienz Cruise -Geissbach Falls - Ballenberg Museum - Interlaken West

Our trip was coming to an end.  It was the last day of this wonderful tour.  Nevertheless, we were more energetic than ever.  The first half of the day was spent on a  cruise over the Magnificent river Brienz.  This river lies to the east of Interlaken and is a little smaller than Lake Thun.  

We , as usual, took a train from Interlaken- West to Ost station.  The pier of at Interlaken- Ost is less than a 5 minute walk from the station. It was a perfectly bright day.

Brienz river cruise

We had the option of getting off here and taking the next boat to Brienz see station, so we opted for that.  A little behind the station, at a 2 minute walking distance lay a funicular station.  We got a ride up the funicular to reach the GEISSBACH Falls. It took less than 5 minutes to get to the top.  The station up there was clean and flooded with flowers inside cemented pots.  There were walks meant to reach beautiful views.  A little walk further up, we found a huge hotel.  There were many visitors hiking up the walking trails from here.  We took a full "horse shoe "walk further up the mountain and suddenly admidst thick trees could hear the water gushing and flowing.    There was a short bridge to cross, from where we could get face to face with the water fall.  It was at quite a distance from us, but still spewed water on us.  It 

The exact weather one would prefer on this amazing journey.  The boat was waiting at the pier.  It seemed to have a capacity enough to carry 200 passengers at a time.  We produced our Swiss pass and boarded the boat.  It was more than a boat.  The closed  interiors of the boat show cased the best of wooden polished furniture.  It had a hip restaurant in there.  People could grab snacks and coffee/hot or cold drinks here.  The entire journey lasted 75 minutes.  The turquoise green waters were soothing to the eyes.  We sat on the benches laid out on the deck for a while and then walked around the boat, shooting those mesmerising sights.  The beautiful villages at the river bank, unfolded slowly in front of our eyes.   There were more than one during the entire journey.  The boat made a halt at Geissbach.

Geissbach falls

Just outside the Pier was a bus to the BALLENBERG museum.  We reached the museum from the pier in less than half an hour.   This museum is known for its stunning scenery and runs on acres and acres of land.  The entire area is split into 4 regions,  to depict the best of the north, south, east and west  of Switzerland.  Each area is set up according to the cultures and traditions that existed in those  respective regions during ancient times.   Even the types of houses and farms that existed earlier.   This gave the entire history of the country, in fact its a short summary of entire Switzerland,  and what the people of each of these zones did for a living, back in those days.

was wonderful to stand there and feel sprinkles of water on ourselves.  After a while, we walked back to the station and took the funicular downward.  By the next boat, we got to Briez see pier after another peaceful drift on the huge green river.

We walked from place to place quite a bit.  One of the huts housed the baking of bread by traditional method, which was interesting to watch.  There were display of silks and other types of clothes , which were hand spun during those days.   There were small huts and houses built in irregular intervals, that had a collection of large number of things ranging from objects used in their day to day living,  to how they offered their prayers.  We also got to see the house of a priest where all the things he had used, is maintained still. We stopped for lunch on one such path, on our way to exploring the land.

Ballenberg Museum

 It had  long benches on either sides and a table that fitted all of us comfortably.  We stopped there for our lunch.  It gave us a feeling of having had lunch inside a peaceful forest, surrounded by tall trees and nature. Once we were done, we completed another two regions.  We witnessed a game of hand-fight between the strong,  in the centre of the museum area.  There were people crowding, applauding and jeering.  It was like a typical village event.  Once we were done, we returned to the entrance and rode  the bus to Brienz railway station taking a train back to Interlaken.   We shopped around Interlaken that evening, before bidding a final farewell to this beautiful country.

Day 10: Interlaken - Zurich - Bangalore (return flight)

After the wonderful 10 days, it was difficult to leave this wonderland.  We wound up  and left the keys of the house in the instructed place and took a train to Bern and  further to  Zurich airport.  Boarding our airplane with a heavy heart,  but with abundant memories for the rest of our lives, we flew back home.

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