Fujiyama, Japan

Monday, 25 October 2010

Basel

Google Maps: Basel, Switzerland
Trip: Berlin > Grindelwald > Lucerne > Basel

The last two time I was in this city I was running around. The first one was when I ventured for Trination Point only to realize that I will miss my train if I don't rush. 

Tri Nation Point, Basel 


Lucerne

Google Maps: Lucerne, Switzerland
Trip: Berlin > Grindelwald > Lucerne > Basel

I fell for Lucerne the moment I came out of the railway station. How many cities boast of a lake right in the middle and a station adjacent to it? Even the port was across the street with ships waiting to take you for a grand tour of Swiss Alps - the most prominent being Mount Titlis.


Before everything I had to find a bed for night and I decided to go for the HI Hostel which is off the centre some 25 minutes walk away from station. Settling there, having a bath and an early dinner at 6.30 PM took me a couple of hours before I took up the walk back to the central area.


The next morning I started off at 10 for Lion Monument. It is a beautiful piece of carving on a vertical mountain wall. Close to the monument was the grand church of Hofkirche-Sakristei. Back from the church a road was going up and I decided to take it.


The further up I went the better I had the city view. It took me half an hour to reach the pinnacle but the perspiration was worth the view. The entire city settled besides the lake looked surreal.


I walked back and decided to take a train for Basel which I assumed would take me 4 hours to reach. It was then that I realized that I am in the middle of Switzerland and no city is more than 2 hours away.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Grindelwald

Google Maps: Grindelwald, Switzerland
Trip: Berlin > Grindelwald > Lucerne > Basel

A Harry Potter fan would expect something magical from a town that holds the name of Grindelwald. Hence when I was asked by a fellow passenger why I am going there I simply shrugged. I had to go.


A train from Interlaken took me to Grindelwald. The train route leads to the highest peak in Europe - Jungfrau. However the to-and-fro ticket to Jungfraujoch is too expensive at CHF 135 (INR 6000). A diversion on the same route will take you to Murren which is considered as a place of ethereal beauty during Swiss summers.


When I reached Grindelwald, the hilly town was covered with fog and small snow flakes were accompanying the rain drops. The youth hostel had closed for the season as were most of the other hostels. November onwards this area is close for about two months before opening up in the end of December for ski-lovers.


The surrounding sky high hills were mesmerizing - the most interesting part of the panorama were two peaks adjacent to each other overlooking the marketplace where I was standing. The Grindelwald village itself looked like coming directly from one of the JK Rowling's novels where wizards live.


There was a tourist information desk with an amusement centre near the station. Here for the first time in my life I saw a full length ice hockey field. Taking a walk around for a couple of hours I decided that I was there at the wrong time of year .


I took the train back to Interlaken at around 2 PM. From there I planned to go to Lucerne. The couple of hours were enough to leave a lasting impression about Grindelwald - definitely magical.