We had 2 days gap between the Paris trip and this one. When we returned home, we started packing for this trip and restocked all of the ready-to-eat foods for this bigger trip.
Day 1 – 4 August 2022
We started from home at 9 a.m. for Germany. On the way, we saw a sign pop up on the car dashboard. A quick Google search told us that our tire had low pressure. So, we stopped at one of the petrol pumps on the way and filled the tyre with appropriate air pressure. The sign did not go away, so we got scared that one of the tires might have punctured. We stopped at another petrol pump when we crossed the border into Germany. The sign was still blinking. We later discovered that we needed to reset the alert after filling the tyre pressure.
After traveling for half the day, we reached Eltz Castle, which is a medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle between Koblenz and Trier, Germany. It is still owned by a branch of the same family (the Eltz family) that lived there in the 12th century, thirty-three generations ago. We had to hike down 1 km through the forest to get to the castle. The castle is hidden in the forest and looks breathtaking. We have not been inside the castle because it was way too busy with a long line. A shuttle service was available, which we used to return to the parking lot.
We then stayed in a town in Germany which was close to the border of Switzerland. The place was a huge upgrade from where we lived in Paris.
Day 2 – 5 August 2022
We left for Switzerland early morning after having breakfast. We had planned to visit a few places before going to our hotel for the trip.
Our 1st stop was Rhine Falls, which is a waterfall located in Switzerland and the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The falls are located on the High Rhine on the border between the cantons of Schaffhausen and Zürich. Over a width of 150 metres and a height of 23 metres, an average of 700,000 litres of water cascade over the rocks every second. The Rhine Falls were formed in the last ice age, approximately 14,000 to 17,000 years ago, by erosion-resistant rocks narrowing the riverbed. The first glacial advances created today’s landforms approximately 500,000 years ago. The Rhine falls are quite impressive to see. There are plenty of good spots to observe the Rhine Falls along the river. There are many boat options available to go to the middle of the falls and even to climb the rock in the middle of the fall. We took the pink boat trip to see Rhinefalls which had an audioguide that tells the historical story about Rhinefalls in many languages. The weather was so hot that we got confused for some time if we were really in Switzerland or in Germany.
We then traveled to Lucerne, the most populous city in central Switzerland and a nexus of economics, transportation, culture, and media in the region. The official language of Lucerne is German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect, Lucerne German. We walked around the old city to visit a few landmarks.
We walked to the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), which is a covered wooden footbridge spanning the river Reuss diagonally in the city of Lucerne in central Switzerland. Named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel, the bridge is unique in containing a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with a larger part of the centuries-old bridge in a 1993 fire. It is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge. It was adorned with beautiful paintings and flowers.
We then went to Musegg Wall which is the old city walls. The Musegg Wall and the nine Musegg Towers formed part of the town’s fortifications. The 800-metre-long wall, erected around 1400 following the Battle of Sempach, is considered one of the longest, best-preserved defensive walls in Switzerland. Schirmer Tower is one of nine towers of the Musegg Wall in the city of Lucerne. It is located between the Zytturm and the Pulverturm. At the Schirmerturm, the gate of the same name leads out of the city into the countryside. Two windows on each side offer a panoramic view of the city of Lucerne, Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus. It is open to the public so we climbed the tower. The weather finally changed and it started raining.
We then proceeded to our apartment for the trip to Sumiswald. By the time we arrived, the weather was cold, just like we expected Switzerland to be. The weather was nice for the rest of the trip.
Day 3 – 6 August 2022
We woke up early the next morning and got ready as quickly as possible. The weather was supposed to be cloudy the whole week we were there. So we were very confused if we would be able to enjoy the view from the peaks. After much deliberation in the car, we finally decided to go for it as the weather seemed pleasant and might remain the same for at least half the day.
We went to Jungfrau, which is one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps, located between the northern canton of Bern and the southern canton of Valais, halfway between Interlaken and Fiesch. The construction of the Jungfrau Railway in the early 20th century, which connects Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch, the saddle between the Mönch and the Jungfrau, made the area one of the most-visited places in the Alps. The Jungfrau Railway, a rack railway, now goes to the Jungfraujoch railway station at 3,454 m (11,332 ft), providing easy access to the upper Aletsch Glacier and relatively short access to the Jungfrau itself. A large complex of tunnels and buildings has been constructed at the Jungfraujoch, referred to as the “Top of Europe”. There are several restaurants and bars, shops, multimedia exhibitions, a post office, and a research station with dedicated accommodation facilities. An elevator enables access to the top of the Sphinx and its observatory, at 3,571 m (11,716 ft), the highest viewing platform in the area. Outside, at the level of the Jungfraujoch, there is a ski school, and the “Ice Palace”, a collection of elaborate ice sculptures displayed inside the Aletsch Glacier. Another tunnel leads to the east side of the Sphinx, where one can walk on the glacier up to the Mönchsjoch Hut, the only hotel infrastructure in the area.
We returned back to the base station in Grindelwald and were discussing where to go next. We stopped by for a bathroom break at the station. Mummyji saw a grocery shop and decided to buy some vegetables for dinner. Rishi was shopping with her. Nupur had also gone to the washroom after me, so when I was done, I came back to check if they were still shopping in the grocery store or had moved on to some other shop. I saw that they were still busy shopping, so I informed Nupur, reapplied my lipstick, and went back to the shop. During my last washroom trip, Mummyji had somehow fallen and was bleeding from her lips. The shop staff were giving her first aid. Later, Rishi and Mummyji explained how it had happened. Rishi was carrying the shopping basket and had kept it on the floor while he was getting some mushrooms. Mummyji stepped back, her leg got stuck in the basket, and she fell face-forward. Apart from the lip cut, she had also hurt her knees. After this, we dropped all our plans and went back home to rest.
Nupur, Rishi, and I decided to take a walk around our rented apartment. Rishi randomly pointed to one side, saying it looked good, and we just proceeded to walk in that direction. We crossed a small stream on the way. We saw a cowshed where all the cows were numbered. After living in Europe for a while, it was my first time seeing cowdung on the roads. I had never seen a cow climb a mountain before, it was fascinating.
Day 4 – 7 August 2022
Since we had covered an important point the day before, we were a bit more relaxed. We got ready and left for the day.
Shikhar and Sree were also traveling to Switzerland at the same time. They had sat at a viewpoint near their hotel the day before. Rishi had asked for the location from them. And we decided to visit that viewpoint and relax a bit. We parked our car on the side, took out our blanket and snacks, and had a mini picnic on the spot. The view was amazing, as always, and since we were relaxing, we also played a little game of spot the point based on descriptions given by others.
We then proceeded to Blausee, which is a small lake in Switzerland, located in the Kander Valley above Kandergrund, at 887 meters above sea level. The lake is near the Kander River. The Blausee is located in a 20-hectare nature park. The water in the lake comes from underground sources and is therefore crystal clear. It was a lovely location, with turquoise-cold, crisp waters flowing off the mountains. There were a lot of different walking paths, and we could follow the route given on the map to discover them. We completed 2 different routes around the park. One was Forest View, which took us through a heavily tree-surrounded path where we also saw alpacas on the way. The alpacas came to anyone who pulled the branches for them to eat the leaves. The second was a canyon route where we had to go under rock cave-like structures. Both routes were quite enjoyable.