“Romancing the Alps
Gorgeous bays, lakes and creeks
Surrounded by snow-capped peaks
And adorned by sunlight streaks
This is where the soul speaks
A million different shades abound
A blissful sight is all around
As if our Planet has been crowned
By Europe’s pretty playground
Switzerland’s beauty so enchants
It gently leads one to a trance
While in the heart God implants
A seed of lifelong romance
If you wish to feel that splendour
And taste that awesome flavour
Then go, experience, and savour
The beauty of the Alps forever”
— Manoj Khatri
I just returned from a trip to Switzerland and like millions of other tourists before, I have been thoroughly charmed by its enchanting beauty.
Long considered the most beautiful country in the world, Switzerland, the Alpine country, and the Playground of Europe, has inspired many a poet and philosopher.
Poetic disposition or not, the effect of Switzerland’s awe-inspiring grandeur affects everyone. After all, we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and not the other way around. And, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Each man is capable of using the natural world to achieve spiritual understanding.”
Even as I was landing at Zurich airport, the view from the aircraft windowpane was beautifully breathtaking. Though I had known that Switzerland is the world’s most beautiful country, I was not prepared to encounter perfection. From the moment I stepped on Swiss soil till the time I left its shores, I was, quite simply, spellbound.
By the time my stay ended, I pondered over and over again: how can a country be so exquisitely perfect? One thing’s sure – God, on His part, has been extraordinarily kind to this country made up of an endless string of magnificent mountains and lovely lakes, with a splendid canvas of green trees and pure white snow.
Switzerland’s scenic beauty has been written about countless times. Most of us have seen Switzerland in innumerable Hollywood and Indian movies too. So, you know it is a beautiful country.
What most people don’t know is how calming a visit to this country can be on your nerves. Living in Switzerland is too beautiful to describe in one short article – it would be unfair. So, I am not even attempting that. What I wish to share with you, though, is my experience of spending 10 enchanting days in what I call the “Garden of the World.”
Let’s first start travelling within Switzerland, which incidentally is as important a part of touring in this lovely country – just as the exquisite destinations themselves are.
Thanks to hi-tech German engineering, travelling within Switzerland is itself an experience worth savouring. A rare combination of comfort, convenience and speed, the Swiss railways, public transport [trams and buses], cruises, and cable car rides, are among the best in the world. Swiss precision is, perhaps, why the country has been nicknamed, “Timekeeper to the World.” Like in most Western countries, the transport system is technologically-advanced.
But, it’s not just the engineering that marvels and amazes us. To pick one example: like when I entered the train headed to Rhine Falls. The colourful interiors of the coaches left me mesmerised. As the train started its journey, the dual effect of beauty inside the train and the outside — the vast lands of manicured greenery – soothed my heart and soul.
One of the first things I observed was the traffic culture of the country. In Basel, Lucerne, Zurich or Lugano, people have an almost intrinsic sense of driving. For one, nobody honks. I mean nobody! All through my stay, I didn’t hear a single car yelling on its way – and, to think of it, I spent most of my waking hours travelling. For another, lane discipline is not enforced. It’s part of the people’s consciousness. It stems from healthy self-respect, I reckon. It’s like if you want to be treated well, you ought to treat others well too. So, everyone respects one another.
In almost all interactions I had with them, I found the Swiss folk courteous and friendly. One may expect that being such a rich country, the locals may have a condescending attitude towards foreigners, especially non-Europeans. But, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Wherever I went, I found it very easy to get along with the Swiss. Even when language was a hurdle, the general attitude was helpful and co-operative. From ticket checking staff and shop attendants to counter clerks, everyone served with a smile, creating a peaceful environment wherever I went.
This also got me thinking what it was that made this country so serene and Godlike. I guess, the answer lies in human nature. Result: when everything is so perfectly synchronised, our mind, body and soul, get aligned and serenity ensues.
Unless you are going on a package tour, buy the Swiss Pass, during your stay in the country. It is extremely cost-effective and convenient as it lets you travel in trains, buses, trams and most cable cars and cruises free of charge.
Continue reading in Swiss Bliss.
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