(Brief descriptions in italics accompany many pictures in this blogpost.
Many pictures! Impossible to adequately describe places in Switzerland in words!)
Shortwave radio listening was a hobby I pursued for a long time in the 80s and early 90s. Writing to radio stations and getting verifications for reports on broadcasts was a by-product of the hobby. One of the radio stations I used to listen was Swiss Radio International from
Whenever situations like road problems, pollution, politics, taxes and such things got under my skin and knowing full well that those are unavoidable things, I used to jokingly say “I would go to
That this innocuous sounding wish would become a reality (don't miss the picture as you scroll down) so soon still baffles me! The opportunity presented itself, I must say. Because I knew months before that many had already confirmed their travel and it was not even a dream with me.
A group was to travel to ‘heaven on earth’ to be part of a grand occasion to celebrate the 100th year which was organized by WTT-Global. One of the persons who had already sent the confirmation suggested, “why not you join”? I was among the last few before the 'door was closed', just before the deadline. “Vitamin F” also arranged itself, thanks to a “kind person”. Racing against time, necessary documents were arranged in great hurry and a few paraphernalia were added to the luggage that were required to bear the anticipated cold. Soon the D-day for travel had already arrived!!
We were soon flying in the pressurized metal tube to set foot on foreign soil, first in
I had chosen the window seat to take views of what came along. The winged tube cruised over endless mass of clouds that looked like a cotton bed for most part of the flight.
As it neared Europe, I assume, some lakes and a river I know not which presented some good bird's eyeview. Magnificent sights like these kept me awake all through.
An even more breathtaking aerial view of the Swiss Alps and green landscapes stunned me as the plane closed in on
There was a schedule for the tour already made available by our organizer who had painstakingly done all the hard ground work to make it smooth (it was). We landed in
We were taken from
After dinner at Hotel Kanchi, an Indian Restaurant in Luzern, we rested for the night in Hotel RotHaus. Got up to get ready for an exiting tour that began by visiting the ‘most photographed object in Switzerland’, the 14th century Wooden Chapel Bridge, which was a few minutes on foot, through lovely little lanes.
Next on schedule was the popular “Round Trip”. First by boat to Alpnachstad on Lake Luzern, then by the famous Cog Wheel Train up to Mount Pilatus and from there to Kriens by Panorama Gondolas that gave us breathtaking views of the Alps. At Kriens, the bus with our entire luggage was waiting to take us to
Fantastic "postcard scenes" on Lake Luzern while on the boat for nearly 90 minutes!
This is the Cog Wheel Train that took us up to Mount Pilatus.
On Mount Pilatus, one part of the 'five fingered" Lake Luzern is seen.
Hotel Splendid - The Corner Window above "T" in "Hotel" was our room. I liked that Omega Clock that I kept in the corner.... corner of this picture I took that morning!
I saw house sparrows here in Interlaken, happily flying about.
The entire group had dinner with the Grand Master at Hotel Oberland.
Next day, by bus we went to Grindelwald/Grund to go to “the Top of
Looking at snow and feeling it with hand (with woolen-gloved hand), leave alone walking on it was a first time experience for many of us. Adults showed their real nature – that of a child and played like one! Trio of peaks presented us with lovely views, esp. the Eiger from Kleine Scheidegg.
Click here for some details about Jungfrau.
Tunnel at Eismeer.
At Eismeer we peeped through the rock-hewn windows of lovely glaciers and ice and the train halts for this. The train further took us up to Jungfraujoch.
We visited the
On the way back, we visited the unique Trümmelbach waterfalls.
Here is a picture of the 'Corkscrew falls'.Melted water from the trio of peaks gushes and roars through the mountain crevices and out into a stream. A tunnel lift takes visitors into the mountains to view the magnificent sights of water. We could not go to all the ten falls as evening time was running out. So a nice video of about four minutes has been linked here - run the cursor:
Some information on Trummelbach is here.
An adventure park was visited near Lauterbrunnen. From Mürren, just opposite, we saw paragliders jumping from high up, to the meadows and lawns below. Return to Hotel Splendid. We were to shift to the next location the next day, Engelberg. Before that, here are some unforgettable scenes from Interlaken:
Jungfrau is partly seen between the two mountains. This was a lovely park in which some of us spent some enjoyable moments, looking at the flowers and fountains.
Colourful alpine flora at Interlaken.
On the way to Engelberg, we halted by
Proceeded to Einsiedeln by bus where a beautiful Monastery (pictured above) was visited amid light drizzle.
We then proceeded to WTT-Global and met the Grand Master there in the most beautiful location in a very calm, silent and green environs. The place has a great spiritual aura around it for centuries and one can actully feel it! Before reaching Einsiedeln, we had visited the birthplace of Paracelsus at Egg.
The stone near the birthplace. Egg is a very beautifully calm village.
A journey of around 90 minutes brought us to our final place of stay, Engelberg. We were all put up in the century-old Hotel Terrace (built in 1903 and retaining its old charm), a most beautiful building on the gradient of a small hill. Like in Interlaken, here also I and my partner Mr.Babu, were lucky enough to get a room with its window giving the view of the Angel Hill and the Kloster Monastery at its base. The bell ringing from its tower reminded me of the calm days of erstwhile Mysore when our famous Clock Tower bell struck every hour and that was heard long distances. We visited the beautiful 14th century Monastery at the fag end of the stay.
To reach the hotel, we have to go through a small tunnel where two lifts would take us up.
Lounge at Hotel Terrace.
Engelberg is a most lovely village surrounded by hills. The name comes from ‘Angel’. Click here to know the legend behind it. We were to stay here for the next five days viewing this Angel Hill with its unique peak.
The platform inside this cable car rotates as it climbs to enable passengers to have an all round look.
Good weather and soft snow on Mount Titlis.
We had time to stroll around the streets of Engelberg, admiring the beauty and meticulous maintenance and wondering why our cities can’t emulate them! The streets, the pavements, storm water drains, dust bins, traffic, pedestrians, decoration of plants, fountains, name boards of shops…. Everything looks so admirably lovely and neat. They have a taste to present and there was not even a single thing that was ‘gaudy’! Look at a few pictures taken at Engelberg:
Artistically paved. Drain covers are also neat.
Notice the central drainage system and the drain-holes.
No traffic policemen needed! Also, people obey the signal lights, traffic signboards and line markings on the road, diligently. Indiscipline is looked at in awe and confusion!
Parking areas were demarcated with white lines on pavements without creating hindrance to pedestrians.
Look how artistically the collective dust bin is concealed!
Switzerland is a paradise to Nature lovers. Being one, colourful alpine flowers did not escape my eye. So many different varieties, considering that the full season was more than a month away! I managed to capture images where and when I came across on my short strolls.
It was time to focus ourselves on the seminar which was the real purpose of this tour.
Click on the links below:
It is said that the Swiss people take care of the cows so well that it is the real hidden reason why the country is so well progressed and peaceful. Swiss cows grazing in an enclosed area of the meadows.
On the left is the Sporting Complex where the Seminar gathering took place. Unlike we do here with banners, loud speakers, flags and lights to show off, there was nothing - it was so beautifully calm. As many as 500 participants from different countries attended. Curling Hall in that complex was our venue. "Curling" is a sport. My friend's blog provides a link to what it is.
The beautifully candle-lit altar in front of which the Grand Master is conducting prayers with his wife. A strategically placed mirror all along the back wall added much beauty to the altar.
The Fire Ritual being conducted.
Group picture of the gathering at the end of the programme. Enthralling and enriching.
It was time to return home. The Grand Master was there to bid farewell. He had also welcomed us when the group arrived at Zurich.
A couple of links to picture albums below - run the cursor to feel the links:
And we were soon back to our familiar world of confusions and chaos. (You just saw some pavements up there, did not you? Hope you notice this one too!). Yet, believe me, splendid, joyous memories of the trip kept lingering in dreams for as long as 10-12 nights during sleep. Such were the moments that filled the ten days. May be some hidden force was behind me to utter many times, that innocuous sounding wishful joke that was to turn to fruition, almost all by itself, I know not! "Namaskarams to Masters."