Walking along the footbridge delicately carved out of the rock inside the Aare Gorge, I found myself in a mystical wonderland.
A photo quickly uploaded onto social media of the mist meandering across the platform was met with august commentary: friends and followers wanted to know where I was as scenes from movies such as Lord of the Rings came to mind. ‘My Precious’ someone wrote, a crisp distinct contrast to the calm gushing flows of the river water passaging through.
Just earlier I had shared yet another photograph, this time while on Lake Lucerne with a sailboat nestled in-between the crevasse of the distant mountain ranges. It was of course coincidence and good fortune on my part to have found a day towards the end of summer without rainfall.
Were it not for the movement of the boat creating a stream of waves and the sound of a slight breeze, the deafening silence could have been replaced with a delusional mirage of the Von Trapp children skipping along the green luscious hills in the distance to the tune of Do Re Mi.
Such is the beauty of a memory that it evokes passions often comforting. Unexpected sights often leave an impression upon the mind, one such being a vision originating along the oldest surviving truss bridges (Chapel bridge (Kapellbrucke), in the world, which captured my attention twice.
On the inside within the triangulated trusses were selections of religious paintings. Destroyed by damage in 1993, but later restored, it felt as if each step was part of a spiritual journey leading towards the church after which the bridge was so-named. And to compliment, externally, baskets of flowers hung, providing a fresh esthetic appeal.
Later, like children living in a fairy tale we removed our shoes, tackling Handeck barefoot trail along which we picked blueberries. Designed to deliver a natural nature-inspired foot massage, we hurriedly collected our bounty as we made our way to a wooden planked suspension footbridge.
To calls and cries of Indi! (Indianna Jones) we dashed across to the other side ascending to Lake Gelmer via the world steepest funicular, Gelmerbahn funicular. Foolishly sitting towards the front I cried like a baby girl as the ground in front and beneath us simply vanished along the 106 degree incline.
The return journey was less dramatic. Perhaps I was calmed by the Swiss Army soldiers who accompanied us down, one of whom, to satisfy a cliché, showed us his Swiss Army knife. Or perhaps it was simply the beauty of the lake, whose serenity was broken only by the call for our scheduled return.
|More so that underneath an outdoor gazebo attached the Grand Hotel Giessbach overlooking the falls, a family of Arabs complete in Abayas and Thobes, were praying what must have been Asr, the afternoon prayer: asserting to me that faith is not something attached to a place, rather it is something which travels with you wherever you are.|
Either way, this whirlwind delivered breathtaking scenery after breathtaking scenery. Indeed as one of the gentleman accompanying me mockingly opined, he disliked the country for everywhere he looked he saw beauty; coming from a Canada, a country known for its stunning scenery, this was without doubt a compliment of exceptional merit.
No scene evoked as much commentary however as the one alongside the oldest cable operated funicular in Europe. Sadly, on account of the rain, we were unable to walk behind the Giessbach waterfalls, suffice to say that the views from in-front were jaw droopingly inspiring. More so that underneath an outdoor gazebo attached the Grand Hotel Giessbach overlooking the falls, a family of Arabs complete in Abayas and Thobes, were praying what must have been Asr, the afternoon prayer: asserting to me that faith is not something attached to a place, rather it is something which travels with you wherever you are.
Memories are made both with experiences and company. There was no shortage of the latter and certainly none of the former either. The most profound for me is centered on something that happened at an elevation of 3020 meters. Aside from the stunning views along Mount Titlis an opportunity presented itself, admittedly amongst the company of mostly children, but an opportunity none-the-less, that was, to go sledding!
Much to the dismay of our guides who were in literal disbelief that I had never been sledding before: once, twice, it became an addiction, I had to go a third time; and I did. Were it not for our busy schedule I would have stayed to making up for the 30+ lost years of sledding!
Still, there is a saying in Islam, paraphrased, that blessings and goodness come quickly to the host who looks after their guests; and we were all looked after very well indeed. For those who have yet to guess, the country visited, it is Switzerland, and the host, the Swiss Tourism Board. While the title of the tour was Land of Lakes, I’m more inclined to refer to it as the Land of Milk and Honey.
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