Thursday, May 18, 2006

Where dreams meet reality...

Picture vivid blue skies, snow capped peaks, cows with koo-bells, Kajol running into the arms of her beloved admidst yellow fields...wait wait wait, wasn't that scene supposed to be in the sarson ke khet in Punjab or were we only led to believe it was so? Whatever! But one of the reasons for the success of Yash Chopra's films (DDLJ, Darr, Chandni, etc) is the dreamlike beauty of the locations. Its what has made Switzerland a must-see destination for most Indian tourists who can afford to take a holiday abroad. And by the sheer number of desis that I saw there, it looks like a holiday abroad is quite common these days.

Anyway, back to where I skies, bluish green lakes and landscapes to kill, that's Switzerland, folks. It is THE beautiful place in the world and I was lucky to visit it twice in the same month. On my two short trips, I covered Zurich, Lucerne and Interlaken. Zurich and Lucern are similar to other European countries - pretty cobbled pathways, beautifully erected buildings, a river side with restaurants where unsuspecting tourists could be led to make a serious hole in their pockets and a main street with all the branded shops.

Interlaken, the city of Lakes is slightly different. It does have its share of shops and restaurants, but the real beauty lies in the surroundings. Interlaken and the nearby places could be explored by foot, bike or car and I was able to use two of those options. My first trip was by car with dear hubby driving and we discovered how enjoyable it was too just go wherever we liked (..the navigation system in the car was a big help!). On my second trip, I was with my older sis. It was her idea to rent bikes and explore. We traced the path alongside the river to the two main lakes that are on either sides of Interlaken - Lake Thun to the left and Lake Brienz to the right. Wherever we went, all we had to do is stop and take in the beauty around us, the hills, the cows, the greenery and the lakes. And I say it one more time at the risk of repeating myself (again!).
I can't wait to go back there again, but this time, I would like to stay for a longer time in one of the small pretty villages. A cottage by the river, and just the quiet hills around.

Some observations...
1) Swiss fondue, supposed to be a speciality, didn't impresss me at all. (May be I still need to develop a taste for Swiss cheese.)
2) There are more Watch and Jewellery shops than people in Switzerland.
3) Aishwarya Rai can be seen endorsing Longines in most shop windows.
4) SRK was conspicusous with his absence from the same windows (expected him to be flaunting his Tag Heuer) but Brad Pitt more than made up for his absence!!