Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Crowning Jewels of Lake Thun, Switzerland

I have grown up in India, visiting grandparents every year in my summer vacations staying in small villages and towns of Himachal. Beautiful highlands cradling in the lap of breathtaking and picturesque Himalayan mountains. For us that was probably the only most beautiful place that existed in the chaotic material world. We used to often hear the more globally aware set of people compare our villages with Switzerland. We had also seen Bollywood movies being shot in beautiful Swiss locales. Probably not as a child but as i grew up i did have a strong affinity and pull towards Switzerland; one reason of course was being victimized by the charms of Indian movie actors wooing their lady love in Swiss(most obvious thoughts point towards DDLJ); and second, hailing from similar postcard towns in Himalayas, the Alps were dear to heart.
My first tryst with the Swiss Alps happened very recently in September 2014 when i got two lovely days to spend in a small village Wilderswil in between two scenic Lakes-Thun and Brienz. Dreamy and fresh, this place was a haven for a super stressed person like me.
Chocolate houses, abundant with spring flowers, narrow roads with a tinkle of cow bell at every corner, this was all a fairytale for me, and i could just stay here forever.
Wilderswil as I admired it from my hotel room’s window
Chocolate Houses and the spic and span streets of Wilderswil
Fairytale houses at Wilderswil. A walk around the village is blissful
After spending a lazy evening in Wilderswil and gorging on gastronomical delights of local haunts, we had complete next day to ourselves to explore the beautiful Interlaken.
Interlaken : Touristy delight with a large number of hotels, backpackers accommodations, busy streets with souvenir shops, buses all around. I felt Iam in Kulu Manali or downtown of Shimla. We did have an option to follow the touristy path of expedition to Jungfrau or one of the many hikes from Interlaken, however we decided to walk on the ‘road less traveled’ path and explore the villages around Lake Thun.
 
View of Lake Thun in the backdrop of Swiss Alps
 
The first village we visited on the shores of Lake Thun was Spiez. Few would know that Spiez has an age old Castle built in 933 AD by King Burgundy. Perched on a hill and surrounded by Vineyards, this low profile Castle has housed many high profile personalities which have gone down in the pages of history.
The Medieval Spiez Castle
 
View of Lake Thun and the Spiez Castle on the shores of the Lake

We hopped onto the train for our next destination. The beautiful city of Thun. Known for its shopping centers, restaurants, bustling with people all over and many like us, in search of the old castles, the sunny weather added an extra fizz to the whole atmosphere.
 
Town Center of Thun overlooking the river. Flanked by eateries and shops on both sides

After climbing around 50 steps from the City Center we reached the Thun Castle. This 12th century castle sits proudly on a hill and has some of the best preserved halls in Europe with a towering ceiling of 7mts high. Quite sad that it was under renovation, so we got a glimpse of a part of the facade.
 
Thun Castle
Thun is known to house another beautiful castle popularly called as The pearl of Lake Thun-Schadau Castle. An incomparable location with lush green gardens, this castle looked as if it has just popped out of a Harry Potter series or some other fairy tale book. I wish I could be a Snow White or a Rapunzel to be swept off my feet by my Prince Charming here.
 
Schadau Castle-The Pearl of Lake Thun
 
We were quite tired walking almost the whole city of Thun and our last Castle on the list was apparently in another town. While the knees went weak, our spirits were still longing to have more of this beautiful Lake.
We hopped onto a Bus from Thun to Oberhofen which was 30 min away. A quick beautiful drive and there we were standing right in front of a magnificient sight. The eight centuries magic, this was truly a romantic castle. With views of Jungfrau peak and Lake Thun, i guess i have to get married many times in my life to live these fairytale dreams of Swiss castles
Oberhofen Castle

 

Our day of exploring the historical Castles on Lake Thun was overwhelming. While on a lighter note I say we had an overdose of history, I never anticipated that such picturesque locales exist for real. The area around Lake Thun is heavily German and ‘Castle’ is called ‘Schloss‘ in German. So all sign boards directing you to these castles would read as ‘Schloss’. 
 
A board directing to Thun Castle. Schloss is the German word for Castle
As people say Swiss countryside looks like a painting or a postcard, i would say Yes they are true in their statements.
While the Alps are a must visit in Switzerland, for those who are looking to explore the real history, life of people and hidden gems of the virgin beauty of Swiss, be an explorer to have a real indelible Swiss experience in your life.
Probably my favourite pic from my Swiss Album. A place which touched my soul
** A note of stay options for readers : I stayed at Hotel Schonbuhl in Wilderswil. You can take a bus ticket from Schonbuhl to Interlaken West. I took a train from Interlaken to Spiez and then from Spiez to Thun and back the same route. There are buses as well on these routes. The train travel is a bit expensive and it costed me around 40 CHF for one person for a to and fro journey.
Interlaken is full of places to eat. However Swiss is wonderfully expensive 🙂 A decent meal of sanwiches or burgers with a drink will cost you on an average 10-12 CHF so do stuff your wallet pretty well before you start.
To sign off, let me tell you i adore the Swiss Franc notes. They are psychedelically designed and have lovely outstanding look. I still have retained around 20 Francs as souvenir **
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Fall in Love with the postcard town of Inverness, Scotland

What would you do if you have a summery evening at hand in Scottish Highlands? Iam sure the mere thought of it makes you want to push back your chair and soak in the romantic aura of beautiful countryside of Scotland as you would have visualized from movies, books and umpteen youtube videos.
I was fortunate to have an evening to myself in Inverness, far north of Scotland which cradles in the beauty of the sapphire blue waters of River Ness and a real picturesque view of  the churches, castle and old edifices along the river banks. Once cannot help falling in love at this dreamy, idyllic small Scottish wonder.
Captured few breathtaking views as i saw them thru my best camera, my eyes!

View of the city from the Bridge across River Ness. 

River Ness with its crystal clear blue waters. The row of trees flanking the sides gives it a thick guarded look while the castle overlooks the river on a hillock
The water of River Ness ripples and glistens with the reflection of the trees flanking its banks. Small eateries and pubs nestle in between gives this town a postcard look from every view point.
Inverness Castle which is not a Sherrif’s court is not open to public for viewing. What one can enjoy is its beautiful facade and the envious positioning of this structure on a gentle hill from where you can see some breathtaking scenery of the entire town and River Ness

Possibly the most photographed pub of Inverness. Right opposite to the Inverness Castle, this is always packed with lovely people savoring some Whiskies and food. The Castle Tavern is such a lovely cozy place, i can bet you wouldnt want to leave this quaint and warm Scottish pub.
And this one would probably be my favourite view from an equally wonderful viewpoint. Inverness town, the Bridge cutting it across River Ness as seen from the foothills of Inverness Castle. A real postcard breathtaking view, you cannot get enough of clicking these views even if you spend few hours or days.

If you are to visit Scotland, a visit to Inverness should be squeezed in. Its peaceful, small town look and feel with breathtaking scenery will certainly make you fall in love with it. It took me many days to come out of the inertia of the beauty of Inverness.

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