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Switzerland: Snow White & Seven Amazing Days

Christmas cheer overtakes Switzerland
Photographer: JYOTHY KARAT

That Switzerland is good only in summer is a notion that’s as full of holes as Swiss cheese. It’s truly also a winter wonderland, with sleigh rides, ice-skating and copious amounts of glühwein to make you feel part of a fairytale, if only for a week…

Photographs: JYOTHY KARAT

You want me to go to Switzerland… till your smile is frozen on your lips, in the winter?” I asked my editor somewhat skeptically. Being a true-blue Bombay girl, the slight nip in the air that our tropical ‘winter’ brings is just about all I can handle; I’d been hoping for an assignment to warmer climes. Ideally a place steeped in history and culture, with plenty of museums and art galleries to mosey through, something beyond just mountains and natural beauty. Most importantly, I wasn’t overly enthused at the thought of Switzerland, a place that seemed as ‘beaten path’ as it gets! Still, being the intrepid traveller that I like to think I am, I suck it up and boldly go where all Indians have gone before. Only to be quickly disabused of all my ill-founded notions.

For one, visiting Switzerland at this time makes sense for more than just off-season airfares and a lowered probability of bumping into your neighbour. Brightly-lit Christmas markets resounding with the laughter of children and good cheer, ice-skating and sledding across a frozen lake thawing out with a hot cup of spiced wine… all these are the little joys that come out to play only during the winter, transforming a cold country into one of the warmest places you can visit.

Secondly, Switzerland has so much more to excite a traveller than just the snow-capped mountains and rolling green meadows that Yash Raj Films has, movie after movie, taught us to expect. Switzerland is a popular tourist destination not just for Indians, but with Europeans as well, with hosts of them descending on the Swiss Alps for some of the best skiing to be found on the Continent. Their idea of a vacation is completely different from ours – packed with adventure sports, leisurely sojourns at the spa, and après-ski drinks and parties, as I experience in St Moritz. Even the more conventional options of Lucerne and Mt Titlis have something unique that set my trip apart – a walk through the ‘art gallery’ that is Old Lucerne, a tour of the Engelberg Monastery with a priest, an igloo stay in the shadow of Mt Titlis…

Kanika visited St Moritz, Lucerne, Engelberg & Mt Titlis. Get yourself the whole story in LPMI’s October 2015 issue. Pick up a copy from your newsstand or click to subscribe via Zinio or Magzter.