Wednesday, November 24, 2004

My final weekend trip

There are so many things that I do because many others before me do it or because I know of a lot of people who have done it and talk about it in glowing terms. I do such things not because they evokes interest or curiosity in me but just to tell myself that "Yes! I have done it too." Going to Switzerland is one of those many things.
Well, one good thing about going to a place with such an attitude is that your expectations are usually rock bottom and you are seldom disappointed. Your mission is accomplished as soon as you set foot in the platform and no one really cares even if you just sat there behind a window pane and saw the city dress up in snow. So, given this as the premise to my weekend trip to Switzerland - I must admit, that it was way beyond my expectation.
So, just as most of them who go to Switzerland do - we reached interlaken first, a city that's close to Jungfrau mountains - the tallest point in europe which houses a railway station and a post office (I don't have the slightest idea who receives his mails there. anyways ...). If you haven't seen Interlaken don't worry - take about 5-6 bollywood movies, and pick out all scenic locations in which the songs have been shot. Voila! You even have the dark corner alley of interlaken before you. And understandably so! You come out of your hotel and hit the roads, and you see snow-clad mountains on either side. The air is fresh and the rain drops of last night glisten on the roads leaving the pine trees look like as if they are bearing pearls on them. The major attraction for most of the tourists however is the Jungfraujogh. It's about 10,000 feet above sea level which makes it the tallest point I have been to. On a lovely summer afternoon, if you are out at the sphinx view point on top of the jungfrau mountains, the view looks something like this. But as you might imagine, November 22nd is not exactly one of those sunny days of an year. So, if you are as adventurous as I am and would like to go out there and "check out the view" without one of those ugly-comedian-monkey-caps, you basically are standing on a sheet of ice, with a visibility of a couple of centimeters and a temperature of -27 degrees and you might come back with black lips, a flushed face and a skin that's had such a bad frostbite that it might bleed any second. Of course, all you wanted to do was to stand there for a couple of seconds and "feel the pulse". But our 40 year old south indian aunties holding handicams for the first time might entirely block the doorway, leave you dying in the cold and also blame you for obstructing their view.
Imagine the impact we, as indians, have made in that place. On top of the mountain there are 2 restaurants. One is a swiss restaurant serving a typical european cuisine. The other is a Bollywood indian restaurant - that's the name of the restaurant! Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed. Otherwise, I might have actually had an onion masala dosa on the tallest point of europe! Just as so many other things in life, it was not entirely about the place but the passage towards it that made the whole trip to the top memorable. And for someone from 4, thendral nagar in a distant corner of chennai to watch a whole mountain under inches of snow, and see landscapes seen only in the the most beautiful paintings and photographs come to life, though as still as they are in those works of art, is really special.
Sunday was sunny and we took the train to Lucerne - they advertise it as the panoramic trip (or something like that). Well worth every dime! Lucerne ... well it's a nice place and I have been told there are a lot of places around Lucerne that are worth a visit. Unfortunately for us, we had just 4 hours there. And hence we did something I had sworn I would never ever do after sleeping my way to glory in a tourist bus in Brussels - take up a "tour of the city". Don't get me wrong. The tour was extremely informative - it showed us the supreme court, the police stations, the mayor's house, the junior high school, the state university - I am sure these are extremely important landmarks for a tourist who's going to be in the city for 4 hours. And yeah, they even showed me a hotel which was once a prison and the prison cells have now been transformed into rooms - I am not really sure how the hotel guys feel about this. Imagine, "welcome to the hotel sir. you have been assigned cell number 47. here's your uniform!". The worst thing about the whole affair was that the descriptions were both in german and english and by the time the english translation arrives, you already are out of the street and so you actually don't know where the junior high school is in case you wanted to refresh your math!
Now, when I read what I have written above, it's amusing how cynical I am about something I actually enjoyed so much. I guess, I am just becoming an adult :) I remember telling my colleague the other day, that I am slowly becoming cynical about the little things in life - and that really scares me. Can't imagine sitting in a chair and passing judgements on everything I know or don't know about. I really wish I grow up to be like my dad, who can any day listen to anyone from 6 to 60, make his own decisions but never be judgemental and believe that good things happen because they are destined to.
I am tired now. I have to sleep. It was lovely talking to you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good narration. I saw your reply for the last blog. No need to try hard to convince on that...its your space. I am just a trespasser. So been there and done that? Reminds me of a small bit i thought about,

"O Gleeful thee..pity thy mankind
engulfed in pride of serendipity
when all we see here is an elfin of grace..."

1:15 AM  
Blogger Srinath said...

hey rat,

Thanks for adding post few snaps that you took in the alps...wud luv to see them..


12:01 PM  
Blogger Rathish said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Rathish said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Rathish said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Rathish said...

@Srinath - You can find most in Yahoo photos da. not a very emphatic collection. but there are some.

@Anonymous - You do sound quite strong for a trespasser. It's amusing, there are always wisecracks like you everywhere, understanding things "differently" and quoting lines and sharing opinions, when it's totally uncalled for. Anyways, do keep the feedback coming - makes my blog a nice read. Those were wonderful lines - remember hearing them somewhere before.

11:57 PM  

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