Of chocolates, cheese and alps…

Can there be anything more overwhelming than rich creamy truffles that melt in the mouth? Can there be anything more overwhelming than the sweet taste of white chocolate lingering on and on? Just when you think that the chocolate sensation has numbed you and the little delight has dwindled itself to its end in the mouth, then comes that ooze of a bit of Bailey’s or a bit of rum or a hazelnut that completely takes you over, a delightful little climax there. Chocolates have the power to make me go down on my knees, I succumb to its temptation, I succumb to its delight. I am blessed to be in the chocolate heart of the world, nestled in between white snowy alps, where a cup of hot chocolate from Confiserie Sprüngli on Bahnhofstrasse at Zurich is manna, a potent of delight , the rich cocoa aroma has me in a dizzy spell. Am I a chocolate addict? Do I have a fetish? It is yes all the way, affirmative, positive. The average Swiss eats twelve kilos a year! I love the Swiss more now. Lindt has it’ factory in Zurich, the smoke in the horizon that comes out of its chimneys lingers like heavenly wisps. This is one pollution that must be dismissed. Then of course there is plenty of cheese, enough to convert me into Jerry ( of Tom fame ) scrambling around for more of it. The emmentaler and the sprintz are the popular ones. I am not too fond of the cheese fondue, although they are the specialities and there are even fondue boat rides for fondue freaks. On the shopping front, this place is the best in the world for watches. It is home to Tissot, Swatch, Rolex, Tag, Longines and a whole heap more.

The travel to the alps is splendidly scenic. It takes around two hours from Zurich to reach the centre of Switzerland, to the base of Mt Titlus. The countryside is filled with undulating snowy plains and the farmhouses are mostly made of wood. Every little village has its unique style in building its farmhouse. There is a town of Lucerne on the way where a carnival is underway. Merry revelers drink the local ale and participate in a colorful parade. Every family is dressed up in colorful costumes and they flock around the town centre. I am not sure about it’ origins but these town people look jolly and they need no excuse to drink.

The Alps, the snowy mountains and glaciers runs along the breadth of Switzerland. I visited Mt Titlis that is somewhere in the centre, where heaven meets earth, a painting of harmony and wonder, a sight to last a lifetime. Mt Titlis sits at 3020 mts above sea level. It takes three sets of different cable cars to take you to the very top. The last leg has a revolving cable car that provides ample photo opportunities from various angles. En route to the top non skiers like me can indulge in snow tubing and snow boarding that provides enough of an adrenalin rush. There are skiers who trail down the entire 3020 meters, a mini winter olympics session can be witnessed here. How they manage to hug the curves and stay clear of danger’s way, away from the infinite plunging drop is a wonder. One thing I have noticed everywhere is that the Chinese tourists are overpowering the Japs. The cackle of the Chinese in the high altitudes is a spoiler. It is best to get away from the excited lots who have a habit of screaming loud when they spot just about anything. It could even be a rabbit and they scream, a little shake in the cable car and they roar or they giggle irritatingly at some mundane thing. I am glad I experienced their enthusiasm only in two legs of the cable car journey to the peaks.

At the very top there is a glacier cave, an opportunity to actually touch the glacier formations over millions of years. Every circle in the ice represents a year of snow fall. Inside this cave where the entrance has been carved out by man, there is a juke box that plays popular national anthems from six countries. I was delighted to find our national anthem, I played it and to listen to the wonderful anthem in the solitude at 3020 mts, away from the Chinese tourists was bliss. The best part of the trip to the alps is a ride on the glacier flyer chair lift where one can sit in the open chair lift and go over the crevasses of the glaciers that run a few thousand feet below. The rush of the ice-cold wind on the face and the views around will remain embedded somewhere deep inside my cerebrum. The temperatures atop Mt Titlis was -11 degrees celsius and it must have been a lot colder on the flyer. This is the first time I have realized what an achievement it must have been for the late Sir Edmund Hillary when he climbed the 30,000 feet of the Everest without the luxury of cable cars. The views from the top remind me of how precious and perfect earth is, how wonderful nature is. How can man plunder this treasure? The glaciers are melting, they are not what they used to be 20 years back I am told. It would be a shame when they all disappear. When will we realize it all? A question that lingers and answers remain scarce.

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11 Responses to “Of chocolates, cheese and alps…”

  1. Good one, Sharmila.
    Been telling Sunil from ages that I wanna to Europe trip ESP Switzerland instead he just takes me to the Lindt store LOL. Post pics. Enjoy rest of ur trip.

  2. Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

    Chocolates!!!!!!!!I just love them like you do……Can’t resist seeing those above.

    The way you have described it takes me to the journey in DDLJ,one of my favorites.By the way,have you been able to see MNIK in the midst of all these heavenly pleasures??????

    • Salman – MNIK is one movie I am waiting to watch. Will do so sooon,!

      • Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

        You better watch it ASAP Sharmila ji(should have been saying it from the very beginning….Sorry….)

        I cried you know……..why???? coz I just saw MNIK…….its fabulous…….Shah Rukh has done better than ever before.Please see it at the earliest………The way it has cleared the misunderstandings about Islam is really interesting……..

        ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT……..

  3. Superb! Fantastic! Spellbinding! Stupendous! Exhilarating! Delightful! Delicious! I’m short of adjectives to describe this one. Sharmila, this definitely was your best post ever. I loved every bit of it. Great going girl.

  4. Dear Sharmila,I love visiting your blog.Did’nt had enough time to read all,but love chocolate and the beautiful scenic snow clad mountains.you are blessed,keep enjoying Switzerland.
    My love always…Saroj

  5. I love chocolate! Lovely write up!
    I see that I have a lot of catchin up to do!

    Keep blogging! Love, H

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