I woke up to the bright yet cold sun rays dancing through the large window of my hotel room. It was 5.30 in the morning, and another 30 minutes for my alarm to go off. I have always had this difficulty with ‘stranger’ beds, doesn’t let me sleep in peace – trust issue eh? Deciding not to fall back asleep again, I decided to sit next to the window and gaze into the vast green outside. Had arrived at Zurich the previous evening, after a 10 hour bus ride from Paris. Though a long one, you actually don’t get that tired – might be because of the pleasant weather or might be because of the excited vagrant in you. In fact, I wandered and explored the nearby area in the evening, witnessed a beautiful sunset.
As I pondered about the previous day’s journey, the alarm went off, it was 6 AM. The bus would be here in two hours for ferrying to the days destination – Mount Titlis. Not to brag, but being a punctual person, I was at the breakfast hall by 7 and at the designated pick up point by 7.30! Utilizing the time window available, I decided to explore the area again, this time the direction I missed the previous evening.
Located slightly away from the main city, the place had calmness about it, pretty little cottages lining both sides of the street, their brightly colored windows and doors radiating joy and the small pots of colorful flowers handing from the window panes – a frame straight from some romantic movie!
The bus started on time and I took turns in switching from a window seat in the middle to the seat behind the driver.The route taken was through country side, pretty setting of cottages and farmlands, lush greenery and water bodies, mountains in the distant backdrop. Soon the bus was zigzagging through the uphill curves and the snow-capped mountains declared that we were approaching our destination. Roughly 2 hours into the ride we reached Titlis Mountain station. As I got down from the bus, was greeted by the 360 degree view of green hills and snow-capped mountains.
Once the tickets were booked, the 8-seater TITLIS Xpress cable car transported us all the way up from Engelberg to Stand station. You can hop on or off at Trübsee middle station. The TITLIS ROTAIR, world’s first revolving cable car then took us to the final leg of the ascent from Stand to the summit station at 3,020 metres above sea level. It revolves 360 degrees during the five-minute trip, treating you to idyllic panoramic views of steep rock faces, deep crevasses and distant snow-covered mountain peaks. The 30 mins and 3 stop travel time were spent in awe as I was in a different world all together. As you start your ascent from Engelberg, you are mesmerised by the farmlands below, the wooden houses, and the cattle grazing blissfully, not to forget the sound of cowbells echoing all around you…it is said that hearing the sound is considered lucky because that’s a happy cow grazing on the farms!
Once at the summit it is a whole new level of experience. The first thing that you are welcomed with is the life- sized cut out of Shahrukh and Kajol from the Bollywood blockbuster DDLJ. You can have a view of the long range of the snowcapped Alps from here.
The weather was perfect until we were at the top, few minutes later it started to rain. Click a few photographs and proceed through the snow towards the cliff walk for an adrenaline rush. Built at about 10000 ft above sea level, it is said to be the highest elevation suspension bridge in Europe. At the start of the bridge, you’ll find a flock of nervous faces, deciding if they should proceed upon the swaying structure. Ultimately it was only me and two others who ventured ahead. If you can shrug off the fear, it is a splendid view and ideal place for the perfect selfies. I wasn’t able to, so I decided to sit down for the snaps! On days when there is cloud and fog, the other end of the bridge is not visible which adds to the thrill! The exhilarating walk takes you to a flight of stairs which leads to the Glacier Cave – a tunnel in the mountain, with the walls covered in ice. The cave is lighted with a pale blue hue adding to the mesmerizing feel. The temperature inside remains frosty and the walkway a nit slippery due to the ice water, warm clothes and shoes with good grip are recommended. You would find shops for sale and rent of winter gear near the RotAir station.
The mountain top also offers a number of activities like skiing, Ice flyer, glacier walk and sledding. During summers, you could opt for hiking, and also go on a flower trail looking for the exotic flora of the Alpine landscape.
Back at the RotAir station, I was soon on the way towards Engelberg Cable car station. Nearing the base, we could see the tall pines and dense forest cover below. You also see the meadows with solitary farmhouses and herds of cows grazing around, sounds of their bells echoing. Once at the base, it was time for a quick tea and snacks. It was a surprise to find Indian food on the menus! This place is also a picturesque one – with rolling green meadow, a clean pristine stream, and beautiful wooden houses.
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