I am leaving for Switzerland exactly after two years. Yes, you can enter Switzerland if you are fully vaccinated with Covishield. In front of me is the beautiful town of Engelberg, its entire area corresponds to my vision. Next to me is my daughter Akanksha, completely amazed. We came to taste the end of the Swiss summer.
After a night’s rest and a dinner of local Swiss produce at Kempinski Palace, we are all ready to take a gondola up to Mount Titlis the next morning to enjoy the snow and the panoramic mountain views – a popular part of this country that we are eager to discover.
Walking over there is a marveling silence. The passionately lush scenery blew us both away and the weather and views are just perfect. It’s lunchtime and we’re hungry. Entrance to the restaurant is only allowed if you are in possession of your vaccination certificate and an identity document.
As I stuff my fork and knife into the delicious Rosti, I listen intently to Tobias from Titlis Cableways explain how each gondola has a country’s flag printed on it, making it an interesting learning activity for kids. The atmosphere at the lunch table is cheerful, but it is soon time to go.
Zermatt and the Matterhorn glacier paradise
We bought a Swiss pass for the duration of our stay, which gives us unlimited access to trains, trams, buses and even museums. Our next stop is Zermatt. I read a book about enchanted and fascinating fairy lands and the next minute a blindingly beautiful town straight out of the book is in front of me.
There is a splash of color to my left where rows of houses are painted green, blue, yellow; in front of me is the main square where outdoor cafes and Swiss flags add more color. I feel like stopping here for a week maybe, exploring the city on foot, taking short hikes in the mountains that form the backdrop, but I’m also hungry to explore the other regions from Switzerland.
So, I chose to do the must see here. We go up the gondola via Furi and Trockener Steg to the Klein Matterhorn. The journey takes about 30 minutes. I bite into a Toblerone (this sweet, nutty and delicious chocolate is inspired by the look of the Matterhorn) and struggling snaps as we drive through hills of unbeatable beauty.
Beautiful, stunning, charismatic, each word is too small, too imperfect for this backdrop; I need new words to describe my surroundings. The beauty of the Matterhorn completely filled me with enthusiasm. Here we dive into the magical palace of the glaciers 15 meters below the surface and also enjoy the panorama from the observation platform: a breathtaking view of the Italian, French and Swiss alpine giants at an altitude of 3,883 m.
Lucerne & Pilate
Lucerne is, or should be, a major tourist attraction; it is a pretty lakeside town and has a charming center with quaint trams and small shops. We spend two nights here. One of these days we head to Kriens to climb a series of two panoramic gondolas and a cable car to reach the top of Mount Pilatus. We stop at Fräkmüntegg, the second station, a popular place for adventure seekers and do the whole adventure of rope climbing.
The next stop is at Mount Pilatus Kulm where we enjoy the sun, wine and Rosti for lunch. There is a lot to do here – paragliding and of course trekking and hiking are almost made for this country; in winter, it’s the charm of skiing and snowshoeing. Or simply soak up the charm of a snowy landscape.
A truly luxurious stay that I will not forget is my signature suite at the Four Seasons. In the evening, after a massage at the hotel spa, head to the two Michelin star restaurant Domaine de Châteauvieux which is much more than an unmissable gourmet restaurant and a reference address for lovers of gastronomy. Here, the experience is sensory, where seasonal products are king. By working the ingredients as closely as possible to their nature, their structure and their consistency, the dishes reveal their aromas, flavors and originality.
You can’t come to Geneva without learning about watchmaking. The next morning, we are at Initium, which offers full involvement in the bewitching world of motorized timepieces. Its desire is to unveil the enigmas of watchmaking, an inherited talent which, over the centuries, has become equivalent to an entire region, a whole country.
The lessons of philosophy and the exercises of a master watchmaker help us to unravel the secrets of a mechanical movement. Screwdriver and tweezers in hand, we feel the incomparable buzz of seeing the beating heart of the watch we assemble come to life.
That evening we embark on an absolute journey through the ages. As we step back in time in a warm and relaxed setting and take our taste buds on an expedition to discover the joys of Swiss cuisine, we taste local specialties such as our old-fashioned “Zurich-style” sliced veal. the grilled Swiss sausage and the two cheese fondue (Vacherin and Gruyère) accompanied by a delicious plate of Swiss charcuterie.
It was difficult to leave this breathtaking place. An RT-PCR test in Zurich before our flight home is what a journey into the new normal looks like.
RT-PCR Test: Please check with your airline to see if an RT-PCR test report is required to board the flight. Vaccination: You can enter Switzerland if you are fully vaccinated with Covishield and this has happened 15 days after the second dose. Remember to bring your vaccination record and your passport to enter a restaurant in Switzerland.
Forms and process
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Transport in Switzerland
For a comfortable trip through Switzerland, purchase a unique all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass that allows you unlimited travel by train, bus and boat. This includes public transport to over 90 towns and villages, mountain tours to Rigi, Stanserhorn and Stoos and free entry to over 500 museums in Switzerland.
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Posted on: Sunday, October 17, 2021, 7:00 a.m. IST