Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy
While cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
It was truly a sublime experience to trek through the mountain ranges of Switzerland. Initially at the Swiss National Park and then onto the Hasliberg region. Founded in 1914, Swiss National Park is the first national park in Europe and the only one in Switzerland. There are multiple trails to explore the unequalled Alpine scenery. Hiking through its mystical landscape of pine forests, majestic mountains and labyrinthine deep ravines was a wonderful experience. We stayed for a few days at the century old mountain inn, Hotel Park Naziunal at Il Fuorn in a charming room furnished entirely with pine wood. After a day trip to the medieval town of Ardez, we headed to the Hasliberg region. We stayed at the family run Hotel Gletscherblick which means beautiful view and true to its name; it offers panoramic views of the Wetterhorn cluster of mountains and the Pitztal Glacier. It is a corner of Switzerland untouched by tourism.
We took a series of ski lifts from Reuti onto the highest point in the mountain, the Alpen Tower. Entranced by the serenade of the bells of cows in the valley, we got down at Bidmi and took the hiking trail. The Alpine Tower was truly mesmerizing. It offered stunning 360°panoramic vista sweeps over the Bernese Oberland and the High Alps of Central Switzerland. The peaks were clothed in silvery clouds which seem to caress them, with snow snuggling in its folds. Mist floated over and covered the mountains and valleys spreading out for miles around me. Before me were colors a thousand rainbows could not duplicate…
Before heading back to Basel, we couldn’t resist visiting Meiringen. Arthur Conan Doyle chose the Reichenbach falls (the highest falls in Switzerland!) here as the setting for the death of his character Sherlock Holmes. The detective met his archenemy Professor Moriarty on a ledge above the falls; the two became locked in a titanic hand-to-hand struggle before both tumbled over the precipice, presumably to their deaths. This neat device was Conan Doyle’s way to free himself of the burden of constantly churning out pulpy detective stories and was intended to give himself the freedom to write more elevated literature instead. But he didn’t reckon with public opinion. The outcry against the death of such a popular character as Holmes was so great that in 1903 Conan Doyle was forced to give in to the pressure of his fan mail. He resurrected the legendary character by claiming that Holmes had managed to grab a tuft of grass during the fall into the “dreadful cauldron” and so lived to solve another mystery!
In The Final Problem (1891), Conan Doyle wrote of Reichenbach:
“It is, indeed, a fearful place. The torrent, swollen by the melting snow, plunges into a tremendous abyss, from which the spray rolls up like the smoke from a burning house. The shaft into which the river hurls itself is an immense chasm, lined by glistening coal-black rock, and narrowing into a creaming, boiling pit of incalculable depth, which brims over and shoots the stream onward over its jagged lip.”
The Reinchenbach falls lives upto this description! It was a steep ride in a funicular, a cable car which ascends up the incline counterbalancing the descending car! The sight of the majestic waterfall was truly enthralling despite the rain.
It was a memorable sojourn thanks to immaculate planning by our dear friends Mitchell and Giselle….
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