Snowy Switzerland – One of Your Childhood Dreams
TRUBSEE & MT TITLIS
For once, I’m not lamenting the final leg of my trip because I know I’ve saved the best for last. My day begins with an afternoon at Trubsee, a frozen lake at the foot of Mount Titlis. I’ve signed up for snowX park‘s My First Snow Xperience, which, pesky details (the sledding) aside, is mostly true for me. What I’m really excited about is doing laps on the snowmobile on winding, white trails. I wish my city commute was anything like this. The roads are excellent, traffic is minimal and there’s tonnes of parking available.
This is also where I will get my first taste of skiing, and find out that I am a terrible skier. Ski rental is included here; perfect for those who aren’t ready to commit to the sport. I spend most of my time falling over backwards, yelping loudly and crying tears of laughter and embarrassment. My cohorts, on the other hand, are naturals, gaining enough confidence in an hour to decide to sign up for further training. I’ve decided that apres-ski, the socialising that occurs after a session in the snow, is more my speed — and it’s as much a part of the culture as the skiing itself.
The package includes a short walk through Iglu-Dorf, the nearby igloo village, where patrons are welcome to stick around for a drink. It’s essentially an igloo hotel with a bar and restaurant that’s constructed each year when the temperature and snow reach optimum levels. For lunch, traipse up to Berghotel Trubsee, a rustic self-service restaurant with a sunny deck for beer and bratwurst before taking the cableway up to the glacier.
Mt Titlis is what brings most people to the region in the first place. I’ve taken several cable-car rides on this trip, but the Rotair gently spins and offers a spectacular 360° view as I reach the summit. The Ice Flyer, a ski lift at the top, is another favourite. As lovely as all the gondola rides have been, swooping over the mountain, heart in mouth and legs dangling, is far more thrilling.
I’m gasping at the rock faces and deep crevasses, but even more so at the incredible technique of the tiny skiers zigzagging beneath me, some on marked trails, others off-piste.
A round trip later, I summon the nerve for the Cliff Walk, the highest situated suspension bridge in Europe (8.30am — 5pm; free). It’s rattling wildly and the drop below is considerable, but the views of the humbling mountain range are a worthy distraction.
Get into the swing of it, so to speak, then follow the path at the end and you can walk through a glacier cave with glittering blue ice walls (8.30am — 5pm; free). It feels almost like a nightclub, except the colour inside the glacier is caused by the refraction of light. I’m ejected at a serendipitous spot — a Movenpick ice-cream bar, where two creamy scoops are my day’s reward. I learn that each month, on the Saturday closest to the full moon, a candlelight dinner is held on Titlis.
And so, a few hours later, I’m headed back up. On the menu is just one thing — fondue Chinoise, sliced meats and freshly-cut vegetables of your choice, which you must cook in a steaming broth on the table. The night is so wonderfully clear that I can’t resist layering up and stepping out into the snow again. I can spot not just the glimmering lights of the village below, but of Lucerne and a rich too. I lookup often in the city, but realize I haven’t truly star-gazed before. I’m at 10,000ft, and, above me are a hundred visible constellations. The moon dramatically highlights every cliff and curve as we make our descent, and my mind floods with recall. Switzerland in the winter has been nothing short of delightful, filled with tremendous beauty and packed with adventure. This time tomorrow, I’ll be back in my own bed. When the moon disappears behind a peak, it all goes dark. A voice breaks the silence and perfectly encapsulates my thoughts: “It’s like somebody turned the light off.”