10 July, 2015
After arriving in Engelberg in the late afternoon, us Topdeckers had only limited time for a quick walk around the town before heading back to the ski lodge for dinner, so the next day was really our opportunity to immerse ourselves and check out exactly what the stunning Swiss Alps had on offer.
So Kate, my roommate, and I were up nice and early to join the rest of the group for a trip up the mountain – yes, very Lord of the Rings, if I do say so myself. It was an expedition, a journey – we were going on an adventure! Engelberg is basically situated in the middle of a mass of mountains, so from any viewpoint, you will find yourself encircled by towering and absolutely breathtakingly stunning masses of rock, rising regally and cloaked in the brightest shades of green. Despite the summer, they were all snow-capped, and for a suburban Sydney girl who hadn’t seen snow until 2015, they were definitely a remarkable sight.
After one of the yummiest brekkies we had on the trip (thank you very kindly, Ski Lodge Engelberg), we shrugged on our warm coats and trudged across the town, heading towards the grand Mount Titlis. And yes, let it be known that many puns were made that day.
We caught three separate modes of transport to reach the top of the mountain, all of which were varying forms of cable cars – one of which rotated! And that is how I managed to capture these:
On the way up, a few of us shared a carriage with a Swiss man who despite his limited English struck up a conversation. He was a hiker, going up the mountain for the day to complete one of the many treks, and explained that all cows living on the lower mountainside wear bells so that they don’t get lost – the bigger the bell, the more wealthy the owner of the cow. As we passed over the herds of cows below us, we could actually hear the bells – and geez, what a noise!
Once up the top, five of us girls grouped together and made straight for the hot chocolate. And let me tell you, when you are standing in the snow on top of a mountain and the sun is beating down but you are wearing a beanie and coat, there is nothing quite like a smooth Swiss hot chocolate.
The mountain top was absolutely gorgeous. We spent all morning up there, walking along the cliff-side walkways, down the snowy slopes (as we struggled not to slip onto our behinds), and – the best part, in my humble opinion – the glacier cave. Yes, that’s right folks – a GLACIER CAVE. Anyone who thinks that does not sound in the slightest freaking awesome, please leave. It was unbelievable! Please refer to the following image for evidence of the preceding statement:
On the way down the mountain, we decided to stop half way and row on Lake Trübsee. Yup, we got ourselves one of the provided rowboats and spent the best part of an hour trying to figure out how to prevent ourselves from rotating on the spot. But it was the most fun ever, and the most I had laughed in ages! To relax in the warm sun after the chill of the snow was a bizarre change of temperature and scenery, but I had a distinct need-to-pinch-myself moment: I was sitting in a boat, rowing across a lake in Switzerland with a group of beautiful girls I had known for a week, surrounded by imposing mountains which looked like something from a CGI film background and cows just chilling on the water’s edge.
To top off our awesome girls day, we stopped for crepes on the way back to the ski lodge and then grouped for pre-dinner drinks and chills on the lawn with the rest of the tour group. It was hard not to be content, reclining on the lawn surrounded by a group of legitimately wonderful and warm people, a cider in hand and the setting sun peeking through the snowy mountains standing as sentinels over the peaceful township.
Then the next morning, we were on the move once more, whisked away with the usual swiftness of bus tours, off to see another snapshot of another European country. As we left, I huddled against my window seat to stare, completely enraptured, at the scenery that was gradually slipping by. Winding through the lush snow-capped mountains, driving past quaint cottages and vast lakes reflecting the glaring sunlight, blasting Ed Sheeran and passively gaping in awe at the natural majesty we were casually passing through, I knew that I would be back. The Alps skyrocketed upwards on my “To Travel To” list. Switzerland, you have my heart! ❤