Switzerland is the perfect place to feel the winter season all year round because it snows there for almost all throughout the year. It’s simply a great place to chill out and chill down. The constant snow has contributed to the Alps, the European mountain range system, looking like a perfect ice cone. It’s actually mouthwatering to see. If there’s snow and mountains you just know there’s going to be outdoor winter sports, and ceasing to disappoint, Switzerland hosts many grand winter outdoor fun activities on the Swiss Alps. Besides the winter activities, the country offers a variety of attractions to cater to all people, including myself, such as cool buildings, delectable food, rich literary history, and many others.
Switzerland is home to several globally famous brands of the world’s two most loved delicious treats – chocolate and cheese. Immediately after setting foot on the Swiss land, I got pleasingly assaulted by a barrage of chocolate stores and factories. The stores and shops offer tours of their factories, showing how the chocolates are made. Such factories like the Schuh Chocolate Company, the oldest chocolatier; The Cailler Chocolate Co., named after the very first Swiss chocolate maker; and others like Lindt, Sprungli, and Nestle, offer a crash course on everything chocolate related, from the procedures, equipments and ingredients, to the history of Swiss chocolates. They even offer free tasting of all their products. Total nirvana!
The Swiss cheese is also a trademark of the country. The Le Gruyere cheese of Switzerland is one of the world’s finest cheese. Le Gruyere is best on fondues. It’s just divine. The other cheese I found were the L’Etivaz cheese that until now are still made manually on the whey. I also got to taste the Emmental cheese, a little hard type of cheese. Much like the chocolate companies, cheese makers also offer tours where you get to take part and witness the process of making cheese. Many, like Berner Alpkase, are still made manually.
Heidiland is a place in Switzerland home to the story of Heidi by Johanna Spyri. The plot of the story is centered in Heidiland which is in reality Maienfeld in Sitzerland. The story tells a tale of a young girl who lived with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. The story of Heidi is considered one of the best-selling and well revered books ever published. When I went to Maienfeld, I saw a hut or house that locals call the Heidi haus. It was so similar to the animated version’s depiction. The Japanese tourists I befriended along the tour really genuinely love the story of Heidi. It just goes to show how far the captivating charm of Heidi has reached over the years.
Saas Fee is a municipality of Visp in Switzerland. It is home to one of the world’s best winter sports location. Saas Fee is a very cozy-feeling town. Many barn type and chalet type traditional houses are still present and very well preserved there. I managed to visit Saas Fee by bus and had a difficult time choosing from the variety of ways to reach the ski area. You can travel by cable cars, gondolas, chair lifts, or the Metro Alphin Funicular, a cliff railway. I ultimately decided on the funicular. The ride is quite a steep climb. Upon reaching the ski area, I was awarded a magnificent view from the highest revolving restaurant. Some of the sports people were engaged in are skiing, snow shoe trekking, carving, canyon and ice climbing, paragliding, snowboarding, and tobogganing.
Sites and Sounds
One of the popular tourist attractions in Switzerland that I got to visit was the Chillon Castle, home to the duke of Savoy, now converted into a museum. I felt like royalty beautifully gliding along the magnificent courtyards, halls and rooms. Another must see tourist spot I had to visit was the Jet D’eau, a large fountain located in Geneva. Its size and beauty was really mesmerizing.
Photo by tahir on Flickr