Sampling local food is an important aspect of any travel journey especially when it comes to exploring local cultures. Food is that essential link that helps us understand the place we are in better and bond with the locals. However traveling as an Indian vegetarian can be quite challenging in many countries. But on my recent trip to Switzerland I got a chance to sample numerous local dishes that were vegetarian. As one of our guides explained to us, Switzerland was traditionally a country of farmers and hence they ate what they grew or made. Thus potatoes, milk and cheese were and still are an important part of their cuisine. Also geographical proximity to Germany, France and Italy have also lent their character and flavor to Swiss food. The resulting cuisine is a vegetarians delight with a beautiful combination of local produce, flavors and traditions.
And based on my own experiences, please find below 5 local Swiss dishes that should definitely be on the must try list for every vegetarian visiting this country –
Our last day in Switzerland was a wonderful surprise with the first snowfall of the season in Zermatt and its surrounding areas. We were leaving Zermatt for Zurich that day and experienced our first snowfall in Zermatt that morning. We then had a beautiful train ride back wherein we saw the entire landscape once again turning white, trees laden with snow and various moods of snow fall – from a gentle fall to heavy lashes. This train ride was also special as when we had arrived in Zermatt we had seen the same area as green (Read – A Scenic Alpine train journey to Zermatt) and its transformation, on the ride back, was like being lucky to be able to witness summer and winter in a single trip.
And sharing my pics of some of these stunning sights below –
1. Just in a matter of hours, we were transported into Snow Queen’s Snow kingdom with layers of snow covering everything in its sight.
Snow covered trees and ground
Our trip to Zermatt was filled with many firsts, but it kept the best first for the last.
Ever since we had reached Zermatt, Sonali and I had been hoping that it would snow. But out hosts told us that per their weather forecast the first snowfall for the season was expected to be in about 3 – 4 days after we left. This left us disappointed but since both of us had never seen an actual snowfall, we really hoped that we could see it at least once during our stay. And Zermatt gave it to us as its last present.
My first snowfall, Zermatt
To cap off a perfect day spent in Zermatt, we decided to end it with a trip to Gornergrat. Now Gornergrat or the Gorner Ridge, at a height of 3,089 m, is a rocky ridge of the Pennine Alps, overlooking the Gorner Glacier south of Zermatt. There is a train from Zermatt, run by Gornergrat Bahn, that is the highest open-air railway in Europe. This train ride is one of the most beautiful train journeys that I have made in Europe – with numerous bridges, tunnels, snow-covered trees, forests & meadows, small houses / hotels interspersed in between and of course the magnificent Alps.The panorama here is also considered to be one of the most beautiful and is almost like a close-up to the majestic Matterhorn, Monte Rosa Massif with the highest Swiss mountain (the Dufourspitze at 4,634 m above sea level), the second-largest glacier in the Alps, the Gornergletscher, as well as 29 peaks higher than 4000 m. Between the Gornergrat railway station (3,090 m) and the summit is also the Kulm Hotel (3,120 m) hosting the new astronomical facility – “Stellarium Gornergrat”
View of the Matterhorn from Gornergrat, near Zermatt
My trips to Europe have taught me that the best way to experience this beautiful landscape is to visit its small towns and villages and walk or hike through them. And during our trip to Zermatt we did just that. We walked and hiked through a small village of Furri and its surrounding landscape. And I am sharing some of these stunning sights via a photo essay below –
1. Our starting point of the walk / hike, the beautiful village of Furri. There was snow in parts around adding another dimension to the existing patches of green, yellow, brown and gold
The village of Furri and views around
Off late the concept of theme weddings has caught the fancy of Indians and I keep hearing of beach weddings, palace / fort weddings, destinations weddings etc etc. But during our visit to the Matterhorn Glacier Palace (Read – Journey into the Centre of a Glacier) we came across a unique venue for a wedding – the centre of the glacier.
Yes, you read it correct. The centre of the Matterhorn Glacier Palace has an ice hall to get married in and have some other unique elements required for a theme wedding –
The Ice Hall, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt
After spending half a day up at the Klein Matterhorn, we were all quite chilled (it was – 12 degrees there) to the bones and also felt the after effects of low air at that height. Hence we decided to finally move downwards and have some hot lunch. Tanya had already made reservations for all of us at Restaurant Furri in Furri; so we first took a ski lift and then a gondola and got off at the Furri station. From the station it was a quick walk to the Restaurant Furri.
Restaurant Furri, Furri