Swiss Hike – Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg

Switzerland was the third and the last leg of our summer euro tour. After roaming around two cities (Amsterdam and Prague), we had decided a bit of countryside will be good for us.

Lake Brienz, Interlaken

Lake Brienz, Interlaken

We flew to Zurich and took the train to Interlaken. We were told that purchasing swiss rail ticket/pass online in advance is better and so we did. It proved very useful as we hurried to catch the train from the airport. Purchasing the ticket/pass at the airport would have just meant whiling away time unnecessarily.

We chose to make Interlaken our base and visit the places/villages around it. Turned out, Interlaken was a perfect location. As the name suggest, it is situated between two lakes (Brienz and Thun) and surrounded by hills all around. We had rented a cozy studio through airbnb giving us the option of preparing light meals at home as eating out can leave a big hole in your pocket.

One of these days, we decided to go for a hike. Not a strenuous one but one of those nice leisurely kinds. We choose the one from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. To get there from Interlaken OST, you need to catch the train towards Lauterbrunnen and get down there and then a train towards Kliene Scheidegg and get down at Wengen. From Wengen, we took a cable car ride to Mannlichen to start our hike. The train rides will be covered in the swiss pass but you need to pay extra for the cable car.

Mannlichen, Switzerland

Mannlichen, Switzerland

Even as we got out at Wengen train station, we could already see the partly snow covered alps. It was nice and pretty here and we couldn’t resist clicking some photos. As we got out of the cable car at Mannlichen, the weather transformed into cool and breezy and the four peaks of the region, including the highest one called Jungfrau visible at close hand. A short distance away we could see several cows lazing around or grazing. The ringing of ubiquitous swiss bells hanging from their necks wafted in the wind. Envison a place surrounded by high peaks, partly snow covered, cool breeze, part sunny, part cloudy, cows and bells, a little restaurant, hikers, bikers and paragliders. The whole thing captivated our senses and after a while of gazing around and taking in the fresh alpine air, we went trigger happy once again.

Cows and Bells, Mannlichen Switzerland

Cows and Bells, Mannlichen Switzerland

We stopped at the restaurant to have some swiss rosti. Having food and drink in that divine setting was simply priceless! Satiated, we set out on our hike to Kleine Scheidegg. It is a 5.5km walk which should normally take about an hour to complete. It took us a little longer as we took a couple of pit stops to admire the place. The walk is easy and perfect for families with young children and you get enjoy great views throughout the hike.

Start of the hike, Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg

Start of the hike, Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg

Somewhere along the hike

Somewhere along the hike

From Kleine Scheidegg, we again took the train to get back. From KS to Grindlewald though, we had to buy tickets as we were informed the journey wasn’t covered in the pass. From GW to Interlaken, we used the pass as usual.

While the hike itself isn’t so tiring, the whole escapade did leave us spent and we slept like babies that night. It’s something we thoroughly enjoyed and I recommend it strongly.

Well, that’s it for now peeps. Wishing you the best of travel adventures!

PS: More swiss adventures coming soon

Views along Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg hike

Views along Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg hike

Ngong Ping Cable Car Ride and Hike to Dragon’s Back

As I was saying in my previous post, Hong Kong lets you enjoy city life but at the same time it also has places to get away from the chaos of a metropolis and retreat into nature. Only a short distance from the main Hong Kong Island, you can escape to hills, valleys or the beautiful blue sea or both at the same time.

One of the days on our recent visit to HK, we took the MTR to get to Lantau Island. From there, we got onto the cable car to get to Ngong Ping Village and Big Buddha on top of a hill. The cable car was amazing actually. It is one of the longest and the highest cable car rides I’ve ever been on. The authorities say it’s totally safe but when I was riding on it, seeing the valley floor underneath, I couldn’t help wonder about what happens if the cable breaks. A cable car is hanging from just this one cable, right? What happens if something goes wrong? What’s the rescue mechanism for such incidents I had wondered.

This is where the cable ride starts from and goes to those hills

This is where the cable ride starts from and goes to those hills

Anyway, we rode both ways enjoying the views without anything untoward happening. The ride is made up of three ascents and as we went up the third one, the clouds closed in and it felt like we were the only ones amongst the clouds in the middle of nowhere. It was beautiful but also kind of eerie.

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I must warn you though that it can be very crowded if you go on a public holiday or weekend as it will be swarmed by tourists from mainland China. Choose a weekday to go ideally. If it isn’t possible for some reason, then try to go early in the morning. Advance online tickets will be good so that you only have to queue to get inside the car. We had to queue twice – first to purchase the tickets and then to get onto the ride and then to get back down as well. It was a really long and painful wait and we had almost quit on the idea of going up there. Miraculously, we kept going and did manage to enjoy the ride.

On the way to dragon's back

On the way to dragon’s back

The other outdoor activity I quite enjoyed was the hike to Dragon’s Back hill top. To get there, we took the MTR to Shau Kei Wan station and from there Bus no. 9 to Tei Wan on Shek O Road. This is where the hike starts from. Initially, as we started to climb the steps and the inclined path, we were sweating through all our pores. I had to actually stop to catch a breath very early on along the trail. But as we gained some height, we started to catch glimpses of these beautiful views. We took a quick rest at one of these viewing points. The short rest and seeing fellow hikers gaining ground boosted me to continue up the trail.

A view on the way to dragon's back

A view on the way to dragon’s back

 

Luckily, it wasn’t too hot that day and we had a slight cloud cover – just enough to not block the view but keep the sun away. After a while as I kept going, the body adjusted to the rhythm and we finally reached the top. It was a good feeling and a teeny-tiny sense of achievement at that point. I wouldn’t call the hike very challenging but it was still good to know that I was fit enough to do this kind of a trail without any training. I’m the type who doesn’t even exercise regularly so yes it was a happy realization!

View from Dragon's back

View from Dragon’s back

So these two good experiences along with city stuff and our holiday was complete!

Such activities are something that I do miss in Singapore. SG is great but once in a while you do miss getting away from the city over the weekend.

Trip to Wayanad: Part II

Day 3: The last and final day we planned to visit the Meen Mutty waterfalls. Meenmutty is located 29 km from Kalpetta. It is a three-tiered waterfall with a height of 300 metres. It is the largest and most spectacular waterfall in the Wayanad District. It needs is a 2 km hike though the jungle from the main Ooty Road. It is Kerala’s second largest waterfall and the one most unspoiled in its natural setting. Each of its three tiers requires a separate hike through a moist, deciduous forest. The path is quiet dangerous and tiresome but, the waterfalls is worth it. We set out towards the start on foot where a guide from the forest department was to join us. Walking through the tea and coffee plantations was pleasant. It wasn’t raining and it was a beautiful morning. The guide joined us and we began the descent into the depth of the valley through the jungle. The path grew narrower and narrower till there was no path left to tread on. It was just rocks, edges and ropes. I had no idea, this was such a treacherous path.
I was reluctant to go on initially. But, then again the same thing happened, the excitement got to me and I decided to give in all I had on this final escapade of ours. We were climbing down and down into the valley and now I was having a great time. After a while we could hear the sound of water flowing. Came across a small waterfall, crossed through the fall and moved on. Now the sound of water grew louder, the more we descended the louder it grew. A point came … we got a glimpse of the falls but, we had to move further … we moved … the frenzy got to us and then … there were the falls … raging and furious. It was awesome!! The whole trek seemed worth it. The Sun came out and formed a beautiful rainbow at the falls. What I call … Nature at its best. Now we had to get back to where we had started. This was a climb up the hill. Certainly not my favorite part of an adventure! We started back once again. I huffed and puffed and huffed and puffed and managed to reached back on top … another victorious moment … another sense of achievement that comes through stretching to the limit.
Now, we settled back in our traveler and headed back to Bangalore. A great trip indeed!! Cheers to us!!

Behold the rainbow @ Meen Mutty


Trip to Wayanad: Part I

On way down the Chembra Peak

Late on Wednesday night suddenly my cell phone rang. Now who could be calling at this time?? Well it was my colleague Arpita. She asked me if I would like to join her and seven other people for trip to Wayanad. I gave it a thought and said … hey why not …

Wayanad is a beautiful little district in North East Kerala. It is apprx. 300 km from Bangalore, takes around 6 hours to get there by road. The place is mostly inhabited by tribals whose numbers are now dwindling. We set out for the trip at 12:00 am on Thursday. The guys had booked a Tempo Traveller and the journey was fun.

Day 1: After quickly changing and a not so good lunch we set out towards Edakkal Caves. This location is three kilometers from Ambalavayal which is 25 kms from Kalpetta. We walked till the entrance of the caves and then after awaiting our turn, entered through the caves through a small opening (approx 5X4 feet). Inside we walked between the huge rocks and the damp floors. The cave has two levels and we climbed on the second level at the end of which was a big chamber with carvings by the tribals of Wayanad. These carvings have interested several historians and archaeologists to study Kerala’s history and tribes. The climb up and down was tricky as the path was narrow and the floor damp with all the rain. This actually made it all the more interesting. Exhausted from the journey and Edakkal we retreated to our hotel for a good rest.

Day 2: The next day we were to trek to Chembra Peak. It is the highest hill in Wayanad, located near Meppady town. After Edakkal I wasn’t very sure I could do the trek. But, as we got ready and travelled to the starting point the enthusiasm got to me and I grew only too excited to go for it. As we were about to set out the rain god lashed at us. For those who had wind sheeters things weren’t too bad but for the boys with only an umbrella to shield them, things dint look very inviting. I was well protected in a T-shirt and jeans folded upto the knees, windsheeter and a cap. We started off. Things were good till we reached the foot of the mountain. From here began the ascent, the real trek, with the threat of leeches and snakes to go with it. The climb was taking a toll on me initially, the steep climb was bearing down on me and I was like … what have I got into. But, after certain while something happened I dunno how but I just got into the groove and kept goin and actually began to enjoy this activity. We reached midway and then the wind caught us unawares. It was blowing like crazy on the mountain with nothing to break it. But, there at the top we witnessed the most awesome sight, the Heart Lake on the mountain. We stood at the side of the lake but the rain showed us no mercy. Our guide advised not to go any further as it was risky with the rain water flowing down the slope. Everyone was freezing, I was too … but strangely…I dint mind. I was euphoric!! I was enjoying every bit of it!!
Now we began our descent. I was going pretty slowly at first. Then it so happened that I started following Mitesh and Belli. I realized that climbing down the hill came more easily to me. We climbed down a while with me concentrating on each step I took. I slipped here and there but, kept goin. We reached a point and I took a moment and gazed at the beautiful view around me. The lush green valley, the breathtaking mountains, the blue sky, the breeze blowing through my hair and the waterfalls in the distance (the rain had abated somewhat). It was awesome!! We kept going and going and going and finally … we were where we started. It was a moment of victory for me and I was like … boy I have some stamina. The three of us then walked to a small waterfall and waited for the others to join us. By the time everyone had changed and settled in the traveler my legs had gone weird and I had trouble moving and walking. I felt like my knees joints had rusted: p. We had a good meal after this (we needed it) and called it a day.

Related Posts:
Trip to Wayanad: Part II