Adventure, Europe, Switzerland
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Snow, Skiing and Wintry Dreams in Switzerland.

About this post: Planning a winter trip to Switzerland from India? In this Switzerland travel blog post, I write about my Switzerland winter travel experiences, including skiing in the Swiss Alps (and the ski school in Wengen), flying Swiss Airlines Business Class and Jungfrau Switzerland. Learning skiing in Switzerland was exhilarating – an experience I highly recommend for Switzerland winter travel!

I guess I was only one or two years old – a crying little toddler – when I must have first felt a yearning for Switzerland. My family was invited to Geneva for a wedding celebration, and I can’t blame my parents for not wanting to miss the opportunity to travel to what was an exotic part of the world in the late eighties. So they left me in the care of my aunt, and crossed the seas with my elder brother in tow.

As I grew up, I don’t think all those Bollywood flicks made me crave a trip to Switzerland as much as the stories my family related for several years after their return. The Swiss Alps are magical, they said. Swiss trains are the best in the world, they said. Switzerland is such an expensive country, they said.

Swiss Alps, Switzerland shivya nath, switzerland winter travel, grindelwald first

The majestic Swiss Alps. Photo: Siddhartha Joshi.

Growing up in a middle income family in small town India in the 90s, I brushed aside my secret dream of travelling to Switzerland someday. I locked it away in my mind and forgot all about it.

The years passed. My life turned around as a travel blogger and I travelled across the Alps from Germany to Slovenia.

Switzerland travel, Switzerland trip from India, swiss airlines

Ready for my Swiss adventure!

But it wasn’t until this winter that the dream to explore Switzerland resurfaced in me – when Swiss International Air lines (SWISS) reached out to me, asking if I would be interested in travelling on assignment to Switzerland, to try skiing for the first time in the Swiss Alps. HELL YES!

My first ski experience near Wengen

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Skiing for the first time… hell yeah! Photo: Deeran.

One of my goals in 2018 is to learn something new and different every month – and January became about fighting my fears to get on the ski slopes for the first time! I’ve heard about some scary first time skiing experiences, and felt my heart pounding by the time our train pulled into Kleine Scheidegg, where our ski school was located. Luckily, my instructor Isi was incredibly patient as I slowly learnt to keep my balance, control my speed and hang on to a rope to go up the slope. Once I got a hang of it, it was exhilarating to whizz down the (nursery) slope, splashing snow in the process, surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of the Swiss Alps.

I later learnt that most locals start learning to ski at the ages of two and three, and indeed saw mere toddlers ski proficiently on big, steep slopes! But hey, we can’t let our age or fear stop us.

Read: Advice for the Young and Penniless Who Want to Travel

Skiing switzerland, switzerland winter, switzerland travel blog

Fellow bloggers before our first ski experience. Photo: Deeran.

I highly recommend the ski school at Kleine Scheidegg. A 2 hour private ski lesson for 2 costs 190 CHF (INR 13,000).

Living in a fairytale house with a Swiss family

vegan B&B switzerland, swiss family B&B, switzerland shivya nath

Sunset before the snow storm!

At the end of the assignment, I decided to extend my stay and experience a bit of the Swiss countryside on my own. In my search for an authentic (yet vegan-friendly) experience, I landed up in the dreamy 80-year-old wooden home of a Swiss family, close to stunning hiking trails in the Swiss Alps yet only 1.5 hours by train from Zurich. As luck would have it, it rained and snowed with strong winds throughout my stay; I even got stuck in a snow blizzard while hiking!

But that didn’t take away from my experience… I loved watching snowflakes fly all around me from my wooden balcony, and more often, from the warmth of my cosy, traditional room. In the evenings, my host family’s toddlers would get on some makeshift boards and slide down the snow – skiiers and snowboarders in the making! And I feasted of some of the most delicious vegan food from their kitchen – including vegan rosti, carob brownies and almond cheese pizzas.

Read: Dreamy Airbnbs to Experience Europe Like a Local

Swiss vegan, vegan B&B switzerland, switzerland veganCarob (not chocolate!) brownies at my vegan Swiss B&B.

Sonnmatt Bergpension & Gesundheitszentrum is a family-run, vegan/vegetarian B&B on the Swiss countryside; rooms start at 63 CHF (INR 4,300) per night, meals are 10 CHF (INR 680) each.

Flying business class on SWISS

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Air show in the Swiss Alps!

Even though I only spent ten days in Switzerland, I felt like my journey began even earlier than I arrived – thanks to my SWISS flight. I felt my wanderlust surge as I peeped out from my window and saw the snow-covered Swiss Alps and Caucasus Mountains below us, from the comfort of my spacious business class seat with an in-built massager… and felt the same adrenalin later on in Wengen, as we watched an Air Show with a Swiss plane fly precariously close to the Alps.

Cruising at an altitude of 30,000 feet above earth, I got plenty of work done in my “up in the air” office, took a power nap on my full flat bed and resisted the temptation to indulge in Swiss chocolates and cheese – glad I had pre-ordered a vegan meal.

Read: First Time to Europe? 10 Travel Tips to Get You Started

swiss airlines, swiss airlines business class

My “office” 30,000 feet above earth, on SWISS.

I was lucky enough to get the coveted single seats on business class each way. They are reserved for Senator Club members, but open up 24 hours before the flight. I also loved that on the SWISS website, I could ask to be checked in automatically when the online check-in window opened and receive my boarding pass over email – saving myself the last minute scramble.

Jungfrau region: A romantic winter dream

grindelwald, swiss villages, swiss alps villages

The village of Grindelwald in the lap of the Alps.

Thanks to nearly 80 Bollywood movies shot across Switzerland, the alpine meadows, rolling valleys and imposing mountains of the Jungfrau region are hardly unfamiliar to us in India – though from what I’ve heard, they get pretty crowded in the summer. But in winter, these mountains wear a thick coat of white. Tiny Alpine villages with wooden houses are often shrouded by the morning mist. Even in several layers of warm clothes, the wind chill often numbed our faces, so we seeked the warmth of an old cafe and following our Swiss friends, the strange combination of vodka and herbal tea! With only a handful of other tourists, I felt like these mountains were ours to brave.

One chilly evening, I remember walking amid the stone graves of the charming cemetery at Lauterbrunnen – a small valley surrounded by high mountains – thinking that death is a lot like winter; scary from a distance, but perhaps beautiful when you get closer and embrace it.

Read: Could Dying be Beautiful? Fall Colors in New York City

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Walking through the ice tunnel at Jungfraujoch. Photo: Diana.

In the Jungfrau region, I most enjoyed the small village of Grindelwald, especially First, a gorgeous cliff walk. I’ve heard Murren is beautiful too, but that will have to wait till next time. 

Do you dream of visiting Switzerland some day?

Connect with me on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Google+ to follow my adventures live!

ALSO READ:

An Open Letter to Indian Parents: Let Your “Kids” Travel
6 Months, 6 Countries: Epic Memories in Central America
What the Village Folk of Kumaon Taught Me About Life

21 Comments

  1. Divya says

    What a lovely, detailed post. Good read while being stuck in traffic and dreaming of the Swiss Alps now!!

  2. Wow, what a wonderful experience! I’m with you — I’m so into learning new skills and trying scary things these days. I’m about to turn 31 and have never skied (despite growing up near decent slopes in the United States), but I’m planning a trip to Bulgaria (to a vegan-friendly ski resort!) to learn how next year. Thanks for the tip on the veg-friendly B&B; I’m short-listing it for any future trips to Switzerland. 🙂

    • Shivya Nath says

      That’s awesome Kelly! Cheers to trying new things that scare us 😉 A vegan-friendly ski resort in Bulgaria sounds so tempting. Happy travels!

  3. Awesome post Shivya. Thanks a lot for taking us around landscapes and terrains that we always dream of visiting. 🙂

  4. Mayurakshi says

    Shivya, you must go back in the early summers to witness the lush green and unimaginable beauty of the country. Suggest stay in lauterbrunnen to watch the narnia-like valley with several waterfalls in summers, or Murren or Grindelwald in the Jungfrau region. Definitely worth staying near Lucerne in either Weggis or Vitznau. Switzerland is breathtaking to say the least

  5. Oh sweetie can I just tell you how much I enjoy reading this post?! I enjoyed it. I read it and I felt like I was traveling with you. I’m so proud of you and all you did. I enjoyed the pictures especially about the food. I’ve missed you and your posts. I’ll have to come by and visit you more often. I’m going to look you on facebook so we can stay in touch. I have truly missed you. You are a treasure. I remember back to when I first started on wordpress and we became fellow bloggers. I always enjoyed your reading your blogs. It’s so good to see you again. Take care and have a great evening!

  6. What a lovely post Shivya.
    It makes the readers not only imagine of how Switzerland may have looked during winter but to a large extent experience it as well.
    Bravo!

  7. Aww! What a lovely post!

    Learning to ski in Switzerland is one of the best places that you could do so. I learnt to ski about 20 odd years ago (ahem), but it was in the Czech Republic! And even though I live in Germany, I only went to Switzerland for the first time, 2 years ago. It was worth the wait!

  8. I love the snow! It’s very hot sometimes here in my country and I want to experience the cold. Lol.

  9. Jeane says

    A very nice read. I was sipping coffee on my cosy couch and my friend forwarded this to me. We are travelling buddies, and guess where we are going next? LOL. We love your photos and have been talking about it all morning. Bookmarking for future reference.

  10. It seems that You had enjoyed a lot there in Switzerland. Great post and awesome pictures you hava attached in post.

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