A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
I am a person who loves to travel and wholeheartedly believes that whenever I visit a new place I discover something new about myself which is hitherto unfamiliar. It excites me like little else when I discover something new about myself in an unfamiliar zone. My enthusiasm spirals up and an adrenalin rush takes place whenever I discover new places through travelling. It helps me feel better to know that I’ll be taking home something which I learned from the different places I’ve been to.
In the first week of October during the
week-long break I had from University I decided to visit my friend who is a student at ETH Zurich, and during my last day at Zurich a spur of the moment decision was taken to climb Mount Pilatus on foot, little did I know this was to be one of the best experiences which I have ever had. Living in far away India, I had always dreamed of the Swiss Alps and this was the moment when my dreams finally would come true.
I wouldn’t call Pilatus a challenge by any means, after all at a mere height of 7000 feet there are dime a dozen mountains which easily overwhelm it and once even Britain’s Queen Victoria managed to ride up here on horseback, but it does offer views of Lucerne valley and the lake that WILL take your breath away. The trek to the summit took us about 6 hours, we had the choice of taking the cable car but then doing that would have taken all the fun out of the climb and would have left us poorer of the indescribable feeling of having climbed a majestic mountain. I guess it would have left us feeling like sissies at the end of the day!
I was really impressed by how cleanly the mountain was maintained, I really wish such cleanliness standards would be maintained in my own country as well. Another thing which impressed me was the fitness standards of my fellow trekkers. I even saw half a dozen Septuagenarians who effortlessly mountain-biked their way to the summit of Pilatus as I was often left short of breath. Trekking through the pine forests and the beautiful mountain brooks was really an otherworldly experience. One of the real finds of this trek was an isolated spot on the way to the summit; we decided to call it the lonely tree spot. It was a wonderful experience just sitting there for like 20 minutes and soaking up the ethereal feeling associated with that spot.
At the end of 6 hours when we finally surprised ourselves and managed to reach the summit more than a sense of triumph the feeling which I had was that such a wonderful trek had to come to an abrupt end. Once at the top we had a hot chocolate , watched the alpine horn being played and even found some Bollywood hoardings which suggested that even at a place like this the Indian touch is always present thanks to the burgeoning marketing of Switzerland tourism in India. The feeling of having climbed such an amazing mountain on foot did take a couple of days to sink in though and will remain as something cherished!
Pilatus, Je t’aime!