When it became clear that I would spend a few weeks in and around Geneva in summer, I knew I would have to explore Switzerland beyond the cities - after all those Hindi movies have built up an image of incredibly scenic country for years. The easiest way seemed to take a scenic train ride - and the Golden Pass Express appeared like the logical choice, in terms of the route and time.
Staying in US for last few years, I was actually a bit sceptical of the freedom of exploration offered by a train ride - but it did not take long to realize that sheer futility of that. Almost each place the train passed through can constitute an entire vacation destination - and to cram it all in a day, the train does a wonderful job. It starts from the side of Lake Geneva in Montreux, slowly climbs up passing lush green valleys. And all of a sudden, almost from nowhere, snow covered mountains appear in sight. It stops for a while at Interlaken, where one can take a cable car up to the top of a little mountain and get even more stunning views of snow capped peaks. Switzerland is full of lakes, and they just keep passing by. There are tiny villages, dotted with little houses and tall churches. We stop briefly at a station, where the other side of the platform ends in the lake - where else you would see a train station which is also the lake access? The huge panoramic windows of the train is a photographers delight - but after a while I started getting a feel that it is impossible to capture the sheer magnitude of the unfolding panorama in little frames.
So the pictures barely tell the story, and I am afraid they do not do justice to the stunningly scenic vistas we passed through. But they are here anyway.
(The plan is to post the travelogues/photos by parts, not always chronologically though. So keep watching this space for frequent updates for a week or so.)