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Ich liebe Dich Switzerland

My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry

SWITZERLAND | Friday, 28 January 2011 | Views [804] | Scholarship Entry

Whisked away from the mayhem of Zurich airport and set on Höheweg Strasse in the charming town of Interlaken and the vast panorama of the Swiss Alps. The ghostly, white, jagged peaks evoke magical dreams and stir powerful emotions within as your senses heighten.
Interlaken is set in the lower basin surrounded by the Jungfrau (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Eiger and Mönch Mountains which includes Grindelwald, Schilthorn – Piz Gloria and Kleine Scheidegg, all part of the Bernese Oberland and about an hour’s tram ride from Bern. Nestled between lakes Thun and Brienz, (named accordingly “Inter” between and “Laken” lakes) it is notorious for being somewhat touristy for its close proximity to major ski slopes and lodges, but this was not the case.
Narrow side streets, secret courtyards, clandestine gardens, local pubs, mystifying churches and hidden passageways were just some of the secrets of this city. Meandering lazily through the town I happened upon a lovely tea room, finally deciding on a warm cup of green tea infusion with a tasty gingerbread cookie. Completely forgetting about my cappuccino, I took my first, real deep breath in almost a year, sipped on my green tea concoction and sunk down so completely in my overstuffed, cushioned leather chair.
Switzerland boasts the richest, creamiest, most satisfying chocolate in the world and it should be mandatory to indulge. So I was on a mission for the best chocolate bars, crepes and fondue. In town was Backerei Biner Konditorei displaying the most amazing truffles, cakes, pies, crepes and miniature chocolate delights. Grand Restaurant Shuh on Höheweg was having their daily chocolate demonstration showcasing some of the finest chocolate in the world and the art of carving and creating these tiny masterpieces. A few Swiss were Toblerone, Moser-Roth, Milka, Schoko Bananen, Lait, Orangette and Neuchatel. Many choclatiers have relied upon industrial machines to produce the bulk of their products, but customarily these chocolates were handmade out of raw cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter and milk.
Cheese is another indulgence but did not initially originate in Switzerland as you may think. Merchants, dairymen, monks and farmers have perfected it throughout the centuries with specialized churning techniques and fresh ingredients. The first known mention of the Swiss origin of cheese was from a Roman who called it Caseus Helveticus “cheese of the Helvetians” which was a tribe living in Switzerland around that period. There are hundreds of cheeses now produced in Switzerland but nine of those are officially “Swiss” (Sbrinz, Emmentaler, Gruyere, Schabziger, Appenzeller, Raclette, Tete de Moine and Vacherin Fribourgeois).
Stumbling upon PositvEinfach Bar which translates to mean Positive Simple, I peaked in saw hot pink walls, worn wooden stools, tasty gnocchi and an endearing Hungarian bartender staring back at me. This was a great place to taste German beer (Hefeweizen, Bitburger, Edelweiss and Rugen Bräu), old stories, dancing and deep, heartwarming laughs.
Having made friends, lasting memories and experimenting with different types of food, chocolates, brews and liquors, my journey was over in this magical place.

Tags: #2011writing, travel writing scholarship 2011

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