Zermatt – unending mountain romance

And then as we entered Zermatt our hearts pounded in happiness as we witnessed the mountains in the brochures walk out of the pages and stand in front of us, all tall and exquisite, coming to life all at once.

And then as we entered Zermatt our hearts pounded in happiness as we witnessed the mountains in the brochures walk out of the pages and stand in front of us, all tall and exquisite, coming to life all at once.

With the majestic Matterhorn shining in white and the hypnotic beauty of the village below, all our grievances, all our tiredness came to rest. Kids gluing their faces to the tall windows of the golden express, folks running through camera specifications to capture what were at an eyes distance and the silver heads blankly gazing at the tantalizing sight of snow taking natural forms in pure bliss, Zermatt was like walking into a real life fairy-tale.

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Located in the southern part of Switzerland, in the district of Visp, this German speaking village is nothing less than an alluring beauty to both mind and vision. Not a very commercial destination for tourists around the world (especially Indians), we were a family of four, and happened to visit this quintessential village on our way from Interlaken to Geneva. A two day stay in this beauty was all the rest we needed after all the thrill we experienced at Mt. Titlis and the Jungfrau Joch.

This car free village offers some of the best views of the high snow clad mountains of Switzerland right from the comfort of your bed. Just imagine waking up to fresh dew in the air, opening your eyes to shining white snow mountains and if your stars are shining in luck, then some fresh snowfall too. Offering non-stop mountain romance for all 365 days, this village has a population of less than 6000 inhabitants. Shops and boutiques shut at 5 pm and restaurants usually do not have more than three people working. The one thing I learnt from the people of Zermatt was to multitask. Hotels where the receptionist was also the chef and the house-lady, cafes where a man in his early forties was the owner and the gardener and the waiter and a lot more.

Zermatt lies under the exhilarating Matterhorn peak, which is where it gets its tag as a ski resort. Walking across the tiny bridges and into the narrow wavy lanes in this village, you will find some classy boutique stores and delicate cafes serving some of the best hot chocolate in the world. Also a paradise for stationary lovers (I am one, myself) Zermatt is filled with some insanely intricate stationary shops, offering some adorable range of paper crafts, books and journals.

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Image from : www.fuchs-zermatt.ch

My personal favorite experience in the village was my encounter with a local baker at a small German café. I was out there looking for a vegetarian cake to celebrate the eve of my parents 25th anniversary. I found myself running from café to café, bakery to bakery, just more saddened with failure to gather a vegetarian cake. One last bakery at the corner of Kirchstrasse street, had a kind old lady who cared enough to listen to my story and understood my absolute urge to find an egg less cake in the eleventh hour, offered to bake an egg less cake for my parents. I still cannot thank her enough for going out of her way to bake a cake for us. That was when I understood; people always want to help you, no matter where you go or who you are.

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Zermatt gave me a whole bunch of memory lanes, rich culture, interesting food and enchanting snow loaded mountains. As extraordinary as every other city in Switzerland gets, Zermatt is one of the closest to my hearts. Sure, there isn’t much to do in the village, but just the thought of zero pollution, zero vehicles, zero traffic, happy faces and a load full of snow, is like living in a world before the Pandora’s Box!

 

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MIND THE GAP!

“Please mind the gap between the train and the station. This is Hounslow Central. The next station is Hounslow East. This is the Piccadilly line service to Cockfosters.”

“Please mind the gap between the train and the station. This is Hounslow Central. The next station is Hounslow East. This is the Piccadilly line service to Cockfosters.”

It was 5 degrees, 8 pm and the month of December when I got off at Hounslow – dark and quite. I pushed off the underground carrying my suitcase and a backpack and took off to the street. I knew no body, saw barely any people, barely any shops and with google maps found a hotel and checked myself in for 2 nights. I was a student back then and was on budget travel. It was also the first time I was travelling alone to London. I have been here before, with a few friends, but this time it was different. I was more responsible, more self-aware, and more alert to my surroundings. As I entered Days Hotel, I saw a big noisy gang of old men with friendly smiles and liquor spread across their tables. It seemed like they were celebrating something. I didn’t ask. I walked up to my room – a comfortable king size bed with a coffee maker on the bed side. Placing my luggage on the holders, I walked to the wall length window and peeked outside just to find a huge bunch of young boys and girls (probably undergraduates) walking to the train station. I was sure they were all heading for a party at the M.O.S (had overheard a chap)! I cozied up into the warm bed on that cold night all by myself, started some music and crashed in no time.

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The next morning I knew where to go, I had the entire Underground map registered in my head (also some help with the google maps! Wink wink). I headed straight to my favorite spot throughout London just to enjoy one of the best hot-chocolates in the city – The Zen café- right under the London eye. I took the underground got off at Westminster. I have my stories of this particular venue. I had been to this same place over 5 times in the past 2 years and it still seemed to connect to me in a way no other place in London ever did. Yes, it’s ‘The-place-for-tourists-from-around-the-world’, but for me it was about the chirpy voices of kids I didn’t know, the wide eyes of the old men and women I adored, the patience of men and women queuing up on the ticket counter. For me it was about my favorite hot chocolate made by the French guy I crushed on with hazel eyes. For me it was life. Seizing the beauty of that cold day with my eyes, I started toward this striking hidden beauty called ‘the-little-Venice’ of London. Although this place is most lively during London’s summer months, I decided to give my eyes a treat of its winter’s beauty. I started my walk from Warwick Avenue to the little Venice, and although I wasn’t as delighted as I was looking at the pictures of the place online, it still remains at the back of the mind. The dry leaves of that winter morning, the cold moisture that layered in the air, the colorful boats and the small street side pubs and cafes was what the place was all about.

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Post ambling around the beauty of the little Venice, I walked to Camden town and took an underground to Oxford Street to indulge in some retail therapy. I am a little brand conscious which makes me forget all my problems and fall in love with the entire stretch of what oxford street is. One can find all sorts of brands here – premium, mid-range, local – this place has it all. By 7 I was exhausted, literally. My backpack filled with all-things-shopped, my shoulders started to drop but I just couldn’t end my day without a final ‘english’ feel. I walked 10 minutes past the street to ‘Newman arms’, a traditional family run pub for a quick drink-and-chips session. I met a beautiful man there, 30 something years, and that place was no longer about drinks or the food, it was about the story that man shared with me and the sudden connection you feel with the unknown.

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I wrapped my day with some takeaway food and traveled back to my hotel. I read this quote inside a book my neighbor in the underground was reading and I can connect the most to it – “Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

That was how I spent one day in the city that enthuses me to feel free. Many people I know say I exaggerate what London really is. I just say ‘You don’t see what I see; you don’t feel what I feel’!

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Intersecting souls

An intimacy, the world wouldn’t understand. An intimacy from which you can never recover. Intersecting souls is all about that!

Have you ever laid eyes on a total stranger and felt something? You have no idea about them, you don’t even know their name, but then, there is something that strikes a cord in your heart. There is something that moved you the second you laid eyes on them. Everything felt right. Everything felt in place. The curiosity burns wanting to know more, because there is something that attracted you so much to them, and you just want to define that ‘something’. I mean, How often does it happen that the strings of your heart, mind, body and soul strike a note all at the same time? 

You dare to make a daydream. What could be? Did you picture the scene in your mind’s eye and make them your’s just for the moment? This scribbling exists because of the moment, the if’s and the day dreams. “Is it just me?” She wondered. “Or does this happen to a lot of other people? You know, the feeling when a beautiful soul attracts you to them like gravity and blows your mind away?”

It happened to her that eventful evening. When she walked in the cafe for a quick coffee and happened to see this stranger. He had the limelight, was the center of attention and the whole place was cheering for him. But that’s not what she saw. To her he was a guy very much lost in a world he had painted for himself, where no body was allowed. Where existed just him and his music. For the rest of them he was a musician doing his job. For her he was a lost soul trying to find himself amidst the shiny lights, the loud air, the smoke. The crowd cheered and grooved every time he played, but her heart dropped with every expression that settled upon his face against every beat. She knew there was more to him than what he portrayed. She knew there was pain and struggle and beauty beyond the look in his eyes. She knew she wouldn’t get over this evening for a very very long time. She knew the face, the serene beauty of feeling lost and his tired soul is not something worth forgetting. He was a stranger and she knew their souls had traversed.

It’s not every day that two souls cross over in a way that changes your entire perception about irony. She was in that place at that moment feeling lost herself, when she knew she wasn’t alone. In a place breathing of people from around the world, she found someone to share her lost soul with. The perfect stranger was around the corner just as much waiting to be found.

It’s not every day that a striking stranger crosses your path and leaves a haze of intrigue in your mind that distorts your focus for the moment. We sometimes somehow encounter people, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly all at once, before a word has been spoken.

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No promises

 

I am not going to make promises and say I will love you forever. Because here’s the truth: forever doesn’t exist. For some, forever’s extend until death pulls them apart. For some others, forever’s last a few months. For the rest not even a night. ‘Forever’ is just the result of one’s perspective, holding a different definition for each.

So yeah, I am not going to promise you forever, because I will promise you a ‘Now’. You are here in this moment with me. Both of us know we are going to part ways, and also meet again, because the world is fucking small and I believe in destiny. I found a connection with you, which I found with no one else, and I am a traveler. I hop from one place to another and meet hundreds of people on the road. But I have never met another you. I know I cannot stay here for long, and I know parting ways will be harsh. But a promise I can’t keep will only make it harder and more painful. And trust me when I say this, we think we can handle the aftermath, but we do not have that kind of pain threshold. My heart has been scattered, cheated on, stamped upon and broken a lot. Not just by men, but by family and by friends even. I have been promised forever’s from a lot of people who now only exist in my past. I don’t want you to be one of them. I want you in my present and in every coming present. That’s how much I wish for you. I know I cannot have you for all day every day of my life and I have silently accepted the reality. But I do want you in all the moments I know I can. And I want to be there for you as your guiding soul in whatever way I can.

It is not something that can be explained. Surely not something everyone would even understand. And I know the world is going to laugh this belief, this perspective away, even cheap tag it. But who cares? I sure don’t. I know I crossed paths with you for a reason. I know I feel my soul connect with yours for a reason. I don’t have to explain that to the world.

Because the world is not going to understand when I say how at peace I am with you being in the same room. They are not going to accept how quite we can be and still manage to talk to each other without exchanging words. They are not going to believe how only I can see the pain hidden within your hoarse voice. It is me, who gets the unsaid words behind your songs. It is me, who sees a whole universe running behind those shut eyes. It is me, who holds your hand to hold you altogether. It is me, who shares your worries at 3 am and it is me who understands that the world is never going to be fair, but chooses to be there for you, because in you I found my soulmate.

So I am not going to promise you forever, because forever’s are fading and in a time when we aint guaranteed even a tomorrow, forever to me will last only in the present. I am here today, I am here now and I will be the one holding your hand and cheering for you in the crowd, because I know what lies beneath those shiny deep brown eyes and under the cuts on those fingers. And that’s why I promise you a Now.

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