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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 139 | October 11, 2009|


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A Visit to Switzerland:
An Ever Enchanting Country

Waseef Hussain

IT is said that Switzerland is the most beautiful country in the world. Last April, my father decided that we would visit this breathtaking country in June. I was thrilled! I wondered how it would feel to visit Switzerland. My parents were equally excited about this. My summer vacation started after my O'Level Examination. The end of my examinations meant the beginning of a three-month long vacation. Our flight was on the 16th of June. The days passed by quite quickly and we were all set to hop into the plane.

Switzerland is a very small country situated in Western Europe. It is also a land-locked country. It is nearly a quarter of the size of Bangladesh. Yet it has four official languages, French, German, Italian and Romansh. The capital city is Bern. The population is less than eight million. Many UN headquarters are located in Switzerland but the county only joined the organization about seven years ago. These facts astonished me and made me hungry for knowledge-I was intrigued beyond means.

It was the 16th of June and our destination was Geneva. We were to reach it via Doha, Qatar. The journey was fine and we reached Doha in about five hours. After waiting for two hours there, we got on our plane that was supposed to take us to Geneva. I was extremely excited back then.

We landed at the Geneva Airport after six hours. Going to arguably the most beautiful place in the world is something everyone dreams about. We landed there safely after starting our journey from Dhaka. An uncle of mine lives in Geneva and we went straight to his house after reaching our destination. The city is pretty amazing. After having lunch, we went outside to roam around the city. It was a unique experience and I was totally fascinated. It was so beautiful and clean. Anyone from Bangladesh would be fascinated by Geneva. Lake Geneva is also a great place. We found thousands of people from around the world over there. The streets of Geneva were also filled with shops of the most famous wrist-watches in the world. After all, Switzerland is known for its famous watch manufacturers. The weather was fantastic all the time we were there. You will find food from all over the world in this magnificent place. Every inch of Switzerland is extraordinarily beautiful.

Within a few days, as we had seen most of Geneva, we planned to visit a place called 'Saint Gallen'. It was in the west of Geneva and shared borders with Austria and Germany. That town was quite close to Zurich, the largest city of Switzerland. We decided to go there by a special train called 'The Golden Pass' that would take us through many beautiful parts of Switzerland. The journey was supposed to take us about eight hours. We got on an inter-city train from Geneva and then got off at a place called Montreux. From there, we got on the Golden Pass. The experience was pretty amazing. The train had huge windows so that tourists or travelers could see the magnificent landscape of Switzerland. We passed many places such as Lucanne and Spiez. We passed hills, mountains, lakes, etc. and were fascinated by virtually everything.

It took us about ten hours to reach our destination as we had to change trains on our way and there was also a delay as we had missed one. We knew a family who lived there so we decided to stay at their place. Our friends were elated to see us there and treated us really well and took us to two incredible places. First, they took us to a waterfall where the River Rhine originated. The place, like all other places of the country, stunned us with its natural beauty. Surprisingly, a lot of people from our part of the world, India had come to visit this place on that day. We were informed that a large section of the tourists who visit Switzerland every year are from India. Our host here drove us across the country-side of St. Gallen and then took us to a peak of a mountain. The natural beauty of that place cannot be described in words. The next day, we were told that it was possible to visit the state of Liechtenstein. We were quite stunned to hear this and asked our hosts to take us there to which they delightfully agreed. It took us about forty-five minutes to get there. One thing that must be noted is, one needs to stamp their passports by paying 2 euros as a charge. As the country is so small, there is not much to see there. There were so many Japanese tourists that I had the feeling that they were its inhabitants! I did not see that many local people in Liechtenstein. It is the smallest German speaking country in the world. The country is a princely state governed by a Prince whose castle lay on a hill top. We did not spend much time there and got back to St.Gallen after roaming around in Liechtenstein for a while. The next day, as our visit to St. Gallen ended, we headed for Geneva again.

One thing I realized is that you would never feel bored of visiting Geneva over and over again as you could spend days after days laying at the edge of Lake Geneva-admiring its magnificent beauty. I thought that this was the end, but my parents then decided that we would be going to Zermatt, a town nearby Geneva after two days! This time, my uncle who resided in Geneva decided to accompany us in this visit. It took us only about three hours to reach Zermatt and I would have regretted it if I had not visited this town. It is a mountainous town as it was located in the northern base of Matterhorn in the Pennine Alps. Snow was still visible at the highest peaks even during summer! Zermatt is a nice and quiet town with many enthusiastic tourists. Surprisingly, summer is not the time when tourists visit this place. The main attraction here was 'skiing,' which people from many parts of the world simply loved. There were special tracks on the mountains for this purpose. We got on a small tram which took us to a higher peak in Zermatt. It was awfully cold in there as we were 10,000 feet above sea level. The temperature was 3 degree Celsius. We did not expect it to be this cold in the middle of summer but somehow everything turned out to be fine and the cold did not get the better of us. We could see a lot of Mountain peaks from where we were standing and the whole experience here was delightful. We got down from that peak after spending about an hour there. The journey really made us hungry and we dined at a restaurant in Zermatt. The food there was awesome. The 'Veal Steak' I ate that day was delicious and mouthwatering.

We learned a lot about the people of Switzerland during our tour. They are in general, amicable and hospitable people. Initially, I was little worried if I would be able to communicate with them since we had a language barrier but I was proved to be wrong, most people know English and it was not that difficult to communicate with them.

We got on the plane the next day and arrived in Dhaka via Doha on the 14th of July. I can still remember every bit of our tour. I miss the country, especially Geneva. I will never forget this trip

(A Level Student, Scholastica)

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