Some Parisian Promenades, with some Swiss Delights!

Prrems Client

Hello, Dr Rina, such a pleasure to meet you!

Harini: Being a Doctor, you must be having a very tight schedule. How did this trip to Paris and Switzerland work out? Was it a planned trip?

Rina: We always wanted to do something special for our 25th wedding anniversary. Since our holidays have never exceeded 7 days, we thought why not? Let’s give it a shot! So while doing some research online, my daughter came across a 7 day trip to Switzerland and Paris. It sounded like a good plan, but we decided to extend it a little bit more and made it 10 days. Then we thought that since we are going so far away, why not spend some more time. We did not want to go on any tours as they rush you from one place to the other. So finally, we decided 12 days! We spent 8 days in Switzerland and 4 in Paris. Yes, we had every single detail of the trip planned beforehand, including which train to board at what time, etc. We had done our homework, so we had a hassle-free trip.

Harini: That’s wonderful! How was Paris? Shraddha: Was it as beautiful as it is described in magazines?

Rina: Yes, Paris was wonderful. The real feel of the city lies in its Cafés. Every alternate street has small, pretty Cafés, serving delicious pizzas and pastries. There was this toothsome grill sandwich that we had at a café,near Seine river in Paris. The local street food joints are the best places to enjoy and relish local cuisine. We went to the Louvre museum and Versailles palace. Versailles palace had beautiful gardens, small ponds and well maintained lawns. We also went to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the sprawling Luxembourg gardens, and walked along the Champs Elysees. The highlight of our stay in Paris was to be able to see the illuminated Eiffel Tower. It is lit up for hardly 3-4 minutes at night, so we saw the Eiffel tower in the morning, went to other places, and travelled back to see it illuminated. It was marvellous.

Harini: Wow! That must have been a pretty sight, to see the illuminated Eiffel Tower. So next stop was Switzerland?

Rina: Yes. We spent 8 days in Switzerland. We visited Geneva, Montreaux, Bern, Zermatt and Zurich. In Bern, we saw the “Einsteinhaus”, where the famous physicist Albert Einstein lived from 1903 to 1905, and developed the Theory of Relativity here. We walked for a couple of hours through the city, and enjoyed the streets Zurich, located on the border of Germany, is home to the famous Rhine Falls. We took a boat ride to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking views of the  Rhine falls. In Zermatt, we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the city, taking in the beauty of the Swiss city. We tried covering around 2 cities in a day. Most of our sightseeing was done by walking through each city, we believe this is the best way to explore the place. You learn about the culture, the way locals live!

We also went to Mount Titlis. Mount Titlis is famous for its cable car ride, which is the world’s first revolving cable car!. We also went to the Jungfrau region, by changing three trains to reach the top. The journey was extremely scenic, as we saw the colours outside change from green when we began, to completely white as we reached the top.

Harini: Yes, that is true. Sometimes, we may miss a quaint, charming café at the end of the street as we sit on the bus, travelling to the next destination. Shraddha: Where did you stay in Switzerland?

Rina: We stayed at Interlaken, the scenic town situated between two lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. From here, we took a train every day and travelled to different cities. Do you know the lush green meadows, with the perfect blue skies shown in the evergreen Bollywood movie “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” was shot here? It was just beautiful.

Harini: Oh yes, the vast green fields and the snow-capped mountains of that movie have created a lasting impression of Switzerland in our minds. Shraddha: How convenient is it to travel in the country?

Rina: Absolutely. We had a Swiss pass, which enabled us to board trains or buses without standing in the queues for tickets.  Switzerland is very very well connected. Every train or bus has a particular time table, precise to the second. The people there are very punctual, unlike us Indians (I would say)! There was this one incident where our train halted for a little extra time, as we were descending down the Jungfrau hills, due to which we missed the connecting train. Due to this, we had to travel backwards to board another train that ultimately took us to Interlaken. The routes followed by these trains are, however, confusing. They may not return to the same place where they began. But, the man at the railway information centre was helpful, and with our broken English and signs, we managed to communicate with him, and he guided us and we boarded the right train afterwards.

Harini: Taking the Swiss pass must have surely made things a lot easier. What was the weather like? Shraddha: How did you protect yourself?

Rina: The weather was really cold, and the temperatures went up to 11 or 12oC. We had to wear jackets all the time. The 4-in-1 jacket was very convenient, which we could use in different ways whether it was raining, snowing or mildly cold. Also, thanks to the 4-in-1 jacket, we could mix and match our outfits, and managed to click a variety of pictures with different coloured jackets! We also carried 4 pairs of jeans, T-shirts and woollens.

Harini: Did you get to try the fresh, local cheese?

Rina: Oh yes, we did. We went on a “Food and Culture Walk” which began in the bylanes of Interlaken. We saw picturesque houses with small gardens and lots of farms. We met the farmers, who showed us how they milk the cows. We saw fresh cheese being made, right in front of our eyes. We tasted around 10 varieties of cheese that day, accompanied by different jams. Unlike India, where cheese is an accompaniment or a topping, people in Switzerland have cheese as a separate item by itself, with different types of sauces. All the cheese produced is organic and naturally grown.

Apart from cheese, we also tasted locally produced chocolate. Apart from tasting, getting to know how chocolate is produced locally is quite interesting. I learnt here that white chocolate is made of the flesh of the cocoa bean! We went to “Funky Chocolate Club”, where we got to experiment with an assortment of dark and white chocolates. We had dark chocolate made of having cocoa. The people here are very friendly and warm. We were with 15 other people of diverse cultures, and a guide who took us through this walk.

Harini: That cheese and chocolate must have been so different from the processed ones we get in our supermarkets. Did you buy any of it? What about food in general? Shraddha: Did you’ll face any problems being vegetarians?

Rina: Yes, I bought cheese to bring back to India. I was worried it would get spoilt on the long journey back, but thankfully, the carefully packed cheese was intact. We had authentic Italian food, which we really enjoyed. It was nothing like the Italian you get here in India. We tried the cheese fondue, thin-crust pizzas (where the crust was really soft), and a lot of fresh fruits, like strawberries, raspberries, bananas and apples. The unusual part of hotels there was that they do not serve water. Water is actually charged for. Except in Zermatt, in this café called “Bebe’s”, the waiters were really warm and served water for free. We also went to breweries and had red wine.

Since we are vegetarians, we carried some dehydrated food from India

Harini: Did you face any language barriers? Was it easy to communicate with the people there?

Rina: We did face slight issues, as the people in Paris were not too fluent in English. We would speak in broken English. We tackled this issue by downloading the app to convert French to English and vice-versa. This proved to be very useful, in a bakery selling fresh bread, where the owner did not know much English. The bakery had a wide variety of bread, which we have never even seen in India. Rows and rows of freshly baked loaves of bread made us confused and vary about the eggless ones. In order to find out if the loaves of bread were made using eggs or not, we used the app to find out the French word for “eggs”. So yes, the app was very helpful.

Harini: The app is definitely a great idea, especially when you don’t know directions or if the road signs are in the native language. Any other tips for travellers?

Rina: So the app is necessary. Apart from that, I would say be punctual, when you wish to travel by public transport. Even a few seconds of delay may cause you to miss the train or bus. Definitely take the Swiss pass, as you can save time by avoiding the ticket queues. But if you can drive and you are keen on exploring the city on your own, then you can rent a car and follow the maps.

Harini: What do you miss the most after coming back to India? Shraddha: Anything you would like to see implemented in India as you saw in Switzerland?

Rina: We miss the quiet surroundings. Everything was so peaceful and clean there. Also, public transport was punctual to the minute. It’s difficult to see the same level of punctuality here in India, due to the crowd, but I wish it was implemented here to an extent.

Harini: Yes, that’s true. India is noisy, bustling with activity. So what next on your travel plans?

Rina: Oh, it’s too soon to think about it! We just returned from this trip a month ago. But maybe the next trip shall be to Pondicherry, soon.

Harini: It was a pleasure talking to you Dr.Rina, thank you for taking time out from your hectic schedule!



Our history goes all the way back to early 50s. Prrem and Aloo Vazirani – an accomplished couple who chased after their wanderlust bug. She was a doctor, he was a businessman, and both were filled with a desire to explore the world.

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