I didn’t think when I left London City Airport for Zurich that I would have a close encounter with James Bond. But high on top of the Schilthorn in the Swiss Alps I got to pose with 007 himself!
My journey began from Zurich airport when, after an easy transfer, I soon found myself sitting comfortably on a train enjoying beautiful views as we skirted the lake and headed out to Davos. Its famous neighbour is Klosters, for skii
ng, but instead I strolled the Davos Sertig – a typical glacial valley with steps and sills. This is a special conservation area of Switzerland and is known especially for the scenic beauty of its mountains and waterfalls. The autumn colours were spectacular, and the classic chalet style houses with their window boxes were still brimming with vivid colour.
Like a chocolate box cover, cows grazing in the meadows with their neck bells gently chiming along with the sound of the babbling stream running nearby.
Davos Klosters is one of the most sought after places to holiday in the world, and not least because it has some of the most comprehensive holiday and sports facilities in the mountains. Davos is more built up than Klosters but they are only 10 minutes apart by car and it’s easy to enjoy both in one visit.
I stayed at the beautiful Hotel Seehof, a short walk from Davos railway station, and close to the ski lifts, shops, bars, restaurants and the great Ice Hockey Stadium! This is where I enjoyed a lovely, hot, ‘swiss’ chocolate and some divine pastries. And that didn’t spoil my appetite when later that evening I had a fabulous dinner of locally sourced venison in a very traditional restaurant called Schraemli’s!
What a thrill it was to wake to a beautiful snowscape the next morning! A carpet of white that was such a contrast to the green meadows of the day before but just as magical! This set the scene for the day as I was on my way from Davos to Chur to board the world famous Glacier Express! Having settled in the glass roofed carriage I was enthralled by the landscape that passed by, valley deep and mountain high with beautiful towns and villages dotted throughout. By now the sun was shining and the sky was a deep blue against the pure white snow, truly glorious! We broke the journey at Andermatt having a short stroll around the town whilst a group of rolling skaters skiers sped by! Back on board, the landscape turned to green again as we made our way to Brig.
The last part of the journey took us into Interlaken, which literally means between the lakes. I loved Interlaken, it is so picturesque .
The following morning with an autumnal air – we set off to the cable car on “Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. The bus took us to Lauterbrunnen and, although the sight was shrouded in mist, I could hear the roar of the waterfalls. In the spring the sound is said to be thunderous! From here the cable car ascended to Birg and on to Piz Gloria on top of the Schilthorn. Again the view was blocked by the mist, but it was covered in snow and it felt like the top of the world, Bond world!
This is where 007, George Lazenby as Bond, battled against his nemesis Blofeld to save the world from his evil plan for world domination in the sixth Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. The film was made in 1969 and our current James Bond is still up against Blofeld and his sinister organisation “Spectre”! Piz Gloria is 2970m high and was the setting for Blofeld’s Allergy Clinic. Bond World comprises of an indoor interactive exhibition and an outdoor walk of fame. The link to Bond is in evidence everywhere including the revolving restaurant where even the burger buns are branded 007! However there is also a Skyline Walk, a platform giving stunning panoramic views across the Alps and 2016 will see a cliff path walk down the awe inspiring rock massif.
Having come down to earth after our encounter with 007 we had a walk around snowy Muerren which is a quaint but historic Alpine Village. This whole area, known as the Jungfrau Region, is perfect for hiking and sightseeing with other well known village names such as Grindelwald and Wenger waiting to be explored.
Leaving the quaint villages of the Alps we travelled to Zurich which is a big city with a big personality. I stayed at the Hotel Schweizerhof just a short walk from the station. It’s a wonderful hotel and offers excellent facilities and service. Imagine my surprise when a butler knocked on my door to enquire if I needed anything! I just couldn’t refuse his offer, and I ordered some chocolate!
Zurich is stylish with excellent shopping and dining choices but also offers a window into the past with the beautiful historic squares, churches and University buildings. We walked the cobbled streets of the old town with a guide who brought it to life with ancient stories of struggle and resistance including the Dada movement started in the Café Voltaire. We stepped back in time and had a coffee in the Café Schober before buying designer goods in the exclusive Bahnhofstrasse or chocolate in one of the many pretty little sweet shops. If you’d like to take to the water, there’s a cruise on the magnificent Lake Zurich to enjoy the city views.
The easiest way to see Switzerland is to travel by train as the timetables are thoughtfully structured to help tourists travel between destinations without long transit times or changing platforms. The most difficult decision is which train pass will suit you best! So let us and our travel partners, Switzerland Travel Centre, take care of everything for you, so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of this country… just as I did!