Niederhorn Mountain – Switzerland

The small town of Thun located in west-central Switzerland is quite possibly my favourite place in the world. Just when you think that a place on earth with so many blessings which include accurate time keeping, cheese and chocolate couldn’t get any better, it does. A mountain range of the Alps, known as the Bernese Alps (Berner Oberland), is located here. As such, this extremely mountainous region is noted for its incredible beauty. Despite the name, “Bernese Alps”, suggesting that they are located in Bern, the range runs through the cantons of Bern, Valais, Fribourg and Vaud. The astonishing surrounding Alpine scenery has helped establish the nearby resorts of Interlaken, Thun, Meiringen, Grindelwald, Mürren  and Kandersteg.

Many of the peaks in the range rise to more than 3660m. Jungfraujoch railway station at the top of Jungfraujoch peak is the highest point of Europe. On my last visit to Thun I took the Niesenbahn funicular  to the top of Niesen, which lies at the southern shore of Lake Thun and peaks at 2,366m. The Niesenbahn is a bright yellow tram on rails connected to a cable that carries people up and down the steel slope. It really needs to be experienced to be believed! We reached the top of this perfectly pyramid shaped mountain only to find clouds surrounding the peak. Visibility was so poor that I couldn’t see past my outstretched arm. I consoled myself with hot chocolate.

This time however, I got lucky. On a cold November morning, a few of us packed into a car and drove up the winding roads to the village of Beatenberg. The route to Beatenberg from Thun by road is so scenic that if heaven was a place I’m sure this is where it would be. Steep cliffs overlook lush green valleys. Traditional wooden farmhouses dot the entire landscape. Sheep and cows graze lazily close to narrow roads snaking up the mountains. And  then, there is this lake!

This lake of Thun that glistens, shining under the sun, all shades of turquoise and blue. It’s elegance takes total command of your view; Clear as a crystal, captivating like a Goddess, a Venus emerging from the earth instead of the sea.

Beatenberg sits high above Lake Thun and offers the most magnificent views. *It is from here that you can also catch the cable car or begin your hike to the summit of  Niederhorn. If you take the cable car they will stop half way should you wish to hike the rest of the way up. If you don’t want to just remain in your car. It is a relatively easy hike and a well travelled path. However, if you plan to do that in winter make sure you are appropriately dressed and have the right equipment for the weather as it can get windier and snowy the higher up you go.

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Let the cable cars carry you to the top while you take in this Alpine scenery.

I’ve always believed that reaching the top of any mountain you have climbed undoubtedly brings you closer to God. This certainly felt true at the peak of Neiderhorn. A little snow had fallen overnight making everything look brand new. In the distance I could see clouds cascading down between two peaks like a waterfall. All around me snow capped peaks glistened against a brilliantly blue sky under the sun. The light so incredibly intense bouncing against the snow and blinding you with its glare. On this clear day it was possible to follow the ridge and see the peaks of Stockhorn, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. What a treat! Looking down, forests running wild against the mountains covering everything in their path. To the right, snow had covered all but the road which was ribbonning against the snow.

These highlands are also home to Ibex. In summer hikers regularly spot them.

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Blinding beauty surrounds you from all angles.
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A little snow had begun to cover the valley.
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Lush green Alpine forests are home to Ibex.
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View of lake Thun from Niederhorn. Stockhorn stands out in the distance.

Between April – October Restaurant Niederhorn at the top serves food with spectacular views. There is seating for around 240 inside and outside. Deck chairs are provided so you can take in the views while you sip drinks. As we were there on a cold Sunday in November much of the restaurant was closed but the kitchen was still open and a limited menu available. Stop here. Refresh yourself, take in the view, exchange stories and breathe before you make your way back down.

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Restaurant Niederhorn overlooking Berner Oberland

These mountains? They will leave you breathless. If you do at least one good thing for yourself in your lifetime, let it be to arrive here. Witness this gift of wonder that has been bestowed upon us. Swiss ingenuity means the Bernese Alps are accessible to people of all ages. It is  common to see young families hiking up with grandparents.

The various mountains in the range are closed to the public at different times of the year (mostly in the winter months before the skiing season begins). Whilst this allows maintenance and repair of facilities to be carried out what this must also do is allow wildlife and ecosystems here to flourish. This fine balance of sustainability and mass tourism allows for a unique experience – one that is echoed in the mountains.

See it for yourself.

Love,

Demi xx

*Adult return fare for Niederhorn cable car is CHF40pp. 

11 pictures to prove that Paris is the undisputed city of love.

What can be said of Paris that hasn’t been said a thousand times? Of it’s beauty, food, fashion, culture? A city immortalised by the murmur of a thousand words.

On this, my 11th visit to Paris, what can be said that is not an echo of words past? What’s to ”see” in Paris? As I breathe, move, talk, laugh, eat and smile…I wonder. How many words will I need to express a feeling? Paris is infectious, like love.  As love travels through your being,  as you would surrender, so you do to Paris. Some things cannot be seen or heard. They can only be felt from the heart.

 11 pictures to prove that Paris is the undisputed city of love:

  1. This icon of eternity.
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Meet me here.

 

2. These love locks on Pont d’lena (Jena Bridge).

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Be mine.

 

3. This beaming bride on Pont d’lena.

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You make me so very happy 🙂

 

4. The Seine and The Marne.

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The Yin and Yang.

 

5. These beautiful ones slaying it in the park.

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Adore me.

 

6. This rainbow bubble in Jardin des Tuileries.

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Rainbows and bubbles.

 

7. This invitation of love.

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Call me.

 

8. This place to meet.

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Talk to me.

 

9. This blushing rose.

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You make me blush.

 

10. This place you cannot miss.

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I will wait for you forever.

 

11. This utterly beautiful Parisian sunset.

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Kiss me in Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 pictures to make you reconsider life and move to the French country side.

 

  1. This fromagerie in the sun for all your cheese related needs.

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2. A walk through these fields towards blue skies.

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3. This cheerful little cottage.

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4. This quaint little car park complete with flower beds.

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5. This crumbling restaurant that’s up for sale. I am SOLD!

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Five ways to power nap like a pro when you’re travelling

When a major part of your life is getting on planes, trains or tuk tuks one thing you take for granted is your lack of sleep. However, If I don’t sleep I am less productive. In fact I’m downright miserable. I am the worst company when I haven’t slept. No fun AT ALL. You get the picture?!

Sleep is integral to our well-being. This is particularly true if we are on the road for long periods at a time. Any regular sleep pattern is obliterated after your third flight. Late schedules, time zones, varying temperatures, crying babies and crying parents can wreak havoc with sleep.

In a recent interview, Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution, offered some great advice on sleep and wellbeing for frequent travellers. It got me thinking about my own sleep hacks which I hope you too find useful in your travels:

1. Have a sleep-kit at the ready

I can never fall asleep if my toes aren’t toasty. So my sleep-kit consists of a pair of socks, ear plugs and an eye mask. I roll everything up in my socks and have it in an outside pocket of my carry-on luggage. This works well whether I’m on a plane, train or car. You can also add a neck pillow to yours.

2. Wind down with a book

Pack a Kindle. There are hundreds of great books available as downloads at a fraction of the cost of a paperback. Kindles weigh nothing and can hold a library of books and fit into your handbag or backpack easily. Reading for a little while before your nap will help you wind down for it.

3. Carry your own snacks

After your third fight on a single journey there’s only so much airline food you can stomach. I always carry my own snacks and where possible, water. Adjust your snack pack depending on the length of time you will be in the air; more snacks for a long-haul and fewer for short-haul. I rarely wait for meals to be served on a flight. I’d rather sleep instead. Inform the stewards that you do not want your meal, fasten your seatbelt and SLEEP!

  4. Schedule a nap in to your day

If you don’t manage your forty winks on the flight try to plan some sleepy time for when you arrive. Power naps are great for pacing yourself and slowing things down. Ask for a quiet room when you check in to your hotel. There’s nothing worse than a party next door when you’re exhausted and trying to rest. I’ve been there too many times to mention!

5. Put away your electronics

I prefer not to wake up to an alarm when I’m travelling. I always book a wake up call if the service is available which means I don’t need my phone next to me. So before I sleep, whether it’s a nap or I’m down for the night, I plug my phone and laptop away from my bed. This means I resist the temptation to scroll social media while I’m trying to fall asleep.

Happy napping!