We decided to do a weekend getaway where the highlight would be the Peak Walk. The Peak Walk is the first and only suspension bridge to connect two mountain peaks at a height of 3000m above sea level.
As I’ve heard a lot about Gstaad and as it was close by, I thought it would be a good idea to spend the night there. Known to be the most exclusive Alpine town where the rich and famous go to for Christmas, the municipality of Saanen swells from 7’445 residents to more than 30’000 as 17’000 temporary workers are brought in to cater to around 6’000 of the world’s most famous VIPs and billionaires during this period.
It was the month of May. Both towns of Saanen and Gstaad were as quiet as can be. Walking along the streets of the little town of Saanen, it seemed like we were the only living souls.
As we were having our Thai dinner, Ilyas had fun playing outside in the cold.
I love seeing these traditional Swiss houses in the mountains and both towns (more like villages) were full of them.
Not surprisingly this is what the train station of Saanen looks like:
This was what the town of Saanen looked like on a cloudy Sunday morning:
After breakfast, we drove on towards the Peak Walk after a quick stop in Gstaad which is part of canton Bern. My guess is that we saw this bear statue on the streets of Gstaad as canton Bern has the picture of a bear on its coat of arms .
Finally we got to the cable car station from which we would ascend to get to the Peak Walk. Apart from us and another couple, the cable car was filled with two buses of Indian tourists that may have never seen snow in their lives from the expressions and sounds they made.
We caught our first glimpse of the Peak Walk after a lift ride two stories up.
Then came the climb. Being almost 7 months pregnant, trying to climb the stairs at an elevation of 3000m was no easy feat. I stopped many times.
Ilyas was a very unhappy baby. He cried the entire time. The altitude must have made him feel very uneasy.
We quickly walked across the bridge.
We were the only ones in the cable car on the way down. The person operating it told us some interesting facts:
- Once or twice a year, an explosion is made to create an artificial avalanche. The last one left 1.2m of snow at the bottom of the mountain and the powder from the snow went all the way to the village across causing roads to be closed for 3 days.
- 1 to 2 people die a year from speed riding, getting trapped in an avalanche. Speed riding is a winter sport done on skis where after skiing off a steep slope, the speed wing is launched and the person would paraglide and descend.
- The glacier is 140m thick and when it is 22 C at the top of the mountain, 10cm of ice would melt.
- 1m of glacial ice needs 10m of regular snow.
On the drive back, we made a quick stop to see Chateau du Chillon or the Chillon Castle, one of Switzerland’s most famous castles on the shores of Lake Geneva close to the city of Montreux in canton Vaud.
It was built on the rocky island which acted as a natural protection and a strategic location to control the passage between northern and southern Europe in the 12th century. When it was conquered by the Swiss in 1536, the castle retained its role as a fortress, arsenal and prison for the next 260 years.
We then drove on and made a lunch stop at one of the restaurants along the highway overlooking Lake Gruyere.