277 Kms from Beaune
I was entering the city just as the Parisian skyline was turning into a crimson hue and that was a sight I will always remember as the bus drove along the majestic Siene River with the river looking just like a mirror reflecting the city skyline. I had booked a studio apartment near the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.After checking in, I had my breakfast at Mc Donalds as I was running really short on cash by now. Some of the non-clichéd Parisian attractions were the order of the day. I went to visit Père Lachaise Cemetery where the legendary poet and singer Jim Morrison is buried. I also visited the Catacombs. The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries in Paris, France, which hold the remains of more than six million people in a small part of the ancient Mines of Paris tunnel network. Located south of the former city gate "Barrière d’Enfer" (Gate of Hell) beneath Rue de la Tombe-Issoire, the ossuary was founded when city officials had two simultaneous problems: a series of cave-ins beginning 1774, and overflowing cemeteries, particularly Saint Innocents. Nightly processions of bones from 1786 to 1788 transferred remains from cemeteries to the reinforced tunnels, and more remains were added during later years. After this eerie experience I went to the Louvre Museum, one of the most iconic one is the whole world. As I had a European student card, I could buy tickets for only 12 euros instead of the regular 48 euros. I tried to cover as much as I could but I found out that 2 full days were also not enough to cover the entire museum. In the evening I sat at a famous Parisian Café having French delicacies like Macarons and croissants.
238 Kms from Beaune
It is a very beautiful valley surrounded by lush green mountains and waterfalls. We stayed at a camping sight called Camp Jungfrau where we had booked a caravan. Caravan was very comfortable and well heated.
233 Kms from Beaune
Hang gliding was my second adventure sports which I did after Sky Diving. The best part this time was the location at which I was experiencing this adventure. The breathtaking views of sky, lake which I experienced was really great !! Watch this video and let me know your views
248 Kms from Beaune
On a personal note, the most intriguing characteristic of this lovely place was the total (well, almost) absence of cars and the absolute dependence on the oldest mode of transport - our feet. Although a handful of electronic taxis run across this tiny, linear town in order to cater to weary travellers with an alarming amount of luggage, Zermatt is one of the most eco-friendly places on this planet. I was convinced that Mother Nature would be kind to the locals once the world incurs the worst of her wrath and she finally decides to send doomsday upon us. Zermatt would then be the capital of a post-apocalyptic earth. Apart from being environmentally conscious, the residents are also a very warm and welcoming bunch of people, so much so that when I asked a friendly young girl for directions to a pizzeria called 'Grampi's', she played an elaborate session of dumb charades with me, our facial expressions emulating all the grumpy people we had known and then personally escorted me to the lane that housed the said restaurant.I must admit that luck has favoured me when it comes to certain aspects of my life, especially travel. I have had the chance of visiting Zermatt twice and while I was swooning the first time around, the second encounter was like meeting an old friend after a very long time,with all the memories fresh and the love intact. While I stayed in a lovely two-storied Swiss chalet during the latter visit, the former was in a Best Western property which was very homely despite the fact that it belonged to a hotel chain. On both occasions, the cheese was nutty and essentially perfect, the wine was fragrant and just the right amount of fruity, the amalgamation of Swiss, French and Italian cuisines was a delight to my taste buds and the rich hot chocolate was always plentiful.Zermatt is all about relaxing to your heart's content, visiting a museum or two and conversing with fellow travellers some of whom turn out to be tiny humans nestled in prams with their golden curls, hazel eyes and toothless grins being strongly reminiscent of Cupid. It is also about going as close as one can to the mammoth known as Matterhorn, admiring its magnificence while keeping a safe distance so as to avoid disturbing its composure. I did all of these things during both my trips and then so much more. I arrived for the first time with memories of one of the most magical train journeys I had ever taken aboard the Glacier Express replete with arresting views of green valleys dotted with cows and snow covered mountains with countless boulders. I left with love but not the DDLJ-esque love that most Indians look for. I did not find a Raj for myself but at the impressionable age of fifteen, I had discovered my love for travel and the fact that this little hamlet was where I wanted to live in the future. Nine years down the line and a second rendezvous later, the resolve remains.Getting There and Around:Hop on the marvellous Glacier Express that starts from St Moritz and gets you to Zermatt in roughly eight hours, providing you the most brilliant views of the mountains and the countryside. However, you can personalize your itinerary as per your convenience, for instance, I boarded the train from a relatively lesser known Swiss city called Chur and my journey was reduced by four hours. If in case you own the boon known as a Swiss Pass, your ticket prices will be covered, but remember to validate your pass before boarding by asking a railway personnel. For more information on the Glacier express and the Swiss Pass, visit www.glacierexpress.ch and www.swiss-pass.ch respectively.Zermatt, as mentioned before, is car free and everything is walking distance, however, there are a limited number of electro-taxis to take you to your hotel/apartment and are usually arranged by the staff themselves. The box-like vehicles can be found near the train station on the Bahnhofstrasse.
260 Kms from Beaune
2. Budget of the tripFor me, this is really simple. How much money do I have? That decides the budget. Unless time or money are your deciding factors, go for an unplanned trip and live my dream. But if you are still reading, then money is a deciding factor. Divide the amount you can spend by the number of days at hand and voila! (Class 3 mathematics-forgive me please!) But unless you intend to do Switzerland in INR 10,000 for 30 days; I believe a trip can be planned with whatever budget (minus the flight ticket and visa) you have.I have been able to plan a low budget trip from 60,000 per head (inclusive of flight tickets in 2015) to a reasonably okay trip of 5 nights-6 days that cost us a Lakh per person. If you are lucky, you can get to and fro flights for as less as Rs 30,000 (sale).Lower budget means fewer frills. Go ahead if that experience still makes sense.These links may help:http://www.lonelyplanet.com/switzerland/money-costshttp://www.fodors.com/community/europe/how-much- chf-needed- for-a- 8-day- trip-in switzerland.cfmhttp://www.budgetyourtrip.com/switzerlandThe following decisions, though independent, also decide the budget. To me, there are two ways of planning for a trip: Make all the following decisions and calculate your budget or work backwards.