Château Gütsch : The Mysterious Winter Castle [Switzerland]

In another three days, it will be exactly three days since my solo backpacking trip to Switzerland. I had told the friends I made there, that I would complete a novel in 2016 and that I would write a detailed account of my trip to Europe.

Sometimes, promises melt under the heat of the sun, out of your grip, even if you insist on holding onto them.

Since (Art)iculate Culture is currently exploring Switzerland, I thought I would share a personal account about this beautiful hotel I stumbled upon whilst in Lucerne. Back then, I did not even know that it was a hotel. It certainly looked like a castle and I left it to remain as a castle, as per my heart’s interest.

To the story, now.

During my trip to Switzerland, I was staying with a lovely friend in Bern for sometime. Since I had bought the Swiss Rail pass to use for four days, and my friend was at work for half the day, I decided to make a half-day trip to  Lucerne to quickly take a look at and inhale the scent of the city.

I was told that people usually stroll around the lake at Lucerne or visit museums there. When I got out of the railway station though, I stared into the wintry distance, past the lake and beyond. My eyes were glued to a white castle that was settled on elevated ground. “I don’t know what I do here at Lucerne but I just have to get there,” was all I could think of.

So, I walked towards the castle. It glimmered in the already white atmosphere surrounding it. .Something about it was really charming. It was not alluring because it looked sophisticated but rather, it was captivating because it held a mystery within it that I wanted to unravel. When I reached the base of the hill, I found a pathway that led up to he place.

Since I like to over-dramatise ordinary situations, I took in a deep breath and mumbled to myself, “This is it. You’re going to climb this mountain slowly and you’ll soon reach that stunning building.”

Obviously, it was no mountain. It was a relaxing walk and would have been easier if I was not lugging a large backpack over my shoulders.  Still, it was an adventure for me simply because it was my first time being in a winter wonderland and I really did not know what to expect. I passed two people along the way, on my trip up. I even punched a mini snowman half-way up, feeling guilty for letting it suffer an embarrassing death by my puny wrist.

On my way up:

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This is how it looked like as I was walking towards the castle, its red flag soaring high up there in the cold air. It reminded me of a sense of liberation I felt when I reached the lit opening at the peak of Table Mountain in Cape Town.

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When you take a walk behind the castle, you can get a view of Lucerne from above.

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Bored of the view, I wondered where the pathway at the back of the castle would lead me to. It seemed like it opened up into the woods and I was curious. Every time I took a couple of steps, my mind would urge me onwards. “Just a couple more steps. It’s alright even if you’re freezingggg. Go deeper into the woods.”

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Just being around the barren trees and the vegetation specific only to the Winter climate, enthralled me. As I spun around on the same spot in the empty forest, I recorded a video to capture the tone of excitement and confusion ringing through my voice. Since I’m not really the brave and physically strong type, it was an accomplishment to me to have made it to this forest. It felt like all the paintings I had found peace with over the years, had now taken physical form around me.

When I soon reached a pile of logs, I sensed company. There seemed to be a wooden cabin in the distance too.  Naturally,  I obeyed my instincts to turn around and descend the hill, back to the city and hopefully, to the nearest lavatory!

Here’s a picture of how the castle (hotel) looks when it is warmer. Most of Château Gütsch’s tourism advertorial photos are taken with the pristine white hotel nestled comfortably amidst the lush shades of green up in the hill.

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I really miss the Winter. Writing this post has brought me the closest I could ever be to the season as I wipe off beads of sweat from my forehead and turn the air conditioner on in humid Singapore.

Featured Image: I do not own rights to it.

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