PRIYADARSHINI PAITANDY is back with cool tales after a trip to Europe

I love winter wear. Long coats, boots, gloves, a pashmina or a warm Burberry stole slung stylishly around the neck… when you live in Chennai, wearing these clothes is near-impossible.

Being a compulsive shopper, I leap at a tweed jacket and pay obscene amounts of money for it — so, it becomes necessary to find an excuse to flaunt it. And, a trip to Europe is planned.

I am particularly excited about Mt. Titlis in Switzerland. Because, my new clothes will be put to perfect use in the snow-clad hills. Titlis, a mountain in the Urner Alps, is approximately 9,900 feet above sea level.

It is famous for the world’s first rotating cable car and also has numerous interesting games to offer. We stay in Engelberg, where the cable car to Titlis starts. It’s a three-stage process to the top of the mountain and takes about 40 minutes.

First, I am led into a gondola, not the kind you find in Venice — it’s a small six-seater cable car. One has to jump in as it is moving. It takes you up to Trubsee.

As I go higher, the view continues to grow more and more stunning — lush green grass peppered with traces of snow, plump cows lolling about on fresh pastures, small wooden houses and a glistening sapphire lake.

It’s time to move to a bigger cable car. This one accommodates around 80 people. Giggling, shivering and chattering, we head further up to Stand, and all we see around are layers of snow with a tiny bit of the mountain peeping out here and there.

Once at Stand, we move into the Rotair, the revolving cable car. It moves upwards, rotating 360 degrees, so that we can get a view of the Swiss panorama from all possible angles.

Surprisingly, the fact that I am suspended high up in the air is not scary as the blanket of soft snow beneath looks quite comforting.The chill breeze, skiers walking around with their ski sets and the excited hustle and bustle around shake me out of my reverie and assert the fact that we are on Mt. Titlis.

I trudge out, holding my jacket closer, and all I can see is white up to the horizon. It’s sensible to wear shades as the bright sunlight on the snow can be quite blinding. I run ahead and plunge into the snow. What fun!

Snow and warm?

We then climb higher up and once right on top the mountain, I feel a great sense of achievement. The interesting thing is, in spite of the temperature being – 7 degrees, it is comfortably warm on the snow. This explains how skimpily-clad actors dance and roll about in the snow! It looks like a scene right out of heaven.

Thwack! — any further thought stops short as a snowball hits me. The kids around have started a snow ball fight, and thwack! thwack! thwack!

Time for a fight

I decide it’s war, and fling back huge balls of snow, my fingers becoming number by the minute. After truce is called, we decide to make a snowman. And, we are done in 10 minutes.

In spite of his stunted growth, a bunch of Japanese tourists, some of them shirtless a la Salman Khan, toss themselves next to us and click photographs with our snowman.

Next on the list is the Ice Flyer, a chairlift that takes you around the glacier, and the Fun Lift, a snow tube that slides down the mountain.

And, how can I not mention shopping?

When you are done entertaining yourself in the snow, you can move in and do some souvenir shopping or get a photo clicked in the local outfit.

It may cost about 40 Euros but is worth it, because nothing lasts forever but memories do.