When we planned our Switzerland trip and booked the dates, little did we know that we will be extremely lucky.
As lucky as one can get in 3 years. Yes!! We were lucky to get our dates of stay in Interlaken which amazingly matched with the world famous Annual Yodeling Festival of Switzerland.
We experienced one of the best evenings in our life time which slowly rolled into midnight. When we left at the wee hours of the morning, night and day got blurred with yodeling, alphorns playing, some sausages and cheese on the offering and beer overflowing.
Yodeling is a form of singing which involves an extended note which rapidly and repeatedly changes in pitch making a high-low-high-low sound .History defines yodeling as an ancient rural form of calling .It was used by cow herders to communicate amongst themselves from mountain to mountain.
When we reached after an excellent day trip of Montreau, we had a pleasant surprise stored for us. After a long day we had the plans of checking back into our hotel for an early dinner as we were travelling to Zurich the next day . Isnt it a normal phenomenon that towards the end of any exciting tour one starts realising a dip in the energy level, tired legs and droopy eyes ? We had almost reached that stage in the evening .
The entire town was lit up with twinkling lights, small tents and canopies being put up at every two steps and there was a buzz around. The small, quiet and sparsely populated town, which we had left in the morning had magically transformed. We found groups of people dressed in colourful national dresses of Switzerland walking down the lanes every now and then. It was buzzing with sound and colour. Groups singing at their highest pitch with intermittent screams and whistles and occasional blowing of Alphorns made a pleasant unplanned symphony. It was somehow on the same octave of love and brotherhood which didn’t need any musical conductor.
The energy level was replenished and suddenly we felt as if we had fresh pair legs and excited twinkling eyes, which were back once again to explore the place.
Age was not a barrier . Gender was not a barrier . Physical limitations were not barriers . As if some god sent power had unified all the locals and infused in them molecules of happiness loaded with smiles which they were expressing in the form of song and dance .
This was the national Yodeling Festival of Switzerland which happens once in every three years . All the hotels were sold out ( which we came to know later ) and someone told us that we were extremely lucky to have been there in InterLaken on those dates.
Carnival it was .. The air was filled with smell of exotic raclette ( a swiss delicacy), various sausages in as many forms and shapes possible, especially the Bratwurst grilling all across. There were various other foods , umpteen numbers of flavours of beers with carnival promotions and hand rolled cigar shops with unique shapes of cigars, which we also tried and enjoyed . There was flavoured milk being served in Cow horns (not the real one though) – perhaps that was the first and last time I had milk and beer one after the other . We carried back the cow horns as memorabilia which is now a toy of amusement for Simba.
There were people from different regions of Switzerland, where each region had its own differentiating costume. Bright coloured dresses with roses for the ladies with fancy hats and head gears. Like the dresses, it is said that each region has its own signature yodeling tune. As foreigners we were warmly welcomed to those occasional huddles on the street with loud sing alongs and wild smiles and laughter .
Didn’t even realise how we were already almost ready to welcome the morning. So had to head back to the hotel to pack with still the music and fun going on in the streets . We were headed to Zurich for the penultimate day of our tour . If Engelberg ( read our story here) was a very personal romantic gateaway, then this was all about brotherhood , carnival and community celebration .
Which Indian festival comes to your mind instantly after you have read this ?
P.S. – I was a novice with camera at that point of time so the photograph quality may seem little out of place but the experience in itself is worth sharing along with poor quality pictures .
In case you are planning a tour to Switzerland please do not miss this once in three year of celebration – the yodeling festival .