Another one of my favorite places in the world is Switzerland. The clear cold waters of the fast moving rivers, or the deep greenish blues from the glacial sediments surrounded by high forested mountains. The beautiful wooden front buildings connected by cobble roads.
I have been to Switzerland three times, and most of that time was spent up in the Lauterbrunen Valley and vicinity, near Interlaken. Nowhere else in the world can you see such breathtaking beauty, and rural mountain life in these parts is so picturesque it seems like it must have come from a story book. Neatly stacked wood surrounds every little cottage. Beautiful flowers bloom in window boxes. While hiking in the mountains it is not at all unusual to be passed by an elderly couple, strolling by with ease at high altitude and up steep trails. In the town we always visit, Wengen, there are no cars, and no way up there except by a cog train. Cable cars, funicular, and trains that are propelled up steep mountains by cogs are the most common means of transportation.
My cousin Nathan and I took an impromptu trip up the mountain on the train one afternoon, using our rail passes. We got off at a random stop and hiked down into a valley, looking for a creek. Nathan was only ten or so, and he marched right down into the thicket with me, only to get covered in stinging nettles. He itched from it the whole ride home, but he was a trooper. We still explored the creek for a while before hustling up to catch the last train.
On that same trip I did a parasail jump off of a cliff, soaring around on the thermals for a while before descending some three thousand feet to the valley below. What a fun ride!
Other cool places of interest in Switzerland are: Lucern (with it's famous lion and flower bridge)
Trummelbach Falls, where a big river winds its way through tunnels in a mountain, with at least ten spectacular drops, corkscrewing their way down through the passages.
The ice palace, carved out of a glacier
And the Jungfrau, a tall mountain with a visitor's center and viewing platform, only approachable by elevator through the mountain. The platform is at almost twelve thousand feet elevation, and it's surrounded by glaciers and snowy mountains. It's never outright hot in the Alps, even in the summer, but at that height, it's downright cold. (Also how they're able to have an ice palace.)
There are many places in Switzerland I have yet to to explore, but I am definitely in love with the parts I have seen. The majesty of the natural world is beyond description, and certain places have a way of impressing upon us a great wonder and awe. Switzerland is certain such a place!