Reichenbach Falls

Being one of the biggest fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle`s fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, paying a visit to the Reichenbach Falls, was on my travel list for a long time! So when Mike took me, my parents and my mother-in-law there as a surprise on my birthday, my happiness was boundless!!

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Reichenbach falls are a series of waterfalls in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland.

Now you may wonder what is so special about this place and how it is connected to Sherlock Holmes? This is the location where Sherlock Holmes fights with his arch nemesis, Professor Moriarty at the end of “The Final Problem”, first published in 1893. By the end of the story, Holmes and Moriarty both fall to their deaths down the gorge while locked in mortal combat.

On his vacation in Switzerland, Sir Doyle visited many waterfalls in the region. Apparently Reichenbach falls made the greatest impression on him, that he decided to let his hero die there.

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(Conan Doyle meant to stop writing about his famous detective after this short story; but the pressure from fans eventually persuaded him to bring Holmes back in his next stories).

Taking a train is not the best option if you are planning to go on a day trip, as it takes at least 4 hours to get there, and you might need to change 3 trains in between. It is better to drive as it takes fewer hours to reach.

From the parking lot, the falls are made accessible by the Reichenbach fall funicular.

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At the station on the top, there is a viewing platform. The actual ledge from which Moriarty fell is on the other side of the falls from the funicular, but we decided not to walk that far.

From where we stood, we could see the narrow column of water making its plunge from high above. It wasn’t the “dreadful cauldron of swirling water and seething foam”, as the author describes the “final” moments of his protagonist, but the height of the column and imagining the scene where Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty fall to their “deaths locked in each other’s arms”, sent a chill down my spine!

(The falls are open only part of the year, May through October. The funicular runs from 9:00 until 18:00. Adult return ticket costs CHF 10 and a one-way ticket is CHF 7. For children ages 6-16, a return ticket costs CHF 8 and a one-way ticket costs CHF 6.)

On our return journey from the hike and the funicular ride, we drove to the small town of Meiringen, to have our lunch at a nice Pizzeria (Thanks to my mom-in-law for this treat!).

After lunch, we walked around the town. We spotted the Sherlock Holmes museum, located at the basement of the Anglican Church near the train station. It is dedicated to Holmes. Though we did not go inside the Museum, we enjoyed the walk around it, which has a life-size statue of the detective.

For anyone visiting Meiringen, the Aare gorge (known locally as the Aareschlucht) is not to be missed. The Haslital, one of the large valleys in the central alps, stretches from the Grimsel Pass to the Lake of Brienz. The flat valley floor of the lower Haslital is separated from the upper valley by a transverse rock formation. Over thousands of years, the Aare River eroded a path through this rock formation resulting in a gorge which is 1400 metres long and up to 200 metres deep.

Since 1889 the gorge has been open to the public and nowadays a fully accessible walkway runs along the bottom of the cliff wall. It is a one of a kind experience to walk through this gorge.

(Entry ticket for an adult costs CHF 8 and for children between 6-16 costs CHF 5. (Children below 6 years can enter freely)).

I must say this was one of my best birthdays ever. I got to spend time with my family and finally got the chance to pay my tribute to the great legends of all time. Thanks Mike!

Cheers,

Madhurya.

 

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My Reading habit and Book Reviews

Most of the time, I don’t finish the book I begin reading. There… I said it! A fancy cover or a good review prompts me to pick a book, but a few pages in, I lose interest or the plot is too scary or sad or something, and I just set it aside and grab another. I seriously admire people who read all sorts of books , good or bad, and review them. Me? If I review a book, then it means I have thoroughly enjoyed the book and have been dying to get it out of my system in the form of a review!

Anyways, I read a couple of books and re-read them immediately a while ago. First time I read a book, I’m in a rush to know what will happen in the end. But the next time, I try to go slow, figuring out the missing pieces of the puzzle, untangling the knots I didn’t notice as I sped by in a race to get to the end. So you can see that in all the time that I should’ve spent writing and blogging, I was busy reading and re-reading! Of course, there were other things too- Travel, Kids’ education and being involved in a number of (mostly tiresome) activities that are needed to be done in preparation for a big wedding in the family. But really, the main reason behind my lack of posting is my reading. Reading is the easiest, most pleasant way there is. At least for me…

So… the books that hijacked my brain and left me quite dazed for a long time are-

  1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  2. Perks of Being a Wallflower

I wonder why I always end up loving books for teens or with protagonists in their teens. I think it’s because I never read such books in my adolescence. Or, because I truly feel for young adults and the anxieties and the fears that they go through as part of growing up. I think that growing up is a tough thing to do, especially in this day and age.

Now coming to the reviews-

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- I guess this book doesn’t need much reviewing. The 8th installment of the popular Harry Potter series written in the form of a play. Those of you who have followed this blog (Thanks a ton, by the way!) know how crazy my sister and I are about the Harry Potter series. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. Imagine the thrill I felt when the book landed right into my hands without even ordering the book myself! It was a gift from my sister! (Sisters are the best!). As I read this, I could imagine my favorite HP characters, Hermione, Ron and Harry (in the order mentioned!), now parents, juggling parenting and magicking (Is there a word like that?!). It was heart-breaking to read about the friction between Harry and his son and the yearning Albus feels to right the ‘wrong’ he thinks his ‘famous’ dad committed.

There’s so much magic and time-turning and transforming happening in this book, which moves at a quick pace, you (or at least someone like me!) will find it hard to grapple with the happenings in one read!

I am sure Harry Potter fans will love this book, but others, who aren’t familiar with the setting, the characters, the spells and the history might feel lost. I loved it and will be reading the whole series and the play again soon.

This kind of book makes me want to read more plays. Any recommendations, anyone?

Perks of being a wallflower- This book is not an easy read. I picked it many times before, but couldn’t muster the strength or the interest to carry on. Not because it is boring; Far from it, it is actually a very good book, but it has some disturbing aspects to it. Beautiful but disturbing, can you believe it? It is a series of letters written by this kid, Charlie, to whom is not quite clear, at least in the beginning. He begins writing before the first day of High School. He is anxious and alone. He has just lost his best friend to suicide. It is quite disturbing! But if you have the will to keep reading, it will be a book you will always remember, not just because it will introduce you to some of the best characters ever (Love you Sam and Bill!) and to new kind of music (like the ones by The Smiths or Simon and Garfunkel or Nirvana), but also because you will be rewarded with a beautiful, heartfelt ending. Like always I found myself crying by the end of the book. That’s how I want my books… Simple yet Deep. All encompassing!

I hope some of you will like it just as much as, or maybe more than, I did.

Here’s to more reading and more loving!

Love,

Manasa.