Waking up when you’re away for photos usually doesn’t include having a lazy morning. Chasing the best light of the day and snoozing the alarm or having 2nd and 3rd breakfast don’t really combine. It wasn’t any different the next morning I woke up in Engelberg at the Spannort Inn Hotel. After gulping down 2 black coffees, taking off early to my next destination felt like a sensible thing to do. My navigation system showed the valley station of Stöckalp was just under an hour drive away from where I was, so I decided to make the most out of my gained time and take the scenic route.
Because Swiss roads are like veins; built in the valleys and around the mountains, I had to drive all the way back to Lucerne and then navigate towards the village of Kerns and follow the Melchsee- Frutt signs. Melchsee -Frutt is known as a family friendly ski resort and is basically a mountain lake surrounded by 36 km of prepared ski slopes and a couple of hotels in between them. In winter, the lake freezes over and is covered with a thick layer of snow which results in an impressive and almost abstract landscape. I had the pleasure spending the night at the Frutt-Lodge hotel. The breathtaking view from my window and the delicious food made it one of the best hotels I ever visited. Bea from the local tourism agency suggested we’d take the 3 km hike from Melchsee- Frutt to Tannalp; a settlement containing a restaurant, some farms and a few chalets. As we approached Tannalp, the view was as picturesque as you’d imagine a Swiss alpine village to be. As hours went by, the harsh light dissapeared as the clouds started rolling in and it made the landscape look even better. I remember using my 70-200 lens a lot in order to crop a smaller frame and highlighting the mountains. The combination of the bright sun and reflecting snow helped me decide to use an additional ND filter. After a delicious dinner and a good night rest it was time to leave the fairy tale- like village and drive off to my next destination: Entlebuch.
Entlebuch wasn’t that far from Melchsee- Frutt if there weren’t any mountains. But again, driving from one alpine village to the next can be a time consuming activity. Entlebuch is the name of the town where I agreed to meet Entlebuch marketeer Ueli, but also the name of the surrounding area. The entire Entlebuch region (395 km²) is an UNESCO protected biosphere reserve. Needless to say, I was very excited to explore this magnificent part of central Switzerland. After meeting with Matti and making some plans for the day, it was time to head to Romoos; a small mountain village close to the Entlebuch municipality. Local guide Victor advised me to wear a raincoat and some waterproof boots because we were about to hike all the way down to the nearby canyon. I turned out to be quite the adrenaline rush. Because of the heavy rainfall, the already challenging paths were very slippery and I needed to carefully watch every step I took. After a tiring and slightly terrifying descent, we finally arrived at the mountain creek and I took some long exposure shots. Quite difficult to do when the rain is pouring down! After a couple of different angles and compositions, We both thought heading back might be a good idea. Besides, the Swiss fondue was calling our names. After a short drive in a pitch black Alpine countryside, the lights of a camp fire became visible. It meant that we arrived at Victor’s cabin. The renovated wooden stable, now used as a fall out base for outdoor activities looked just as cosy as you’d imagine it to be. The wood fired oven was already burning and ready to warm up fondue.
Sörenberg is another commonly known ski village in Central Switzerland. Also, it was my final stop before flying back to The Netherlands. Sörenberg is surrounded by massive mountaintops, with the Brienz Rothorn as the most important one. With a staggering height of 2350 m, it’s Canton Lucerne’s highest point. Lucky for me, there’s a cable car running all the way up to the summit, so there’s little effort in getting a great view and of course, an excellent photo location. While looking to the South, Lake Brienz is clearly visible if it’s not too cloudy in the valley. The massive lake stretches out all the way to the city of Interlaken. That morning, I wasn’t the only person that planned to take the first gondola up the mountain. To my surprise, there were a lot of skiers and snowboarders that were trying their luck on the steep slopes of the mountain. It was a spectacular sight to see them smoothly working their way down.
Switzerland was amazing. A dreamlike winter landscape with beautiful vistas. Living in what probably is the flattest country in the world myself, getting around the locations and finding good compositions to photograph was pretty challenging, especially when there’s a lot of snow. However I’m quite satisfied with the photos I took, overall. The only thing left for me to do is to return in a different season and shoot completely different photos in different conditions.