Welcome to a new series of articles on our Travel adventures and eating out in various cities around the world. I deiced to start off with Engelberg in Central Switzerland, one of my favorite holiday destinations. Engelberg is the leading mountain resort (Urner Alps) in central Switzerland and the ski terrain is largely for advanced skiers, and although there are some easy places to ski, beginners should be wary of some challenging pistes. It is a snow-sure ski resort, with an unusually long season, generally opening for skiing at the start of October and remaining open until the end of May.
We have been to Engelberg twice and enjoyed ourselves throughly both times. The kids love Mt. Titlis with great fun activities for kids and is famous as the site of the world’s first revolving cable car. If you are flying into Switzerland, you may want to board in Interlaken and then take the train to Engelberg since we found the hotels to be quite expensive and not as nice as in Interlaken.
If you are travelling with kids, then Mt. Titlis is a must. Once you take the Rotair from Engelberg to the top of Mt. Titlis, the fun begins. The aerial cable car to the summit of Mt. Titlis offers one of the most panoramic views of mountain peaks and glaciers. During the last 600 meters of the ascent the gondola lift revolves once by 360 degrees and gives visitors an unrestricted 360-degree view of the alpine landscape.
Once you get to the top, you would take to a skylift to cross from the Rotair portal to the actual ski start area. Here you can either chose to play with the snow, take the rubber dinghy slide down a steep ice slope, go in pairs down the slow on mini sledges or if you are an experienced skier, you can go for the regular ski slopes.
Kids would love the rubber dinghy and the mini sledges. On first glance the steep icy slope may look a bit scary but it is quite safe. In fact I was quite nervous going down the slope in my rubber dinghy but it was a ton of fun!
After Titlis it was back to Engelberg where we were on the hunt for a good place to eat. The receptionist at the hotel we were staying (Schweizerhoff) recommended we try the Aubergine Restaurant in the Village Street in the center of Engelberg. We strolled through the streets of Engelberg where every thing is leisurely and relaxed. The streets were not crowded with tourists and the weather was pleasant. Finally we reached Aubergine and were taken to our seats by a waitress who knew not a word of English. The menus were not in English too and this made it a challenge. We asked her about a couple of items on the menu and she looked at us clueless. In fact I thought that she was getting a little irritated by our questions.
Finally we ordered our lunch. The restaurant has predominantly Italian dishes with a few Swiss ones thrown in. I ordered the Roasted chicken breast on Champignonsrahmsauce (with rice and carrot flowers) and Bhavani ordered the safe Risotto with Swiss cheese. The kids ordered some wood fired Chicken pizza and some spagetti. The food was surprisingly authentic Italian and since we were famished by that time, we chomped it down rapidly.
After lunch we went around Engelberg shopping. The town is quite small – at least the areas where tourists would normally go and not many people were around. Most of the shops were closed because it was a Sunday but the few that were open had exorbitant rates! I was looking to buy a nice coat and could not find one that would not cost less than a Tag Heur watch! But the sales people in all the shops we went to were very friendly.
We were back at the hotel in the late afternoon to rest our aching feet and get some R&R. The kids played on the laptop while I and Bhavani tried to watch some TV but could not find any English channels. We ended up watching a movie on iTunes called Unknown. After the movie it was time for dinner and we ventured out into the town once again. This time we ended up at the Yucatan Restaurant, an apres-ski venue with a daily happy hour, DJ or live music, there is a restaurant with a young, international cuisine, from burgers to filet, and it is the bar at the wildest parties are celebrated and the best live bands play.
For starters we ordered the Selección Yucatán (Selection with Spring Rolls, croquets with sweetcorn, Grilled Chicken Quesadillas, vegetable Quesadillas and Tortilla Chips) and for the mains we went for Lamm (Tender lamb rack gratinated with chili-garlic-coriander-crust, served on fried vegetables and potatoes) and Ensalada Variada (Mixed Salad). The lamb was superb but the rest was so-so. The kids were tired so they were not too keen on the food. I and Bhavani, being foodies did enjoy the dinner.
One word of caution when eating out in Engelberg is to double check you bill before paying. The restaurants have a tendency to either charge incorrectly or double charge and then apolgize if caught out.
Engelberg was part of a larger trip through Europe and I will be writing about more cities in the coming weeks. If you are ever coming to Switzerland, you can not miss Engelberg and Titlis. If you are driving to Engelberg then all the better. The spectacular views of the alps are breathtaking and you would want to go back again and again.