Nestled carefully along the Swiss Alps is the quaint village of Gimmelwald, at an altitude of more than 1300 metres above the sea level. Perched midway on the way to the peak of Schilthorn, Gimmelwald also marks a cable car stop enroute to the summit of Schilthorn, just below Mürren. The village boasts a population of only about 150 people and its ambience is that of quiet contemplation and silence. The narrow lanes with flower valleys on either side, and a few private houses or the fewer guest houses give a glimpse of a life that is ethereal, even seemingly unreal. The picture above shows a view from the ‘valley of flowers’ into the wide expanse of the Alps skyline. It was a generally overcast sky, on that day in May 2018, and up above we missed the sharp contours of the Alps peaks, but here, can be seen the picturesque medley of mountain and valley, of human habitation and animal liberty. (Notice the free horse grazing at one end of the slide above.)
On entering the village, one notices raised structures like tree houses. These don’t seem to be abandoned, but in the carefully adorned flower pots by their sides, they remind one of the fairy tale illustrations that one reads from in early childhood. It is the same feeling of utopian calmness, of assured goodness and god’s bounty that calms the nerves and soon enough, one gets the feeling of really walking down a dream location. One’s mind naturally wonders towards tales of love, with happy endings. The camera really cannot do justice to the beauty that is in such profusion. Poetry springs automatically and one is quietened with nature’s plenty, all around. The fairy tale aura continues in the quaintly manicured shop called ‘The Honesty Shop’. Each article needs to be studied and I tried to capture all within the humble confines of the shutter.
Life goes by in its own rhythm: we see a lady tending to her garden, we see a cat lazily ambling down the lane, or playing between the feet of another passer-by, there is an occasional friendly nod and a smile, there is no noise, no angry traffic, no disharmonious curses, there is all that makes you want to court life and rejoice in its music.
There is a solitary bench up above a climb, where one would want to rest and survey the expanse. It gives the feeling of control, not of arrogance, but of joyful co-existence, with whatever there is around. The feeling is majestic, of being at one with the spirit of nature. For once, there seems to be ‘an equal music’ playing in this lap of nature! We spent about the best part of an hour in this village and while we were leaving to board the cable car to reach below, I felt that we were walking out of the picture book that we had suddenly entered, with the help of a genie!