The whole world is talking about Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes-A Game of Shadows and I am particularly raving about the most charming Dr.Watson (Jude Law). The film is said to be based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Final Problem’ and after watching the film I fondly remembered my trip to Meiringen.
This was perhaps one of the most beautiful places of Switzerland but least publicized and occupying a large part of its beauty was the Reichenbach Falls, the place that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose as a backdrop of his story ‘The Final Problem’ and decided to kill Sherlock Holmes in an encounter with the infamous Dr.Moriarty.
Reichenbach was an astonishing beauty of nature followed by Aareschulucht; the gorge of the river Aare. We reached Meiringen by a train from Interlaken that would finally go up to Luzern. A quiet and sleepy little town, one could never realize what lay in it. The tourist office is right next to the station and we picked up a train and a bus schedule. The public transport is extremely organized in the entire country and very naturally the bus drove in to the bus stop just adjacent to the station in its exact time and we boarded it to get dropped at the base of the Reichenbach Falls.
A small funicular service further took us up to the mid of the fall. It was a steep and scary ride. As the carriage rode up, the path down below gradually disappeared behind the dense forests and slowly came in the roar of the fall. Before we saw the waterfall, we heard it; a muffled growl, coming from somewhere in the mountain much ahead of us.
The funicular stopped at the mid station from where there was a full view of the majestic water as it cascaded down steep in the rock, forcing its way through. We walked up and leaned on the half-wall; the only barrier between the Falls and us, looking down to view this unique cascade as it gushed its white and frothy way into the valley down below to meet its river. The silver droplets fell on our faces; we could touch the water, as if some invisible sprinkler was set up in its slowest mode. Marvellous it was!
Sherlock Holmes was there to greet us; a huge cutout of him with the face left empty. Therefore we could climb up a small step to reach up to him and fit our faces to the cut; sort of, Sherlock Holmes, me too. A little ahead of us was the pathway that led up to the top of the fall. The steep pathway with occasional logs serving as stairs lead up beside the falls through the mossy forests up to the top end. All the way up we heard the various notes of the thundering water and saw different views of the torrent of water roaring off the edge and tumbling down the black rock.
Finally we reached the top; the water looked beautifully snowy and frothy and from the top end went a terribly scary yet very tempting narrow path that led to the viewing platform. It was almost like being mid-air, amidst clouds, water and the roar, which we had become used to by then. The place where Holmes and Moriarty were engaged in a fistfight is marked with a large, white star. At this height, the experience and the view was breathtaking. It was like being in an aircraft amongst white and silver clouds, with views, extending hundreds of miles in all directions. Too beautiful to be explained in writing! Spending some time here we decided to return to the mid base. The descent was enjoyable too as we headed downwards hearing the Swiss cowbells in the mountain air.