Two days in the Swiss alps

My name is Ran Benazra and I’m a 25 year old designer and artist based in Jerusalem, Israel. I’m currently fascinated by cartography, motion design and printmaking. My work is inspired by nature and exploration, I try to adjust my schedule to find some time for journeys which feed my creation and get my brain working.

Since I’m from a small desert town in the southern part of Israel, I was mesmerized and fascinated by everything that surrounded me.

I spent a semester at ZHdK, Zurich (Visual Communication). One of the main reasons I picked Zurich was the easy access to nature and the mountains – the Alps are right there. This wasn’t my first time in the area, we took a ski vacation in the French Alps when I was a kid. That was my first encounter with high mountains and snowy valleys. Since I’m from a small desert town in the southern part of Israel, I was mesmerized and fascinated by everything that surrounded me. I knew I had to come back some day.
As soon as I got there, I started looking around. Ütliberg, the local Hausberg, is a small “mountain” (869m) on the west side of the city. It instantly became a favorite spot of mine. It takes just a short hike or even shorter train ride to get to the top. Every time I hiked up the mountain, I tried going south in order to get a better view of the Alps, looming in the distance. When I had some time off from school, I rented a car to do some more exploring. First I drove to Lucerne, a town not that far off Zurich, early in the morning. Everything was still covered with heavy morning fog. I intended hiking Lucerne’s Hausberg Pilatus but it was packed with other hikers. I opted for Rigi instead, on the opposite shore of the lake.

Hiking up, you could see the vegetation adjusting to the altitude. A lush temperate forest gave way to dense conifers quite quickly – sunlight was struggling to pierce the canopy. Some clearings, probably farmland, dotted the hike up, letting me bask in the sunlight even if for just a moment. The path became more rocky as I went up. Rigi gave some spectacular views over blue lakes below and some snow covered peaks in the far distance. It was a bright sunny day and blue haze covered the mountain tops.

Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Bernese Oberland was another area of exploration and I’m glad I had the chance to go there. Switzerland is not a very big country, and driving along for a couple of hours you might just find yourself in a different country. After a taking a wrong turn I was surrounded by signs in Italian along the side of the road and realized that I ventured too far south.

It was a kind of happy mistake.

It was a kind of happy mistake. The views along the way were stunning; rugged mountains covered with patches of snow still lingering from the last winter stood in stark contrast to orange rocks. Lakes here and there added the color blue to the picture.

After a quick stop at sunny St Moritz, I headed towards the Furka Pass. A combination of scenic views, curvy roads and little villages. I stopped by the Hotel Furkablick for a quick leg stretch and continued to a beautiful spot overlooking the snowy peaks of Schreckhorn and Mittlelhorn. Another curvy road and I was down by the valley of Lauterbrunnen. The trees took over while I drove down through villages, crop fields and and cows everywhere.

Because of the fateful wrong turn, I got to my destination late in the day. Too late to hike up. So instead of going by foot, I took the cable car up Kleine Scheidegg where I got my first full view of the breathtaking Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Big, rugged and rocky mountains covered with glaciers and colored with the shades of grey stood in front of me. You could hear avalanches crackling and thundering in the distance. Once I got there, the sun had already started setting down, and the three headed ridge in front of me was bright orange. I had some candy and sat down waiting for the train back down – it was a perfect finish for a long day.

Words and images by Ran Benazra