11 May Travel Diaries: Switzerland 2015
If you read my last Travel Diaries post about our time in Germany, then you know that the next leg of our mom and daughters travel adventure was a tour called The Best of Switzerland. We had scheduled a bus from Nuremberg to Zürich to meet up with the tour which should have worked perfectly. We did not expect it to be the reason for the worst day of our entire trip.
Long story short, the bus broke down and we ended up on a tiny bus speeding along the Autobon at 200km/hr to the Munich airport. From there, we were taken to a bus depot to find out that all other busses to Zürich were full. The only way we could connect with our tour was to take the train. After a stressful and frustrating day, we made our way to Zürich to meet up with the rest of the group. We were able to get a decent sleep before our tour adventure began.
The first day of our tour started with a walking tour of Zürich. I loved the architecture and all of the small cafés. The tour ended at the famous Sprüngli chocolate factory where we each got to taste one delicious truffle of our choice. This later became a tradition on our tour.
We then headed to Vaduz, Leichtenstein. The bus dropped us off at a very touristy area with lots of expensive restaurants, but we decided to explore for a little bit after making a point to get our passports stamped. We found a quaint little café where several locals were, and took our lunch outside to eat with a view of the mountains.
On our way to the next destination, we stopped at the top of a winding mountain pass called the Julierpass, 2284 metres above sea level. It was one of three mountain passes we stopped on during our tour, but by far the most beautiful one. It was our first up-close glimpse of the mountainous landscape and it was truly breathtaking!
We stopped for the night in St. Moritz. St. Moritz is is a luxurious and ritzy town nestled between mountains and surrounding a gorgeous lake. The three of us walked all the way around the Lake and up the hill into the centre of the town. We stopped for truffles at a local chocolatier and found a nice spot to have a cone of gelato. Delicious!
The next day our journey took us along several scenic lakes. We drove through Italy and stopped for some pictures at Lake Como. Other may have not liked the overcast day but I couldn’t get over how beautifully moody it made Lake Como look!
Our destination for the day was Lugano, Switzerland. After dropping off our luggage at the hotel, my mom, sister and I walked downtown by the waterfront, did some window shopping and stopped by the Lugano Art and Culture Centre. Being an arts major, I loved seeing Switzerland’s artistic history.
The next day we took a small detour through Italy agin, and we opted in to an excursion to Isola Bella for a tour of the Borromeo Palace. We all found the tour pretty underwhelming, but that may have been partially because of the treacherous weather, short boat ride and a tour guide who was very difficult to understand. However, the gardens were gorgeous and we found a cute little lunch spot by some vendors where we each found a cashmere scarf to bring home.
From Stresa, we went to a village called Täsch, where we grabbed our overnight bags and took a train up to Zermatt. Zermatt is a car-free town with gorgeous views of the Matterhorn. That night, we walked along the shops and had dinner with some Australian members from our tour. It was incredibly freezing that night!
The next day, the rest of our tour went on an excursion to the Gornergrat and Matterhorn. My mom, sister and I were the only ones not going, but we were totally fine without it. We were able to get beautiful shots of the mountain from Zermatt, and spent our whole day walking all around the beautiful village. While waiting for the rest of the tour group at the train station, we discovered that their Matterhorn tours were delayed, so we had some extra time to peruse some shops. We all ended up purchasing two cow figurines which are my favourite souvenirs from our trip. I love having them in my home, because I always remember our time together.
Our destination from Zermatt was Montreux on Lake Geneva. Because of the late Matterhorn tour, our time here was cut short. We dropped off our bags at the hotel and walked along the beautiful lake before dinner. There were so many beautiful art installations and flowers along the waterfront path. Later, we enjoyed the gorgeous sunset from the hotel restaurant.
The next day, we headed to Berne, the capital of Switzerland. We started with a walking tour of the city, which ended at the Zytglogge, a clock tower with a 15th-century astronomical clock. We were there just before the hour and waited for the bells and bell-striker show as the clock chimed. Then we went to a country farm house for a delicious home cooked Swiss meal.
After our meal, my mom asked out tour guide to stop the bus for a few photos with cows. Our next stop was Interlaken as we had opted for a waterfall excursion. We found our time here was limited but it was a beautiful day! There were 10 waterfalls in beautiful caves on the mountainside. I wasn’t able to get great pictures but it was a fun experience.
Our stop for the night was in Lucerne. We arrived quite late so we only had time to find a spot to eat before heading to bed.
The next day, the entire tour went to the top of Mount Pilatus via the world’s steepest railway. Watching as we travelled above the clouds was such an incredible experience!
When we got to the top, we had an option to climb a small mountain to get to the highest point of Mount Pilatus. I was on such a high from the train ride that I immediately stepped forward to do it. When I arrived at the top before others from the tour, I noticed a lone gentleman looking at something from a lookout point. I took out my camera gear and as he saw me approaching, he directed my attention to a lone goat on the side of the mountain. As we watched, three more goats came into view. I thought it was amazing that those animals either travelled to or lived at such a high altitude. As more people from our tour arrived, the noise frightened the goats and they left.
After we got back from Mount Pilatus, we had a walking tour of Lucerne. We had some free time before our farewell dinner and did some shopping. The dinner was so much fun and everyone from the tour exchanged their email information to keep in touch. It was a really nice end to such a great trip!
I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to travel to such an amazing place. Going with my mom and sister made it even more special. We made so many great memories I know will last forever!