The trip to Zurich, Switzerland was long but relatively painless. I went Barcelona to Figures (still Spain), to Nimes (France), to Lyon to Geneva to the Zurich airport where my wonderful host Erica picked me up. Little did I know I was joining a line of interfamily visiting between my family and Erica’s. Apparently way back when, when my dad did a bit of Europe he also stayed with Erica in Zurich. Also, when Erica’s kids visited the U.S. they stayed with my Dad’s parents and of course, Erica has also visited my grandparents in upstate New York. So I was just next in line to make the trip across the pond.
I must say, Switzerland got a good grip of me and I’ll be coming back sometime*. Erica brought me to the city center of Zurich on the Saturday and it was packed with people basking in the glory of the incredible weather. Zurich is a hilly city with a river flowing through it. It’s set on a beautiful expansive lake and on a clear day you can see the Alps towering in the background. Zurich also has a fair number of Swiss banks, Swiss watch stores, and Swiss army knife stores. But, I guess that makes sense. Erica also had bought some Swiss cheese for me which was a smart idea considering I LOVE Swiss cheese.
We wandered around Zurich a bit, checking out most of the main sights, and then headed back to meet with Erica’s daughter Karen and her husband for dinner. We went out to an incredibly nice and delicious restaurant for dinner and I had a great time talking with Karen on a myriad of topics. Both the food and company were wonderful.
The next day was a bit of a relaxing/work day although Erica and I did go on a mini trip to the Rhinefall, a beautiful waterfall on the Rhine River. I definitely have a soft spot for waterfalls. I’d go to every one if I could. Ever since I did a school project in 6thgrade on Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe I’ve loved waterfalls. Or maybe I always loved waterfalls and picked Zimbabwe because of it… hmmm, I couldn’t tell you.
Anyway, Monday was my last full day in Switzerland and Erica and I decided it would be best for me to go out on a bit of a day trip to see more of Switzerland. The final itinerary was set as Luzern, Interlaken and Bern. This turned out to be a great choice. The weather continued to be fantastic in Switzerland and my favorite city of the three was Luzern. It isn’t a very big city by any means but it had charm to boot. It had old wooden bridges with paintings of the city’s history, castle’s overlooking the area, a large castle like wall encircling part of old town, a huge lake, mountains jetting out of nowhere in the background, and one of my favorite spots was a cliff wall with a large lion carved into it and a pond at the bottom. It seemed perfect for a sunny picnic or just a relaxing spot to sit and ponder plights heading your way.
Maybe the best part of the day trip was the train ride from Luzern to Interlaken. The views were magnificent. I ended up opening the train windows and sticking myself out to get some cool pictures of the train. Once in Interlaken I walked through the town a bit but didn’t do much else. First of all, I didn’t have much time, but second, I wasn’t too impressed by Interlaken. Yes, the mountain views were magical, but at the same time it seemed very touristy and just filled with hotels. If I had had more time, a trip up the mountains would have been ideal but I will save that trip for next time.
Next, I took a quick train to my final stop in the capital city of Bern. The parts I saw were beautiful and had a lot of personality. It probably helped being there during a beautiful sunset. The river Bern is set on oxbows and within that oxbow is the main old city center set high atop a plateau of sorts. I’m not sure if that’s the correct geological term, but that’s what I’ll go with. This location created wonderful views of the river below from the edges of the plateaued city. So, to put them in some sort of order, I’d say of the three Luzern was my favorite followed by Bern and then Interlaken. However, this is relative to each other. Relative to other cities, they were all stunning and I have to say Switzerland is spoiled with its natural beauty.
*I’ll be coming back to Switzerland because going in mid-April left me in between the two big activities I wanted to take part in: skiing and bungy jumping. It was too late for the former and the specific bungy jump I have planned for Switzerland, off the Verszasca dam, which you may have seen done in the movie Goldeneye by James Bond in the opening scene, doesn’t open until May… Anyone want to join me for either?
[Because there were so many cities covered in this one post I’m adding too many pictures. Switzerland’s worth it… The rest of the pictures are in the Switzerland link under Photography]