My trip to Switzerland was different from my previous adventures. The biggest factor being that everything in this country is expensive. Minimum wage in Switzerland is 25CHF. On a tour, my group was informed the CH does not stand for cheese. Also, the francs are not made of chocolate.
Two days in each city would have been enough. I planned my tip out too long, but I made the most of it by booking last minute tours.
The first tour I booked was a simple trip to Liechtenstein because, if you’re that close, you might as well check it off the list.
The second tour was an 11 hour adventure into the mountains. We took a bus and several trains to reach the top of Jungfraujoch. The views were so amazing, we started taking turns switching seats so everyone could get a picture. Half way through we were all piling up into a 12sqft area. A good way to make friends.
After a few of us (solo travelers) had introduced ourselves to each other, we quickly built this tightly knit group. We stayed together for the duration of the tour. It kind of felt like we had known each other for years and came on this trip together. We took a lot of fun photos together.
When the tours had ended, I was roaming the city, searching for a good meal. Most meals were expensive unless you went somewhere like Sternen Grill. They have variations of bratwurst or curry wurst. These dishes are great, but I was looking to break up the monotony.
I found a small gem at the edge of town. A Japanese ramen bar called Saku. They are known for their signature dish, miso ramen. This was the best meal I had during my stay in Zurich.
A lot of time was spent walking and exploring the town to burn off all the food and beer. There were a lot of photo worthy buildings; mostly churches.
There was one must-visit shop. While everyone was going to Lindt, I was going to Laderach. It’s more unique and not as commercialized as Lindt. I must have visited the store five times during my visit. The francs are not made of chocolate, but mine might as well have been.
The day after my Jungfraujoch tour I headed to Lucerne. Lucerne was smaller than Zurich, but it made it easier to take in the mountain backdrop. I arrived too early to check in to the hotel, so I took a walk around the lake. I made it half way to Meggen before turning back.
That night I met up with MalVika and Christina, the friends I made on the Jungfraujoch tour. We explored the city, going from restaurant to restaurant, trying different beers and small plates. What better way to experience Lucerne? Each place was uniquely different from the others. At our last stop, a Mexican cantina, the bartender poured us a free shot, but I’m convinced it had zero alcohol.
At the end of the night we said our goodbyes, but promised to keep in touch.
This train ticket was a last minute decision while in Lucerne. It was a three hour ride and that was my limit.
On the train to Geneva, a gentleman introduced me to the local culture by repeatedly blowing snot rockets into the trash can. Thankfully, he exited the train at the first stop.
When I finally made it to Geneva, there was one thing I had to before anything else. A three mile walk through a couple small towns took me across the French border to Ambilly. There wasn’t much to see there, so I bought the worst chocolate milkshake ever and checked out the “downtown” area. Now I can say I’ve been to France, if for only 30 minutes.
I walked three miles back to Geneva to explore. The city had a beautiful view of a large lake. There was an enormous fountain near the docks that posed perfectly for pictures. A boat was passing by so I took advantage of included it in the photo. I can’t tell if he was giving me the finger.
After all the walking, looking at architecture and capturing obscene boatmen, I stopped for a small meal, then headed back to Lucerne.
BACK IN LUCERNE
Now that my new friends had all gone home, I was by myself again, but made the most of the remaining days.
I woke up early the next day to check out the nine towers that bordered the northern half of the city. The towers led me to the Lion Monument. It was nice to see everything early, before everyone else was awake.
In the afternoon, I took a tour to Mount Titlis. It was raining all morning in Lucerne, so we were expecting to see snowfall on the mountain.
I buddied up with a group of three from Toronto on my tour. We took the gondola to the first stop to go sledding a few times. Here is a first person video of me sledding/tubing.
We weren’t really dressed for the occasion, so we made our way up the 360 gondola to the main building. From there we visited the glacier cavern. The top floor featured a bridge called the Cliff Walk.
Only two of us were brave enough to walk to it in the blinding snow. We walked through snow of varying depths (1ft-3ft) and finally made it to the ice covered bridge. There wasn’t much of a view with the snow and fog, but it was a challenging and fun experience.
The walk back was ten times harder since we had to walk into the wind. The ice and snow was piercing our eyes, making it hard to see where we were walking. I kept walking into knee deep piles of snow.
We managed to make it back in one piece, but we looked like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Even though the weather was rough, I think it was worth it to tough it out and experience the mountain.
My last day, I took a boat on the lake to Weggis, simply for the mountain view. The next morning I had to go home. I was leaving Lucerne the same day the carnival began. It started at 4AM, so I was able to catch a little part of it while walking to the train station.
Overall, it was a pretty great trip. I probably ate more chocolate and pretzels than anything, but I don’t regret it. At first, I regretted booking my trip for too long, but I never would have met my new friends. I met a lot of people on this trip and they were the best part.