Five nights in Switzerland is not enough, but it’s all we had. When you’re a part-time traveler with a full time career you take what you can get!!
We landed in Zurich very early, picked up our rental car from Hertz and hit the road. Neither Mike, nor myself, speak any German, Italian or French (all spoken in the country) but, we made do. We lucked out with the multi-lingual service workers and friendly locals. Our first overnight stop was Geneva. However, we could not pass up the opportunity to see Bern, Switzerland’s old national capital. We walked the cobblestone streets for a few hours, admiring the gardens and historical architecture before hitting the road once more.
We continued on our road trip in search of Geneva. We passed a variety of sights including fields of sunflowers, rolling green pastures, quaint villages and even an IKEA Furniture Store.
We made it to Geneva with a few hours of sunlight and stamina left. We ended our first day in Switzerland with strolls through Geneva’s streets, past the water front and finally to a sidewalk cafe.
Leaving Geneva’s allure the next morning was difficult, but eased a bit by the beauty of the Swiss and French roadways. Wait, French? Yes, we inadvertently left Switzerland to drive along the southern boarder of Lake Geneva stopping in Evian, France (the home of Evian Water). Clearly, the border patrols and markers are less visible here!
We continued through France, only knowing we were back in Swiss territory when an armed guard, standing under a covered booth waved us by. We couldn’t believe the ease and trust! We lunched in Montreaux – one of the most picturesque towns I’ve ever seen. There was a rainbow of blooms against turquoise lake water, with a background of the Alps in the background of every view. The lawns were emerald and manicured, with brightly colored hotels and businesses dotting the mountainside town. Everywhere I looked I saw post card-worthy scenes!
The last leg of our drive during this day (yes, we covered a lot of ground in one day) was to Zermatt. Zermatt is a ski town tucked high in the Alps and home to the Matterhorn.
We drove the hairpin roads to Zermatt and parked at the station to catch the train that takes you all the way up to Zermatt. Correction: we innocently overlooked “do not drive any further signs” that, in our defense, were not in English. (That being said, a red exclamation point and red circle and slash should have been universal … silly Americans!) 😀 Needless to say, we turned around and drove back down the mountain. THEN, we parked at the train station and rode the train that takes you all the way up to Zermatt.
We stayed at the Best Western in Zermatt and were pleasantly surprised with the huge, clean room. We even had a decent view of the Matterhorn! After settling in, we followed the concierge’s recommendation and ate at Du Pont as we wanted to eat fondue. Delicious!
Much to our delight, we were in Zermatt for the First of August celebrations (similar to 4th of July festivities in America). We wandered the cobblestone listening to live music, eating delicious pastries (The Bangledesh was my absolute fav!) and people watching. The energy was positive, lighthearted and patriotic.
The next morning we bought train tickets to go up to the Matterhorn viewing center. We were not ready for the majesty we were about to experience.
The many different angles and perspectives to see the impressive Matterhorn from can keep one occupied for hours, upon hours. However, our tight timeline forced us to venture back down the mountains via train. We loaded our bags and continued our road trip. Our next stop was Lucerne. We couldn’t resist a stop for some delicious and FRESH cheese from a store right off of the main road.
The roads were well marked and well-paved, yet intense!
We hunted for a hotel in Lucerne and called it a night. We woke early and headed straight for Mount Pilatus. Entertaining our inner-kid we rode the gondola as far up the mountain as possible this particular day (due to weather) and went tobogganing. It was a thrill and great laugh!
Unfortunately, it was time to move on once again. Our final destination in Switzerland was Zurich for two whole nights. But in order to get there, we drove some of the prettiest roadways yet. Our scenic route took us through Interlaken, a small town (you guessed it) between two lakes! Although Interlaken is widely known for it’s para-gliding perfection, we were not brave enough to give it a go. Would you be breve enough?
We reached Zurich in time to check-in and grab dinner. The next day began with an early start in order to soak up as much of Zurich as possible. We strolled Old Zurich and found chocolatiers, make-shift markets, mom-and-pop shops and high-end luxury stores. We ate lunch at an outdoor cafe and soaked in the sights and sounds of the historic city.
We reluctantly closed our time in Switzerland. The ride to airport was one of almost-agony as we were both absolutely smitten with Switzerland. We adore the people, lifestyles, flowers, mountains and overall appeal. We will not forget this one … we’re already talking of our return!
We didn’t have a boat load of time, but the time we did have, we used wisely! It was a non-stop, jam-packed vacation, but hey! We’ve gotta get to work at some point! 😉
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR TRIP, OR CREATING YOUR OWN ADVENTURES IN SWITZERLAND? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to help!