Seriously, the Swiss have it all! A great economy, breathtaking nature, clean cities and the country has 4 official languages (French, German,Italian and Romanisch).
Now before you ask, yes, everything in Switzerland is expensive except postcards and toilets (free). Just to give you an idea, I bought a small cup of Bircher muesli from Starbucks and that was CHF 5.90 (AUD $9). Hence we decided to do Switzerland on the cheap, the really really really cheap. As we still had our campervan we stocked up on as many canned foods and instant noodles as we could in Germany which meant that we spent hardly anything by the end of our 5 day trip in Switzerland. All up including petrol we spent about CHF 400.
Before I forget, I have never seen so many Asian tourists in my life. It seemed that no matter where we went there were bus loads upon bus loads of them in their bright jackets and selfie-sticks. We often wondered if we could just join a group and see if anyone would notice, however the fact we couldn’t understand a thing may call our bluff.
So here’s how the trip went….
This has got to be one of our favourite places in the entire world. This town sits between two incredibly huge blue lakes hence the name ‘betweenthe lakes’. It is considered the adventure sport capital of Switzerlandwith the main activities being paragliding and mountain hiking. Having experienced a case of heavy dry reaching during a paragliding incident in Nepal, we decided to give it a miss this time and opt for hiking overtwo beautiful days. The first hike was from Laubrenan to Wanger which was a steep 3.5 hour return trip in the scorching heat (25 degs so I may be exaggerating about scorching). The second hike was an early morning one to reach the highest point in interlaken, a mini-mountain called ‘Harder Klum’. Surprisingly we were one of very few tourists who opted for the hike, instead most people took the train up (tsk tsk). We managed to get up there in about 2 hours and unfortunately because it was still early, the view was still covered by the clouds. Nevertheless it was still beautiful having the feeling of floating on clouds. There were so many other hikes we could have done so its definitely a place to revisit in the future.
We arrived on a Sunday which meant two things: street parking was free and everything is closed (about 90% of places). Thankfully there was still a free walking tour with a huge group of about 40 people. Surprisingly Geneva is not the capital of Switzerland as one would expect, that title belongs to Bern. But it is the financial capital – there are bank offices everywhere! One of the city’s main feature is the beautiful Lake Geneva which is huge and spans across several towns. During our time there we did something very unusual, we bought food. We doshed out a good CHF 9 and bought one serving of a raclette (melted cheese and boiled potatoes) and it was oh so worth it, even if it took us less than 2 mins to inhale. The next morning we visited the United Nations building which was pretty cool, I would have liked to know more about the UN’s update on the refugee crisis but unfortunately it was more of a tour about the general organisation and the building rather than their actual policies.
What a little gem this place is. Like all the Swiss cities/towns there seems to always be some body of water which forms the main attraction. It is much the same here except here there is an old wooden walkway/bridge which partially burnt down a few hundreds of years ago causing many original paintings that were displayed on the roof to be destroyed. It is from here that we took the world steepest cogwheel rail to the top ofMount Pilatus. Unfortunately I had a cold, so going up a mountain probably wasn’t the best idea, but YOLO! Once we arrived we immediately broke away from the droves of Asian tourists and did a 40 minute hike to the edge of the mountain for some spectacular views of the Alps. Definitely worth the CHF 75 we paid!
I feel like this is a city we should have spent more time in. My first impression was there is a bit of a grunge and indy scene happening here, mixed with a few crazies everywhere. Again another beautiful city separated by a slow flowing river. The city seems to be separated into an
old/traditional side to a total modern/corporate side. The town planning is absolutely shocking though because driving through the city was absolute hell with streets which were confusing and parking which cost upwards of CHF 47 per day! Despite this, we managed to enjoy our own self guided walking tour using an app Jason downloaded. From there we visited one of the oldest Chocolate stores ‘Springal’ and devoured a chocolate filled brioche muffin. That evening we decided to splurge and went to a cheese fondue restaurant where we were in heaven for the 2 hours we were there. I have never eaten so much cheese in my life! It was amazing, but our stomachs didn’t think so the next day….
Overall we absolutely loved Switzerland and are definiteily considering a trip back to snowboard on the Swiss Alps during winter. If you visit, be prepared to pay a shitload for everything or be like us a be super stingy and spend your savings on experiences instead.
Till next time
Ann & Jason xo