I am not exaggerating when I say that Switzerland is probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. It is just spectacular, and was the perfect location to spend a leisurely long weekend. Riding the train through that amazing landscape, I could not only picture myself coming back, but living there someday. Time will tell!
We went to two places- Geneva and Montreux- so pictures are loosely in that order:Highlights:
- We were based for the weekend in a hostel in Geneva, so we spent our first full day in town. I wish the weather would have cooperated a little more- it was quite cold and rainy- but Geneva is still lovely!
- For breakfast on our first day, we went to a little “restaurant” literally on a dock on the lake called Bains des Pâquis. I use the term loosely because it was a cafeteria-style concept: go to take-out window (run by a very eccentric but very friendly lady), order your breakfast, and take it with you on a tray to a little one-room building with picnic tables (or outside, which I’m sure is just glorious in the summer). It was nautical-rustic and grungy but that’s what made it so quirky in all the right ways. We also shared some authentic bircher muesli- a Swiss staple- which was just delicious. And you really are literally on the water, so the view was unbeatable, in spite of the fog and rain.
- We explored St. Pierre Cathedral in old town Geneva in the late morning, and realized at 11:55am that we could climb to the top of the tower. Thighs a-burnin’, we raced up some crazy, winding stone stairs, passed the incredible bells inside, and literally opened the tower door to a miraculous view as the noon bells began chiming. It was perfect.
- A couple of other things Geneva is known for: really rich fashion and really rich chocolate. We explored a bit of both, though I only spent money on the latter.
- On to Montreux! Geneva is beautiful in its own way, but there really is no comparison to Montreux. Utterly gorgeous. We asked the hostel receptionist where he would recommend we go if we wanted a taste of the Alps for a day trip, thinking that we would be heading to Lausanne, but he did not even hesitate before saying Montreux. He was so right. The town is coastal, with an incredible view of the entire lake on your right, but look left, and there are the Alps.
- We wandered around the cobblestone streets in old town, which is a hike, since Montreux is basically built into a hill. We were practically giddy with the beauty of this place and the “Ah-I can’t-believe-we’re-in-Switzerland” moment. I did dance around a little, which is something on my bucket list, though not exactly what I had in mind when I wrote that down a while back. We’ll call that task half-complete.
- The afternoon was spent at Chateau Chillon, which is a medieval castle that sits on the lake. It was crowded with kids and families- it was Easter, after all- but so cool. It’s not set quite like a museum, but visitors can really explore the entire building almost as if it were their own home, secret passageways and all. It was creepy, but going down to the dungeons where Lord Byron wrote some poetry was pretty amazing.
- The train-ride back. The next day we headed home, and the train was the perfect way to say goodbye to beautiful Switzerland, as it wound through the hills and countryside. And I made a vow I would return. Someday!
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