I’m back home after an amazing and much-needed 2 weeks away. I feel somewhat grateful as I was never part of the planning for this trip. Thanks to the power of il destino and the courage to request what is rightfully mine, I managed to tag along with my family for a trip that has been familiar in parts, a discovery in others but all in all full of good food, quality family time and 8-10hrs of sleep every night. *sigh* this is unheard of in my daily life and has probably been one of the highlights of my trip. I feel zen, restful and ready to take on Paris…but back to Switzerland for now.
We spent the first 3 days in Switzerland (CH), the land of cows, chocolate, cheese and lush greenery. This cliched description is far from a cliche as we were welcomed during landing with the majestic snow-capped mountains of the Alps and undulating fields and hills of the brightest, deepest green dotted with Swiss chalets and the cows responsible for the mouth-watering delicacies of this country. This was not my first time in Switzerland, or my second or third or fourth or fifth… My parents LOVE this country (ironic now as my N is half Swiss lol) and so on top of the fact that we spent our childhood vacations there, we return to it quite frequently.
We landed in Geneva, collected our rental car and drove straight to Neuchatel, a cute quiet town on the lake. This became our base as we explored new Swiss territory. Believe it or not there was still a small unexplored bit after all these years! We spent one day in Grindelwald; a small resort town in the Jungfrau mountains (in the Jura, in the Alps!) where we took a cable car to see a magnificent view at 1500m and where I tobogganed down the mountain for ‘weeeeee-like’ exhilarating childlike fun! There is something to be said about crisp, cold, clean mountain air combined with blue skies and sunshine that is just breathtaking! And being able to slide through that was very special. That afternoon we drove through charming lake-side roads to visit Interlaken and Bern. I love Interlaken and have strange memories of my time there as a child…of colored plastic bangles and sleep-talking. Ok, I had a colorful childhood! Bern looks and feels like an old city with its majestic town clock with steeple and its cobbled streets, archways, galleys and many small fountains where I filled and refilled my drinking bottle with delicious ice-cold mountain water.
We spent the second day in Gruyere, home of the aptly named deliciously sharp cheese. Contrary to common belief, this is not, I repeat, NOT a French cheese (as N proudly and assertively corrected me in defense of his heritage!) This is one of the most beautiful villages I have seen. Very lush, extremely quaint and adorably small. There is a small castle with gorgeous labyrinth gardens and a charming haute ville all cobbled stones, little fountains and quintessential boutique shops. Later that same afternoon we visited the lake-side towns of Vevey and Montreux where we mingled with throngs of multi-lingual faces admiring the stunning views and capturing photo after photo of the magnificent landscape. That same evening I saw N for a brief late-night rendezvouz before tucking in for just 7hrs of sleep (the shortest night on this trip, i was spoilt for sleep!) and heading back to Geneva the following morning. From there we took a flight to the mad city of Barcelona! More on that in my next post…
Switzerland is often deemed boring however I believe it is very underrated. There’s a reason this country’s economy is one of the strongest in the midst of this European crisis. There is a solidarity, morality, righteousness and an unspoken code of respect that is very admirable. I also find that those who live here have a tremendous loyalty towards it, old or young, Swiss or not. It is diverse in its beauty, an outdoor lovers paradise and relaxation at its very best. It is one of those places whose quiet, calm facade of breathtaking scenery, amazing people, luxury watches, refined bankers, impressive discipline and fine chocolate seduces you slowly and creeps up on you like change so you are under its spell before you wake up to realize that you are absolutely and utterly lovestruck.