Our next stop: Switzerland! Switzerland was at the top of both Bec’s and my bucket lists so we were both really excited to start exploring as soon as possible.
Our flight from Amsterdam was delayed so we missed our connecting flight from Munich by mere minutes. We finally arrived in Switzerland a few hours later than our original arrival time. We were greeted by our friend at Zurich HB central train station (tip: there are first class and second class tickets. Always go for the second-class option. There really is no difference and you save a lot of money. We made the rookie error of paying for first class tickets from the airport to the central station. We learnt our lesson very quickly!)
We were really lucky to have some great friends living in Switzerland who were able to put us up for the time we were there (not to mention home cooked meals every night and some great insight to what its like living in Switzerland). Most people we know that had been to Switzerland really loved it there but everyone always seemed to mention how expensive everything was. We assumed people were exaggerating a bit but boy were we wrong! For example an average meal for two adults in at Helvti Cafe would put you back about $140 AUD we’re talking a hamburger, a drink each and a shared dessert. Saying that it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.
We only had three days in Zurich so wanted to spend our time wisely. The first day (after some directions from our friends) we made our way through the old town of Zurich and as it was early a lot of shops hadn’t opened yet giving us free reign of all the little cobblestone laneways before the hoards of locals and tourist jostled their way through. After making our way through the maze of streets and sitting down for a quick bite we ended up taking the ferry for a round trip of Lake Zurich which gave us another perspective of the town and also the opportunity to cruise the crystal clear blue water.
I like to take pride in the fact that we can usually grasp how the local public transport systems work pretty quickly. The day before our friends had explained what trains we needed to take to get us to the train stop near their house. We had two options: the S24 and the S8.
We saw the S24 was to arrive shortly so we called our friend to let her know we were on our way and jumped on the train just in the nick of time (knowing our friend would be at the other end to take us back to the house). Unfortunately the train was going in the opposite direction and we very quickly found ourselves surrounded by farms in the countryside of Zurich. What was meant to be a 14minute train ride quickly turned into an hour and 30 and we felt terrible knowing our friend was waiting to collect us. We decided not to ask for a lift from then on!
Day 2: We had a day trip booked through Viator and The Best of Switzerland to go to Lucerne and Mt Pilatus. The trip included a quick stop off at Lucerne to explore and then a cable car up Mount Pilatus. From there we were to take the worlds steepest cogwheel train back down the mountain and a ferry back to Lecurne.
The day we booked the day trip was very wet. Our tour guide Marcel helped us pray that the weather would be different at the mountain. The rain did go away but visibility wasn’t great from the top of the mountain. We did get some glimpses of stunning views down to Lecurne and we were pretty stoked that there was still snow at the top.
The top of the mountain is used by daredevils’ slack lining between the two “Dragon Ears” as they call it. At 2100km above sea level it made anyone that was watching heart skip a beat.
It was a very long day and by half way through the ferry ride back to Lecurne I was personally ready to get to get back to Zurich (not just because I was tired, but old mate Marcel (our tour guide) loved the sound of his own voice and after a full 8 hours of his chit chat I was ready to say goodbye!)
The major highlight for myself though was Lauterbrunnen, which took us three trains and 2 and half hours to get there. The ticket lady at the train station couldn’t quite understand why we would spend so long on a train only to have to come back the same distance in the afternoon. But it was well worth it!
Lauterbrunnen has around 72 waterfalls around the town, which can be seen as the train starts to enter the outer part of town. When we arrived it was raining slightly, nothing serious just continuous annoying rain. With heavy clouds above you could barely make out the top of the cliffs where the water was falling. We pushed on through the rain and disappointment of the weather and tried to capture the beauty of this magical town. It blew our mind that the locals got to wake up to the picture perfect view each morning. It really did look like something out of a storybook.
There is nothing more exciting to Bec and I than animals. And after walking for 2 hours we found ourselves coming across more and more farms and somehow managed to spend a good 30minutes taking photos of cows and a goats. The cow selfie that we took was priceless!
After lunch, with only an hour until our train was due to depart, the clouds decided to lift around the valley and opened up to clear blue skies revealing the true breathtaking beauty of the place. With limited time to capture the scenery, with this new light, I raced around to get the best shot possible.
If you ever get a chance to come to Switzerland, Lauterbrunnen is the place to go and spend a night. I truly have no words to explain how amazing this place is and if I stayed longer I would have paraglide off the mountains, but on a trip like this time isn’t your friend.
Also while you’re over there if you see a Tripod sitting under a seat on a train in Switzerland please return it to me… cheers!