Monday, December 2, 2013


I was thinking about what to say in this blog post for the entire trip because it's hard to put something this beautiful into words. Expect a lot of pictures; as you know, they can say a lot more than I can. I'll just start with one to blow your mind.

My dad and I said goodbye to Sara Saturday morning as she was heading back home. It was so great to have Sara visit. Even with all of our history, we were able to just have fun and explore some amazing cities. My dad and I got on the train to Switzerland shortly after she left and were ready to move on to the next great place on our trip. Colin had warned me to be prepared for how beautiful the train ride was going to be, but even still I was amazed. We got in a train that had extra big windows to allow us to see as much of the scenery as possible. My dad and I were definitely 'those people' oohing and ahhing over all the different sites.

 We arrived in Lucern early afternoon and made the short walk to our hostel. This hostel was awesome - it was called Backpackers Luzern and every room had a balcony to sit out on and enjoy the views. My dad and I bought a delicious bottle of red wine from the hostel and sat out there for a picnic of salami, cheese, and bread that we bought at the market in Frankfurt the night before. I don't think I could fully capture the view, but my jaw dropped. 

We finished our meal, bundled up, and set out to explore the city. Lucern is along Lake Lucern and the skyline is magical. We walked through the old town to their church and then to a place where an artist carved out a lion in the wall. It has some significance, but I'm blanking on it right now. We had to break for some coffee because it was literally 32 degrees out. After defrosting we went up by the castle and got some views over the city.

We went to rest up for a little bit since my dad wasn't as settled into the time change as he thought he would have been and then went to a place next door for dinner. It was called See Park and was entirely in German. I asked the waitress her recommendations and she suggested the pork schnitzel so we got that. For those that don't know my dad, he hates fried foods so I had to sell him on the schnitzel. I told him it was a pork chop pounded thin, breaded and cooked in a pan. I left out what 'cooked in a pan' actually meant and he ended up being ok with it. Phew. The waitress brought out a HUGE plate with the schnitzel, fries, and a salad and we split it up. The schnitzel was better than I had in Vienna as it was more tender, flavorful, and not dry in the slightest. The fries were squishy, just the way I like them and the salad was lightly dressed with a tangy dressing. My dad and I cleaned up our plates and walked around before heading to bed. 

The next day we decided to get up into the mountains to see some of the Alps. We went to the tourist area and decided to head up to Mt. Pilatus. We got in the gondola and started up the mountain. The first part reminded me of the gondola at Heavenly Valley, but once we got into the cable car, it was unlike I had ever seen.

Once at the top, we got a coffee and looked at the views. I finally found out how to use the panorama feature on my camera and my life is now better. I'll let the pictures tell the story for now...

We went inside and had another picnic lunch with our remaining salami, cheese, bread, and a new bottle of wine. We were sitting next to the cafeteria area so we sort of had to sneak our lunch to make sure we didn't get kicked out. Luckily, no one caught us.

We headed down the mountain, still in awe of the sights we had just witnessed. My dad and I walked around the city a bit, but, it was a Sunday, so everything was closed. We managed to find a chocolate store that was open and got hot chocolate spiked with a little baileys for me, and disarano for my dad. It was heavenly. I considered buying some of the hot chocolate mix, but at 45 Swiss franks, it was a bit out of my price range. We continued our stroll and found some more sights.

With all the stores closed, we decided to catch a boat because it was free with our eurail pass. You know what dad says, 'if it's free, it's for me'. Within moments, my dad was passed out, still not adjusted to the time change and I wondered around the boat getting more shots. Seriously, this is by far the most beautiful place I have ever been.

It was a 2 1/2 hour boat ride so we were ready for some dinner. My dad wanted Asian food (I think it was because there were so many Asian people in Switzerland, really) so I found a place in the tourist guide magazine. We walked up to the restaurant and it was closed. There was a Thai food restaurant around the corner and it was opening up in just a few moments so we figured we'd give it a go. As we passed the Michelen Star rated sign and handed the hostess our jackets, I began to worry what we got ourselves into. This place was stunning. Beautiful brass statues, waterfalls, columns, candles, elegant lighting, etc. We were handed menus and, when we peaked inside I wanted to vomit. There were preset meals for 95 CHF per person. I turned another page to find a le carte meals and soups were 18 CHF, Pad Thai was 47 CHF, and curries were 48 CHF. Yikes. Luckily, my dad and I had decided we wanted to eat light, but even eating light was going to cost us an arm and a leg. We decided on spring rolls to share and tom yum soup for each of us. They piled rice on our plate and I thought, at least they give you free rice. When our bill came, my jaw dropped. 79 CHF for a water and a tea, two soups, spring rolls, and two servings of rice. Seriously? For 79 CHF you can practically buy Thailand, at least a portion of it. 

We headed back and my dad barely had his head on the pillow before he was snoring. I got to chat with Colin and Lola and got so home sick. I mean look at this. Makes your heart melt. Only one week left!

Switzerland was fantastic. It was definitely cold, but that's what you expect, so you manage. Every you look is like a post card. It was pricey as people warned us, but we were able to have the granola bars for breakfast and our picnic lunches, so dinners were our only food expense, plus coffee. The trip to the mountain was absolutely priceless and worth every penny we paid and then some. I'd recommend everyone come to Switzerland, even if only for a short time. It is in my top 3 places I've visited.

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