Switzerland has never been in the Top 10 list of places I want to travel, but when my niece decided that's where she wanted to go for her post-high school graduation (when did they start letting babies go off to college?), I figured we should trust her genius judgment and tag along on a family trip.
Over ten days, we locked into three cities: Geneva, Interlaken and Lucerne, and we did it up, ya'll.
Like we did it up so much, K kept asking: why do you keep singing about riding a bull for 2.7 seconds, because "Live Like You Were Dying" was an ear worm for 10 days.
So, I thought I'd write a little about each city to entice you to visit this wonderment of a country.
Day 1 - 3: Geneva.
To try to beat the jet lag, we took a bus tour of the city to get the lay of the land and figure out how we wanted to spend our days. A bus tour was a great way to see the U.N., Avenue de la Paix, and Broken Chair. Really you don't need to spend a half a day going to check it out. It's awesome, awe-inspiring, but once you've seen it, you can move on.
However, we did find charming, cobble-stoned, Old Town on that tour, so we made our way to that part of town and got some grub at one of their cute outdoor cafe's before passing out for the night.
After sleeping in WAY later than I've ever done, K and I had a sweet lunch at the Art Museum, and then made our way to Mont Saleve Cable Car. At the time I thought this cable car was death-defying, but no.
It's not. It's not even close.
The cable cars throughout our trip got much worse / better.
Technically the Saleve Cable Car takes you into France. And with an outdoor restaurant at the top of the cliff serving some of the best French cheeses and baguettes, this is a sweet way to see the city from on high, get your bearings, and relax for a moment before the adventure really begins.
There was only one thing on my bucket list in Switzerland: Cern. To be in the space where the most brilliant minds are discovering some of the secrets of the universe - God particles, unknown dimensions, anti-matter... it's just makes you feel so small and so large all at once.
The two-hour guided tours are hard to come by, but I think the free exhibits are the way to go anyway. The exhibits are highly interactive and full of fun technology that really makes physics fun for people of all ages and backgrounds.
So, Geneva was a bustling city and not relaxing in the least. But I wouldn't trade the opportunity to experience that kind of energy. When you're there, you're surrounded by people who are truly working on solving the problems of the world and that energy is infectious.
For example, while I was eating my 168th croissant and wondering if Taylor Swift was going to host a 4th of July party this year, I found myself sitting next to four women of four different nationalities and four different races conversing about what they can do to help solve the Syrian refugee crises.
Can I have more of that in America, please?
So, here are the logistics of the trip, in case you're interested:
Night 1: Hotel Manotel. Right in the heart of the city. Very close to train stations and a short walk to Old Town, Geneva.
Night 2-3: Domaine de Chateauvieux. K and I love staying in the thick of things, but after a few days that can get a bit overwhelming. So, I booked a place just out of the city to give us a bit of a reprieve. Just a ten minute bus ride out of the city, this chateau is immaculate and the rooms have stunning views of the vineyards and the city. They also have a two-star Michelin restaurant w. Chez Philippe. The dinner there probably cost more than our food for the entire trip, but for a romantic splurge, it's definitely worth it.
A few travel tips:
*That Swiss Alps water is like liquid gold, and it costs as much as the tears of baby seals. Bring a water bottle and refill at one of the many beautiful water fountains throughout the country. Don't order it at restaurants. Even if they DO have tap water, they'll still tell you they have to squeeze it out of those poor baby seals.
* Don't Uber! The buses and trains are fast, clean, easy to navigate and always on time. Ubers cost too much, IMO. Plus you get to see fun vending machines at the bus stops.
*Buy the City and Swiss Passes. You can get a day pass that lets you into buses, trains, museums and cable cars, and save a lot of money.
*Don't buy tickets to places in advance (except to Cern). Despite some extra hot days, we had extreme luck with the weather. We really never ran into lines for anything, so you should be all set even in good weather.
Below are a few more pics from around Geneva: