My Swiss adventure 25.04.14

 

Before you read on I must warn you that this post will contain photography that might make you just a tad bit jealous ………..  🙂

I certainly got very lucky having the opportunity to visit a small part of this beautiful country with my ‘local’ friend to show me her heritage. Having someone to share with you the knowledge and background of the areas you were about to visit was an added bonus and something I was definitely not complaining about. 

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Switzerland and has always been on my top list of countries to visit, so I was most excited when my lovely friend Fabienne kindly asked me to join her to visit her home town of Goldau Arth and Zurich or Züri.  The city itself is home to a large number of financial institutions and big banking names that you probably know all too well. According to resources it is known as one of the wealthiest cities in Europe so what does this mean as a tourist? Well I think you know what im going to say next then. Do not be shocked about how expensive everything is……. eg. a coffee from Starbucks will cost you around 5 Swiss Francs.

Now don’t be put off by the hefty price tags because I tell you, this fantastic city and extraordinary countryside has alot to offer in return.

My first day started with some tasty homemade Swiss brunch courtesy of Fab’s lovely mum. We caught the train to Goldau Arth which is approximately 30 minutes from the central station. The first thing that caught my eye was all the yummy breads in the basket on the table. My tummy usually can’t handle many types of wheat but fortunately for me the quality of the ingredients used over there really made a huge difference. I also enjoyed some delicious yogurt, apple and banana type bircher muesli with a selection of gorgeous cheeses and different meats. A good breakfast is always a great way to start the day when you are on the go and when im in Europe I make the conscious effort to dig into all the food they have to offer.

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We had to catch a train up to Mount Rigi which was my next destination. My very first time going on a train up a steep mountain and no I wasnt freaked out by this at all in fact I reckon the big kid in me came out and I couldn’t wait to jump on. All aboard!

Unfortunately with my horrible weather curse that everyone believes I have, meant that I didn’t have much a view by the time we reached the 1700 metre point. In fact I don’t believe ive ever been ‘in the clouds’ before, it was such a bizarre sight but the crisp mountain air was so refreshing I had to stay up there for a good 15 minutes to breathe it all in. I don’t think many of you can say that you have been stuck in a cloud before. So basically the outcome was that I could not see a thing but was assured that the views on a nice clear day are unbeatable looking out to the lake. I guess I was just forced to use my imagination this time around….

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Once we were back on a horizontal land I was told that our next stop would be over to Lucerne about 40 minutes by boat across Lake Strattersee. This Swiss-catholic town with a population of only 76,000 is a favourite among tourists afar and known for its famous chapel bridge which dates back to the 14th century. A pleasant walk around the lake was just gorgeous, the water so clear, still and noticeably very clean. I was really taken back by the stunning buildings, in fact very quaint would be a nice way to describe it.  Boutique cafes and restaurants lined up, row by row along the cobblestone streets with a lovely outlook of the waterfront.  There were also plenty of fresh fruit/veggie markets so I can assure you of this, you will not go hungry. While we were there they had a milk festival going on which I really have no idea what it was all about but was assured I was not missing out on too much. I did quite like the sound of live music coming from the facility – I always find this puts people in a pleasant mood while they are strolling around.  We had a pit stop at one of the many cafes and I wanted to try a Swiss beer, something I always like to do when im in Europe. The beers are always far too easy to drink and I apologise because I cannot for the life or me remember the name of it however I do know that it is renowned as the best beer to drink in Switzerland so just casually mention this to the waiter and hopefully someone will point you in the right direction.

me at lake

swiss lakes

On the saturday night, dinner and drinks had been arranged so I was ready to experience how the Swiss really like to entertain and party.  I was told that the restaurant we were heading to (called Schutzengasse) was very popular with the locals so I was uber excited in anticipation to try out what sort of menu they had to offer.  I must say this has to be the most wacky and crazy dinner ive probably ever encountered in my life. The owner was hilariously erratic, running around all over the place trying to cram everyone in to the small but intimate restaurant. As soon as I opened the menu I had a giggle (as you can see below in the picture) and I knew that this place was no ordinary place to dine. After about a thousand wines and having endless bottles of champagne bought to our table we finally got our food two hours later. I went traditional as I was advised to order the Zuri Gschnatzlets which was consisted of meat, potatoes, mushrooms and cream. Not food I would generally go for but I needed to embrace the culture and I was pretty impressed with the fact that it wasnt at all as heavy as it looked.  

By the time I had finished my meal the rowdy table of about 20 behind us had started dancing on the table for some light entertainment for all. Totally standard behaviour in a restaurant and with the music blasting, the lights dimmed, over the top kooky atmosphere, I couldn’t believe where the past four hours had gone.   After all these shenanigans we left to hit the town for a dance and what not. I am a huge fan of house and if you do appreciate good music and a dance then Zürich may be the place if you fancy hitting the clubs. We managed to get into a club called Hive which was heaving with an hour-long queue. I was most delighted at the fact that they were playing minimal house however at 3am I had to call it a night. If there is one thing I have learned when you are away on a sightseeing trip, is that you just cannot stay out until the break of dawn (unless you have the stamina to do so). There is nothing worse than traipsing around town with a nasty hangover, sore feet and feeling sorry for yourself. There is no time for that when you are trying to cram everything into a few days 🙂

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Sunday was my day to check out the sights of the city and the weather really turned it on with some brisk showers and grey skies. This did not stop me. The streets were spotless and the annual street parade had already started in full swing; I couldn’t help but notice all the children looking mega cute in their outfits. We got the chance for the first time ever to go up and check out Mr Boog. A snowman which is lite on fire and then everyone waits eagerly for it to explode. Im told that the quicker this happens the better the summer is going to be.

After all the walking around I had worked up my usual appetite so I treated myself to one of the best sausages ive ever tasted aka Bratwurst at Sternen Grill (a local favourite) followed by some spectacular cakes at the well-known Peclard Cafe. Both places were well worth the wait to get a table. 

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For brunch on the Monday I was feeling rather naughty and needed to have a sugar fix. Yes I know, like it wasnt enough that I had been eating chocolate everyday all ready but I couldnt say no to the famous Sprungli Cafe could I. Known for their mouth-watering cakes and the best macoroons you will try I will also suggest the hot chocolates they have there are just to die for!!! Chocoholics beware – you may be left feeling  I might I say that you make a point of visiting the place. They are all over Zürich and if do you happen to miss out there is always the airport for extra precautionary.

About mid afternoon the annual Sechseläuten parade kicked off and the streets were buzzing with people dressed in traditional Swiss gear and thousands open thousands of flowers. I don’t think I have ever seen so many before but im told that the women have to buy these and give to the men who they may know walking in the parade. I did find this rather odd seeing men with bunches of roses but it was also quite sweet in a way and I loved just how it seemed to bring the community together. Everyone seemed so happy – a rare sight these days. I also found it rather amusing that they throw apples and bread into the crowds lining the streets and then watching them all having a good old munch. Hilarious.

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Finally we finished up at Rosaly’s which was a secluded bar in a back street just off the main road. Apparently this is where all the cool kids go for a couple of drinks and then continue the party on elsewhere. The weather had not improved and I was trying to shade myself from the rain drops for about 3 hours. Never the less after a few glasses of bubbles that was the least of my worries. I know they say the Swiss are known to be rude or ignorant but I have to say the people I came across were welcoming and all spoke fantastic english.

Sprungli cafe

 

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To sum it all up I really had an enjoyable experience. Yes the weather was slightly miserable however I wasnt in Spain so I didn’t expect it to be blue skies and 30 degree temperature. I’ve only really seen a small part of what this beautiful country has to offer so im thinking a trip back in the summer time and maybe a weekend skiing trip may be on the cards.  All I know is that it definitely lived up to its reputation.

 

Happy travels,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Rachelle says:

    Just loving it!…loving it all! xx

    • StephJH says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words lovely!! Appreciate it that you are taking the time to read my posts xxx

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