After Germany we headed for Switzerland. I was excited as the pace of the tour was slowing down. Instead of spending one night as in the other countries we were here for two nights. However, this had a flip side to it as Switzerland is very expensive.
Switzerland is different from the other countries on the tour. It is not a member of the European Union (EU) and unlike France, Belgium and the Netherlands, it had a marked border with immigration officers. However, it did sign the treaty to make travel from other European countries easy and no passport is required to do so.
Since it was not a member of the EU Switzerland had its own currency, the Swiss frank. Ironically, even though they use their own currency and not the Euro it is very very expensive. It is the most expensive country on the tour, the most expensive in Europe in general. The reason for this is that the wages are high and prices are based on the wages. It did not help that the US dollar isn’t doing so well and the exchange rate is a bit weak.
With all this aside, I was excited for Swiss cheese and chocolate. We stayed in the center of Lucerne which is a lake town situated between the mountains. It was very crowded and live at nights. This was a shock on a small town situated on a lake but I guess it is a popular tourist destination. Prior to this trip I had only heard of Zurich and Geneva. I anticipate visiting Geneva since it is the international relations center. The United Nations Human Rights Commission and the World Health Organization are all situated there.
Nonetheless, Lucerne is gorgeous. It is situated along the breathtaking Lake Lucerne. The water is crystal clear and stunning. It shimmers and when the sun is on it. It is truly riveting. The city is also known for the Lion Monument or the Lion of Lucerne. It is suppose to bring you good luck if you throw a coin in the water by the monument.
To have the full Swiss experience including the countryside and seeing the Alps, I did an optional excursion up to Mount Titlis which is 320 metres above sea level. The top of the mountain is always covered in snow. We took three cable cars up to the top. The views of the mountains, lakes and farms were amazing . It was on the cable ride that I learned that cow bells were actually very Swiss. All the cows had one and they were so loud you could hear them on the way up .
It was very cloudy at the top so the I was unable to see the mountains and enjoy the view from above but I made the most of it. I went to the glacier park and the sky walker. I wanted to go on the ice flyer but it was closed. I highly recommend visiting Mount Titlis.
We also briefly visited Lugano which is close to the Italian border and consists of mainly Italian inhabitants.It was very quiet and sleepy. Maybe because we visited on a Sunday but it was interested to see the change in architecture from Lucerne to Lugano.
Switzerland has been the most calming and scenic country we have visited this far. The beautiful lakes and mountain backgrounds allows for a very calm and laid back vacation. My only problem was how expensive is was but this will not deter me from visiting again. I reckon I can visit for only a day or two if the expenses are an issue but I enjoyed. It is definitely a break from the concrete jungle.