By this point in the summer, I was already starting to get worn out from lots of travel. However, as work trips go, it gets a lot worse than two weeks in Switzerland. About all bad I can say about the trip is it was 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit the whole time I was there, and pretty much nowhere had air conditioning…except my hotel which was delightful thanks to some very smart online research in advance!
Rather than go into too many details of the trip (since it was pretty much 10 hour work days the entire time) I figured I’d just share some pics from the evenings and weekends I did manage to have free. I”m going to skip the in-flight pics because I feel like I post too many of those already, but if anyone’s interested in the details of Air Canada 777 business class…sorry “signature class” and the Toronto lounge…or the United Polaris-configured 767 let me know…and I’ll put that up shortly. Now, on to the actual trip!
Takeoff from Washington, National airport for Toronto – this view seriously never gets old to me.
After a flight to Toronto, a flight to Zurich, and then a train to Bern, I arrived at my hotel – the Hotel The Bristol in Bern. Strangely enough, none of my clients (who all live in Bern!) were familiar with this hotel. It was perfectly comfortable, reasonably priced, and had really good air conditioning and friendly staff. Two thumbs up, and since I’ll be returning to this client often, I’ll definitely stay here again…and you know how fussy I am about my hotels! The fact that I not only enjoyed this hotel…but enjoyed it for a two week stay…says a lot. I’m not normally a fan of smaller boutique hotels, but part of the fun lobby:
Anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows I tend to search out the good local craft beer joints, and I definitely found one I loved in Bern. I was a bit surprised, but Biercafe au Trappiste was amazing. Friendly, knowledgable staff, and a great selection of Swiss and non-Swiss craft beers. Plus, really fun taps:
Old town of Bern…it’s hard not to fall in love with the “charm” of European streets:
Bern was amazingly picturesque, and I found myself going for long walks most nights along the river. With views like this you can see why:
There was also a great place to sit next to the river, and with 9:20pm sunsets, lots of time to enjoy:
First weekend, I went up above Bern to the Gurten, a local hill/mountain/park that towers over Bern. Great views once you got off the funicular, which is included with your “Bern Card” – a transit pass that is included for free for as long as you stay in a local accommodation.
Found some cows up on the Gurten…actually, they’re everywhere in Switzerland…and oh so mangey!
Taking the Funicular back down…at 8pm…yup, still nice and light:
The Zytglogge in Bern. Big tourist attraction, but honestly found it pretty disappointing. Tho was cool to see.
Tourists are awful. More concerned with taking pics than actually seeing the site.
Another weekend day, I planned to go up the Jungfraujoch and take Europe’s highest train. Unfortunately, by the time I’d purchased my Switzerland daypass and headed halfway I saw that the peaks were clouded in and it would be a waste. So, instead, I rode trains around Switzerland for the day. This included a trip on my favourite train, the ICE, from Basel to Zurich:
End of the trip I enjoyed some delicious Mövenpick ice cream, rum raisin, yum!
Back in Bern, which comes from the German word “Baren” – or bears – I went to the Bear park where I spotted one of the very lazy bears hiding from the heat the best it could:
Followed by more enjoying of the river….and locals enjoying a swim:
I enjoyed swims in the river two nights, thanks to friendly locals who stuffed my clothes in their drybags and let me float down the river with them:
The river, from a bridge:
Nice warm weather meant lots of dinners Al Fresco:
Dinner by the river one night, and this group had an amazing unicorn floatie:
Since I took several trains around Switzerland in the two weeks, here’s a pic of a fairly standard car:
I ended up flying home from Geneva since it was a better deal, which meant an overnight in Geneva. The Jet d’Eau:
Had to stop by the United Nations for a pic:
Couldn’t get inside since it was a weekend, but I joined the busloads of Chinese tourists to take a pic of the UN and all the flags:
The “Broken Chair” outside the UN, to symbolize opposition to landmines:
Unfortunately, on a Saturday night in August, Geneva proved to be incredibly sleepy, and I couldn’t find a remotely reasonable place to go out for a drink that wasn’t super touristy. So, as one does, I hopped on the train for 45 minutes to Lausanne to have drinks at La Mise en Bière which turned out to be a fantastic hole in the wall craft beer place. My only criticism is that it closed way too early…but I suppose that was good because it got be back to Geneva in time to go to bed at a reasonable hour!
I did spend about four hours in Lausanne, which seemed to be a cool little town, and had a subway system to boot! I wasn’t expecting to add to my list of world subways, but did manage to. Does anyone know a good site that lists all of the subways in the world? My OCD side feels the need to count the ones I’ve ridden…and make plans to visit the others.
On the walk back to the Lausanne train station, I encountered this. Idk what was going on, but my slightly happy state found it super amusing. People say Switzerland is a bit stuffy and formal, but, this pic…
Something about the Swiss trains I just find really elegant:
So, in a nutshell, that was the free time I had in my two weeks in Switzerland. I’m definitely going to manage the Jungfraujoch on my next trip (likely this fall), and hopefully see even more of the country! Next up, a short trip to Brazil for work. It’s been a crazy summer!!!