James & I enjoyed a lovely R&R in Switzerland after five months apart. We met in Zurich and enjoyed a couple of nights there. Wandering around the city, looking at museums, enjoying bratwurst and sunny days.We then headed to Vaduz, Liechtenstein for a couple of days. Vaduz, pronounced Vadutz, is the smallest capital that we’d ever been to. Picture one half of a valley and mountain between Switzerland an Austria, and you have Liechtenstein. It is a principality, where the royal family lives on the hillside overlooking the town. We showed up on Sunday, and were told by every friendly local that was in town, that the rest of the country was skiing. I think the shopkeepers may have all been there to mind the only two tourists in town! They have a really fabulous museum in Vaduz and the docents loved chatting with James in German.
From Vaduz we moved on to Lucerne, a very quaint city just West of Zurich. Our hotel was perfectly set in the old city on a tiny alley way. We enjoyed a top room with a skylight showing the moon at night. After checking out Lucerne’s quintessential lion carved into the rock, we decided to get off the beaten track. It was still early and we decided to wander through a neighborhood on the edge of the map. Little did we know that the map was designed especially for tourists, not showing anything beyond where the locals wanted you to go. We enjoyed a nice long walk through foggy and beautiful neighborhoods. Only later did we discover how truly far we had walked! Lucerne also has a couple of beautiful old covered bridges. All in all a nice couple of days.
Next we headed to one of the highlights of the trip, to Whitepod. Situated at the top of the Alps, Whitepod is an eco-tourism site that I read about in the in-flight magazine between Singapore and Qatar. At Whitepod you stay in an igloo type yurt, complete with a double duveted bed, reading chair looking out over the Alps, and a cozy fireplace. Meals were served at the main lodge down below the pods. The bathrooms were gorgeous and spa like, reminding you that you aren’t quite roughing it. Complete with a beautiful sauna and a gaggle of Dutch women, from the group pod, running around in their underwear. A far cry from the separate gyms in Dubai!
For Valentine’s Day we enjoyed a fabulous time snowshoeing up to the refugee at 10,000 ft. It had been years since I had snowshoed, and it was great to enjoy the super-human climbing capability. We crossed through the forest on the way up, climbed a very steep ascent on the last bit before lunch, and then found a great slope with nothing but powder. It was kind of like skiing with little skis. It was so much fun.
Next we headed stopped by the one schloß, castle, that James was dying to go to as we planned our trip. Chateau Chillon is an incredible place that served as a gateway from France and Italy up to Switzerland and Germany. We had a lovely afternoon exploring all the nooks and crannies of Chillon.
On to Interlaken, where the Alps merge at the highest peaks in Europe. This was one of the most sensational parts of the trip, literally. There is something really incredible about being in such a majestic place. James had read some about the challenges of climbing the Eiger, one of the most difficult ascents in the world. Seeing it only made it that much more real. While we were there a local climber set a new record at 2 hrs and 36 minutes with no safety gear, for he wouldn’t want to slow himself down!
This brought us back to Zurich for our last night together in the city. We explored a bit and mostly just enjoyed time together.
After parting ways I was in Bern before James even left Zurich’s airport. Bern is accurately described as one of those places that may just be too quaint, if that’s possible. It was great to putter around and check out the city’s sites on my way to Morges.
In Morges I stated with a colleague of mine from back in DC who now lives there with her family. It was simply great to catch up and see where she is at in her life now.
I also met up with Ms. Suz, who figured she might as well visit me on her way back from eight months in South America. What can I say, on your way is a relative term for globe trotters like Suz and I! We hung out in Morges, enjoyed tea shops in Lausanne, cheese in Gruyeres, and girl time in Interlaken and Zurich. A great bonus to an already wonderful CH visit.Overall it was an incredible R&R and so nice to enjoy Europe after a bit of an absence from having any real time in Western Europe. Who knows where we’ll end up on our next R&R!