Today's the day! I'm so excited to begin sharing our Switzerland trip here in this space. Over the past couple of weeks since we've home I've been thinking about how I wanted to lay out these posts. We visited so many places, and we have so many pictures, that I figured I would break it up into different parts, so I wasn't limited on the amount of photos.
To give you some background, we'd never been to Switzerland before, although it had been at the top of our "must-go" list forever. One of my friends Layla has been to Switzerland a few times, which resulted in Hank and I seeing photos of her amazing journeys over the years. Stunning snaps of the Alps, the greenest pastures, and the most amazing views- her pictures and stories always fascinated me. When my parents offered to watch the boys so Hank and I could go on an adventure this summer, Switzerland was the first place that came to mind. I immediately texted Layla- so excited and wanting to hear the run down- and realized that the family she had nannied for (who I learned were the ones who had brought her to Switzerland) owned a company called Alpine Hikers based right here in Prescott, and that her husband actually worked for them now as well. Amazing! I knew he worked for a hiking company, but for some reason I just hadn't remembered the details! What a funny coincidence- not only was the company based HERE and we had no idea, but her sweet hubby Mike would end up being the person who would go over our tour when we visited the office, right downtown.
So thanks to Layla connecting us with the owner Troy, we picked a self-guided hiking tour of the Alps via his company Alpine Hikers- we chose the Bernese Oberland Part A, which you can read more about here. I'll of course talk about the hikes in great detail as the series progresses, but this first part just contains our travels to Switzerland, and our first stop, Lucerne.
We began by taking a flight that connected us in Philadelphia, then onto Zurich. It was about 5 hours to the East Coast, and 8 hours for the second leg, and it wasn't too bad. We left the US in the early evening and arrived in Switzerland the next morning. Neither of us slept very much on the plane, but thanks to extreme excitement and adrenaline we were ready to go once we landed! It's always so fun not really knowing what to expect. Although I had read a few things here and there, nothing really prepared me for just how beautiful everything was. And it's crazy because at this point we were already blown away...and we hadn't even gotten to the hiking parts yet! If I only know what was to come...
When we arrived in Lucerne we immediately checked into our hotel, Hotel des Alpes. It was a great spot with really cute and clean rooms. Ours had a balcony overlooking the water, and it was the neatest thing to enter the room and open those double doors. What a view! Although it was rainy and quite overcast the first day, it was still gorgeous, and once we took a tiny nap we got up and headed out to dinner, snapping photos along the way, and ending our night with some gelato.
The next morning...SUNSHINE! It was actually funny how big of a change it was. The night before we had been wearing our Patagonia jackets in the drizzly rain, and that next morning we were in tees and tanks with the warm sun on our faces. We woke up and went on a run, and ended up running pretty far along the water which was so nice because it allowed us to see more of the town that we otherwise would have missed. Plus it kind of nipped that jet lag right out of us! After we ran we headed down for breakfast, which was included in our stay. We did half-board in most places we stayed, which includes dinner, lodging, and breakfast in the morning, and it was interesting to see that almost all breakfasts were the same. Lots of yogurt and toppings, meat and cheese, and many kind of breads.
After breakfast we walked around for a couple of hours before we had to check out and catch our train to Meiringen and then onto Schwarzwaldap. Lucerne had been gorgeous the night before, but even more beautiful that next day in the sunshine. We soaked it up, then grabbed our stuff and walked over to the train station.
When you book through Alpine Hikers everything is included. Outside of a couple of meals in our arrival and departure cities, our entire trip was planned from train tickets, bus passes, meals, luggage transfers, maps, every detail big and small, you name it. It was such a wonderful thing to have zero stress, and have the peace of mind that everything was laid out for us, especially since so much of it seemed a bit overwhelming, like the luggage transfers as we hiked inn to inn or even train connections. Although we love to travel and enjoy the excitement of the unknown, Hank and I both agreed that the planning was a real a treat, and something we would absolutely do again. More later on this whole experience, but it was great having our train tickets all ready on this first day, and just head on out. Easy.
I'll be back tomorrow with Part 2- which begins our journey to some of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my LIFE. I can't wait to share.