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Europe 2012 ~ Third Leg ~ Switzerland

by Stephanie Casher on September 12, 2012

So it’s been established that I love Amsterdam. I also love Italy. You are probably not surprised to read that I also love Switzerland, lol.

What’s not to love? This land-locked country in the center of Europe is a land of rolling green hillsides and pristine mountain lakes framed by the towering, snow-capped Swiss Alps. Mother Nature is at her most radiant in this stunning country, and everywhere you turn provides a feast for the eyes.

Switzerland has a very sophisticated and well-integrated public transportation system, and if you purchase a Swiss Pass (I got one for four days) you are granted unlimited travel on all trains, buses, ferries, and funiculars throughout Switzerland. This makes it incredibly easy to be spontaneous as you plan your itinerary and take in the sights.

One of the best ways to see Switzerland is via the rails. There are several “scenic rail journeys” that travel guides recommend (all free with the Swiss Pass), and I took two of the five as I made my way across Switzerland. I rode the Wilhem Tell Express from Lugano to Lucerne, and then hopped on the Golden Pass route from Lucerne to Geneva. A very relaxing way to enjoy the Swiss countryside, and each train has a dining car and food service. You can also hop on and off as much as you like (with a Swiss Pass) to break up the journey with strategically placed detours.

Leukerbad

I took an awesome detour when I decided to hop off the Golden Pass route in Interlaken and head high up into the Alps (via bus) to the tiny mountain town of Leukerbad (pop. 1590), the “largest thermal baths and wellness resort in the Alps.”

Thermal baths and wellness?  Sign me up!  And Leukerbad did not disappoint.  I stayed at the Hotel Heilquelle and included in my room rate was a pass to Burgerbad, an impressive hot springs facility/resort with over 10 soaking pools of varying temperatures along with several waterslides, fountains, and waterfalls to play in. After nine days on the road, this opportunity to soak my body was most welcome, and I truly enjoyed this stopover. Another place I would highly recommend if you’re in the area.

After spending one night in Leukerbad, I made my way back to the train station, hopped back on the Golden Pass route, and headed for Geneva, Switzerland, my final destination. My last night in Europe was pretty low-key since I had to be at the airport at 6:30am the next morning, but I did get to see a bit of Geneva (which reminded me of an international version of San Francisco). It was strange to be back in an urban area after so many days in tiny, little towns, but it did prepare me for re-entry back into the “real world.” The first thing I saw when I exited the train station in Geneva was a Starbucks, something I hadn’t seen since I left the Amsterdam airport. It was nice to see a familiar sign of “home,” but also a little sad because I knew my adventure was drawing to a close. But at the same time, I was ready to come home.  I’d had the time of my life, and accomplished everything I set out to accomplish, but I was definitely starting to miss my boy and my Bizzles. :)

All in all, I give my European adventure 5 glorious stars. :) Though friends and family worried about my decision to travel to Europe ALONE, I must say, travelling solo in Europe was a fantastic experience, very safe, and one I would highly recommend. Please feel free to hit me up for travel tips and recommendations… I can only hope I’ve inspired some of you to plan an adventure of your own. ;)

Europe, The Album

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Europe 2012 ~ Second Leg ~ Menaggio/Lugano
March 7, 2013 at 12:42 PM

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