Tag Archives: Switzerland

A trip to Geneva

An oddly perfect timed arrival in Lausanne meant the chance to see the fireworks in Geneva celebrating Switzerland’s national day. a week late. The fireworks display “Man and Time” didn’t commence until 10pm meaning there was time for my second favourite swiss thing-ferry boat rides

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Cheesy plot line aside (For a millennia man has looked to the sun and stars, now with the invention of the watch we come closer to being the masters of our own time) the display was probably the best I’ve seen yet

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My next few hours in Geneva were before catching a flight to London. The city is cute..clean. I didn’t get any strong impression while I was there. I chose to go to the Red Cross museum.
Pretty interesting.. Although I somehow felt there was something missing. Or like the whole display after the one room about its founding was a commercial for funding. Probably I am just desensitized after so much charity bombardment.
Spent my last Swiss francs on a bunch of chocolate and some cheese for the London family. Bye Geneva, see ya Switzerland

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Lausanne land of hills

Lausanne, Geneva’s hip neighbour. A student city with a lot of hills. All the hills.

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It’s also home to the Olympic headquarters (the things I learn..) and a really fancy Olympic museum. A lot of history spanning the Olympics and the effects on the nature of competition and culture. it was interesting to see the progression of the Torches and (mostly) really creepy mascots.

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The person I was staying with knew about a movie playing outdoors. i went with him and his friend, both of them travelled in South America and speak spanish fluently (plus french and english) which made watching a Spanish movie a little easier in their case. luckily one of Switzerland’s national languages is german so I had a spanish/german lesson reading the subtitle’s and trying to follow the plot.

My art excursion for the city led me to mussee du brut. a gallery housing artwork by people living on the fringes of society..my favourite thing was one mans life’s passion for drawing imaginary creatures

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How to conquer your fear of heights (or develop one)

So I find myself in Lauterbrunnen: adventure hub of Switzerland favourite destination of Japanese tourists and base jumpers.
I don’t know how I got it in my head but from somewhere a voice saying “robin, you are a backpacker in this crazy place. It is your responsibility to engage in a daring, adrenalin fuelled activity”(my head voices are quite specific in their expectations). So, obviously BASE jumping. Har har. No. But rock climbing with the added benifits of steal rungs fit into the path sounds doable right?

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All ready to go. There are 7 of us in the group plus our crazy French guide. A Dutch father and daughter, couple from the states (who were by far to relaxed through the whole climb) and a mom and daughter from japan. Guess how old the mom was? (The lovely lady standing next to me)
Starting the climb I’m super nervous and in entirely positive it’s all in my head, there are some big steps down and the trail is muddy in places but it’s not crazy difficult or demanding. Yeah, I got this, it would be nice if thecuple behind me were slightly (at all) worried but no.
45 minutes in I feel ok. This whole via feretta thing is pretty fun. So I keep telling myself. I’m enjoying trying to rearrange my nerves into agreeing with what my mind knows to be true.
Then we come up to The Silent Corner. Metal bars for hands and feet set into a sheer cliff face. Well, there are some beautiful views although it’s best to take only tiny peaks and focus instead on crossing the gap 3000 meters above the valley floor.
We all made it across successfully, the last half of the climb was more relaxing. Only the tightrope across a waterfall, suspension bridge, and zip line- so nice because you just get to sit there and look down as you slowly drift across thin air.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so released to come to the end of a hike. I know I can face some fears. I’m getting better at trusting myself to take on what scares me but after this experiment I can say I prefer adventures that are… Hmm less adventurous? Although, maybe I can work up to it. The cute Japanese lady didn’t let anything slow her down-she’s 69 years old and went first on the bridge across the waterfall

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Fun few hours in Bern

Thanks to one run-away towel I found myself with a reason to make a detour. I arranged to meet Lea in Bern it being kind of in-between Luzern and Lauterbrunnen (a triangular middle)
Also, I spent the morning walking and wanted to save any strength left In my legs for via feretta the next day.

Best thing is waking up and looking out at beautiful mountains.
Second best: Waking up to a fresh croissant dropped off by my couch provider (full disclosure it was actually a bed in a spare room.) Baker’s rock.

I was only in Bern for a few hours but it seems pretty cool. The style of the city feels almost perisian.. Old town shopping is all the same trends but placed under grand arcades and stuffed underneath in the old cellars.

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Randomly walking around old time meant I went past Einstines house because… Well it was in the way. For super sciencey me the most interesting thing I learned was that he loved playing the violin. Hmm knowledge.
Slightly more entertaining (in a very mean way) was staying to watch the astronomical clock. By this time I consider myself somewhat of a clock conisouer; every city has one (of course Prague’s is the best) hence I was not that surprised when after people gathered to watch the phenomenon saw a golden statue stutter his way to hitting a golden bell and. No, that’s pretty much it. The audience awkwardly waiting for more with expressions learned through many disappointing Christmases was worth more entertainment than the clock tower was ever capable of.

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Then I went to visit The Bern bears. The bears are sort of mascots of Bern. They’ve got some nice digs except for the whole in a cage people staring at you thing.

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The tourist office actually marked Bern’s alternative arts hub on my map. I was pretty surprised that the reitschule was so recognizable- isn’t counter-culture normally hidden(?). The graffiti covered station had a really cool vibe although it was pretty disappointing to be hit on a few feet out of the building, less than 20 meters away from a feminist rights space inside. Maybe the dude sensed my love of irony?

My most astonishing stumbled-upon event of the day was a music group- busking on the main st. Every time I see an amazing busking performance I think “there’s no way I will find anything better”. Then you walk up to 3 giant drums and bagpipe shredding. Never heard of bagpipe shredding? This guy may have invented it.

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Luzern and Zurich

First stop in Switzerland
Train…traaaiiin, traaaaaiiiin, MOUNTAINS! I have arrived in switzerland. it is a beautiful treat for the eyes journeying past lake zurich and seeing the mountains on my way to Luzern. eye candy. Switzerland is eye candy. whats even better is the Lindt chocolate i am appropriately eating while writing this.

IMG_1561.JPG Zurich wasn’t on my list of places to go-just another city but when riding through i noticed there was some neat grafitti by the trackds. also, its only 45 minutes from lucerne! My couch surfing host also had to go into zurich the next day. perfect?
We spent some time wandering around the old centre’s cobbled streets and the lakeside then strolling past a church with the greatest stained glass windows

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I know, right? They’re rocks. Way long ago sliced geodes were used but these were installed recently as the winning design from a contest.

After old town I found my way to the west zurich, an old industrial district turned arts centre. There was some graffiti I’d seen from the train

IMG_1547.JPG this was pretty much the only one I really liked. Damn spoiled after Berlin. West Zurich is also full of unique bars and cool restaurants. I walked into Les Halles and found myself in Portland. Every wall covered in posters, old furniture everywhere, a bio grocer attached and gourmet canteen food. The beer I tried was not really dark (hard to find dark beer (excluding Belgium of course)), the beer here is really good, it tastes so clean, you can really tell the difference the water makes.
After so much walking I hoped on one of Switzerland amazingly comfortable trains and made it back to the apartment in Luzern without even getting lost on the way!

It was great walking around Luzern with Lea just chatting about anything.. I think this trip has let me become more comfortable with just letting go of thoughts in my head. I hope so anyway. I just hope I don’t turn into some frivolous chatterbox. Anyways, I got to see the touristy things and what a beautiful little city Luzern is. The Monument to the fallen soldiers of Switzerland

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The old bridges. One only old until it was burnt down in the 90s. the highlight in both are the murals painted on wooden boards between the beams of the ceiling each depicting the history of the town. I particularly liked the ones telling the story of the plague since they have a really creepy atmosphere and skeletons representing death lurking on every panel

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We both avoided the swans on the lake-agreeing that the numerous tourists feeding them were stupid and crazy.
My highlight was a boat ride on lake Luzern on my last morning there. we packed fruit and brought along chocolate and cheese we’d bought the day before. perhaps the most amazing thing was that it did not rain until after we docked! just kidding…the most amazing thing was, well everything.

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Even the onion sprouts and early morning. although, leaving my travel towel there was a bit of a downer.