After the first couple of days in Genève the weather took a dramatic turn as the skies opened their sluices. As expensive as it is beautiful, Switzerland will give you with stunning views over Mont Blanc and the Alpes, exquisite architecture and an untouched blend of rural and urban, historic and modern. The country's neutrality allowed it to prosper, maintain its original history and remain one of the world's best run economies. And the stereotypes? All right! – chocolate, cheese, watches and banking.
Geneva and Lausanne
Both on the shores of the largest alpine lake, Lac Leman, these French speaking cities were a fantastic place to start our visit. The Broken Chair standing in front of the United Nation's offices, a monument to Peace and its fragility it's worth a visit. I first learnt about the Glacier Express in Genebra and boy did I want to do it!! I guess that's one of the downsides of bringing Fanny along – we couldn't just leave her and comeback whenever… we would probably be broke by the time we paid for parking. I digress… The drive around Lac Leman is stunning and you have to keep yourself from stopping every few meters to take pictures. Le Chateau Chillon is probably the highlight of the drive around the lake. A medieval castle on a bit of land protruding into the lake.
Col des Mosses and Oeschinensee
Camping in Switzerland can be as expensive as staying in a hotel anywhere in Europe. And warm water is not even a given. In Col des Mosses we stayed in a lovely campsite surrounded by mountains. There was an interesting Canadian man in a wife beater doing all sorts of wood work, a Portuguese man that seemed reluctant to speak to me, considering that we shared a language, and his wife and I were trying (between French and German) to work out how much we owed for the night spent – since Mr Donc, with whom I have been texting all night in broken French, was a no show.
Beautiful drive to Kandersteg with a whopping hill of 28% took us to the base of our walk for the day. Oeschinensee lake sits at roughly 1600 meters and some Scottish girls believed in the healing powers of the lake's mud – as seen in the picture. You can chose to walk or take the lazy and stunning route by cable car. My first toboggan ride was awaiting me at the top, I was a bit scared to start but half way through I couldn't go fast enough.
Interlaken, the magic Eiger
It's hard to be objective when talking about some of these places since, most of the time, I associate that said place to something that happen or to the people we met along the way. In Interlaken we stayed at a nice campsite with a stunning but somewhat foggy view of the Eiger. It sat right in the middle of two hills closer to us – the perfect frame for a picture but I didn't take one. My thought was – Tomorrow it will be much nicer and I'll end up deleting this one. The thing is… next morning, the Eiger wasn't there… peak, base, body… all gone! And it rained. I could say I haven't seen rain like it, but we've been to Sri Lanka during monsoon season and I would be lying. We left disappointed for not being able to safely go for a walk to the mountain and around the area that claims to have the most waterfalls per m2. This gives us 2 reasons to have to come back to Switzerland now. Bummer…
Lucerne and Euthal
Although we knew roughly what we were going to see in Lucerne (medieval very cool bridge), it was a very nice surprise. Not only did the weather decided to give us a break, but also the ice creams were terribly cheap in a tres cher country. By waking around we kind of go through a resume of the whole country in that small bit of land – lake, river, beautifully decorated facades, watch and cheese shops everywhere. After this we camped in what was my favourite campsite so far – another lake, a sunset, a rainless night, wine and cheese and crackers.
Liechtenstein was heartbreakingly disappointing. The only thing of interest to us we couldn't actually do because of the weather. And it truly is tiny. 20Km or so from one end to the other and all concentrated in Vaduz. It's not much different from Switzerland either, but I might be unfair.