I met Elsa in the jungles of Peru. She is from the Geneva region of Switzerland and we immediately hit it off. I am grateful to have so many great memories with her throughout Peru! Switzerland was always on my list so when I made my plans I wanted to include her. Luckily for me, her wonderful family agreed that I could stay with them while there. Switzerland is a very expensive area in Europe and I wasn’t quite prepared for what I found. I was so grateful to have a place to stay and cook most meals. An average meal out could cost up to $40 per person, so if you’re on a budget it’s best to find accommodation with the ability to cook some meals.
After I met Elsa at the airport, we went straight to see Lake Geneva. We wandered over to Bains des Paquis, which is a community spot in the middle of the city where you can swim or just hang out by the lake. It has a beautiful view of the Jet D’Eau – a main attraction in Geneva – and a nice restaurant where we got a nice salad for lunch. Lake Geneva is stunning. Formed from a glacier many years ago, it has a crystal teal blue water that is breath taking.
(Lake Geneva, Jet D’Eau, and Swans!)
We also visited the Red Cross Museum, which I highly recommend. It was very eye opening concerning what is required to respond to crisis around the world. This includes long term planning against crisis as well as immediate response teams.
I only had a week in Switzerland and I was desperate to get some nature in. I’ve been city living something fierce while in Europe. While Lake Geneva help my nature loving soul, I needed to see some mountains. Luckily there are mountains in Switzerland. We planned 2 trips. One driving to Chamonix in France to see the lovely Mont Blanc and the other was a train journey to see the Matterhorn in Zermatt.
Chamonix is a small town with the most lovely scenery. It’s not surprising that it attracts many hikers and travelers. Elsa and I took a cable car up the mountain for about 33 euro and hiked around for the day. We didn’t do as much hiking as I wanted due to me having a cold. But it was nice to have a legit reason to stick my boots on again and go for a little walk. Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps standing over 4800 meters. It’s a beautiful sight from anywhere in town.
(Chamonix and Mont Blanc)
Zermatt is about a 4 hour train journey from Geneva. Now like I said, Switzerland is expensive. The round trip train ticket was going to run about $200. This was out of budget for both Elsa and me. Luckily her brother remembered we could get $40 rail day passes from the city counsel. This pass allows you to travel anywhere in Switzerland for that day. There’s not a lot of these passes available but we were able to score 2 passes. This meant we had to do Zermatt in a day but it was worth it.
Zermatt is perhaps one of the best ski areas in Europe during the winter. But during the summer it offers beautiful hiking with amazing views of the famous Matterhorn. It was a nice way to round out my trip.
Switzerland is an amazing place to travel. Between the lakes and the mountains there are wonderful things to do while you breath in the crisp Swiss air. I hope to go back one day and spend more time hiking and trekking. Summer colds can really zap your energy. But that’s all over with now. Today I’m meeting Steve at Heathrow Airport. We are going to Norway tomorrow then onto France. I’m so glad he’s able to meet me along my journey. I’m really looking forward to seeing him and have our European adventure.
(Thank you Sweet Elsa for the wonderful Swiss Experience!)