"Switzerland is a country where very few things begin, but many things end." - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Geneva is but just one city docked on the pristine waters of Lake Geneva. Though it is best known as the seat of the United Nations in Europe, it plays host to many other International Organisation, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), where a visit to its museum is a must. Surprising, Geneva retains a most fascinating old town. Buy food at Migros to save cash.
Montreux is as pretty as Switzerland gets. With flowers lining the streets against the backdrop of Lake Geneva, it is exactly how I thought the Switzerland high life would be. To add to its glamour was the Montreux Grand Prix happening right when we visited. Totally unplanned, and so totally worth it. Oh, and don't forget about Freddie Mercury.
Interestingly, Lausanne is an Olympic city, with one of the most dynamic old quarters in Switzerland. I missed the Olympic Museum, but did manage a look around the compound. It was worth it just to know that there is a statue crafted in honour of the esteemed Emil Zatopek, whom I personally believe is unjustly under-appreciated. Despite it being an "athletic" city, Lausanne hosts a number of Tobacco companies, and also...Bata Shoes! I've always thought Bata was a local brand...
To be honest, I barely passed through here... but still managed to grab some shots!
Had a drink and some snacks atop the UNESCO-protected terrace vineyards of Lavaux.
Gruyere is the namesake of one the finest cheese for baking, the Gruyere Cheese. A walk through the town centre takes you along the various shops peddling their much prided wares. Not too far off the centre is the Gruyere Castle, with a manicured garden and furnished interiors.
Had an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet at the Cailler Chocolate Factory, before shoving down the strong fondue at Moleson Dairy. Tip: The best chocolates are all at the end, so patience pays off.
8. Swiss Mountain Passes
Crossed the mountain passes while driving to the Gorge.
Really nice hike from one end of the Gorge to the other. The bridges were well-maintained, and goes through some dark parts of the caves.
10. Rhone Glacier
A chance to get so close to one the oldest glaciers in the Swiss Alps. The ice caves were very well done.
If you believe the Swiss, a trip to Jungfraujoch will take you to the Top of Europe. Well, turns out that just a couple of days back, I came to a place claiming to be the 'REAL' Top of Europe. Hah, not that I'd believe either. A chance meeting with a colleague made me a happy bird. Temperatures fell below freezing, and I got hit hard with altitude sickness. Still, got my $300's worth. At least, that's what I tell myself. And no, it wasn't the first time I saw snow. Bring your own food. Amazingly, there's a Lindt Chocolate Store all the way up there.
When you reached Paradeplatz, and someone tells you that you probably standing on top of the massive bank vaults of the great Swiss banks...It just gets you. You feel rich just by association. That aside, Zurich was both wonderful and expensive. Except for the water. It's Evian-grade, fountain water, all free-of-charge. Clean, pristine, and wonderfully picturesque streets right out of a postcard. Oh, and Albert Einstein attended a university there.
Imagine having to cross the German border to get to another place in your own country? Yep, we queued through the customs, along with all the other Swiss who hopped to the German side for cheap groceries.
(a) Which place was most memorable? Rhone Glacier
(b) Which place would I return to? Geneva
(c) What about their culture did I like most? Very clean, very safe
(d) Best food? Falafel Sandwich (got addicted to Falafel since then)
(e) Where did I regret not spending more time? Lausanne (there's the Olympic Museum and charming old town)
(f) Where else will I go to the next time I'm there? Other places in Lake Geneva e.g. Yvoire, Evian
(g) What was my best buy there? Chocolates