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Feb 08

Trains, trains and more trains : 15 Days in Switzerland with a splash of Italy.

 

 

Dear readers,

It is officially 2 a.m and I am wide awake. I just finished cleaning up the kitchen and doing a bit of housekeeping before R and I depart for winter-wonderland Switzerland. Plane departs 8:30 a.m ….. I can so tell I am not going to get any sleep at this rate. This trip came up rather unexpectedly when R came home one day and said he had been working an awful lot lately and needed a break. He declared a Valentine’s Day holiday spanning 15 days ~ and so here I am, all packed and ready to go. Terribly excited!

Why Switzerland, you ask? Well it is a combination of factors really.
a) I have a dear friend who recently moved to Lausanne and I haven’t seen her in ages.
b) It has been a very mild winter in the Netherlands this year and I mentioned over the Christmas season how cheated I felt that I did not get the White Christmas I had been hoping for since moving to Europe over 18 mths ago.
c) Flights were dirt cheap (yay, EasyJet!!) and we do like train journeys around picturesque countrysides.

 

So everything is ready and all I need to do now is get to the airport. Doopey, our 3 yr old Bernese Mountain Dog, has been sent to the kennels for the time being. Feel very guilty about it because we only had him for 6 weeks since bringing him home from the shelter. The nice lady from the kennels came this morning to take him in her van, and Doopey was none the wiser. In fact he quite happily went off with this strange lady whom he has never seen before, and didn’t even look back at me for a final goodbye. We would have loved to take him with us to Switzerland ~ his ancestral home ~ but taking him on a plane is tricky. I hope he is settling in fine and isn’t making too much of a fuss.

 

Once we land in Geneva we will possibly take in the famous sights, snap a few photos of the United Nations Headquarters, the iconic jet of water in the middle of lake Geneva and have some lunch somewhere warm. Not a lot of time there in Geneva because we are heading straight to Lausanne that same day. Lausanne will be our home base for the next 6 days, giving me ample time to catch up with Kerry, discover the city of Lausanne and go out on day-trips to places like Montreux and Gruyères.

On day 6 we leave Lausanne for the village of Brig. Looking forward to this leg of the trip because now we will begin our journey into alpine country. From Brig we will head up to Zermatt ski resort to lay eyes on the legendary Matterhorn Mountain. I have always known of the existance of this mountain since I was a very young child, thanks to the cartoon Heidi. Now I will get to see it with my own eyes! I hope it will be clear up there when we finally arrive. I am all prepared, wardrobe wise, to face the low temperatures of the mountain. Here in Amsterdam we have been getting pretty frigid temperatures during the night, at times clocking in at -14°C. I can only imagine what it’s going to be like up 4km on a mountain range.

 

Zermatt will be a day trip. We will overnight in Brig and hop on the Glacier Express the next morning ~ Valentine’s morning. The trip will take us over 6 hrs to get from Brig to the fancy-schmancy ski resort of St Moritz, where the likes of Prince William and Kate Middleton call their playground. Not staying in St Moritz but bussing it to Silvaplana and putting up in a lakeside hotel. I hope to get some awesome pictures of said lake.

The Glacier Express Official Tourism Vid (winter) – The Glacier Express, Switzerland

 

The next day we are heading off on the Bernina Express, heading south of the border, to Italy in the Lombardy region. Our main objective is to hop onto yet another alpine rail service and also to check out Lake Como. Lake Como came highly recommended by people on forums and people in the office. After 2 days by the lake (we have booked a lakeside hotel again … I hope its as nice as the pictures depict) we will either bus or train it back up to Switzerland, skirting round the lake shore, entering the city of Lugano about 4 hrs later.

 

From Lugano another train will eventually take us to Luzern where we are putting up at the apartment of an English chap who is renting out rooms. The nice coincidence of arriving in Luzern this time of year is CARNIVALE!! The sombre season of Lent approaches, but for a full week prior it is party time in the city. Will give updates on all the festivities as they unfold before my eyes.

 

So that’s the itinerary really. Once the snaps come thru and I start really experiencing some amazing sights and sounds I will add on updated articles below. I hope, for those who follow me and this blog of mine, that you will stick around for those updates. While I am on the road (rail?) I will try to write and publish articles as much as I can to ensure I get everything fresh out of my thoughts so I don’t forget important bits, especially when I am so caught up with everything else that is happening around me.

 

And last but not least, I just wanna say for the record, to my partner R ~ you are bestest and a champion! Thank you.

 

 

 

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