The Beauty of Switzerland
After visiting Paris and Lourdes, Nick and I headed off to Switzerland for the remainder of our trip! We elected to spend more time in Switzerland (9 days) as opposed to France due to the fact that we would be doing a lot of train travel to hop around the country. This post focuses on the first few days during our time in Switzerland.
The next part of our adventure was to head to Geneva, Switzerland for a day. The reason we chose Geneva is that we wanted to slowly work our way back to Zurich airport and this was a good middle ground before we headed to the Swiss countryside.
When our train arrived in Geneva, we took a quick walk.
If you are travelling around Geneva, I highly recommend using their bus system. If you already have your hands on a Swiss Pass, you will automatically get unlimited travel on the Swiss trains, as well as any other public transportation.
We picked the Swiss pass option that would allow for 8 consecutive days of travel.
Note: It is really important to do the math before deciding to purchase a Swiss pass versus individual tickets. If you are just going to be going to a few places, it may not be worth it. We hopped around Switzerland and the passes paid for themselves and then some.
We stayed at the Intercontinental (as Nick had IHG points) and the hotel clerk told us a fun fact as we checked in: US presidents stayed at the hotel when they came into Geneva.
If you are ever in doubt on where to eat, simply ask the concierge for some recommendations. Our concierage got a map out and circled 3 spots within walking distance since we were craving some Italian. A short ten minute walk later and we stopped at one of the most delicious Italian restaurants around: Le Point du Jour! If you are ever in Geneva, you have to go there! Their lasagna was hands down the best I’d ever tasted (and I am pretty darn picky when it comes to lasagna.)
The UN Building
The next day, we had one goal before we made our way to Wengen, Switzerland: Check out the UN building.
I was a Political Science major in college so naturally I was nerding out a little bit at the fact that I was less then fifteen minutes away from the UN building. We went through security and found out that the only way you could go into the building…was by going on a tour. So, on a tour we want!
First, they took our photos and then gave us visitor badges. I felt pretty legit, not gonna lie. Then we waited around until our tour began.
I recommend visiting the building if you are into history and all that jazz. If not, take a hard pass because you may find it boring (Full transparency: Nick was not nearly as excited as I was.)
The tour was amazing and it reminded me of my college days, learning about the UN and how it functions. I was trying not to be obnoxious when the tour guide would ask trivia questions because I knew all of the answers. I stayed quiet most of the time and just whispered the answers under my breath. 😉
Fun fact: Did you know that there are currently 193 member states in the UN?
I learned so much during the tour and was a bit bummed that we had to leave Geneva. However, more adventures were to be had…so we collected our bags back at the hotel and off to the train station, we went!
As we began our train ride, I took a quick snap of the lake as we chugged our way out of Geneva.
Wengen (pronounced Vengen)
Okay, this is a place you *must* visit someday. I’m telling you, if you don’t take anything else away from this article…remember Wengen, Switzerland.
To get to the village Wengen, we had a few trains we had to hop on the make our way there. The first stop was Montreaux. From Montreaux, we decided to take the Golden Pass train (included in our Swiss pass) to take a scenic ride.
The panoramic windows were so tall and we were able to see breathtaking views of the Swiss countryside.
After hopping on a few different trains, we made it to Wengen!
There was a convenient little map upon entering the town that would end up guiding us to our hotel (we actually saved directions offline on our google maps, just in case we weren’t so lucky.) Unfortunately for us, the hotel was all the way at the very top of the hill. This was a long walk carrying all of our luggage uphill.
Beausite Park Hotel
When we arrived at the top of what felt like a mountain, we were out of breath. The front desk clerk said we should have called and they would have picked us up in their little electric taxi van. Duly noted for the next time we visit.
Note: There are only a few cars in this city, mainly ones that the hotels use to get guests in from the train station.
Our hotel, the Beausite Park Hotel was phenomenal. We found it through Chase Ultimate Rewards since I was paying for the hotel using bonus points that I received from signing up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This was the best hotel we stayed out throughout our entire 2 week trip to France & Switzerland!
The front desk clerk gave us a full tour and when I say full, I mean full. He took us to our room, turned on the lights for us, and showed us where to find robes and slippers in the closet. I’m not going to lie, this was a *little* weird for me but maybe I’m just not used to this fancy lifestyle?
After he left, we took a peek at the view from our balcony. Best view ever. I truly have never seen a more spectacular view in my lifetime. It looked like some type of Swiss postcard. Except it was real.
After staring outside for a good while, we elected to get ready for dinner. Certain hotels in Europe have something called “half-board” pricing where you can elect to pay a certain pricing for a meal (usually dinner) whereas “full board” would mean all meals included.
For 30 CHF (~$30) a person per night, our dinner would be included! We definitely went with this option since meals in Switzerland are definitely pricier than what they are in the US. The food was absolutely delicious.
The rest of the evening consisted of taking photos of the spectacular view from our balcony.
The next day we took the train to Lauterbrunnen, where we hopped on another train to get to Murren.
Another city that you have to see, Murren sits 5,374 ft above sea level and is a charming little town. Nick has traveled to Switzerland for work quite a few times and insisted we go to Murren.
You need to take a cable car to make it to Murren, which is a fun adventure in and of itself!
I was not feeling the best this day and Nick kept telling me we could turn around and go back to Wengen. I decided to keep on trucking so we took the cable car up to Murren.
Once we got out of the cable car, the views of the snowy mountains were simply stunning!
I still felt pretty crummy and Nick said we should just go back to the hotel and that we could just try again tomorrow. Our main point of going to Murren was to see the famous Schilthorn summit.
I would find out the next day why he was so darned adamant about this.
So I caved and we took the cable car back down the mountain and headed on the trains back to Wengen. I felt a bit bummed because it was such a gorgeous day and I worried we were wasting a day.
We got back to the hotel and I tried to rest for a bit. After a couple hours, I felt a bit better so we decided to go out and about and walk around Wengen a bit more!
It was a bit chilly, so Nick bought me a touristy Wengen hoodie. Now, I am not usually one for logo apparel with the name of whatever city/country I’m visiting but this one was super warm. And in that moment, warm was what I needed. Plus, it was pretty cute.
A Swiss Cat
As we walked along a tiny little road, I made a friend with a cat.
They somehow just find me, wherever I am. I said hi to the kitty. He/she came out of its little yard and sat on a stone and purred to get some pet.
I, like all good cat lovers, stood there for a while giving the sweet kitty lots of pets and love.
After a while, Nick kindly nudged me and told me we couldn’t stand there all day petting a cat. I mean, I could…but he was right. We needed to walk back into the town and enjoy the remainder of our last day in Wengen.
Again, I could have enjoyed it by petting the cat all night but whatevs. I joke.
We enjoyed the rest of the day and will sure to return! We planned a trip back up to Murren the next day. This would turn into the best part of our entire trip and you can read about it here!