I have been living in many different places, yet lately it struck me that I especially seem to get along very well with Swiss people through which I decided that this was the moment to book a flight and visit my dear Swiss friends. All that was already back in March and I was lucky to find the best deal ever, €55 retour flight Amsterdam – Basel – incredible – and so realized the visit.
A few weeks ago the time had come that I entered the airplane – at 7 in the morning 😐 – and made my way to Switzerland. My first visit to this country – and I guess it showed very well. During the train ride from Basel to Luzern I got so excited seeing the mountains getting closer and closer and even seeing some snow on top of the mountains that on my face it formed a huge smile from my left to my right ear.
Only an hour later I met my first friend, Nicole, at the train station of Luzern. She started the city tour with a walk – it was actually more like a fitness test with all the hundreds of steps and my backpack full of stuff for the coming week, but hé, good warming up – up to ‘Hotel chateau Gütsch’ where we had a beautiful view over the city, the “Four forested settlements Lake” (Lake Luzern) and the mountains. I was so amazed by what I saw that I could not stop smiling. On pictures Switzerland already looks so pretty, but in real life beyond description … for me like a dream that came through … and this was only the beginning! We continued the tour with walking over the old city wall, where we had another beautiful view over the city – after some days I realized that Swiss people seem to appreciate those wide views ^^ – and strolled around in the old centre.
Yet quickly we acknowledge that we are not that much into cities and decided to take a dip in the lake – which surely wasn’t a bad decision since the lake with its surroundings is just picturesque and it was more than 30 degrees. We ended the day in style; bread, soaked with white wine, a ‘bit’ of garlic and raclette cheese on top and then in the oven. I would have never thought about it, but hmm ‘lekker’ – as we say in Dutch – this recipe I will take home!
After a lot of hours of sleep – catching up from the night before – we took the train, bus and cable car all the way up to “Seebodenalp” (Canton Schwyz). From here we walked a loop trail up to mount Rigi which is almost 1.800 meters above sea level and surrounded by the three lakes; Lake Luzern, Lake Zug and Lake Lauerz. I surely wasn’t as trained as my friends – who for fun does high altitude hikes – but it certainly wasn’t punishment! A pretty hike through ‘meadows’ and the forest and with even more stunning views! We came along cows, we actually came really – scary – close to them. Omg, I had to laugh so bad when I heard the bells for the first time, haha, I honestly thought that this was just something on TV. I would get so crazy when I would be a cow, haha. We ate our lunch close to the top of the Mount Rigi, somewhere in a meadow, in between the cow pies and alpine flowers with the most amazing outlook – speechless!
In the evening I met Jasmine in Luzern, a friend whom I got to know in Málaga. While eating delicious Italian pasta – I know, I know … no Swiss meal – we talked and talked and this time I guided her through the city since she is from Bern 😛
The next morning our alarm went off extremely early so that Nicole would be on time in the mountain hut where she works. This meant that around 8 o’clock I already was in Dallenwil and an hour later started with the Panorama walk around Wirzweli. I finished the track before lunch time and had that much time left that I kept walking and walking until two o’clock when I decided it was time to walk down, yet this was another 1.5 hours. In the end I had walked for more than 5 hours and turned out to be totally exhausted – surely not used to this anymore – but what a beautiful day! Like the days before, the most beautiful views – I could even see the ‘Brunnistock’ full of snow from here – and an enjoyable track.
And gosh, I felt so much like a tourist. The Swiss must have laughed about me.
Those rubber gates over the road who prevent cows from going through but let cars go through … I wasn’t sure if they were electrically charged or not, so the first time I went underneath, the second time I could neatly go around and the last time I decided to run through, haha. It must have looked so funny how insecure and unknowing I stood in front of those things … no, I still don’t like them.
I was so lucky that another friends, Jasmin – whom I got to know in the Netherlands – could pick me up halfway, at the end of the day, to go to her place, Glarus. Besides this, her parents were so kind to wait with dinner for us. This is another thing I noticed during my time in Switzerland, the people here – at least the ones I met – are so hospitable and friendly.
Wherever I was, I felt at home from the first moment.
Very surprising, the next day it was time to go … yes, to go hiking ^^ This time we did not have to go far. From Braunwald we walked up to Oberblegisee – which looks like a Hobbit landscape – and continued to Schwändi. This time a not to tough hike, nevertheless not less pretty.
Typical Swiss houses, typical Swiss cows – with laud bells – and a typical Swiss view and of course good Swiss company 🙂
After a heavy rain shower – which also got us at the last part of our hike – Jasmin told me that I had to see the “Klöntalersee”, so we drove there what was surely worth it! For a moment I was back in Fiordland in New Zealand. Wow – despite the clouds – stunning! And how better to end the day than with a family BBQ. So much “gezelligheid” I love it! I realized that visiting friends abroad is actually one of the best ways to travel. You are ensured of travelling around with great people, meet loads of ‘local’ people, go to the best and most beautiful places – which are often not too touristic, at least in my case – and have a comfortable place to stay.
Sounds quite perfect to me!
On Saturday I had a resting day – which wasn’t unnecessary – and went with Jasmin to Rapperswil-Jona, a small and cute village next to the ‘Zurich See’. A day just walking around, enjoying the weather, being annoyed by swans and taking a dip in the water. In the evening the family decided that when I was in Switzerland I at least had to try Swiss raclette ones. This dish is normally eaten in winter but for me they made an exception. I was so astound by the way they did this that at first I could just look and copy. They say that Dutch people are ‘cheese-heads’ but I have the feeling that Swiss people eat far more cheese than we do, incredible! Haha. You put loads of cheese in a little pan, wait till it is melted and then eat it with a little bit of potato and meat. Therewith I quickly understood the reason that this is just eaten in winter, it’s quite a heavy meal, however still delicious.
From Glarus I moved on to Filzbach, yet this time only a short visit. In Filzbach I went with Marlies and her parents for a pleasurable hike on the ‘Kerenzerberg’, which is literally next to their house. After more than two years we finally got to talk face to face but it felt like it was yesterday we saw each other for the last time. Besides this, I got to see the second tallest waterfall of Europe – from all angles 😛 – and got to know about many flowers – I am sorry, I tried, but I just remember the orchid and something with a head flower. Next to the ‘Talalpsee’ – which is a picturesque lake hidden in between mountain tops – we enjoyed a drink and ‘Glarnerpastetli’ which is a truly delicious local pastry. As if distances are nothing, at the end of the day Marlies brought me all the way to Gossau where I stayed the last days with Fabienne.
In the early morning the next day we took the car and drove about 45 minutes to Wasserauen where we prepared ourselves for a hike up to the ‘Ebenalp’ (1.644m). After two hours only walking up and not being able to see much due to the thick fog we reached the famous ‘Gasthaus Aescher’. It was a pity that we could not see that much because I guess that it would have looked very nice, nevertheless it was an enjoyable and rather demanding hike. Before we started with lunch we moved on all the way to the top of the Ebenalp where we sadly could also see no more than a white ‘blanket’ and the flowers which were on reaching distance. So we headed back and enjoyed our lunch in the ‘Gasthaus Aescher’ where they apparently serve the best Rösti in Switzerland, which we of course had to try, and I have to say, the Rösti was pretty good!
Satisfied we moved on to the ‘Seealpsee’. Luckily the sky had cleared up a lot so we could enjoy beautiful views again. The ‘Seealpsee’ is another picturesque lake in which you could see the reflection of the snowy mountains … wow I love this country! We of course had to take advantage of the fact that the weather got better and therefore took a dip in the rather cold water.
How blessed I felt to have the possibility to travel around and visit those amazing places!
After a long but great day of hiking we moved homeward. They day wasn’t over though, it even got better! “We go to the small pool of our holiday home” she said. In fact it was a beautiful big pool in the middle of the nature with a view … incredible! What a great place to get out of the busy life.
On my already last day in Switzerland we walked around in St. Gallen. Seeing the old timber framed houses, visiting the Abbey cathedral and taking the cable car of Switzerland to ‘Three ponds’ (Drei Weieren). Our last stop before I had to go to the airport was the ‘Rheinfall’. The among tourists well-known largest plain waterfall in Europe. After having walked the past six days through the nature with only a few people, it felt quite uncomfortable attempting to make my way through all those people who are wanting to make the most beautiful picture of the waterfall. Nevertheless, I have to admit that the Rheinfall is pretty beautiful! Massive and astonishing how much water comes true.
Only seven days, but looking at what I did it could have been two weeks. I knew Switzerland would be beautiful, but that it was this pretty and that you can find great hikes around every corner I did not expect! All of this is only 1.5 hours by plane away from my … I am not sure yet if this is a good or a bad thing ^^
Girls and family, thank you so much again for making this unforgettable journey possible!! Hope to see you again soon!