What I did in Switzerland in 43 hours:
Taking my test on Friday morning was pretty much the only thing standing in between me and Switzerland. Immediately after my test, I got some cafe con leche (TREAT YO SELF) in the area of where my school is located for finishing strong and then quickly made my way to Barajas airport.
Upon arriving at the airport, I exchanged my euros for francs then got in line for security. Here’s where things start to get interesting. So I completely forgot to empty my water bottle, so when my stuff went through TSA I got called out by Spanish security and had to be escorted (yes escorted) out of line, in my untied shoes, just to empty out my water in the toilet. Then to make matters even more interesting, I still had to get back and wait in line for another twenty minutes so they are sure my water bottle is not contraband. Slow clap for Nikki, amazing job!!!!!!
Flying into Switzerland was amazing because I got in around 6pm, which was when the sun was setting. Being able to see the sunset from the view of the plane and with the mountains in the background was amazing. Like a postcard. Throughout my entire 43 hours in Switzerland, since my “such a deal” of 20 euros for 2G plan was used up, most of the time I had almost no wifi. No biggie, I’m in Europe! But that was a struggle because I had to find a way to meet up with my friends who arrived earlier. I got this right? I used my noggin (and some help from the information desk) and figured out which bus to catch that drops me off right in front of the budget hotel we were staying at. Genius. After freshening up for a bit, my two friends and I headed into downtown Geneva to get some dinner. After our delicious dinner of some grilled chicken and potatoes, I quickly realized how different Geneva is from Madrid. At 9pm, the streets were DEAD. What??? How can this be? I thought this was cosmopolitan Europe? Who knows, the Swiss are much more chill and relaxed about their lives than the Spaniards.
The next morning, we woke up at 6am so we can catch our train that was leaving at 7:40 to go to Interlaken for the day. We had a transfer in Bern (the capital of Switzerland) so we decided to stay in that town and wander a bit for a few hours. Bern is BEAUTIFUL. So quaint and adorable. Immediately after getting off the train, I had to (well you know) but there was no way was I going to pay 2 francs just to take a tinkle at the train station so the hunt to find a free toilet began. Finally, after what felt like an eternity (in reality maybe 9 minutes), I. Found. A. Free. Toilet. #Europroblems
Might I mention that while in Bern (or in Switzerland, period) it was freezing cold and I was actually quite jealous of everyone back at home just chillen in 50-60 degree weather. Very glad I brought my Jerry Garcia scarf, Love Your Melon beanie and gloves because being a chronically cold person, I probably would’ve been frozen solid without those. We wandered into this cute flea market and farmers market and discovered the different kids of foods they were selling. Alyssa and I, being the Jews that we are, bought what appeared to be some challah bread at the market. It wasn’t actually called challah bread, but it tasted exactly like it and my taste buds pretty much exploded because it’s been a while since I’ve eaten anything Jew-ishy. If you ever go to Switzerland, I highly recommend stopping in Bern. And yes I did feel the “Bern”. Such a cute, picturesque little town with a river that runs straight through it as well.
Next up, we got back on the train and made our way to Interlaken. The views of the Swiss Alps are UNBELIEVABLE. Very dramatic and beautiful beyonds words. Whichever way I looked, it was a picture-worthy view. Despite being continually cold the entire time we were there, I immediately fell in love with Interlaken. It was nice to see snow for the first time in a long time too. One thing I liked about us going to Interlaken was that we didn’t have a set itinerary and just played it by ear for the whole day. I did have the bucket list idea of wanting to go skydiving or paragliding while in Interlaken but once I found out the price of skydiving, I scratched that off the list. Next up, paragliding. However, after Laura and I were all set, paid, and ready to go, the instructor told us that the weather was going to be pretty iffy for the rest of the day (& it had just started raining, yeah pretty bad timing :/) and he was advised not to send any more people up the mountain. It was disappointing to hear that after getting so excited and riled up to go paragliding and to view the city from high up, but I guess better safe than sorry right? I’m sure my parents are now relieved knowing that their daughter didn’t jump off a mountain so Ric & Susie, you’re welcome. Although, we were both pretty bummed about canceling our paragliding plans (and probably amazing ‘would’ve been’ pictures) but that feeling was gone as soon as we arrived at the Funky Chocolate Club. Alyssa, Laura and I split a chocolate fondue with some bananas, strawberries and grapes. It was delicious and the chocolate was a 10/10 in my book.
Next up, we searched long and hard for a good place to take a nice picture in front of the mountains or Lake Brienz. Not the best timing because the rain started to come down harder so we decided to go to Hooters and grab a beer. Yes, I flew all the way to freaking Switzerland to go to Hooters (anything for the wifi connection ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).
After our enjoying our brewskis and stealing the coasters (& Alyssa taking the mug), we made our way to Schuh, a restaurant known for their Swiss cheese fondue. I was PUMPED. So worth the 24 francs per person because this cheesey goodness was orgasmic. I just about ate my weight in bread and cheese throughout the duration of this dinner but you gotta do what you gotta do in Switzerland.
After dinner was over, it was almost 9pm and pouring rain outside. The last train to head back to Geneva was leaving at 9 so we sprinted (well maybe just me because I was wet and cold) to the train station and caught the train. We still had to make two more transfers and catch a bus just to get back to Geneva so we got back at around 1am. Overall, Saturday was a pretty successful day. We visited three different cities, all in a days work :).
Interesting things to know:
-In Geneva, they speak French.
-In Bern and Interlaken, they speak German.
-In other cities they’ll speak Italian as well.
-No matter where you look, you will be amazed at the views of the mountains.
-You may or may not see a lot of cows while riding the train cross country.
-Other American study abroad students FLOOD Interlaken and you may or may not run into someone you went to high school or college or camp with. #JewishGeography
-Switzerland, being an expensive country to venture out to, ironically has gas prices that are 1.30 francs (1.31 USD, pretty much the same), but coffee is 7 francs!
-Wearing converse shoes is not the best shoe option for a country that is known for having a lot of snow.
With being in this small but beautiful country for only a short period of time, I took advantage of the options and was pretty happy with the outcome. I had a great time and experience. Stay classy Switzerland.
Next up, Dublin in two weeks.