21 days in Europe: Lucerne, Switzerland
AirBNB: Modernes Zimmer mit Blick ins Grüne in Kriens, Luzerne, Switzerland hosted by Bernadette ($78 per night, private room in apartment)
Best attraction: beautiful view of the mountains from room and accessible balcony. Lovely hostess!
I thought that since I had been to Ireland before that I would be able to do this travel thing like a pro by now, but I will confirm for you that jet lag is, and will always be, the toughest part about traveling abroad.
On our first day, we woke up around 6AM to drive 3 hours from our house to Dallas. We wanted to be there early and have a chance to hang out a little bit with our friends who kindly took us to the airport for our flight leaving that afternoon at 4:30PM. We couldn’t wait to board for our nearly 10 hour flight to Frankfurt! You think, “ah it’s okay because I’ll just sleep most of it off, right? Yeah, no. unless you’ve got those fancy lay back and relax seats in first class, you’re pretty tight on space. Luckily for us, all 3 passengers in our row were tall, and we didn’t figure out how to lean our seats back until the last hour of the flight. To say the least, a 3 hour train experience afterward to our first destination in Kriens/Lucerne, Switzerland was not the first thing we would have wished for, but by the time we arrived, (29 hours with no sleep), we just wanted to get to our AirBNB. Luckily, our AurBNB was fantastic and we had an amazingly kind hostess who gave us tips and good conversation. Pointer: TAKE THE DRAMAMINE Positive: Watching my husband’s multiple shocked faces looking out plane and train windows at the scenery. LUCERNE:
Lucerne, Switzerland is beautiful mix of the historic architecture and cobblestone streets of shops, and the trendy gelato and sushi restraurants that the students of Switzerland (and mostly me) love. And the best part? EVERYTHING is surrounded by water. Beautiful Lake Lucerne made every point of Lucerne enjoyabke, even if all you were doing was stopping to enjoy views of the mountains, or watching swans gracefully paddle themselves across the water. Chapel Bridge was a favorite of mine, as it stands as one of the oldest constructions in the city and is adorned with beautiful paintings and flowers!
Tips: 1. Everything is readily accessible by train with the Eurail pass. It’s expensive at first, but so worth it in the end because you can get lots of free transportation and some fun, discounted transportation as well! Even from Kriens, the train was just a 10 minute walk and the train ride was about 5 minutes.
2. EVERYTHING in Switzerland is expensive, which means if you’re on a budget, don’t be afraid to eat at the train stations because the food is great, and most importantly, cheap! If you want authentic food though, you may be paying anywhere from 20 to 40 Swiss Francs per meal. (Switzerland ain’t for the thrifty)
3. Go visit the Chocolate shop that sits in the middle of the shops called “chocolate world”. It may sound typical, but it’s not. Not even close. Not if you’re used to seeing chocolate, gelato, macarons, pastries, and a moving chocolate wall behind your typical chocolate shop’s counter. Pretty cool place if you’re as obsessed with chocolate as I am. Awesome eats:
1. Gelato is EVERYWHERE. Be careful of choosing authentic gelato over some of the smaller stands that sell ice cream rather than actual gelato. Ours was even shaped like a flower and came with a macaron!
2. The best food of course is the authentic Swiss eats like Rosti and Bratwurst! Also: Apfelstreussel. So good. Please eat.
3. I guess if you want to really know the truth, it is DEFINITELY worth it to spend a litttle extra money on at least one meal to sit along the lake. There are plenty of places to choose from, including historic hotel resteraunts and restaurants right on the water in boats.
MOUNT PILATUS: You really don’t get the entirety of the beauty that is Lucerne without going to Pilatus, Lucerne’s prized mountain park. If you don’t like heights, this place isn’t for you!! BUT, you really shouldn’t pass this up because it is so refreshingly beautiful in its views, and it’s 50-60 degree weather in the middle of June! If you get a Eurail pass, the tram up to your chosen destination is 50% off, which is well worth it! We chose to take the tram to Frankmuntegg instead of to the very top of Mount Pilatus. We mostly wanted the beautiful views you get dangling above the mountainside on the tram, where you can see the whole of Lucerne: city, hills, lake, villages, and mountains all meeting together in a movie-picturesque view.
Our favorite part of Mount Pilatus? My husband said it was a close call between tobogganing down the mountain and getting to relive our childhood a little bit, or seeing the cows on the way down. TOBOGGANING IS BASICALLY THE MOST FUN THING A GROWN ADULT CAN CHOOSE TO DO ON A MOUNTAIN EVER.
*Bonus*: You also get to have a mini-leg workout hiking the steep incline up to the toboggan :)
Tip: Tap water is good, tap water is cheap, when I saw the cost of bottled water, off the mountain I wanted to leap. It’s Switzerland. You can drink the tap water!
Ready to move on to Zermatt! ~Gal with a pal