Side note: I know this post is super late. I’ve been working on it for a few weeks but I’ve been so busy and tired that I’ve barely managed a few minutes on it each day. I’ll try to be more focused in future, sorry!
After the disappointment I felt in Paris, I have to admit I was a little worried Zürich would let me down too…but I’m happy to say I was wrong!
Now, I didn’t really spend much time in Zürich itself, having booked day trips for each full day that I was there, but what I saw I loved, and I enjoyed Switzerland overall.
On day one I had a tour booked with Hans Meier Tours, to visit Heidiland and Lichtenstein. The first part of the trip took us to Rapperswil, which was so pretty and picturesque. I imagine it’s even more beautiful when the roses are in bloom, but the snow gave it a very fairy tale feel.
After Rapperswil we took a long scenic drive to Lichtenstein. I wish we’d had longer there, as we only had 45 minutes before we had to move on to avoid getting to Heidiland after dark. It was just enough time to visit a few stores and the tourism center to get my passport stamped.
To be honest I think I’d have preferred to spend more time in Lichtenstein and skip Heidiland altogether but maybe I can visit Lichtenstein again in the summer. We’ll see.
My tour guide was so friendly and even pointed out the Zürich Google headquarters to me once he found out that Google is my dream employer.
So on day two I was encouraged by the fact that I was with the same tour company, this time on a tour to Grindelwald and Interlaken.
I found out on the day that I was the only person doing that particular tour, and the rest of the people on the bus were going to Jungfraujoch.
Jungfraujuch is known as the top of Europe (because it is the highest railway station, it’s not actually the highest peak). The tour guide suggested I upgrade, however I’d already decided to visit Jungfrau in the summer in hopes of better weather. I did, however, upgrade to a different tour, one that took me to Kleine Scheidegg (2061m) with the rest of the group, before splitting so they could head up the mountain while I went to Grindelwald (1034m).
I am so, so glad I took the upgrade. Both areas are lovely but if I’d headed straight to Grindelwald I would have been painfully bored, as five hours would have been far too long. Instead I spent two hours in Kleine Scheidegg (including enjoying a yummy lunch), then two hours in Grindelwald.
More than anything else, these places made me want to learn how to ski or snowboard hahaha.
I heard that the group who went up Jungfrau did have decent weather, but I still believe my decision to go in summer is a good one.
On days three, four and five, my tours were booked with Best Of Switzerland Tours, and on day three I was heading up Mount Rigi.
Once again, I somehow managed to be the only person to book a particular tour on a particular day. This time, however, the tour company offered me a free upgrade to join the rest of the group who were heading up Mt Titlis (3020m), I guess to save them having to detour to Mt Rigi just to drop me off.
And once again, I’m glad I followed the suggestion and took the upgrade.
The tour didn’t head straight to Mt Titlis, instead we had a bit over an hour to explore Lucerne. It’s a beautiful city, and I think I’d like to see it again in warmer weather.
Mt Titlis was a challenge for me, because I’m pretty scared of heights but also determined not to let that hinder my travel experiences too much. What I was most worried about was the trip up and down on the air gondolas, however I then found out that there were also two other experiences on the mountain that would terrifying me: the Ice Flyer and the suspension bridge.
The way up was a bit nerve wracking as someone who has never been in an air gondola / cable car before, but thankfully I wasn’t in it alone, I was sitting with two other Aussie girls who happened to be on the same day tour and they were a good distraction whenever I felt my bravery waver a little. When we got up the mountain, we decided to tackle the Ice Flyer first.
The Ice Flyer is a kind of chair lift, but it doesn’t predominantly take you up and down slopes, it’s more of a circuit ride for fun.
More like fear, but okay.
So…I got on the Ice Flyer. And I tried to use my GoPro to film it…however apparently my GoPro was even more scared than I was, because it tried to escape.
It flat out came off the fucking stick mount and fell. Now, I cannot explain what kind of coordination magic I wove at this point, but despite my fear and the damn height I was at, I caught that motherfucking camera before it could fall to the inaccessible snow below.
I mean, to be clear, I probably couldn’t catch it standing still on the ground and completely prepared for it…but I guess my fear made me hypervigilant and the panic at the thought of losing it gave me some kind of temporary superpower.
I clung to that damn camera for the rest of the ride like it was a falling child, not gonna lie.
So after the Ice Flyer debacle, and after I packed my GoPro away safe in my bag, I crossed the suspension bridge.
I swear…people need to damn well walk more tentatively because the bouncing from their footsteps was not fun for me.
I made it across though, so I guess that’s something.
I mean…so did a little girl from my tour group…but I choose to believe she was just too young to understand true fear.
After the suspension bridge I got to walk through a glacier which was interesting, but then of course I ended up alone on a small cable car heading down to a lower level on the mountain.
And of course, the cable car stopped mid trip.
Those three or so minutes swaying in the breeze were the longest of my life.
Thankfully I made it down mostly in one piece (aside from my nerves, that is) but I ended the visit on a high note. The snow activities were easily the most fun part of the mountain. They were on the lower level where I got to ride down some mini fun slopes on snow tubes and mini sled type things. I went down several times, and thankfully didn’t wipe out even once.
Having said that, since my GoPro was suicidal, I recorded with my normal camera hanging around my neck, and the video footage I got looks like I died in a brutal crash at the end since my camera flipped over hahahahaha!
So Mt Titlis was an awesome day trip which I definitely recommend to anyone and everyone.
On day four, I had booked a Lucerne city tour. The tour guide from the day before had mentioned a few things in Lucerne, so although I had six hours there, I had a bit of a game plan to fill my day.
I started at the Gletschergarten which is a garden of glacier rock formations and fossils. There were some very interesting pieces there, but my absolute favourite part of it was the Mirror Maze.
I have never, ever been so confused in my life (yes, all of those figures in the maze are me hahahaha). It was awesome and more than once I was reaching out to see if there was space or glass in my path.
When I was done at the Gletschergarten, I went to the Bourbaki Panorama and had lunch.
After that, I had a bit of a wander around Lucerne, enjoying the view through the old town.
In the afternoon, I took the train to Hergiswil to visit the glass factory there. It was a different kind of museum visit, moving through these recorded scenes, then there was a fun area looking at different types and uses of glass in a set of more science museum style exhibits.
And similar to the Gletschergarten Mirror Maze, there was a Glass Labyrinth. This was was a dark room with disco type lights and glass maze walls. You had special socks and gloves to feel your way through the maze without scratching anything.
It wasn’t quite as mind boggling as the mirror maze, but I certainly walked into glass more often in this maze hahaha.
I made it back to Lucerne with plenty of time to spare to meet back up with the tour group (most of whom had been heading up various mountains) and even got the chance to enjoy a Starbucks hot chocolate.
It was freaking awesome. Also, huge.
One day five, my last “full” day in Zürich (ie the last night I had at my hotel), I did a combined trip starting with a half day visit to Rhine Falls (and a ten minute drive through Germany right after), followed by a city tour of Zürich.
I also got a chance to venture into Fraumünster to see the Marc Chagall windows. They were gorgeous, I wish I’d been allowed to take photos inside.
I went back to my hotel early to pack, and I’m glad I did, because it meant that I could really enjoy the next day before my flight.
My flight was in the evening, so I had until about 5pm before I had to head to the airport. I hadn’t booked any tours for that day because there were no guarantees I would be back in time, so instead I put my luggage into my hotel’s storage, and I visited Zürich Zoo.
I make it a habit to look up a zoo before I visit, because I don’t want to visit anywhere that doesn’t treat their animals well, so as far as zoos I have been too, they are mostly quite similar to each other. This doesn’t make them any less fun to visit, though, and I had a good day.
At the end of the afternoon, I called an Uber to take me to the airport, and I somehow ended up in a Mercedes S Class which was a pretty sweet end to my Swiss visit. If it wasn’t such an expensive place to live, I might even put it on my “if I move overseas…” list, but honestly the price of living is ridiculous.
My flight home was with Emirates with a stopover in Dubai and comfort wise it was very similar to Qantas. The service was a bit better, but the entertainment offered a little less and surprisingly, I found the food on Qantas was a bit better also.
Needless to say, by the time I got back to Sydney I was completely wiped out, but even factoring the negatives from Paris I had an amazing trip and can’t wait to visit Europe again in the summertime.
And despite my fear of heights and my dislike of the cold, I can’t wait to spend more time up in the Alps. Maybe one day I’ll even learn to snowboard. 😊