3/16 Day 1
I had a really relaxing time in Lucerne, Switzerland with my parents who had been traveling in Germany the week before. I woke up early on Thursday morning to take a speed train to Milan – this one was really nice and had wifi on it so I could study for midterms. From Milan to Switzerland was not as fast or new of a train, but still nice. The whole trip took about 5 hours but it was way better than flying because I didn’t have to do security or get to the airport etc. Also, the train was empty enough I had 4 seats to myself to spread out. I was torn between sleeping, studying, or just looking out the window. When I wasn’t in a tunnel, the train was curving around lakes and through mountains and it was beautiful.
I arrived at the train station in Lucerne and my parents were waiting there for me! There was a Burger King in the station and that was the first time I realized how expensive things are in Switzerland – even a sandwich from Burger King was around 15CHF which is around 15 USD wow!
Luckily, our hotel was really easy to find because it was right across the street from the train station. It was pretty nice and all of the people working there were friendly and spoke English. We set out to find some food and found a tex mex place a couple blocks away and we each got enormous burritos.
After our late lunch, we just walked around the town a little bit and I was surprised by everything because I had done zero research for the trip. The old town of Luzern surrounded a crystal clear water lake that had many white swans floating on it. You could see the bottom of the lake for awhile out it was so pretty!
We signed up spontaneously for a day trip to a nearby mountain and the girl who helped us with the info gave us some recommendations for food – thai food. There is a place called Chacha that quickly became our favorite thing to eat in Luzern…we ended up going there three times in one weekend because it was so good! Everything was so bright and fresh in flavor, something we desperately needed after eating heavy traditional food or plain sandwiches for our lunches. We left that Thai restaurant very happy and went back to the hotel to get some sleep.
3/17 Day 2
Next morning, we woke up around 8 and went down to enjoy a fancy complimentary breakfast. I had a great cappuccino, fruit, bread, pastry and juice. We even took a couple snacks to eat up on the mountain.
We caught a tram to the base of the mountain we were going to go up: Mount Pilatus. It was easy enough getting there and we bought tickets for a sophisticated looking ski lift to the top. There were stops along the way you could get off for pictures or even hike between the lifts.
The views of the city moving further away were breathtaking and it was almost spooky how quiet it was up the mountain. You could only hear the wind blowing and birds chirping. The landscape changed from warm and grassy to cold and rocky so it was time to layer up.
We got to the very top of the mountain and were virtually alone. They had built this nice lodge on top and several levels of balconies with different views of the mountain, One side had a lovely view mixed with a view of the town, lake and snowy mountains in the back. On the other side was pure white mountains and it was awesome! It was meant to rain all day, but we got really lucky because there were barely any clouds in the sky while we were up there.
We ended up spending most of the day here and even falling asleep in the sun on these folding chairs that could recline. It was cold and windy, but they had thick wool blankets that completely blocked out the wind and kept us warm. Thankfully we packed a little picnic to eat outside on the balcony. There was even some live music up on the mountain – a group of people playing some traditional instruments and it was really cool.
Before going down, we stopped in a really nice watch shop that was in the lodge. My mom was looking for a watch but we both left with a new Tissot. Hers was a special edition that you couldn’t get anywhere outside of Switzerland. Seems like the perfect souvenir!
On the last lift, we got off and hiked to the bottom. It was really easy, but seemed way harder because we were all really out of shape. I could feel it in my calves by the time we reached the bottom 1.5 hours later.
The night we treated ourselves to more Thai food and went to bed after a short walk around the safe city.
3/18 Day 3
On our last full day, it finally rained and luckily the hotel loaned us some huge umbrellas. Weather can really make or break a trip – if it had rained like that all weekend it would have ruined the trip. We walked all over the city, bought some gifts, and got our new watches adjusted because once we got down from the mountain they didn’t fit anymore. My favorite part was a small market that popped up which had so many beautiful flowers. Everything in Switzerland is more expensive except for the flowers. The same $10 intricate flower arrangement in Luzern would run you about $30 in the States.
3/19 Day 4
I said goodbye to my parents on Sunday morning as they returned all the way home. My train wasn’t until 4pm so I studied in the hotel and walked around the city again because the sun had come out. Even though my train home had a connection in Milan, it was still so much better than flying. The train took 5-6 hours all together, but I got a comfy seat and didn’t have to get to the airport and wait there forever. Very stress-free.