When our friends Chris & Joey announced a couple of months ago that they were moving to Geneva for a job with the U.N., we thought “Hey, we won’t be too far away. Why don’t we visit?” A few emails later and we were set for a mid-July stop in Switzerland, between our early-July visit with Marc & David in Corsica and meeting friends in Nice in late July.The only question was what we would do between Geneva & Nice, a question we hadn’t answered yet when we got to Geneva. It was only on our second day there that we decided to stay in Switzerland for 10 days before we go back to the beach. Three observations so far: we had fun with Chris & Joey and their two girls Gabriela and Athena, Zermatt is every bit as beautiful as I remember it from nearly 40 years ago (Mark’s most recent visit was a much more current 30 years…), and it’s really expensive here.
OK, first Geneva. I’ve heard for years that it’s not the best place in Switzerland to go and – except for seeing friends – that’s pretty accurate. We actually had to take a city bus into France (it’s right on the border) to take a cable car up a mountain to walk around for an afternoon. The city is right on Lake Geneva, of course, and that’s … OK. Except for the prices – a hamburger in a restaurant costs $30 or something, main courses all start around $40 for the cheap items – nothing too remarkable.
Then it was a train ride to Zermatt. You have to love Swiss trains: comfortable, quiet, extremely punctual. And they go through some pretty spectacular scenery. We got into Zermatt and it was pretty much all overcast with intermittent rain. Great weather for hiking, we thought.Alas, the next day the skies had completely cleared, we had a spectacular view of the Matterhorn from our hotel, and off we went on an ambitious 12-mile hike up into the mountains. It was simply jaw-droppingly spectacular. Definitely a tough climb – we climbed a total of about 1,000 meters over those 12 miles – but so totally worth it. We just kept stopping to take more pictures, to gaze at the views again and again. And the weather was so nice, the sun so brilliant, that we both got a little sunburn on our necks. After how many months in the sun in Southeast Asia and then the Mediterranean I wouldn’t have thought that would be possible.
Be prepared: we loved the scenery up there.
By the end we were pretty exhausted so we’re going to take today a little lighter. But the weather is great again this morning, so we should have more great photos soon.
From here we’re taking the Glacier Express, a seven-hour train through the mountains to St. Moritz, and then we’re going off into Liechtenstein for a couple days before ending our Swiss adventure in Zurich. What a life where you can just decide on a whim to spend a couple weeks in Switzerland!