Saturday, March 28, 2015

Swiss Misses Road Trip 2k15: Part 3

The last 2 days of our trip were a little more relaxed than the first part.  We spent one day in Lucerne and the final day in Neuchatel.

Lucerne is a dream.  We started with the monument of the dying lion.  It was carved in memoriam of the men that died in the Swiss Guard that was defending the French King.  Is a beautiful monument.  It is also a stunning little oasis in the middle of an urban center.

We spent the rest of the morning strolling by the river and walking on the wooden, medieval bridges throughout the city.   I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.  Like I've told some friends, "You can't take a bad picture of Switzerland."

The largest medieval bridge 

We stopped at a sweet little cafe along the river to soak up some sunshine and have snack.

A little trip recap.

I don't think any of us wanted to leave, so we didn't!  We strolled around town, chatted...a lot, and bought a boatload of chocolate to take home with us.  But the time did come to tootle on down the road.  So I said goodbye to one of my favorite cities.

Later, we pulled into Neuchatel.  It's a quiet little town on a lake.  We spent the evening walking along the beach watching the swans and people on our way.

Neuchatel had a nice "old town" section.  We wandered the little alley ways looking for breakfast.  It was Saturday, so not much was open early.  Nicki found us a delicious crepery.  And I couldn't leave without a pastry for the road, so we also found a bakery.

On the way to the airport we stopped at Chateau Neuchatel.

We made it to the airport, happy, tired and excited to get home to our own beds.

This was an amazing experience.  It was fun, stressful, exhilarating, exciting, scary, and such a memorable time with some really amazing ladies.  Switzerland, keep it real!  I will definitely be back.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Swiss Misses 2k15 Road Trip: Part 2

This was the reason for our pilgrimage to Switzerland: The Walliser Alpentherme.  This amazing spa is up on top of the mountain and is filled with geothermic water from the Alps.  It was amazing, to say the least.

But before hitting the spa, we needed a breakfast of champions.  The little sandwiches they had at the the cafe, were covered in the same gelatin that is used on fruit tarts.  The lady at the shop told me it's to keep them looking good all day.  It also keeps the garnishes in place.  I just liked it because it was the prettiest little egg salad sandwich I had ever eaten.  And my drink, with a cute little heart, I was dying.

I bet all the people there thought we were crazy bringing our cell phones and camera by and in the pool.  But seriously, how could we not take pictures?  It was so beautiful.  
Photo by: Caty Gainer
Photo by Vicki Pleasant

I loved my swimsuit by Unique Vintage from Endless Indulgence!
Photo by: Caty Gainer
We spent the whole morning lazing about in the pools.  It was pure bliss.  I could do an entire vacation in Leukerbad.

We said goodbye to the luxurious water and made our way back down the mountain, on our way to Interlaken. 

The next part of our story gets exciting and scary all at once.  I was using the GoogleFu to navigate our course.  I thought I had it all work out.  It was basically a straight shot through the mountains.  What I didn't realize was that we were in fact on course to go right through a mountain.  The road stopped and there was a toll booth, but there was not a road on the other side....only a train track.  We were supposed to put the car on a train and ride in the car, on the train, through a mountain.  Let me say that again.  Ride in our car, on a train, through the mountain, in the rain.  It sounds bit like a Dr. Seuss book!  We were nervous, and excited, and scared.  

This is a picture of the car train.  You just drive down it till you come to the back of another car.  Then you put on your parking break and say a little prayer that the break will hold, because all the cars are stacked really close together.

The best part of the tunnel was when Nicki sang us the creepy Willy Wonka Song in the pitch black tunnel while the train was accelerating with great speed.   

 We finally made it to Interlaken after the tunnel.  The town was nice, but not our favorite.  In retrospect we should have gone on a gondola ride there up to a mountain village.  We will just have to go back I guess!

The beautiful ladies checking out the city.  

More pictures of the epic views from the mountains.

 We headed to our hotel near Lucern.  This was another GoogleMap adventure.  Something to note about the GoogleFu is that it takes you on the closest, shortest route possible.  When we were driving we had to reroute as we overshot our exit.  The Google then proceeded to take us up a narrow, dirt, mountain goat path, up into the hills/mountains.  I am amazed that our little car made it up.  There was one point where the road went to a very steep incline and I was like, "Nicki, make the car go up better!"  And she was like, "It's not me, I'm trying, it's the car!"  I was afraid the car would roll down the mountain, backwards.  But we had just survived the crazy tunnel of Wonka, we couldn't die now!  Luckily, we finally made it.  And apparently there is a much easier way that is paved, it was just on the other side of the mountain.

We were on top of Switzerland!

Our Hotel: Hotel Himmelrich

 Swiss Chocolate is to die for!  I pretty much ate my weight in it while we were there.

I thought I could do this trip in 2 posts, but it looks like I need another post for Lucerne and Neufchatel.

To be continued.... 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Swiss Misses 2k15 Road Trip: Part 1

When my ex-pat friends and I bonded here in London we had many morning chats over tea and crumpets about how we should leave our men for a few days and go on a European Girls Trip.  We talked about it, and talked about it.  Then one day, we were like, we had better do this or it will not happen.  So we had a couple planning meetings, whipped out the plastic, and BAM!, girls trip to Switzerland was booked!

I had a lot of people ask me "why Switzerland?!"  My response, "why not Switzerland?"  Seriously, just google Images of Switzerland and tell me you don't want to go there.  It looked gorgeous.  I also had several people tell me how amazing it was.  We wanted to go somewhere that our other halves wouldn't be sad to miss or had already been.  So: Switzerland.  (Although, after hearing about our trip, I think they want to go)

Day 1:

Everything went very well getting out flights and our rental car.  Nicki offered to drive.  She drove our little car all over, up, down and through those Swiss Alps.
Our first stop was on Lake Geneva by a cute little Chateau.

The water in Switzerland is amazing.  It is a deep blue color and it is very clear.  I could see every rock on the bottom of the lakes.  One of my favorite things was to watch the little ducks dive to the bottom and get food.  In most of the pictures I took the water looks incredibly smooth.  I really wish I could have just taken some water home.  It was that fantastic.

Lake Geneva

We spent the night at a hotel in Montreux and ate way over priced pizza and pasta.  This is all 4 of us cramming into the little elevator.  There wasn't enough room for the pizza, so Nicki and Vicki had to hold it above their heads!

It was so much fun to share a room with 3 other girls.  I felt like we were at Swiss Camp.  Caty was lucky this night in the coin toss and got her own private corner of the room.

Day 2:

Chateu de Chillon and Zermatt

The Chateau was gorgeous!  We hiked up the motorway to get a picture of it by the lake.  I noticed that most of the castles in Switzerland are really well intact.  I feel like in England, most castles have seen some pretty rough days, resulting in a range of damage.  But here, the chateaus were really great.  I loved seeing the different architecture.  

Miss Caty took a nice glamor shot of me on Lake Geneva.  I love traveling with photographers.  We all just hung out enjoying the views and taking loads of photos.

 You know how when you travel your hair gets all oily and gross?  Well, none of us brought dry shampoo, so our hair was all fluffy, oily, and dirty, TMI?  We also had discussions on if dirty hair was actually a bad thing as it holds curl alot better when it's not clean.  So on this trip we decided to start a band titled: Dirty Hair.  This will be the album cover of our first release, SwissCasiYes.   That name comes from a night where I wanted to go to a Casino.  Nicki informed us that it was a CasiNo, to which we replied, it was a CasiYes!  Although, in the end we didn't end up going to the casino.

After a lovely morning meandering along Lake Geneva and The Chateau de Chillon we left the beautiful blue water and headed into the mountains to conquer the Alps.  We drove as far as we could to Zermatt, but there are not automobiles allowed in the town.  We had to jump on a train that takes everyone into the resort.  Going up the mountain, it felt just like the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland!  We all gave Mr. Walt two big thumbs up.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a horse drawn carriage that takes people to their hotel.  At our 10 year reunion tour we plan to take the carriage and stay in the fancy hotel.

Zermatt: The genesis of alpine resorts, or at least thats what Nicki called it.

 We stopped in to a Witch themed bar and grabbed some mulled punch.  It was fun sitting outside, all cozy in blankets, drinking Christmasy drinks.  The town would be magical at Christmas time.  I think I'm already planning a Christmas ski trip, maybe...

We made it to the Matterhorn!!!!  It was fun to actually see the real deal.  The sun was quite bright that day, but it made it seem like the mountain had a halo around it.

The Matterhorn is behind us, but it was so bright you can't tell.

We said our goodbyes to Zermatt and headed down the mountain, only to realize we had to go back up another mountain to get to Leukerbad.  Driving up the Alps is not for the faint of heart.  Looking over the edge of a steep cliffs, we could pretty much see our death waving at us.  Nicki was a serious trooper and drove us up the crazy road beeping the horn around every hair pin-turn.

However, the views were amazing.

When we finally made it to the hotel, we settled in and then went in hunt of fondue.  When we found the restaurant it smelt like stinking cheese and beer, so we were hopeful it would be really good Swiss fondue.  It did not disappoint.  And, I mean, having Swiss fondue in the Swiss Alps, it was just too perfect to pass up.

I hope you can see just how excited I am in the picture getting ready to take my first bite.  The plates they used were adorable.  The waitress kept trying to give us more bread, but we were so full by the end we just couldn't.

To be continued.....