Dear Europe (Day 4)

The one thing I had insisted on doing while I was in Switzerland was to visit the Jung Frau. And while I was the one who originally insisted upon it during planning, everyone was super excited about by the time we got to Switzerland.  So we woke up super early on day 4 and raced to our local bus station to catch the first bus out of town.  Now a lot of people will suggest that you buy tickets to go up via the internet the day before.  This is a brilliant plan as long as you’re not African.  You see…we tried very hard to book our spots before hand, but none of the African countries were listed as “approved” on the website, so we were unable to secure our tickets and therefore had to leave as early as possible and hope for the best.  Sadly….this particular dream of mine was not to come true.

We were super early and managed to catch the sunrise en route...it was spectacular!
We were super early and managed to catch the sunrise en route…it was spectacular!

We were there super early, but all the spots for the day had been filled.  For a while we walked around town feeling all sulky and miff and without any real plans for the day.  We had been so sure that we’d be able to go up that we never even considered the possibility of failure. Then finally we decided to have a cup of coffee and a croissant at one of the little coffee shops.  I’m not sure if it really was the very best coffee and croissant I’d ever had…but it certainly felt that way and the friendly manner of the people around us and the realisation that we were in Switzerland and surrounded by beauty no matter where we went soon dawned on us again and we were determined to save the day.

The water around this area was very different - still en route
The water around this area was very different – still en route
Attempting to cheer each other up...our sulkiness was quite bad...I won't lie
Attempting to cheer each other up…our sulkiness was quite bad…I won’t lie

 

With some advice from my friend’s mother (who knows Switzerland better than most) we hopped on the first train to Murren.  This little town was super beautiful and had amazing views, and while it might not have been going up to the Jung Frau, it was still pretty spectacular.

How gorgeous is the little town of Murren?
How gorgeous is the little town of Murren?
The train going up the mountain from Murren
The train going up the mountain from Murren

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Our lunchtime view
Our lunchtime view
An OLD swiss home
An OLD swiss home
More glaciers! It's a bit ridiculous how excited I got every time I spotted one of these
More glaciers! It’s a bit ridiculous how excited I got every time I spotted one of these

We ended the day with a beautiful ferry ride across Lake Lucerne from the station in Lucerne to the port closest to home.  I could help but think how awesome it must be to live and work there.  Take the trains/buses to work in the morning, then after work you take the ferry home, have a drink on board and see the beauty all around you.  I would be the calmest and nicest person ever. No traffic, no rude people..amazing no?

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Because sometimes you have to look at the world through rose tinted glasses
Because sometimes you have to look at the world through rose-tinted glasses
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Dear Europe (Day 2)

On Tuesday 13 August I woke up, no longer a weary traveler, but with the realisation that I WAS IN SWITZERLAND! You are welcome to assume that waking up and hearing the cow bells softly chiming and running outside onto the balcony and watching the green GREEN grass and smelling the fresh air brought on a bit of a shriek.  SWITZERLAND!

We had spent the weeks before our departure as well as the night before, setting out a “more or less” plan i.e. there were certain things we really wanted to see and which days would suit those things best.  So on Day 2 we were heading out to Zermatt, the little town where the Matterhorn, fondly known as chocolate mountain, is located. Now if you’ve ever had a Toblerone chocolate you would have spotted the picture of the mountain on it…that, my lovelies, is the Matterhorn.

We set off on quite a long journey.  First we travelled back towards Lucerne, where we missed our train (by seconds) and had to waste 45 minutes.  It was well worth it though as we got to see the historic Chapel Bridge.  it is the oldest wooden bridge in Switzerland and one of the oldest in Europe.  There are original artworks on the bridge depicting historic events and walking across it is really quite the experience.  Not to mention the beautiful bright flowers EVERYWHERE.   A section of the bridge had burned down somewhere in the 90’s and had to be rebuilt, but they attempted to make it as close to the original parts that were left as possible.

This is without a doubt my most favourite pic from the holiday. It is puzzle perfect.  The view from the Chapel Bridge
This is without a doubt my most favourite pic from the holiday. It is puzzle perfect. The view from the Chapel Bridge
On the Chapel bridge.  See the triangles...those are original artworks
On the Chapel bridge. See the triangles…those are original artworks
How beautiful is this bridge?
How beautiful is this bridge?
One of the original artworks along the roof of the bridge
One of the original artworks along the roof of the bridge
And of course i had to get proof that I was actually there:)
And of course i had to get proof that I was actually there:)

From Lucerne we took several more trains until we finally arrived in Zermatt.  Along the way we got our first glimpse at glacier water.  It’s amazing how different it looks from the crisp, clear water at the bottom of the mountains.  The glacier water is slightly grey and appears milky due to all the minerals.  We also spotted our first glacier.  Guys I can not begin to describe that feeling.  It looks like water rushing down the mountain, only it is stopped in time.  The difference between the glaciers and the snow is quite obvious, but unfortunately my pics aren’t of great quality as they were taken from a rather fast-moving train:)

Glacierwater...note the difference between this and the water from the pictures taken in Lucerne
Glacierwater…note the difference between this and the water from the pictures taken in Lucerne
Snow covered mountain tops in the background, glacier towards the front.  The part that looks like water rushing down the mountain.  It's breathtaking!
Snow covered mountain tops in the background, glacier towards the front. The part that looks like water rushing down the mountain. It’s breathtaking!
Snow in the background, glacier towards the front. Bad pic I know...reflection from the train window kinda messed it up a bit
This one is slightly more zoomed in.  Bad pic I know…reflection from the train window kinda messed it up a bit

By the time we reached Zermatt we were absolutely starving.  We had been busy all day and it was already way past lunch time so we stopped at The Brown Cow, where we had our first taste of the local brew and feasted on the Zermatter burger.  The one thing we did notice is that the Swiss make incredible fries.  It is probably the best I’ve ever had in my life. Odd, but true.

A street view of Zermatt from The Brown Cow.  No cars allowed except for these weird, tiny little taxi things
A street view of Zermatt from The Brown Cow. No cars allowed except for tiny little taxis
My first taste of one of the local brews. As a non beer drinker no one could have been more surprised than I was when i realised it was really yummy...not like the nonsense they make here.
My first taste of one of the local brews. As a non beer drinker no one could have been more surprised than I was when i realised it was really yummy…not like the nonsense they make here.

After our rather late (understatement) lunch we walked out of the town and towards the foot of the mountain where we tried our very best to pose with this rather majestic lady.  But she was very shy and the tip kept hiding in the clouds.  We finally managed to get a 20 second glimpse of the mountain in its entirety and it was AMAZING.

Looking back at Zermatt from the mountain's side of the town
Looking back at Zermatt from the mountain’s side of the town
Our fist glimpse of the majestic Matterhorn
Our fist glimpse of the majestic Matterhorn
Just outside Zermatt
Just outside Zermatt
LOOK! I'm in Switzerland. I promise the mountain was in the background, but with all the glare from the clouds we couldn't actually get a picture of ourselves and the mountain together
LOOK! I’m in Switzerland. I promise the mountain was in the background, but with all the glare from the clouds we couldn’t actually get a picture of ourselves and the mountain together

After touristing around for a while we finally started the long journey home.  Along the way i took this beaut…which will be part of the iPhoneography exhibition on Thursday (nudge nudge wink wink).

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We traveled somewhere in the region of 13 hours in total on Tuesday and only reached home at around midnight. Tired but happy:)  And excited, because tomorrow will bring Titlis and the skipark and walking inside a glacier and playing in the snow.

Watching the beautiful sunset from the train while sipping on red wine
Watching the beautiful sunset from the train while sipping on red wine

As a side note.  If you are traveling to Switzerland and you plan on exploring the whole country and not just the city you’re staying in, the Swiss pass is definitely the way to go.  I made up the cost of my 8 day pass by the 3rd day of traveling. All public transport is free and you get a 50% discount at many of the tourist attractions and cable cars if you have it. Definitely worth every cent:)