Saturday, September 20, 2014

Switzerland: Questions & Answers

Where did we go?
We went to Geneva, Nyon, Yvoire (France), Gruyere, and Bern, Interlaken, Grindelwald and Zurich, Switzerland.

Where is it and how did we get there?

I added this question to the Questions & Answers list after talking to a friend and they didn't always know where all these places are on a map especially in relation to Stockholm. Jake also claims to have suggested this but since I don't remember that conversation and he doesn't read the blog he will never know who gets the credit :).
 Stockholm is the green marker and you can barely see Switzerland because all of the blue markers cover it up.  We had a direct flight from Stockholm to Geneva and it was 2 hours and 35 minutes. The flight back to Stockholm from Zurich was about 2 hours and 25 minutes.
We basically started in the bottom left hand corner of Switzerland and worked our way to the top right hand corner.  We landed in Geneva, stayed with Scott and Kirsi in Nyon, took a boat across Lake Geneva to Yvoire (France), went to Gruyere with Scott and Kirsi, then drove to Bern, had dinner in Interlaken but stayed in Wilderswil, visited Grindelwald and then flew out of Zurich.

How long were we there?
We were in Switzerland for 6 days.

What language do they speak?
Switzerland is a little confusing because the country has four official languages.  They speak Swiss German and French primarily but they also speak Italian and a small percentage speaks Romansh.

What currency do they use?
Even though there are four official languages there is only one currency and that is the Swiss franc.  One US dollar is about 0.94 Swiss francs so the prices were easy to convert.

Were things expensive?
It really varied depending on the city.  Geneva and Zurich were expensive but I didn't feel like Interlaken or Grindelwald were that expensive.

Would we be able to live there for a year?
I would love to live in Switzerland for a year!  I have always wanted to go to Switzerland and it was beautiful.  I think I would prefer to be on the Swiss German side because I think that language would be more helpful to know but Geneva was pretty so I wouldn't mind living there as well.  It would be more centrally located for traveling which would be nice.  I realize Stockholm is a lot closer to Europe than Kansas is but it is hard to get direct flights with short flying times from Stockholm sometimes.  (Insert rolling of eyes and pity parties for me here.)

What was most memorable thing about the trip?
I think the most memorable thing about this trip was going with my parents.   We've been on a couple of vacations with Jake's parents and I know my parents have wanted to go on one with us for a while so I'm thankful it finally worked out.  We had a great time so I'm sure we will go on another trip again sometime in the future.  The highlight of our time together though would probably be going to the top of Männlichen.  It was such a neat view and it was fun sharing that with my parents.

What was the food like?
The food was great.  All of our dinners with Scott and Kirsi were excellent plus eating at a home was so nice.  The other Swiss (and Mexican) food we had was great.  Schnitzel is really popular and we've had it a few times in Stockholm and also in Germany.
This schnitzel had bacon, tomatoes and cheese baked on top.

Least favorite food?
I'm not sure I had a least favorite food.  There wasn't really anything that stood out that I saw at restaurants that really turned me off.

Favorite food?
Schnitzel.  Hard to go wrong with battered and fried meat :).

Would we want to go back?

We would definitely go back.  It was such a beautiful place and I would love to see Interlaken and the Alps one a clear day.  I know Jake and my dad would love to try paragliding so I'm sure they would be in for another trip back too.

What was I most surprised by?

The paragliders.  I had no idea it was such a popular sport.  It was neat watching them gliding through the air.  It would be an incredible view if I wasn't to terrified to take the leap!  

Another thing that surprised me was that I didn't feel as claustrophobic in the Alps as I do in the Rockies.  This Kansas girl is used to being able to see for miles and sometimes after being in the mountains for a while I feel like I can't breathe because they are so close to me and I can't see very far.  I didn't feel like that in Switzerland.  It could be because I wasn't surrounded by the Alps like I am by the Rockies when we stay in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Or it could be that now that I live in a big city and I can't see for miles like I am used to so I don't feel as claustrophobic now.  The past two visits home have always included car trips through Kansas and I remember seeing the plains and just being able to breathe deep again.  I didn't realize that I missed being able to see the horizon over fields until I saw it again.  The flint hills really are beautiful but very different from the Alps.

Did we do anything we thought we wouldn't do?

We pretty much followed our itinerary but we did take a boat across Lake Geneva to Yvoire, France after Scott suggested it and we really enjoyed it (other than when I lost my Vivofit).

What did I learn about myself on this trip?
I learned a not so fun fact about my attitude that I already kind of knew but it stuck out one particular morning more than I would have liked.  I am not a morning person.  It takes me a while to get going in the morning and maybe even longer until I would consider myself perky :).  I realized on this trip that I really struggle waking up and then immediately riding in the car for a few hours before we get out and do something.  Riding in the car in the morning makes me sleepy which then means I start the whole "waking up" process all over again and tend to be kind of grumpy.  So it looks like I need to work on being less of a grump in the mornings and after I fall asleep in the car.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our time in Switzerland!


  1. Hi Kara, I loved reading your blog about Switzerland. When I lived in Luxembourg, my sister and I belonged to the Girl Guides of Luxembourg. Because of that, we got to go on a 2 week camping trip to Switzerland and we stayed in a chalet in Interlaken.

    On another note, I have tried to find wiener schnitzel as good as what we had in Luxembourg. Your blog brought back many fond memories.

    1. Thanks Mary! I didn't realize you lived in so many places overseas. When we were talking in December you mentioned you lived in Sweden at one point, but now I can't remember where that was but I think I went through there this last fall. Thanks for commenting, it is nice to hear from you and to hear about your experiences traveling.

  2. Well, my post didn't publish since apparently I wasn't logged in. Anyway, your visit to Switzerland makes me think of the guided reading book that has a couple of kids who are pen pals and one of them lives in Switzerland. Yeah, super random, I know, but would you expect anything less!? Also, schnitzel sounds pretty tasty. I think I'm in for trying some.

    1. I remember the Storytown book, A Pen Pal for Max, but I don't remember the guided reading story. Looks like I'll have to check it out when I'm back. You would definitely like schnitzel!


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