I checked another country off my list of "Places to Visit" - SWITZERLAND.
One of the reasons it will be difficult to leave Spain [whenever that day comes] is due to the massive amounts of puentes celebrated here. No, I'm not talking about bridges; it's more like when a holiday falls during the week, they just take off the other day too -- hence, Bridge/Puente Break. A holiday on a Tuesday means no work Monday either! And, as an added bonus, because I am an auxiliar, I also get Fridays off, giving me a grand total of 5 days to go exploring/6 days if I leave on a Thursday. This blog is dedicated to the 6 days I spent in Switzerland on my last Puente break in November with a good friend I met in Salamanca in 2009, Erin Melwing.
Switzerland's 5 Cs: Chocolate. Cheese. Cows. Canyoning. Caro (expensive).
Swiss Francs are like Monopoly money. While worth more than the Euro, everything has a higher price, so the exchange rate wasn't actually in our favor. However, this didn't complicate our trip: we just gave in. We splurged. And, I am so happy we did.
|Incredible view in Interlaken.|
|A visit to the supermarket left us pondering these funny tubes of mayonnaise and ketchup.|
|Bad translation = funny!|
|Switzerland loves its flag.|
|Even the walkways were pretty.|
|Shutters of every color.|
|Fall in Switzerland!|
|Erin and I; Alps in the background.|
|Another typical photo of my feet.|
Favorite lines from the activity from Henna our guide, (1) "Ok, stand at the edge of this ledge... turn around. You know planking? Well, you're going to do a backward plank. I'm going to push you off this ledge. Ready? GO! (2) You're going to jump off of this ledge into that waterfall. When you surface, you will be pushed against that rock wall because the current is very strong, but don't worry, that's normal. You'll just have to swim behind the waterfall and I'll get you. I promise, I will get you."
So, as you could imagine, the day was full of surprises around every turn of the canyon. I went repelling for the first time, jumped off cliffs, and wore my first wetsuits - yes, we had two on because the water was freezing. I was a nervous-excited type of scared, but it was a one of a kind experience that I highly recommend to anyone! Since we went the last day of the season, I have no pictures or videos of me actually canyoning, here is a video of what I would have looked like!
|View from the bus on the way to the canyon, overlooking Interlaken.|
|Tegan, Me, and Erin after canyoning in Saxten, Interlaken, Switzerland!|
After our adventures in Interlaken, it was time to head to Switzerland's capital city. Since we were there on a Sunday, nothing was open. Well, we didn't see anything open in the old town anyway. But, we were fooled. What appeared to just be a second entrance to the train station/bus station, was actually an underground world that never slept! Supermarkets, restaurants, shops...everything you wanted!
However, I am happy to say we found this paradise after we spent all of the early hours exploring the city center, above ground. We made trips to the rose garden to have a beautiful view of Bern, to the parliament building for a light show (twice), the bear garden (yes bear, not beer), to see the famous clock tower... besides cheese and chocolate, we had a wonderful chicken curry Indian dish for lunch (with the worst service ever), and attempted to go to the cinema only to find out it was 17Francs. NO THANKS! I could see 3 movies for that price in Spain - or buy loads of chocolate....which is precisely what happened.
|Trying to be artsy.|
|Bear Garden next to the river.|
|Roll. Werk? Bern.|
|There were all these cellar type things on the main street, most were stores.|
|Bern: up close.|
|Bear Garden statue looks awesome in moonlight.|
|Main street by night; clock tower at end.|
|Love these movies. (Just not in Switzerland)|
|Fun hair flips.|
|Enjoying the view.|
The light show we saw was so incredible, that we saw it twice. Since the movie was out of our ESL teaching budget and Switzerland doesn't party into the wee hours like Spain, there wasn't much to do at night, except watch the light show! We anxiously watched while we ate Tolberone McFlurries from McDonald's. Yes, I ate McDonald's - but TOLBERONE McFlurry - now, that can't be passed up.Geneva
Our last day was spent where our first night began: Geneva! Two things that are awesome in Geneva: free transport card for buses/trams during your stay and free transport card good for up to one hour when you arrive at the airport. Seriously, cool. After a horrible walk into Geneva's "Red Light District" that looked like a scene straight out of the movie Taken our first night, we used our transport cards to go the opposite direction on our last day.
First, we went to visit the United Nations Headquarters and the Red Cross Museum. By tram, we continued on to the center of Geneva to visit the Cathedral. From the Cathedral there is an incredible view of the city - and the famous geyser/fountain thing in the lake nearby. We drank Dr. Pepper, Mezzo Mix and Fanta Mango... had some pizza, and called it an early night back to the hostel to watch a movie (that was free of charge!)
|I've been to the UN Headquarters! Woo!|
|United Nations Protest.|
|Red Cross Museum, Geneva|
|A nice day for a walk in the park.|
|Fall in Geneva.|
|Everything was written in French or German. Geneva was very French.|
|View from the Cathedral.|
|We spent Halloween here with goodie boxes I brought from Spain.|