Europe tour days 10-11: Zurich, Switzerland

Our 6-hour long train ride from Munich to Zurich gave us plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and catch up on sleep.

Surprisingly, our way was dotted with lakes here and there, and the afternoon sun made the water glow. I barely saw any people, but then again it was a weekday and a school day.

Rheinfalls in Zurich
Rheinfalls in Zurich

 

Travel tip: Make sure you bring Swiss francs! Some stores accept euros but they will give you your change in Swiss francs.

We were scheduled to go to the Rheinfalls and take the free boat ride across the river, courtesy of our Eurail pass, but it was already past five in the afternoon. Since we had so many bags, we elected to go to our apartment first before going to Neuhausen.

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Ride the boat or take emo shots in the pier like this
Mama and papa in Rheinfalls
Mama and papa in Rheinfalls

Neuhausen is the most recommended train station if you want to go to Rheinfalls. From Neuhausen, you take the S-Bahn to the falls, but you just have to be careful that you take the last train ride back to the station.

Unfortunately, when we got to Rheinfalls, we missed the last boat ride, so we just stood on the decks and watched the people get close to the beautiful and majestic falls. As with several waterfalls, there were beautiful rainbows.

20150913_191012_markedWe decided to take a lot of pictures and walk around Rheinfalls instead. The walk was a little steep and we had to walk up and down, but we were just so happy because we were in Switzerland! Switzerland, for me, was one of those countries I wished I’d go to but never really thought I could visit because it’s so expensive (it is!). And due to mom’s fervent wish to see the Alps, I was finally here!

We went back to the main train station and bought food, and while there, I found upon the Sprüngli chocolate store. I felt like a kid during Christmas! Since Swiss chocolates are one of my must-do’s while in Europe, I actually made a list of stores and set aside shopping money for these.

I wanted to weep when I entered the store. Beautiful rows upon rows of chocolates and macarons and pralines. My mouth watered as I stared and chose which ones I’ll buy. I spent over 10 francs for these, and I generously let my family have some *ehem*. When I bit into the macaron, I thought, “so this is how macarons are supposed to taste like”. It was a little steep but I don’t know when I’ll be able to visit Switzerland and have a taste again of these exquisite chocolates.

It was my first time to enter such a luxury confectioner store and I took my time gazing upon the display. It was definitely heavenly for a chocoholic like me.

Here are some more pictures of the Sprüngli display, for your viewing pleasure:

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You’re welcome.

Afterwards, we went back to our apartment and enjoyed the beautiful apartment and the view. It was really amazing being able to rent apartments because we were one with the locals, and that was one of the things we wanted to experience.

View from our Airbnb apartment in Zurich
View from the balcony of our Airbnb rental in Zurich

It was amazing because Swiss people are so nice! They weren’t the friendliest Europeans I’ve met and I was actually intimidated, but whenever we crossed the road, cars would actually stop even though it wasn’t traffic and we could just cross when they pass by. But nope, every car would stop as soon as they see someone about to cross. And when I asked for help from the locals, they were accommodating and spoke English so well so we didn’t have trouble understanding them.

The next day, we woke up bright, early, and very excited. It was the day we were scheduled to go up the Swiss Alps, on Mount Titlis, specifically! And thanks to our Eurail pass, we got 50% off our ticket ride from Engelberg up to the Alps.

We’ve never seen snow, have never been to anywhere where the temperature drops below 9 degrees (hello, Baguio), so we were a little unprepared for how cold it actually was.

We went to the town of Engelberg, where we will take the cable car up to Mount Titlis. We rode the train past several houses, and sorry for the cliché, but I definitely imagined Heidi. It felt so surreal to see clouds hanging so low over the houses. It was like I could just jump and be in the clouds already!

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On the way to Engelberg

Since Mount Titlis is over 3,000 metres above sea level, we rode several cable cars on our way up. Sadly, the TITLIS ROTAIR (rotating gondola car) was out of order at that time so we didn’t get 360-degree views.

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The gondola crept up steadily, and soon we were met with snowy views! The temperature had been dropping the higher we went up, and despite my denim jacket over my dress, I was still very cold. We were apprehensive stepping out into the cold, and the air dried out my lips and made my nose very cold. I was sniffling like crazy. But the beautiful views and my being in awe that I’m on the alps more than made up for the sick feeling.

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Glacier cave

We first entered the Glacier cave but quickly left. Several years ago, there was an ice display in Manila, which included an ice cave, and the experience was similar so we just left. Besides, we were there to step on the snow and papa was hurrying us along.

Obligatory first step on snow shot
Obligatory first step on snow shot

After going up the floors, we finally saw the exit towards the mountain. Time to step on snow!

It was super cold! The temperature was at 0 degrees, and it really was hard to breathe at the start, but thankfully we acclimatized. At first, our skin hurt because despite the cold weather, we were way up high in the mountains and the sun was out. It was a sunny day, and snow was actually melting in some parts.

And yet while we were freezing and hugging ourselves against the cold, we actually saw another tourist take off his shirt for a topless pic up the alps!

I was busy taking in my surroundings and taking pictures, but when I finally took notice of my family again, all the stresses I had while preparing for our Eurotrip faded away. My parents were laughing and playing in the snow and were just so happy. My dad kept recording videos for my niece back home, and mom was making a snow bunny. Papa even did several jump shots, while I made snowballs.

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“Take a picture of me up in the snow!” – Papa
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Mama making a snow bunny for my niece

The day started out so sunny when suddenly, clouds crept up on us and there was zero visibility, which lasted for a few minutes. We couldn’t see more than a few feet behind us. I started jumping up and down, believing that at least even for a nanosecond, I’m riding a cloud! Oh, one can dream!

We were already so happy being up in the alps and playing with the snow and we were on our way back to the building when the most magical thing happened…

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Fresh snow!20150914_133948_marked

It felt like such a blessed day. We didn’t know what to expect, especially since it was summer. I mean, we were already amazed that there was snow even during summer, then for snow to actually start falling…wow. It was just so surreal.

Afterward, we went down to the cafe and had a brief snack. Being out in the snow with all that adrenaline rush had made us blind to the fact that we were hungry and haven’t eaten lunch. We felt weak in the knees and needed a lot of fuel and sugar to keep going.

Fooling around with my parents in Engelberg
Fooling around with my parents in Engelberg

We then left around 3pm, but when we went down to the village where we waited for the bus that will take us back to the train station, it never came. We just decided to make the short trip back to the station, but not before taking a lot of pictures in the town!

I’m really glad my mom insisted on going to Switzerland, and that I was able to make it work. It really is true that when you want something, things will fall into place when you work for it.

We passed by the Luzern train station on our way back for a connecting train. The Luzern train station looked like a mall with a train station. It was several floors and had a grocery and several eateries, for crying out loud. We had an hour’s wait so we started walking around when I saw Läderach, the other Suisse chocolatier on my list.

I immediately went into the store and it felt like Christmas all over again. (The whole being in Switzerland thing felt like Christmas!) Rows upon rows of chocolate made my mouth water, and I left the store over 10 francs poorer. I was apprehensive. The Sprüngli chocolates were already so good; would Läderach be the same? Are Swiss chocolates really that good?

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Now, I have this thing about chocolate. My eyes tend to close when I taste something delicious, and sometimes I feel like weeping when it’s so particularly good.

I sat down on one of the benches outside the store and slowly started eating. My sister saw me and went, “hey, why are you crying?!”

Yes, Läderach was that good and then some. For the first time in my life, I understood the meaning of “tears of joy”. So thank you for that, Läderach!

The next day after breakfast, we took our time going to the train station since we weren’t in any rush. We were bound for Geneva but had no definite plans, other than walk around and see the place.

I hope you’ll enjoy your trip! All photos are unedited. I don’t know how to use Photoshop! Please don’t use my images without permission.

Read about my Eurotrip!

Rome day 1-2
Rome day 3
Florence days 4-5
Pisa day 5
Venice day 6
Austria day 7
Munich days 8-9
Geneva day 12
Paris day 13
Paris day 14 – Louvre Museum
Paris day 14 – Seine River Cruise

Other links you might find helpful:

Getting ready for Europe  |  Preparing your Schengen visa requirements  |  Booking your hotel and plane fare  |  Filling out the Schengen visa form  |  How to apply to the Italian embassy thru Via  |  Cross-country train travel in Europe

4 Replies to “Europe tour days 10-11: Zurich, Switzerland”

  1. There, there. Don’t worry about crying over chocolate, just as long as it’s not spilled milk. 😉

    1. Zurich again, for the chocolates!

  2. […] Rome day 1-2 Rome day 3 Florence days 4-5 Pisa day 5 Venice day 6 Austria day 7 Munich days 8-9 Zürich days 10-11 Geneva day 12 Paris day 13 Paris day 14 – Touring the Louvre Paris day 14 – Seine River Cruise […]

  3. […] day 1-2 Rome day 3 Florence days 4-5 Pisa day 5 Venice day 6 Austria day 7 Zürich days 10-11 Geneva day 12 Paris day 13 Paris day 14 – Louvre Museum Paris day 14 – Seine River […]

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