"There is snow on my eyelashes!!" - Zurich & Lucerne
After our whirlwind 4 days in Paris, we bid farewell to Steph and continued on our way. We activated our EURail Global Passes and boarded our train. We were so excited to spend some time relaxing in the shadows of the Swiss Alps. We really had no idea what to expect from Zurich, but as soon as we stepped out of the train station we promptly fell in love. The city is as charming as it is metropolitan and as picturesque as it is bustling.
Where We Stayed
Old Town Hostel Otter
Located right in the heart of Old Town Zurich, this hostel served as a great home base for our 3 nights in Zurich. Easily accessible from the train station, we quickly found our way there. They do not offer 24 hour check-in, so be sure to check the schedule before blindly boardning a train like we did... Read more about our stay Old Town Hostel Otter here!
Lucerne is a smaller city in Switzerland with less options for accomodation, but we were lucky enough to find this small, welcoming hostel just a short bus ride away from the central station. We had a room to ourselves and took advantage of many of the amenities offered at this hostel. Read about Bellpark Hostel here!
What To Eat
Switzerland is EXPENSIVE! People will tell you this about a lot of destinations, but seriously, Switzerland prices are out of control. Like $25-for-a-burger-and-fries out of control. Lucky for us, both the hostels we stayed in had kitchens so we cooked most of our meals to avoid running our bank accounts dry two weeks into our trip. But we couldn't leave Switzerland without trying two things: cheese and chocolate.
We knew that we absolutely had to try Raclette. If you've never heard of Raclette before, it's cheese melted over a wood-burning stove then scraped on top of potatoes, onions, and literally anything else that can be coated in cheese. We got ours at a food truck during their Carnival celebration, but there is no shortage of restaurants that serve Raclette. If you ever find yourself in Switzerland, this traditional dish is a must.
To satisfy our need for Swiss chocolate, we stopped by this cafe that is said to have the best hot chocolate in Zurich. We each got a large mug topped with whipped cream, of course. Cafe Schober also offers up a variety of pastries and sweet treats that are as delicious as they are adorable.
What To Do
Climb the narrow, sloping, all around horrible spiral staircase located in this church. It is absolutely worth the asthma-inducing climb for the most incredible, panoramic view of the city, the lake, and the Alps!
We had a fantasic time on the pub crawl offered at zuerichpubcrawl.ch. It had been raining all afternoon and we weren't sure if we wanted to go out, but we are so happy we splashed our way around the city. The pub crawl started with all 35 of us gathered in a city square. The organizers proceeded to hand out solo cups and make everyone mixed drinks right in the street. We knew from the start it was going to be a fun night. The pub crawl ends at a night club, but in true Brooke and Shannon fashion that wasn't enough for us. We found some locals who took us to an after-hours bar where we spent another few hours partying so we could make sure we would be as hungover and exhausted as possible the next day.
Stroll Through Old City
Zurich is a beautiful city rich with history. We took a tour through Old Town, but it was mediocre and we did not learn as much as we had hoped. But we at least got to see some of the incredible architecture and views offered up by Old Town Zurich. Either hop on a walking tour or stroll through by yourself, but make sure you don't miss out on all the charm the city has hiding in its cobblestone streets.
We were determined to make it to the top of the Alps, so shortly after arriving in Lucerne we began researching which mountain would be the best. We decided upon Mt. Titlas and were not disappointed! With an elevation of almost 11,000 feet, it took 4 separate cable cars to get to the top. Along the way there were lodges to rest in with restaurants and gift shops, and we even got to go sledding at one of the stops! We also got to walk through a glacier at the very top of the mountain. It happened to be BLIZZARDING the day we went so it was freeing cold, but amazing nonetheless. There are so many mountains with similar resorts - so make your choice and bundle up!
In the spirit of saving money, we went to the grocery store on our first night in Zurich. We bought some microwave dinners and some fruits and vegetables, bread and cheese, and some drinks. After paying we realized the cashier hadn't given us any bags. We tried to go back and ask, but she spoke no English and did not understand what we were asking for. We loaded up our arms and carried all the groceries home through the busy Friday night streets. We made it home without looking too ridicuous. The next day we cooked all our meals. Saturday night we decided we would go back to the grocery store the next day and get more food. Unfortunately for us, all of the grocery stores were closed on Sundays. We ate leftover frozen peas. Yummm....
Check out a video from our time in Switzerland below!