The home of the Lion of Lucerne, Fondue, and great chocolate, Switzerland is a country that’s easy on the eyes but not so easy on the wallet. It surely lived up to its name as one of the most expensive countries in the world but there are some hidden gems nonetheless.
I landed in Switzerland at roughly 10:30 am after a direct flight straight from New York. The first order of business was to purchase train tickets to the city. What I liked is that the city is less than fifteen minutes away from the airport. Once I got to Zurich HB, I walked through the park to get to my Hotel, The Marriott Zurich. Check-in was seamless and I was given access to the lounge which now came complimentary with my new Marriott Platinum Status which was obtained the week before.
Once settled in, I started to wander the city. I prefer guided tours when traveling as I have an idea of what I was looking at but this time it was just me and google. I managed to see a few great spots and try to understand the culture a little. I like the way Switzerland does water fountains and If you carry a reusable bottle, it's one of the great ways to stay hydrated when traveling.
My top 3 things to do in Zurich were:
1. The holiday market at Zurich HB: The market was filled with foods from the immigrants of the city and gives me the feeling of being in two places at once. I really enjoyed that.
2. Lindenhof: It's worth the climb to get there but once you do, you are treated to some of the best views in the city.
3. Altstadt (Old town): The old town of the city has some of the most quirky monuments you will only find in Zurich. It is the best place to get lost in the entire city.
On the second day in Switzerland, I took a day tour to Lichtenstein, you can read more about it here.
On my third day, I visited the city of Lucerne. I purchased tickets at Zurich HB for the equivalent of a $54 round trip and proceeded on my journey. Immediately, I fell in love with Lucerne. From the amazing views of snow-covered mountains being the backdrop of Lake Lucerne to the old wooden bridge in the middle of the city.
My first stop was Hofkirche St. Leodegar, a catholic church build from 1633 to 1639. It was built on top of a basilica that dated back to 735, which burnt in a fire in 1633. I love old churches as they have some of the best craftsmanship worldwide and it's kept alive by great upkeep. It almost takes you back in time and I love that feeling.
I then walked to the Lion of Lucerne. I’ve seen it countless times in magazines but to see it up close. That experience in itself made the trip for me. I then visited a small section of the city that was surrounded by the walls of an old castle. It was impressive to see such history being kept alive and nicely maintained. I spent the next few hours wandering the city endlessly and falling in love one by one with the many decorated buildings, each one telling its own story of a time long gone.
I then walked over the Chaprl bridge into Old town Lucerne. Here, along this strip, I was able to eat Fondue (hate the smell), have a few pints at a pub, and people-watch what I thought was one of the busiest streets in Lucerne.
After lunch, I had the fuel I needed to walk to the Swiss Air Flight Museum where I learned about its history of flight and its connection to the early stages of flight expedition. I liked the interactive feature of the exhibit and it capped off one of the best trips I’ve had in a while.
I returned that night with a new appreciation of the city and maybe on my next visit I can see more. That night I had dinner at the White Panda, a Thai restaurant attached to the Marriott hotel. The meal was excellent and it is worth a visit if you are ever in the city.
The only thing I missed on my list was a visit to the ski town of St.Moritz but it gives me a reason to return. That and a trip on the Glacier Express.
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