What are the first things which come to your mind if you're thinking of Switzerland? - Probably Swiss chocolate, cheese, army knives, watches, business bank accounts, expensive lifestyle and the Alps, right?
In my opinion Switzerland is a much underrated holiday destination. Sure, it's nice to go snowboarding and skiing in the mountains but Switzerland has a lot more to offer.
A few weeks ago I went by bus from Munich ZOB (Central Bus Station, one train station away from Munich Central Station) to Zürich. By the way, Zürich might be the biggest city in Switzerland but it is not the capital. I didn't spent a lot of time in Zürich, but it felt like a place I want to live in at some point in my life. Zürich ranked first in Monocle's 2012 "Quality of Life Survey", that means the people living there are the happiest in the world. Doesn't everybody strive for happiness?! Therefore, I think surrounding yourself with happy people could be the first step.
Anyway, after I got the most expensive Starbucks drink of my life, up until now, (I paid about 7 CHF = 6€ for a tall! Mango-Passionfruit Blended Juice because I had to use the toilet, needed WiFi and also a refreshing drink - yup in this order :D) I explored Zürich for a bit. Then I hopped on a fast train to Bern, the capital, where I met up with a good friend. I was already astonished by the beauty of the city after we left the train station. The narrow-winding streets and the art nouveau/neo-gothic architecture caught my eyes. The people there, or in Switzerland in general, were very friendly and easy-going - I felt welcome as a tourist.
The next day we drove around a bit. We went to Thun, had a walk a along Thunersee (Lake Thun - 1st & 3rd picture) and enjoyed the sun. Afterwards we drove to Interlaken (picture above) and had a stroll around town. I bought delicious chocolate from Grand Café Restaurant Schuh. The logo of this Swiss chocolatier is an image of a Jungfrau (virgin/maid) because the most famous mountain in this region is called Jungfrau.
Our activities sound really boring, I know. But I actually needed this. The days before I went to Switzerland I was rushing from city to city visiting friends, and I did so after this short trip as well. So all I needed was a quiet and peaceful place to calm down and relax. The vibe of this country is calming and inspirational.
But if you are not an old granny like me and want adventures I'm sure Interlaken is the right place for you. Because this lovely small city is a very touristy place, they offer kayaking, canoeing, and which thrilled me the most, paragliding. But I was not spontaneous or brave enough to do it. Paragliding is on my bucket list though.
In the afternoon we we drove to Beatenberg (mountain/village), maybe half way up, took a break and enjoyed the scenery.
Switzerland was everything I remembered and imagined it to be and more. I was in elementary school when I first visited this beautiful country. My memories of this trip are very vague. Ergo, I had to visit it again. In my point of view the older you get the more you appreciate things in life. The few days I spent in Switzerland made me realize that instead of looking for the right angle for a great photograph to post on social media, I should absorb the awesomeness of the moment. Sometimes it is nice to just gather all the impressions for yourself, without taking pictures with the intention to share them with everybody - just to grab attention or to brag. (My pictures won't be as good as the ones you can find on the internet, which were taken by professional photographers, anyway.)
Don't get me wrong, I love taking pictures and sharing them, and of course I don't mind other people doing it. But you know, sometimes...
Aaaaand here are 5 random fun facts about Switzerland you should know:
1. There are four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh.
2. There is a political party in Switzerland, called the "Anti-Powerpoint Party". It works towards decreasing the use of Powerpoint in professional presentations.
3. In Switzerland, it is illegal to keep just one guinea pig. You have to have them in pairs.
4. The official name of Switzerland is Confoederatio Helvetica in Latin, which means Swiss Confederation. This name is only used on official documents but it is the reason why Switzerland's abbreviation is CH.
5. Swiss people invented conching and tempering chocolate!