Switzerland and France
My sister was lucky enough to get a job transfer to Geneva, Switzerland for a year, and I was lucky enough to have her as my sister. Free room! I booked a flight for less than $550 (thank you Kayak) and was off for another adventure. Switzerland was never really on my radar for places to go, especially because I don’t ski. But I ended up being quite delighted by all the lovely things it had to offer. France borders Switzerland so in mere minutes you can be in another country. Two countries in seven minutes. Really saves you on that airfare. Here are 7 awesome things we did on this trip!
1. Ate fondue - Now I’m going to warn you, when you walk into a restaurant that serves cheese fondue, it smells like an old sock; with a foot in it. If you can withstand that in the first ten minutes while waiting for your table, you will be happy you did. The fondue is rich, creamy, salty and not to mention a hell of a lot of fun to play with. Get your sticks ready!
2. Went to Gruyere - More cheese! I had no idea Gruyere cheese came from Switzerland. (Swiss cheese!!) The town of Gruyere is a small medieval village set against the backdrop of stunning green terrain, surrounded by snow capped mountains. It looks like the scene from Beauty and the Beast where Belle sings, “There must be more than this provincial life!” Except you don’t need more. There’s cheese. And a castle. They also have a spectacular local dish called rosti. Which is basically a giant hashbrown that you can top in a variety of ways!
3. Walked along the promenade in Vevey- On a beautiful day, you can walk along the promenade on Lake Geneva with a homemade crepe or nutella waffle, breathe in the fresh air and get a beautiful view of the mountains. You can also bear witness to the gigantic fork sticking out of the Lake. You can take funny pictures likeeee pretending to impale your sister with it! Oh siblings!
4. Passed through Annecy and Lyon (Both in France)- In the old town (vielle ville) of Annecy, in the winding cobblestone streets, local vendors were selling meats, cheeses, flowers, chocolates and other goodies. When I went to purchase the lavender honey, I realized I only had Swiss Francs, (French use Euro) and I had about three minutes to find an ATM in this little village before the shop closed. I ran along the canal yelling, “ATM! BANCOMAT!?!” to any human who would point me in the right direction. I made it back just in time to purchase the sweet treat, and it was worth it. Lyon was more of a metropolitan city with big open streets and brand name stores. I had one of the best meals of my life at a beautiful Victorian looking restaurant. Escargot in a puff pastry with parsley butter, truffle foie gras ravioli, white wine and a chocolate crepe. Bon Apetit!
5. Went to the ski village of Chamonix, France (and didn’t ski)- However, we did we ride a cable car 12,604 ft to the top of Mount Blanc ($60 euros) and took a picture on a see through ledge. Whatever you do, DO NOT LOOK DOWN! Afterwards, while a kickass live band from Dublin was rockin' out with their banjos and guitars, we got some vin chaud (delicious hot spiced wine) and walked around the village checking out all the cute shops. I also ate frog legs for the first time. No thank you!
6. Ate chocolate- I felt like I was in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory for a week. In both Switzerland and France you can’t walk 10 feet without stumbling across the intoxicating smell of freshly churned chocolate. Chocolatiere’s are like ATMS over there. The windows are decorated with rows and rows of stacked blocks of chocolate in every variety. Nuts, fruits, milk, dark. Is there any better way to window shop? I think not!
7. Made a swiss army knife from scratch- At the store, Victorianox, I got to assemble an authentic swiss army knife on a sixty year old machine. You follow a chart, and place each individual piece in the correct area. Then you step on a pedal that crunches down and presses everything together. I felt like I was building a weapon in WWII. It was pretty badass. You can also get it engraved, makes a great gift!