Before I launch into a series of posts about our massive road trip through France to Spain, I want to share my girls’ trip to Lucerne, Switzerland, the week before we left. This post is in honor of my friend Beth, who we’re saying “aloha!” to tomorrow as she and her husband PCS to Hawaii. (!)
If it hasn’t become obvious, let me explain that there’s an expectation that you’ll travel when your family gets stationed anywhere in Europe. It takes up so much less time and money than traveling from the States. Why wouldn’t you? (Says everyone before they take a 21 hour road trip to Barcelona.)
We’re learning that travel with kids is doable, but so much less fun (in certain ways [*ahem* enjoying a relaxing glass of wine or three]) than traveling without them. So from time to time we each dip out for a fun weekend with friends to places that would be totally absurd to travel to from the States.
Taking advantage of off-peak travel sales makes these trips even more palatable, especially if you’re open to unconsidered destinations when you’re doing your research. I recently found budget flights to Basel, Switzerland, and free train tickets from there to Lucerne, and convinced some girlfriends to get away.
It was a weird time of year, between ski season and summer tourist season, but Lucerne was stunning. I mean, river + lake + Alps + beautiful architecture? You really can’t go wrong.
We took a gondola and cable car up Mount Pilatus, just a short bus ride from our hotel, which was perfectly located across the street from the train station. The views from the mountaintop were breathtaking.
Then we took the world’s steepest cogwheel train down the mountain. (Thanks for being such a good sport, Beth!)
We visited the Wounded Lion monument, a tribute to Swiss Guards lost in the French Revolution, and tried not to cry. It’s captivating and moving. Beautiful.
We toured Lake Lucerne by boat. I always enjoy a good boat tour with a free audio guide. It’s a great way to discover interesting stories that you’d never otherwise hear.
We drank wine. (But not at the fancy hotel under whose canopies we took cover in an unexpected hail storm!)
We ate our weight in cheese and drooled over the amazing produce at the riverside market (that sadly couldn’t fit in our Ryan Air carry-on bags.) It was disappointing to not be able to bring anything back. The white asparagus was delicious in a fresh cod dish from Rathaus Brauerei, but let’s not get started on the magic of Swiss fondue.
While the truth is that I could have enjoyed anywhere in the world that didn’t require me to feed or clean any other human being for just a couple of days, Lucerne was lovely and in good company. Expensive. But lovely. I realize I’m quite lucky to have had the chance to make a quick trip to discover it.
Beth, I’m glad you were willing to be whisked away in the midst of last minute travel and move preparations. Tomorrow you make party!