When it comes to travel I am definitely a planner. Sometimes, however, it’s the unplanned trips that end up being unexpectedly fun and rewarding! One of my best friends in Florence just happens to own a travel agency (#luckyme). She rarely leads tours anymore, but sometimes, towards the end of the summer when things slow down and her tour guides need time off, she will take on the occasional tour. And sometimes I am lucky enough to get invited along!
That’s exactly what happened this past weekend. Anna decided to lead the 3-day trip to Interlaken, Bern, and Lake Como. When she asked if I was interested in tagging along, there was but one answer – YES!
To be honest, Switzerland has never topped my European travel to-do list. Currently Amsterdam, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest hold that honor. So while I was excited to add another country to my travel repertoire, I really didn’t know what to expect. Let me tell you, Switzerland exceeded all of my expectations. It was truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen… and so much fun!
Warning picture overload:
|Can you believe this was the view from the hotel?
I ate freshly baked bread and homemade preserves here every morning.
My friend Anna’s company, FlorenceForFun, specializes in student travel. It is amazing the variety of trips they offer and how traveling with them can transform a 3-month (or summer), Italian study abroad program into a multi-country European adventure (they design their trips specifically so students don’t miss class!).
I truly believe in their mission. Most students will only get the opportunity to live and study oversees once, so you should really do and see as much as possible. Take this trip for example. In three days we visited two countries, skydived, paraglided, canyoned, bungee jumped, tasted chocolate, ate real fondue, explored Bern (the Swiss capital), and relaxed in Lake Como. Not too shabby!
I, for one, cannot believe I paraglided! I am not the adventurous type. I like coffee, museums, architecture, and my feet firmly on the ground… not running off the side of a mountain in the Alps! But Anna talked me into it and I am so grateful. Once I got in the air, and realized I wasn’t going to fall from the sky, I loved it!
Most of the students were way more adventurous than we were and they did both the bungee jumping and skydiving. Next year, however, I think I will build up the nerve try canyoning. The students loved it and said they slid down rocks like slip-n-slides, scaled several peaks, and jumped into gorgeous alpine rivers and lakes.
|Anna and I, clearly we had no fun!|
I mean it when I say Switzerland was breathtaking. Look at this view! This was my best Sound of Music impression lol.
|The trip included a chocolate tasting. Needless to say it was all amazing.|
And don’t even get me started on the chocolate. Between that and the amazing fondue, I am sure I gained five pounds (#worthit)!
The group spent Friday in Interlaken partaking in all of the crazy adventure sports. So on Saturday it was nice to keep our feet on the ground and explore the capital of Switzerland, Bern. It is an adorable, charming, and super clean (all of Switzerland was shockingly manicured and clean) little medieval town… with a Starbucks (don’t judge me, I have been in Italy for a long time now!).
After indulging in a carmel frappaccino (complete with flirty ego booster), we spent the remainder of the day strolling the streets of Bern.
You may not know this but Bern is quite famous (or should be at least). Einstein came up with his theory of relativity there (you know E=MC squared), Toblerone chocolates were invented (and are still manufactured) there, and Swiss Cheese (aka emmental) also comes from Bern! Who knew?
After an amazing two days in Switzerland, we headed south through the Alps to Lake Como on Sunday. In Lake Como we admired renaissance villas and took a ferry to the famous city of Bellagio (yes, the Vegas casino is based on this city). After a relaxing afternoon we headed back to Florence.
|The city of Bellagio on Lake Como|
I ended up learning some important lessons on this little trip. Sometimes you can’t prepare and plan everything. Sometimes the unexpected and unplanned is equally rewarding. And sometimes (well all the time) paragliding (or overcoming your fears) is completely worth it!
I hope this inspires you to move Switzerland up your wanderlust list! Although one warning, it is a very expensive place, but completely worth it!