WANDERING IN SWITZERLAND : FROM THUN TO LUZERN

STORY X PHOTO COVERAGE

It’s been two and a half months already, two and a half months that we have been on the road after fully embracing this nomadic lifestyle… what a life! Despite all the adjustments, the cold and some minor hardships, nothing beats moving freely with all our essentials and being able to open the Lieutenant’s doors on a different landscape/parking area/town every day… or so!

We arrived in Switzerland at the end of January, on the 25th to be precise! We drove up between Lago di Orta and Lago Maggiore to reach the land of chocolate via the Simplonpass. A sublime road, even though we won’t keep such great memories from the drive… Only because we lost the brakes on our way down, a bad case of overheating due to not using the engine brake… and being stuck behind a lorry, preventing us to get cold air… Anyway, I got super scared and it took nearly 24 hours for my heart rate to go back to normal.

Now back to nicer times!

After a short stop on Lake Geneva to see Chillon Castle and the Lavaux vineyards on Valentine’s (from the Awwway travel blog) advice, we quickly got back on the road towards Thun and Lake Thun.

Thune is when Switzerland showed us all its beauty! This small medieval town had an incredible charm.. It’s located on the West end of the lake, offering the locals and tourists a gorgeous walkway along the water with mountains surrounding the whole landscape… It felt like I was thrown into a picture from a fairy tale from my childhood… magical! After a few hours spent in town, among marching bands and people wearing costumes (something was very likely going on there!), we drove along the lake (another gorgeous road) to one of the suspension bridges of the hiking trail being built around the lake (project ongoing), the Sigriswil bridge. 180m long and 340m high, it does swing a bit which makes for good sensations up there. But above all, it gives a whole new perspective on the lake and the area… The pictures will speak for themselves!

Once we had crossed the bridge back and forth, we got back behing the wheel towards Jungfrau ski area, and more precisely towards lovely Grindelwald where a couple of friends are spending the season! We didn’t go skiing in Grindelwald, as ski passes are excessively expensive (84 CHF)… However, the town is really cute, and we were lucky enough to be there on the only two sunny days in a while. So we took that opportunity to catch up, walk around, hunt for some sunlight on terraces, eat raclette (melted cheese on potatoes, try it if you haven’t), discover local beers (all the ones from Haarige Kuh in Interlaken are delicious!) and play cards. We spent three nights there, parked in front of our friends’. No free parking in Grindelwald! Obviously. Nel spent all three days and nights in the warmth of their apartment while we, her humans, where visiting and enjoying hot showers after each freezing night in the van (-4°C in the Lieutenant on the coldest night!).

We had to leave at some point though, even though goodbyes suck, because snow was coming, along with -15 to -20 temperatures… So we drove off to Luzern… A jewel of a medieval city with lake, river, wooden bridges (especially Kapellbrücke !), painted facades each prettier than the next… This town captured a small piece of our hearts…

After this final stop, we were done with Switzerland, it was time to go back to Italy. I can hear you from here: “So soon?” Yes, because, although we had been warned, but it only truly hits you when you’re there, Switzerland is ridiculously expensive! And I mean EVERYTHING, no way to escape it… Food, services, gas… Meaning to save some money on food, we found a nice Burger King, 17€ for a meal!! This is why I don’t have tips to give you on good addresses, because we saved money by not indulging…You also need to know that apparently, the administration doesn’t really want to deal with people living in vans and campers, as nothing or so is made for us. And when you do miraculously find a power and water terminal, when it hasn’t been moved or removed, it is either broken or out of order for the season… Therefore, far all the reasons above, we only stayed in Switzerland for a week, which is a shame because this country has a lot to offer, and we would have loved to enjoy it a bit longer… Then again, you could also think that this is why it is still so pure and beautiful. But unfortunately, not all of us are good, responsible tourists…

Because I don’t want to end on this bitter sweet note, I will leave you with the pictures of our last drive in Swiss territory, on the most sublime motorway I have ever been on, Gotthard Motorway (Autobahn A2).. If you ever have the chance, do not miss it! It is worth the tax disk (40CHF) alone!

MUST-SEES x NIGHT SPOTS

 

 

Montreux

Chillon Castle – Entry ticket is 12.50 CHF.. So we didn’t visit… But the outside and the dock are free of charge. Parking tile is limited, it is along the road next to the castle. Don’t forget your parking disk, you will need it in Switzerland! They are available free of charge at the castle entrance desk.

PULLY

Night spot (available on Park4Night) – 2 chemin des Bains, Pully. Free but no services, located right next to a small marina… Peaceful and lovely spot in this season. Perfect for the night!

Sigriswil

The Sigriswil suspension bridge, between Sigriswil and Aeschlen.. To get there, follow the signs saying “Hängebrücke” (keep your eyes open), drive to the church and keep going until the end of the road. Once there you will find a wide parking area in front of the small stadium, parking is free, located 1mn from the bridge on foot. 8CHF/pers./day. The Panorama hotel and restaurant in Aeschlen looks great if you want to prolong your stay… The terrace was calling to us, but we had to keep going!

Grindelwald

Avocado Bar : Dorfstrasse 158, Grindelwald – The locals and seasonal workers bar. Cool music, chill atmosphere, terrace with a view and a bit of sunlight if you know when to be there, and many board games available!

Grindel Lounge : Dorfstrasse 119, Grindelwald – A super small but cute tea/coffee house, so not easy to find a seat. However, this is Switzerland… so it’s expensive!

LUZERN

Night spot – Camping Lido Luzern -19 Lidostrasse, Lucerne – Beautiful, clean, great location and all that… but it’s 48CHF a night… Hurts a little! But no real other options for the Lieutenant if we wanted to enjoy the town properly, and recharge our batteries!

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