~ The beauty of nature lies in its imperfections ~

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Seeing the Swiss Alps - Aug 2013

This was a rare trip. Getting to the destination by plane instead of motorbike (Hindu menu on SQ is awesome!); 2 weeks out of Singapore (yay! no work!); going to another continent!

Switzerland never stopped wowing us with its breathtaking scenery, historical buildings and friendly people. In 2 weeks, we visited Zurich city, Berne, Mt Pilatus in Lucerne, Zermatt...

Getting Around
We had Zurich as our base, moving around mostly by train and Google maps. They say the trains and buses were so accurate you could set your watch according to the time they arrived.  The number of facilities for bike commuting also made us drool and wished we could live there.  There were designated bike lanes, bike racks on the back of public buses, special carriage on trains for bikes.

Seung the engineer checking out the super space saving bicycle rack.

Borrow a fixie to ride (outside Freitag shop)


Took many trains to get around.  This is the Glacier Express.

Natural beauty

Switzerland is a continuous line of ice caps, mountains, valleys, lakes.  Almost no such thing as a plateau, but a constant canvas of scenery weaving thru the sky.  It unwinds as far as the eye can see, with a dreamy calm that is punctuated by the occasional strolling cow! 

Mt Pilatus, Lucerne
Traditional family restaurant on outskirts of Zurich

On Jungfraujoch, view of the magnificent glacier. We touched snow for the first time.
The 20 min walk from Jon's hut was filled with amazing scenery.

Things we did
The weather was perfect for outdoor activities, the mountainous terrain ideal for skiing and downhill biking, the air fresh and crisp.

Seung rented a mountain bike for some downhill fun in Valbella 

Klettersteig at Zermatt (Via Ferrata climbing) 
Set up by Mammut, free access to the public if you have brought your own gear

Paragliding off Gornergratt in Zermatt

In Zermatt, cycling on the private roads with the Matterhorn in sight

Our Hosts
We're extremely thankful for our lovely hosts who welcomed us into their homes, prepared delicious Swiss food and gave us useful traveling tips insights to their wonderful country. Most of all, spending time with us.  Luckily we remembered some Chinese recipes and duly returned the favour the next night too :) 
Our hosts in Zurich - Urs and Marlene and their daughter Vivien, with family friends
Sonja hosted us in Bern, welcoming us with a pair of Bern bear cakes
Home cooked Polenta and veal stew with Jon and Hanni,
 in their private mountain house that is refurbished from a 300 year old barn!
Even more authentic?  He cooked it over a wood stove.  Luckily we brought a pack of bak-kwa, and slabs of that very quickly became the starters for a memorable combination of Asian and Western.
Breakfast at Urs' mountain house in Valbella

Overall, a wonderful holiday for us.  We love Switzerland!

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