CH 🇨🇭

My Swiss tour ended today. I’m now on a bus, headed to Milano 🇮🇹.

Sandrine, a Swiss exchange student from the last year of my masters degree, invited me to tour Switzerland with her. She organized an amazing and unforgettable adventure. Incredibly, her planning luckily also avoided all the rain and the crazy hot weather. In the end, I walked 150km, ascended a total of 3000 meters (which equates to 16000 stair steps), and ascended up to 3100m.

On my first day in Geneva, we ended up walking a gruelling 25km (with my 10kg backpack) all around the city 😂. We went up the cathedral’s spire for a view of the city, saw the water jet, the floral clock, and the 🇺🇳 (UN) HQ.

The following day, we headed to Montreux, on the other side of Lake Geneva. We hiked up to Caux, and went through the forest, over streams and waterfalls on our way back down. In the evening, we had nice stroll on the waterfront before, during and after the sun set over the lake.

On Thursday, Sandrine and I were officially no longer just friends 😁 Thus begins a much more romantic tour of Switzerland. We walked across a suspended bridge, which we hiked up to and down from. We then took the train from Täsch to Zermatt, to have a gorgeous view of the Matterhorn just barely hidden in the clouds. For dinner, we ate rösti, which is a delicious and very filling Swiss dish.

The next day, we drove through the mountains, saw snow from up close (read: almost too close 😜), and saw cute little Swiss-Italian towns (Ascona, Lugano, Locarno).

Next, we made a day trip to Italy, where we saw the entire southern shore of Como Lake, where we stopped several times for pictures (such as in Bellagio) and ate in Varenna (my wallet was happy as we weren’t in Switzerland that day). We witnessed a magnificent sunset after dinner, and had to take a very long drive through the mountains in pitch black to reach our AirBnB. Care to guess why I’m now back in Italy ? (Spoiler: it’s magnificent)

Already Saturday 😟 time flies. We drove some more, spent a wonderful hour-long break in Saint-Moritz. And, when driving through the Grison, I was in absolute awe of the gorgeous landscapes, and later of the Rhine Gorge.

The following day, we saw the Rhine falls 👌 and went to Zürich, where we had dinner with Sarah (a Swiss-German friend who was also on exchange in Ottawa).

We then visited a cute little town around lunch time, where we were asked to pose for two Chinese (not sure) tourists for them to take a picture with us, because we were “handsome and so nice” 😆, we then drove through Interlaken, to head to Lauterbrunnen where we went behind a stunning waterfall. It was “amazing”. For dinner, we shared a romantic fondue with a view of the hills in the city of Gruyères. My trip was supposed to end somewhere around this day, but we extended it 🤪😁🎉

On Tuesday, we spent 7 hours slowly hiking up to a glacier. The views were spectacular, and we obviously took some great pictures, that’ll never fully capture what we saw 😎 Spending all that time in the sun, however, got us both sunburnt. A cool little factoid is that you can spot the Matterhorn peak something like 55km away from there.

Yet another day, yet another hike 🥾. This time, we went up to a revolving panoramic restaurant at the top of Leysin (at an elevation of 2048m). We shared a (Savoyard) dish called croziflette au chèvre 👍 we then hiked back down, and drove to Lake Geneva again. On our way, the song Tunak Tunak Tun 🎶 came on, so I haaaad to share it with my Indian buddy Archit (who coincidentally hates the song). We had a dip at the beach around sunset, then since we couldn’t find a place to sleep that night and it was getting too late, I suggested that we sleep on the beach. Sandrine counter-suggested that we sleep close by, by the water on a campground. So we drove there, didn’t pay since the reception was closed, and slept in sleeping bags with an amazing view of the city across the lake and the stars over our heads. That was another unforgettable experience, which to top it off, started my birth day anniversary (read: my birthday) 🥳

June 28th: we woke up around 5, having slept 4 hours… to one of the most beautiful and serene views of the lake I’d ever seen… and mosquitos galore, which bit me through my pyjama pants 🤦🏻‍♂️ I did a bit of laundry, then we slept until 9 or so in the car, where we were safe from those blood-sucking bastards. I was in the mood for something chill, so we went to an outdoor pool complex with the longest water slide in Europe, that wasn't too far from Zermatt. With Sandrine, and kids my age (12 or so 🤪), we enjoyed the water slide for quite a while. Unfortunately for me, I was on the upper limit for height and weight and one particular turn was always a very close call, where I risked sliding out of the slide… oh well… I’m still alive My birthday turned out to also be a day of much reflection. Guess I really am 25 😭👴 jokes aside, I think I’ll remember this day for a very long time 🥳

Remember I said that we were close to Zermatt ? Well, that was because Sandrine’s family had invited me to join them (her father, mother, brother and his girlfriend… who else hears triple date ?) on a day trip to hike and train up to 3100m. It was a cloud-free day, so I could finally get a close-up, and unobstructed view of the Matterhorn, of which I was certainly not disappointed. On our way down, Sandrine and I decided to run down the bike path… where I ate shit and scraped my hands, hip and shin. I have a 5x10cm scar on my leg. Luckily for me, Sandrine didn’t see my fall 😆 which, miraculously, didn’t hurt. As blood and I disagree, I almost feinted while boarding the train to Zermatt after examining my gash for too long, but felt better after a few minutes 🤦🏻‍♂️🙈

For the last few days of my Switzerland trip, I recuperated with Sandrine at her parents place, whom I’d like to thank yet again for letting us borrow their car, hosting me so graciously and even taking me up to Gornergrat. THANK YOU

And of course, last but certainly not least, I’d like to thank my amazing tour guide for planning everything down to a T, and for bearing my horrible jokes for so long. Merciii Sandriiiiine !