|Me next to a glacier lake in Switzerland|
It was Day 20 and the Contiki group was moving on from the Austrian Alps and into the stunning country of Switzerland. Mountains take up over 70% of Switzerland's 41, 285 sq km. The Swiss have very strict noise levels, are very polite and have good manners. When meeting a Swiss person it is polite to shake hands and they find it also polite to kiss on both cheeks when greeting and saying goodbye to their friends. Four languages are spoken in Switzerland these being: German (most common), French, Italian and Romansch.
Our first stop that day was at the SWAROVSKI Kristallwelten (Palace). I was very hungover and pale on this day after a big night in Austria so I had to make myself get off the bus and go in ha. I remember there were so many tourists and lots of rude Indians there that day which was annoying as I wasn't in the mood to be getting pushed around. When we first walked in we stood right next to one of the most expensive walls, with over 12 tonnes of crystals! The Swarovski crystal place had 14 huge exhibition rooms full of crystals which were merged with art. Each room had amazing exhibits of crystal works and in one of the rooms I felt quite sick as it was like I had stepped into a huge crystal where there were reflections and sounds bouncing off over 595 mirrors. After we walked through all of the exhibits we were also able to look around at the largest Swarovski crystal shops in the world. Everything was so beautiful and shiny and I ended up buying two pairs of stud earrings there that day which I will always remember buying in Switzerland.
|Entrance to the Swarovski Palace|
|Taylor against one of the most expensive walls in the world!|
|Crystals mixed with art-this was a moving harmonica!|
|Huge crystal ring|
|12 tonne wall of Swarovski crystals|
|Love this-I think it would look good in my room lol|
From the Swarovski Palace we stopped in Vaduz, the capital of one of the smallest countries in the world apart from Monaco and Vatican City-Liechtenstein. Some of the Contiki group got their passports stamped and we all lined up for ages and got some much needed money (Swiss Franc) out of the ATM's. Hamed, Jess and I were the last ones to get money out and ended up sitting at a table with just the three of us to eat a delicious meal of Asian food. We ended up buying lots of things on the menu and it cost us a fair but of money as food and Switzerland in general is quite expensive, but it was worth it. From there we stopped at Lucerne where we got went into Harry's Swiss Watch Centre which had every type of watch and Swiss army knife you could ever want. We walked around this cute little town and got to walk over the Wooden Chapel Bridge. The girls and I ate Swiss chocolates whilst walking around the streets from a sweets shop in Lucerne that day.
|Swiss cheese in Lucerne|
|Jess and the Wooden Chapel Bridge|
|Swiss army knives at Harry's|
Switzerland was everything I imagined it to be as I looked out the Contiki coach windows whilst driving onto our next stop. It was cold, we were driving through rain and there was even snow falling for most of the drive. The Swiss Alps were by far the most enormous and beautiful mountains out of all the countries I saw travelling through Europe. Everyone was awake on this last leg of the drive into our Contiki stopover site. I don't think anyone wanted to miss out on watching snow falling over the Swiss Alps that day! Mia and Profirio gave us an amazing surprise when they stopped and started pouring cups of champagne for us to drink beside a glacier lake. It was sleeting but everyone got out and sipped on their champagne while we looked out over this beautiful place in the world. This day was the first day that Hammed and I had sat together the whole trip so I enjoyed him making me laugh and mucking around with him on the coach the whole way into Lauterbrunnen. I remember thinking that this drive was so amazing and I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be in this epic snow covered country.
|Beautiful scenes driving through Switzerland|
|Snow falling on our drive|
|Porfirio pouring 50 cups of champagne for us next to a glacier lake|
|View from our Swiss Chalet camping grounds|
After hours of travelling and lots of site seeing stops we finally arrived in Lauterbrunnen. Our Swiss Chalet at 'Camping SCCV Jungfrau' was in a beautiful location right amongst the amazing Swiss Alps, streams and waterfalls. That night I roomed with Sharni, Rachael and Tara. All of our Contiki group were on the same floor that night which was a first and we all unpacked quickly before dinner. That night at dinner it snowed just outside where we were sitting to eat. The Contiki on site crew said it was very rare for it to be snowing at that time of the year and we took advantage of it and all ran out into the snow and were taking photos. It was so cool and to top it off we got to eat cheese fondue-Switzerland's best known dish of melted cheese (Emmental and Gruyere) combined with white wine and eaten with bread cubes. We were all sitting as a group and eating cheese fondue with our special forks whilst watching snow falling outside our Swiss Chalet-it can't get much better than that in Switzerland!
|Me and the girls in the snow|
|Sharni, Tara and Tamara getting into the cheese fondue|
|Our table eating cheese fondue|
|Our amazing Swiss chalet|
That night I walked Hammed out towards the exit of the camping grounds for him to try and get a train to visit his Uncle and his cousins in Zurich. He was so excited to see them as he hadn't seen them in years. I though it was so cool that he had family spread all over Europe and interesting to know that the uncle he was going to see owned jeweller/gold stores in the main street of Zurich. He didn't know if he would be able to get a train but he wanted to try as we were only going to be near Zurich (3 hours away) for that night and the next day. We kissed goodbye and it felt strange that he wasn't going to be there that night or the next day and that's when I knew I was starting to get feelings for him.....
Love The Snow Covered Backpacker