It has been long that I wanted to write about this dream come true destination. Its been over 10 years that I visited this place, but all the memories with this place is super fresh even today. It was my first place to travel abroad and that too alone without family/parents.
Switzerland is indeed a dream travel place for everyone due to its pristine scenic beauty, panoramic snow covered mountains & glaciers, picture card cities, crystal clear lakes and adventure sports like paragliding, skiing…etc.
I went to this paradise for a 10 day study tour with my collage, where I was doing my masters in Business Administration. Although, my schedule was pretty packed up with classes, but I tried to explore the country as much as I could in my free time/free days.
Here’s what I could explore-
Bern – “The Capital City”
The capital is indeed beautiful, clean and less populated compared to its big cities Zurich and Geneva. I personally loved walking here. Also, the entire city is UNESCO site. We stayed here for first 5-6 days of our study tour.
Old Town of Bern – Is a huge 6km arcades which is very unique in style. It has bars, cultural venues, Various shops at both side of the lane. This town is characterised by Clock Tower, Prison Tower, Sculptures at every intervals, facades of sandstone, fountains. The entire lane is very beautiful. We spent more than couple of hours roaming around (and we were thinking it will just take 15-20 mins to cover the lane, there is nothing much to see) fascinated by its overall appearance.
Zytglogge (Clock Tower) – This clock is city’s main clock and thus has authoritative function. The reason why it is city’s main attraction point for tourists.
The Bern Minster – It is Switzerland largest and most significant Church. I saw the proper church for the very first time and it was simply beautiful. We climbed up to the top to get the view of the entire city which was amazing. We could see the river, streets, the whole city at one shot.
Apart from these we also hired a cycle which was free to use to jut go down the street. It was fun to ride a cycle here.
Zurich – “The Party Capital”
It is the largest city and also known as Business Capital of the country. Most of the companies headquarter are situated here. The city is very vibrant in nature. And the culture here is also very cosmopolitan unlike other cities of Switzerland. We were station here for rest of our trip.
There is nothing much or anything unique which the city offers in my view for the tourists compared to other regions of the country. The only attraction I found here was Lake Zurich – which was serene and nice.
Jet De Eau (Waterfall) – It is a fountain in the middle of the lake Geneva at a height of 140m. It has become one of the crowing symbol of this city.
Palais de Nations (Palace of Nations) – Once a UN headquarter now serves as a UN Office in Switzerland. We had our visit here under our collage programme. It has a huge assembly hall, with collection of unique art/pictures mostly gifted by different counties. The landscape ground around is kept so beautifully. This place is worth visiting especially for students. I loved this place.
Chapel Bridge – It is the landmark of this city and said to be the oldest wooden bridge of Europe. I was very fascinated with this bridge, as one of the Bollywood movie was shot here during this that time. And when that movie got released, I was like, I have been to this place, I could actually relate and admire the beauty.
Water Tower – It is also a landmark figure and is situated right in the centre of the lake and Chapel Bridge.
Mount Pilates – It was the most amazing experience all together. The travel was a mix of Gondola and Train. I still remember the Ariel ride was very steep. It was the first time a saw a Gondola having a capacity of 20-25 people at one go (I have only seen 4-5 people capacity max). The view on the way and at the top was amazing.
The city is little different in terms of its architecture. We explored the city on foot, although there is nothing much to see as a tourist attraction or from a specific thing to see per se . The roads are also steep to walk. But walking in narrow streets compared to other cities was a different experience.
Sometimes it is good not to run for a specific monument/tourist attraction to see. In my opinion, doing nothing and just walking also allows one to notice small things which otherwise would have overlooked.
This city is famous for its Jazz festivals. Lot of artists come to perform here. But the reason this place fascinated me was because of its casino and a part of “Casino Royal” movie was shot here. The casino was really charming for me as I had never seen a casino. It had both the money tables small as well as big to play. For me it was like a sight seeing place. I really enjoyed being in a casino and playing a super small bet just to get a hands on experience of gambling.
Zoo – It is the most visited place in this city and the second most tourist destination in Switzerland. Its a best zoo I have ever seen till date.
Apart from seeing all the tourist spots mentioned above, there was one small adventure which I did riding a motor boat. I exactly do not remember where we hired this boat. it was the first time I had the entire control of the motor boat (generally there is a driver who drives it and you are actually just sitting and enjoying the ride and views around). It was super fun.
Also, We used to have lot of fun in the fountains on the roads of Zurich, Geneva after our class in the evening. It was very refreshing.
The best thing about this entire trip was that we were given travel pass to rome around. The same pass was valid for Trains, Trams and Busses. So we really didn’t care much as to weather we have boarded the right train or not. We were happy go lucky types, and all had similar thought process that we will explore the place where this train/bus takes us (if we board the wrong one).
Commuting for a student is expensive here. So, we really had free hand, tension free mind when it came to transportation. I had always thanked my college for providing me this leisure so I could just go wherever I wanted to…
It was indeed one of my memorable trip with lots of firsts and adventure (paragliding, ropeway, motorboat).
For my more post on Switzerland:
Interlaken – https://wp.me/p4u71w-zH
Jungfraujoch – https://wp.me/p4u71w-zP