Venice to Milan by train. (Stay overnight)
Milan to Art Garfunkel (Arth-Goldau) by train.
Art Garfunkel to Fluelen by Train.
Fluelen to Lucern by Ferry.
Despite the multitude of opportunities for things to go wrong, the whole trip went so smoothly we were suspicious. We arrived in Milan late and had to collect keys to our accomm. I couldn’t remember what I’d booked but we had to check in before 8pm in a travel office. After the passport and city tax exchange and key collection we headed around a corner and up a street to see where we were sleeping the night. We rounded the next bend and saw a gloomy looking multi story building and my hopes were plummeting. It was next to a fancy hotel and I was already berating myself for being such a cheapskate and not booking something nice. We both expected there to be no lift and we’d have to lug our suitcases up 6 flights of stairs and end up in a dingy room. We were both tired and bracing ourselves for the worst. It was only for one night but I had made the mental note that those were the nights you needed to spend a bit more to make life a bit easier and comfortable.
Well, we were very pleasantly surprised. There was a lift, albeit seriously tiny, and the room was not only spacious, clean, light and delightful but it had a kettle, snacks and tea bags! Not fragrant ones, just good ol’ black tea. An ongoing theme so far has been no kettle or jug, no teabags (even in the supermarkets), no toasters and no egg flippers(?). Don’t they eat fried eggs? We wouldn’t be doing any cooking here as we had an early train to catch the next day but the ability to make a cup of tea was just blissikins.
I can’t tell you anything else about Milan but Oh. My. God. Switzerland was breathtaking.
We had two days (one night) in Lucerne before hiring a car and heading over to Interlaken to pick up my partner and his son, and stay in a Stechelberg farmhouse for 3 nights. Well, our seemless journey into Switzerland did not continue. But before I get to that story, here’s some photos of Lucerne, which we enjoyed very much. Apart from being bloody expensive, as you’d expect as everything is expensive in Switzerland, it was not unlike Melbourne. Maybe just a bit more upmarket.
The cheapest room was not cheap and it was a tiny but adequate room in an Ibis hotel. It did come with free bus tickets, working wifi and friendly staff so all in all it was a win. We walked, we shopped, we took photos.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. First impressions, firstly from the train window and then from the 3 hour ferry ride on Lake Lucern: it’s like straight out of a picture book. Apart from a couple of houses we spotted along the way that had shutters made of hazard stripes. Not sure what that was about. But otherwise, rolling hills, soaring mountains, amazing blue water, snow capped mountains, cute houses… just a surreal sense of other worldly beauty.
The funny thing about travelling is that some places look so much better in photos than they do in real life and you can feel a bit disappointed. One or two postcard image places and not much else going on. Switzerland however, is the opposite. You just can’t capture the beauty in a photo. It has to be experienced.
Bekky was in charge of the destinations in Switzerland. She chose Lucern based on a photo she had as a screensaver of the Chapel Bridge. It didn’t look like the moody black and white photo she was referencing when we got there to find it bathed in the late afternoon sunshine and adorned with flowers (I thought the flowers were fake, they were so perfect, but I soon discovered that Switzerland is pretty big on flowers).
The covered bridge was built in 1333 and leads to the Old Town.
How many photos can you take of just one bridge? Turns out quite a lot if you’re there at different times of day and can get to different angles.
I went for an early-ish morning walk while Bekky had a sleep in and discovered a market set up on both sides of the lake and it was one of the nicest markets I’ve ever been to. Lots of cheese, small goods, fruit and veg and lots of lovely flower stalls. No junk, no touristy stuff. No hustle bustle or hard sell spruikng. Just a lovely market to do your shopping at on a Saturday morning.
Really, cheese and flowers was enough to make me happy.