After a very sad farewell to Paris, we climbed aboard our chariot (or Scania coach, if you prefer) and headed off to Switzerland.
Our first introduction to Swiss prices was at a motorway restroom stop where it cost R14 to spend a penny – now that’s what I call highway robbery (pun intended). To make matters worse, they refunded this money to you by way of a voucher that one could spend on goods in the convenience store, where unfortunately nothing was available for under about 2 euros (R28) so it was a matter of double or nothing – this translated into the most expensive Kitkat I’ve ever had. Later that same day, I ordered a glass of wine with my dinner. I use the term ‘glass of wine’ loosely, as what arrived at the table was indeed a large wine glass, but sadly it contained no more than an egg cup full of wine. For R66, it was barely enough to wet the bottom of the glass! Somehow at these prices, I don’t think alcoholism will ever be a great problem in Switzerland. Whatever you have heard or read about the cost of travelling in this stunningly beautiful country is true. You hemorrhage money. Nontheless, it really is still worth visiting.
Lucerne is a stunning city straddling a beautiful waterway. It’s narrow cobbled streets, intricately decorated buildings and flower bedecked wooden pedestrian bridge all make it a delightful place to spend time.
Summiting nearby Mount Pilatus with it’s incredibly long, steep funicular railway and bright red cable cars is also an experience I’ll never forget. Alpine chateaux spread below me, I felt compelled to give an off key rendition of the Heidi song but was luckily drowned out by the much more melodious sounds of an expertly played Alpine horn.
Later, it was off to Lugano where the rich and famous of Switzerland play in the sunshine. If I was one of them, it would certainly be my sandpit of choice, but as I’m not, I made do with a boat trip on this most beautiful of lakes and an amazing dinner (with wine served in what looks remarkably like a milk jug) at a lakeside restaurant and an envious walk along the promenade.
Tomorrow, it’s off over the border to Florence and the beginning of our Italian experience.
Bucket list #3 … continuing.