Sunday, July 22, 2018

The German Part of Switzerland: Hiking In The Alps

If you remember my last few years of summer road trips, you'll remember that Kristin, Sean and I had a lot of fun catching up and taking a few days to  catch up and relax each summer.  (Remember our trip to see the wineries in Bordeaux in 2015 and hike and swim in the picturesque Cinque Terre, Italy in 2016)?  Well, we all had such conflicting schedules that we ended up skipping our road trip in 2017. 
Sapna in the cable car

Kristin and I decided to go ahead and do a short trip in May 2018.  (Yes, my post is a good 6 to 8 weeks late once again!) Unfortunately, Sean was in Canada - but will hopefully join us on our next trip ;)  Switzerland is a tiny country packed full of nature and hiking trails - so we planned to see exactly that. We also wanted to take a mini food tour of the region - and find me some traditional Swiss veggie options!

Even though I'd been to Switzerland several times (and lived in Morges for 4 months way back when I was a 19 year old au pair), I'd never seen the German side with the exception of a day in Zurich and a brief drive through Lucerne.

Neiderhorn & An Impromptu Paragliding Show

Well, the weather wasn't as beautiful as we expected, so we got caught out in the rain in Neiderhorn. Luckily, it wasn't pouring and we had a slightly chilly mountain hike. 

However, we did see one really cool sighting - a paraglider taking off! I had never seen a paraglider before, let alone one take off.  We watched him put on his gear and jet up and away - impressive! The clouds made for a few great photos, too.

Lucerne Bridge

(Or, Lucerne if you spell it the French way). 

 I'd been to the city before with Sean on a different road trip, basically to take a photo of the bridge.   

Here is the bridge at night:

Lucerne at Night

Kristin and I had dinner in Lucerne (see the food section below for our foodie adventures). It was pouring rain though, so Lucerne was basically a quick walk!

Rigi: A Cog Wheel Train & Field of Cows

Luckily, our day hiking Rigi was a little better weather-wise.  Even though it was a bit cloudy, we had so much fun breathing in nature. The mountain air is so refreshing! 

One of my favourite parts was walking through a field of cows. They are so beautiful! Did you know that?  It was definitely a first for me! I mean, I've seen a cow or two before, but right up close and a whole field of them?  They are so pretty and seem to have character, too. 

We also took a cogwheel train, which was a first for me as well. 

Here are two of my favourite pics from the whole trip:

1) A Cow


2) Kristin Kissing the Rigi Cow

St Gallen: A Beautiful Library & Cathedral

It's the kind of place where you have to wear giant slippers over your shoes, whisper, and leave your camera behind.  It's a beautiful library with ancient books and a replica of a giant ancient globe. 

That's why we went to St. Gallen, and it didn't disappoint.  In fact, it reminded me a bit of my trip to Dublin with Janice in 2014 to see the Book of Kells.

The cathedral was beautiful, too.

Eating Our Way Through Swiss German Towns

Now, this was a long weekend, and a proper catch-up trip. So - all diets were out the window for a good four days! (Thankfully, my trainers were totally on board with that. Gotta love Spain sometimes!)

I definitely learned about some new foods while travelling with Kristin.  Oh, and I learned that Swiss German portions are huge. There were two times when I just could not finish y plate!

Here are 7 dishes we tried:

1) White Asparagus with Cheese Sauce

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of this. I've only tried white asparagus one other time - from a can in a restaurant that didn't know the meaning of the word "vegetarian" in Spain. It was tasteless. When prepared with spices and a cheese sauce though, white asparagus is actually great!

Rosti and Egg at EbenAlp Restaurant

2) Rösti

Rösti is a grated potato dish with toppings (like egg). It's simple and sooo delicious! I hadn't had one of these in years, so I had to try it.

2) Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions & Applesauce  (Yes!)

You'll have to forgive the awful edits and photography here. The restaurant we went to was dark with florescent lights. What?!  Not meant for taking photos, that's for sure ;)

The food was great though, so I had to get a couple photos in.  Also, Kristin and I spent a few hours chatting and catching up here so that made it extra special. I was not expecting to like this mac and cheese with onions and applesauce dish - but I did!

Sapna with Mac & Cheese
Kristin and the Rosti

Mac and Cheese with Applesauce...Yum!

3) Aperol   

Now, this one's not Swiss, but I had never tried it.  Not bad! Very strong though, that's for sure...we had some good catch-up time over this drink at our fancy hotel, too.


4) Spätzle

This was one of those giant dishes that I couldn't finish!

5) Hazelnut and Almond treats

I can't remember what these are called (serves me right for blogging two months late I guess!). They were a little too sweet, but had an interesting flavour.  We got these in a little town called Appenzell.

6) Coffee with Alcohol

Okay, well you can't complain about this gigantic drink of calorific magnificence... yum!
Swiss Coffee

EbenAlp: Restaurant In The Rock

Y'know the above coffee galore? We had that in a little mountain cafe, where the cafe is built into the mountain rock. (Here's more info about it from the Swiss tourist site).  We took the cable car up and walked down for this part of the trip.  Now, we didn't get the amazing views that show up when you google this place.  We did see a bit of the mountain, though - and a few cute animals! 

Here is a slideshow of our trip. If you have trouble viewing it (or are on a mobile device, please go here to see the Flickr image set.)

Actually, I have to be honest and say in addition to being super late with this post, I didn't have time to do much editing. So here are mostly raw, unedited photos of our trip. Remember you can control the speed of the slideshow in the top right-hand corner.

Enjoy the show!

 Stay tuned for a few upcoming posts, that I promise will be less late than this one.  First, a post on my sister's wedding is coming up. Then, I'll follow that with more Canadian fun in Edmonton and Vancouver. (It was my first visit in four years!)

Where are you headed this summer? Have you checked out any of the places in the German part of Switzerland? Any travel tips?

Feel free to comment below :)

Happy summer travels!


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