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After the wedding in Germany, and only 4 hours of sleep, we were up again to catch the train to Zurich. I don’t remember much of the trip- which means I was probably sleeping again. {The time I was up I managed to get some wonderful shots of Kim sleeping like a retarded sloth which I am still keeping as blackmail}. When we arrived in Zurich, we found the city bustling with athletes and supporters as it was the annual Swiss Ironman competition. It was such a great vibe around the lake where the race was held and we even got to see a world record be made. Ronnie Schildknecht won the Ironman for the 7th consecutive time – which is one heck of an achievement if you think that he did a full marathon, 180 km cycle and 4 km swim in 8hr33min! We took a swim in the lake before the weather took a turn for the worst, then headed to our accommodations in a very la-di-da part of Zurich. Cause you know…that’s how we roll. :) Our AirBnb host’s name was Mai-thu and she was so lovely! Turns out she is also in the photography industry so we got along really well. :)
Dave had to leave early for his work tour of the Lindt factory the next morning, whilst Kim and I lazed about- getting some much needed rest after Germany. We walked around Zurich a bit before heading to the train station to meet Dominique, Kim’s friend who we would be staying with for our time in Lucerne. She is divine and we really enjoyed our stay with her! Between her, and her boyfriend Levino, they spoilt us so much and made excellent tour guides giving us lots of information on what we should do and what we should see. One of their fantastic recommendations was to take a boat trip on Lake Lucerne. It was so beautiful and the guided tour walkmans (made us look geeky but) taught us a lot about what we were seeing. Afterwards we went to a lookout point that only the locals know about. It gave us a stunning view of the lake and the Alps behind it.


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Dominique also took us to the see the “Lion of Lucerne” which is a memorial commemorating the 750 Swiss soldiers who died trying to protect the Royals during the French Revolution. This exquisite carving of the dying lion also has a rather strange outline to it. If you look closely you can see the shape of a pig. Apparently the sculptor who got commissioned to carve the lion, never got paid so he etched in the outline of the swine so everyone would forever know that the commissioner was a bit of a pig. :)

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The best part of our time in Switzerland for me was hiking Mount Pilatus! The Alps are honestly one of the most incredible and breathtaking sights I have ever seen. If you go to Switzerland you MUST get up there- it is truly phenomenal.
From Lucerne we took the train to Alphnastad, which is a little town at the foot of Mount Pilatus where we would start our hike from.


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We brought some lunch at the village store and set up the most redonkulously steep staircase I think I have ever come across. This was the first 100 m of the hike and I already thought I was going to die. The worlds steepest rack railway also leaves from Alphnastad and costs a whopping 60 Euro for a trip up. {To put it in perspective our daily budget was 20 Euro for food and activities…so it would have been 3 days of not eating and doing stuff for that train ride. However, it was looking like a great option after that first staircase.}
From there on it was just up and up and up again. The first bit was through a gorgeous patch of forest which provided some much needed shade.

Kim and Dave cooley and calmly missioned up the mountain like damn mountain goats on a race whilst my lungs were dragging about 50 m behind my already paralysed legs and limbs. Much to my relief though, mountain goats also need to drink water and we stopped at the random halfway house to fill our bottles up with some fresh H2O.
At this halfway house there is a strategically placed train station where one could catch the train half way up! I was more than willing to wait for a ride there, but my budget orientated, mountain goat friends thankfully ushered me on. The view was truly phenomenal! I tried to take in as much of it as possible as often as possible. Emphasis being on the “often as possible”…I needed those oxygen breaks. I blame it on the altitude of the mountain and the lack of oxygen up there of course and not my rather fragile and pathetic state of fitness…or lack there of.
{These pics were taken with a Gopro…there was no way I was hauling myself AND my heavy DSLR gear up there in my unfit state. :) }




There are cows grazing along the path as you walk up, and you can hear them from quite a distance because of their bells. It really gave us an authentic alp countryside feel!
{They were also another great reason to stop. You can’t hear the bells if you are breathing too loudly from being out of breath! hehe}





When we eventually reached the top, 3 and a half hours later; we had lunch which we scoffed down like wolves. Not only because we were hungry but because we had some serious competition for our sarmies from a flock of black birds which were starting to get a little too brave and close for comfort. We bought some hot chocolate and drank it in the warm “winter” sun, out of reach of the chilly wind up there. We also enjoyed the sound of the Alpine horn which some poor old oomie would carry around and play to bemuse the bunch of trigger happy tourists.

Then we headed down, I was happy. Anything is better than uphill right?
Nope…very wrong. By the time we got 1/4 of the way down I was craving some uphill. My knees and feet were in absolute agony from the constant steep downhill. 2 and a half hours later we were at the foot of the mountain again, feel rather hot and bothered we went for a swim in the lake. It was here that I learnt how ridiculously sunburnt I got on the mountain. European sun isn’t as weak as I thought! ;)
From then on I had to endure some very rude, but apt, pointing and laughing at my super goofy sock and shorts tan by the Europeans. A lobster had nothing on me- I outredded that degree of rosiness by a hundredfold.

Mount Pilatus was by far my favourite and most special memory made in Switzerland with Kim and Dave. It was grilling but I would do it again in a heartbeat…with sunscreen, enough water and energy sweets! :)
This is the best way to experience Switzerland and the Alps…and you have to do it if you ever find yourself there.





Travelling tips for Switzerland:

1. Switzerland is very expensive and use’s their own currency, the Swiss Franc. Be sure to have some of this Forex before you leave home. You might even want to sell your house or your kids, if you have any, to pay for a stay longer than 3 days there.

2. Switzerland is the country of swans, lakes, mountains, cheese, watches, army knives and chocolate. Be sure to sample an experience of all of these…after you’ve sold your house ;)

3. The best way to experience Switzerland is to hike or ski up in the Alps. Being up there just gives you a new perspective and blows your mind at how amazing God is at creating beauty! Be sure to pack in sunscreen though- the European sun is not as whimpish as we South Africans would like to think, and I can assure you; you want to avoid the pointing and laughing that results from sunburn in Europe.

4. We learnt, much to our disgust, that locals don’t actually pay for their tram or train tickets in between small towns because they don’t get checked often. So you could probably save some money if you are sneaky and brave enough! But if anyone asks…you didn’t hear it from me! ;)

5. Swim in the lakes. The water is so clear and refreshing- just watch out for some agro swans.

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