Note: This post is an attempt on my part to consolidate past travel journals into this blog. This particular trip around Western Europe was taken in 2005. To read the complete series of post from this trip: Western Europe Summer
Expensive Switzerland and Beautiful Alps
Sorry, it’s been awhile. Switzerland was extremely expensive and we couldn’t find any internet point that doesn’t cost a day’s food budget.
Anyway, the Alps was amazing. Bern and Luzerne were a little of a disappointment. They both have medieval buildings and storefronts, Luzerne scored a point because most of its old town is pedestrianized, but Bern has its blue Aare river which was oh, so inviting when we visited because it was boiling hot that day. We saw some locals jumped from a bridge into the fast moving river and Jack was tempted to do the same. But he changed his mind in the end (lack of proper swimwear, or so he said.)
Fast forward to the mountain. We didn’t do the Jungfraujoch trip because it was so touristy (and mostly no money). I always feel a like part of a cattle herd whenever joining an organized trip like that.
Sleeping On A Bed of Straw in Switzerland
Since Switzerland is so expensive it took a while to warm up to. We stayed in Lauterbrunnen and Gimmewald, both are really pretty and less choked with tourist than Interlaken.
Gimmewald was a delight. It was a tiny, actual farming village, which means: one main street, no decent grocery stores, 20 francs ($16) an hour Internet, cows with bells, and cow poops all around. And oh, with the poops comes the flies.
In the summer the farmers would take the cows up the mountain to graze and some families would hose out the barn, fill them with clean straw, and rent it out as accommodation for budget hikers and travelers like us. Sleeping on straw was quite an experience. The flies were driving us bonkers during the day, so was the pungent smell that you can’t really hose out. But we got used to it, and we got used to the flies too. Jack and I went on a rampage one evening, our total tally was probably closed to a hundred flies. Woo hoo!!
Fast Forwad to Italy
There are more stories than Internet time, so fast forward to Italy where we are at right now. Venice was just like all the postcards show. Canals, beautiful buildings, and 100 euros/hr gondola ride. It was hot, hot, hot. It was easy to lose yourself among the narrow alleys and bridges in the city.
But you also have to unlose yourself in the end and when you only have an hour until your train to Florence leaves it wasn’t quite enjoyable running around those same alleys and bridges, especially when it was 90 degrees out. So, we had our ups and downs in our first city in Italy.
Gelatos and cheap pizzas were abundant and cheap, we ate until we were sick, literally, of eating too much. After food ration in Switzerland, Italy is like a heaven for us, starving students.
Train rides in Italy is quite another experience. But that’s for next time. So is Michelangelo’s David and the rest of Florence. Maybe photos too.
It’s time for our second serving of gelato. Wee!!!