European City Hopping: 4 Cities, 3 Countries, 2 Sleeps
Greetings from Switzerland! We are finally up in the Alps, and decided we needed a rest day to bask in the mountain views– a chance to slow down and sneak in a blog entry.
During our first few days of this trip, we did some country hopping. We left Saturday night from Boston, and flew overnight, arriving in Lisbon, Portugal with 13 hours until our next flight. We barely slept on the plane, but stayed awake enough to get in miles of walking around the city and a stellar first gelato cone of the trip.
We arrived Sunday night in Zurich, Switzerland and crashed quickly. With a full night’s sleep under our belts, we spent the morning wandering around the city, which is the biggest in Switzerland but still much smaller than Boston.
That afternoon, we decided to country hop over to Liechtenstein, since it was less than 2 hours by train. One of the smallest countries in the world, Liechtenstein is a little kingdom with the highest GDP per capita in the world — that means that it’s a very wealthy country. It has a ruling prince, and while we didn’t see him, we did see the castle where he and his family currently live. Vaduz (pronounced “Vah-DOOTS”) is kind of small and fairy-tale like, but also modern in the “downtown” area. We made it up the path to the castle, walked around town, and arrived at a restaurant for dinner just as the sky opened up into massive thunder storms.
So despite the jetlag, and having seen three countries in two days, we woke up the next morning and set out for a full day journey through Switzerland. We took some time first to walk around Zurich more, and then spent several hours in the capital, Bern, which we loved. It’s just a really lovely city all around, and feels really quintessentially Swiss.
They say that Bern was named after the bears in the area, so they actually have some bears in an enclosure in the center of the city. So cute!
And after 7 different legs of trains, trams, or cable cars, and about 7 miles of walking, according to my phone’s GPS, we arrived in the mountains. The Swiss rail system is really incredible.
All four cities were beautiful, and had some things in common.
Two of the cities had castles, where we hiked up and looked down on the city from above:
Two had funky outdoor elevators to help navigate the hills:
Three had beautiful churches, too:
We saw lots of interesting art on the street…
…ate some yummy food…
…and had great views overlooking the water.
But now we are in the countryside and looking forward to a bit of a slower pace. It’ll be a few days out of the city, but I’m sure we’ll make our way back soon.