Before we were even married, Kyle and I have been planning a trip to Europe. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, we have never been able to make it there. That is, until this past Fall, when we decided to overlook all the things that were holding us back, and just go for it. After hours of research on flight prices, tour groups, and destinations, we finally decided on our next adventure: Switzerland and Spain. Conveniently, we have friends living in Barcelona, so we were eager to visit them, as well as seeing the Swiss Alps that were on top of both of our wanderlists.
As we were preparing to embark, we found out I was pregnant, which only solidified our wish to travel while it is just the two of us. This also made us extremely grateful that we had decided to go then and not wait even longer. With all that in mind, we decided that in order to see as much as we wanted during this trip, we needed to make our adventure as simple as possible. That included our gear. As such, we decided to pack everything we needed for those eleven days in one small backpack each. Let me tell you, that was the best decision we made on this trip.
When the day came for us to depart, things did not run smoothly, which left me literally running a mile with my gear to catch a bus to downtown, where I was to meet Kyle (thankfully I only had my backpack and camera bag). Starting out the trip dripping in sweat was not the best beginning, but we were determined to have a good attitude. We still made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, and the flights were as comfortable as they could be. Neither of us slept much, unless you count the floor of the airport in Amsterdam as we waited for our connecting flight. But, that was all well rewarded as we stepped off the plane in Geneva, Switzerland.
Upon arrival, we decided to visit our hotel, drop off our bags with the baggage hold, and then set out to tour the city. Then beauty of traveling in the off season allowed us to check into our room, freshen up, and repack what we needed for exploring, all while it was mid-morning. Our first destination was to visit Saint Pierre Cathedral. Being new to the Swiss bus and train system, we did get a bit turned around, but finally were able to find the tip of the cathedral poking out from amongst the other closely placed buildings.
The Cathedral itself is free to walk around and bask in the beauty of the stained glass windows, John Calvin’s chair, and the articulate woodwork. The real highlight for us was climbing up to the top of the towers, and only cost 5 Swiss Francs each. From up top, we were able to spy the Jete D’Eau fountain in Lake Geneva, many other churches and cathedrals, and a general view of the city in which we had just arrived.
After the Cathedral, we needed to change our money into Swiss Francs (CHF), and get something to eat. As we wandered around trying to find a bank, we jaunted past the high end shopping areas, beautiful fountains, and of course, lots of patisseries. I took enough French in college that I was able to have a basic understanding of what people were saying, street signs, and to our best advantage, order food. After having a broken conversation with a girl in a particularly delicious looking patisserie, we munched on quiche, jambon et pain, and pain aux chocolate. It may have been that we were just so exhausted and hungry to think anything else, but we thought it tasted heavenly!
The day was going by much too quickly, and we had to run to get to the United Nations complex for last tour of the day. We made it without a minute to spare, and jumped right into our tour group. It was so interesting to be led through the rooms and hear about the history of the UN, and certain world decisions that had been made there. The tour was completely worth it, and I would recommend it to everyone. The only unfortunate part of our tour is that we had been awake for close to 30 hours by that point and were completely exhausted. There were more than a few moments where we had to keep nudging each other to stay awake. Thankfully, the UN was our last stop for the day. That allowed us to get some dinner, shower, and get some well needed sleep.