So after all the wonderful wedding events were over, I still had a few days left in Switzerland. I was so happy to finally be there in the summer so that I could really enjoy the lake. C and Y live only a few minutes walk from the water, so I was able to head down whenever I wanted.
However, my favorite day had to have been when we all headed up into the Alps to visit a glacier in the Bernese Oberland. There are so many beautiful places to see in Switzerland, but I really love going up into the mountains. Last September, I went up the Jungfrau and did some hiking in the area, and I loved it; you can read my post here. I was really excited that we were heading up there again, especially in the summer. There are tons and tons of places to go skiing in the Alps, and these ski areas run their big cable cars up and down the mountains all year round, for hiking and other activities for non-skiers, like, um, ME. This particular company is called Glacier 3000, and runs cable cars up and down a mountain called the Diablerets in western Switzerland along with other fun activities, like hiking and cross-country skiing, dog sled rides and the highest bobsleigh track in the world on the glacier. There are a couple of restaurants with unbelievable views at the station too. It is a really beautiful region and I completely recommend it as a day trip, and it is a nice break from the huge crowds of annoying tourists in the Jungfrau/Grindelwald/Interlaken area.
So we all got up early one morning and headed west, and a few hours later arrived at the station at the base of the mountain. We bought tickets and climbed into the giant cable car with our faces pressed up against the glass oohing and ahhing at the spectacular views. After we arrived at the top, we ate a traditional hearty Alpine lunch outside overlooking the Alps and the glacier before heading out on the ice and snow. Did I mention that C’s 90 year old grandma came with us? J was the life of the party! She even rode the Alpine coaster; they even let us ride for free because of her. We went on some sort of an ice tractor truck way out on the glacier and got to see some beautiful views of the mountains, again because we had her with us! Perks of traveling with old people, not to mention how awesome they are! We ended the day with a snowball fight on the glacier before heading back down the mountain, stopped for a good beer out in one of the little villages before driving back to Neuch, just in time to watch the sun set over the lake and the snow-capped Alps in the distance. Unfair, I know.
I did some hiking and walking on the French side of the lake up in the Jura mountains, and I spent my last day in Neuchâtel out on the lake on one of their friend’s boats, (attempting) to wakeboard and do other fun water sports. We ended the night over a long, candle-lit dinner on the lake, with about 20 people. I’ve gotten to know my friend’s new family, and this time around I was so sad to say goodbye to them. They are wonderful people and C and Y have let me glimpse how wonderful and special their country is, and I can’t thank them enough for that. So far, Switzerland is still at the top of my list as my favorite country. Visit if you get the chance!
If my last week in Europe in Switzerland wasn’t awesome enough, I got to fly back to D.C. first class. That’s right, first class. I hate to brag, but it was so awesome!! I have flown countless flights to and from Europe in cramped coach seats, so it was so nice to see how the other half lives. And no, I didn’t buy that ticket. Hell will freeze over before I drop that much money on a flight. This miracle happened because C’s stepdad is a retired pilot for United, which means that he gets companion passes for his friends and family to use. He was kind enough to let me fly on one of them with him. Basically, you have to fly standbye and wait to see if there are any empty seats left before you can board and fill them, and you only have to pay the flight taxes. What a deal! Nowadays, major flight companies have merged, cut routes, and almost everything is overbooked, so it’s a lot harder to use these passes. We had to wait a few days before it looked like we would get on a flight. Y’s dad drove us to Geneva, and we went though security and checked in and everything. The flight was overbooked but enough people didn’t show up that we got put on, and not only did they put us on, they put us in first class! Free champagne, a five course meal, hot washcloths, free wine, ice cream sundaes, and the seat turned into a bed. It was UNREAL, and definitely the best way to end a year in Europe. I don’t know how I can ever fly coach again!