Switzerland is a sovereign state in the middle of Europe bordering France, German, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein. Having such close connections with so many countries along its border, combined with easy travel between, it is not surprising that the Swiss people can speak several languages. The main languages you come across are French, German, English and Romansch – and we often met many people who switch easily between them. We only spoke English and so we had to rely on people being willing to switch from their local French or German languages to English for us! Being understood wasn’t a problem.
Our arrival in Geneva comfortable and relatively hassle free, and we arrived at the large and efficient Geneva Airport. After landing being ushered through passport control, we went to collect our bags, and find our way to the arrivals area. We had the usual initial tourist confusion about where the bus and taxi ranks were, but after some help from a friendly member of staff we were soon on our way! Thankfully, my dad (stepfather) also has a brother who works in Geneva and he was able to give us a lift to the train station.
We caught a bite to eat and then we were on our way to our destination.
Geneva is one of the world’s best cities to live in, in respects to quality of life. It’s modern, with great infrastructure, and is a very clean city. The people are polite and friendly, and it’s a place where you can easily get about either by car, bus, bike or tram. As we soon discovered – it’s also a very expensive city! We decided to have a quick lunch before catching the train and went to a well known fast food restaurant... imagine our surprise when the bill came to almost 60 Swiss Francs for 3 people!
Once at the station we caught the 4 hour train journey to our main destination – Zermatt. In Geneva people spoke primarily in French to us, but after travelling to Zermatt the main language became German. This mix and match of languages across Switzerland makes you feels like a friendly meeting place for everyone in Europe.
Zermatt is magical and beautiful place set high up in the mountains close to the Swiss Alps. Zermatt is a middle sized town with a population between about 5000-6000 people, mostly providing tourism as the main industry – a mix of hotels, resorts and chalets. Famous for its Skiing and mountaineering activities, Zermatt has some of the best winter sport resorts in the world, with a fantastic view of the Matterhorn Mountain. We went on a summer because we wanted to see everything without the ice, and it was soooo worth it.
The hotels/boutiques/resorts in the Zermatt is structurally beautifully made. Most of them have one way glass walls with an astonishing view of the matterhorn.
The highlight of our trip was the Rifelsee reflection. The iconic reflection of the matterhon is one of the most popular spot in Switzerland. We took a train from Zermatt to Riffelberg. It cost about £50 on a return afternoon ticket per person. The journey was a 35 minutes very beautiful one as we had a very stunning view of the town while the train is heading up the mountain. Once weve reached the station, we walked a further 5 to 10 minute walk to reach the Riffelsee lake. Friendly tip, make sure to go early morning or early afternoon to avoid the winds which will make the reflection of the matterhorn not very instagrammable.
Looking out at the beautiful alps, eventhough it looks quite cold, the temperature in Zermatt on a summer is in about 20s. A bit colder up the alps as we get to the snow tops.
The Matterhorn is a truly beautiful landmark of the Swiss Alps.
As the final day came, we were sad to leave the country of Switzerland – it’s a great place to visit and I imagine a very nice place to live. The cost of day to day expenses means that it’s not a place to travel to lightly – in order to have a decent holiday you’d need to have a healthy bank balance as event the smallest of amenities can be quite costly, especially in the tourist areas. However, if you want to see a beautiful country in the middle of Europe, and if you like Skiing/hiking, then you will love it here!