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“Oh for FUCK’s sake!” Wanderer yelled, kicking the bus stop sign so hard I heard his foot crack.
We were at the Engleberg train station, a city 2 hours away from Zurich, situated at the base of the Swiss Alps. On the way here, Wanderer kept reminding me over and over again that we had only a 15 min window between trains and we couldn’t afford to make a mistake. Apparently, the FREE (woohoo!) shuttle to the lift only runs every 2 hours, and if we miss it, we’d have to take a cab…
*cue scary music*
Good God. I already HATE taking cabs, but cabs in SWITZERLAND?! I’d probably have to sell a kidney just to pay for the tip, never mind the ride itself. Just thinking about it gave me heart palpitations.
Luckily, 2 subway rides and 2 train rides later, we’d made it to the shuttle stop with a whopping, LUXURIOUS 10 whole minutes to spare. Aaaaah. Sweet success. Mission Accomplished.
Well, here’s the thing. Switzerland, the land of precision watches and precision pocket knives, prides itself on it’s…well…precision. And what that means is while Swiss buses definitely run on time, they also depart on time. Which means your window for getting on one of these things is approximately one and a half seconds.
Which for us, unfortunately, occurred while our back was temporarily turned and we were studying our hiking trail map. No sooner did we hear the bus squeal to a stop, we spun around and watched it pick up its one passenger and speed away, leaving us in a cloud of confusion.
“Cab?” Wanderer asked.
Glare, I responded.
The walk, according to the stupid map that had put us in this predicament, predicted it would be an hour and 20 minutes. That’s quite some distance, especially considering when we got there THEN the hiking trail would have started. But judging by the price of a bar of chocolate in Switzerland, I didn’t even want to think what a half-hour cab ride would cost. So walking it was.
As it turns out, this ended up being the single BEST thing that could’ve happened to us.
Gawking at the snow-capped mountains, the obscenely green grass, the adorable mooing cows, my head was exploding from the sheer wonder of it all. To be honest, I was actually a little sad when our walk was over.
We’d reached the base of the FÜRENALP lift, which was going to take us 1850 vertical meters straight up. From there we would hike a trail that passed waterfalls, ravines, and scenery so beautiful even a heathen like me started believing in a higher power. There’s no way science and math could make anything that breathtaking.
Here’s a video I took as we went up:
Judging by the scenery on our walk there, my expectations for the actual hike were pretty much unmatchable at this point. And yet, Switzerland, somehow managed to take those expectations and blow them to smithereens.
Here’s what we discovered at the mountaintop:
Here’s what the rest of our hike looked like:
The whole time all I could think about was the Sound of Music. But my leaky head could only remember the one line “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music…”, so I spent the whole time singing that line and ONLY that line, over and over again.
Wanderer was NOT impressed.
“BABE! If you don’t stop singing that line I swear to GOD I’m going to jump off this mountain,” He said, grabbing me by the shoulders and shaking me hard.
I’m not allowed to watch the Sound of Music anymore.
I can’t quite describe the wonder and majesty of those peaks in words. You have to be there to understand what I’m talking about. And this is coming from a Canadian, who’s been to Vancouver and Banff.
There is no comparison. There really isn’t.
Let me put it this way. I no longer see the point of going to Heaven. Simply pick up and move to the Swiss Alps and you’re set.
Just don’t take any cabs.
Cost Breakdown (in CAD dollars, per couple):
|Accommodations||$87||Fantastic deal for Switzerland, considering hotels start at $300/night. Once again AirBnB saved our butts. If you're interested in trying it out, click here for a $40 credit.|
|Food||$20||Food was painfully expensive, but luckily we planned ahead by smuggling dried noodles and pastries in from Germany. The Alps were the main attraction for us, not the food.|
|Attractions||$23.50||Since we can’t just parkour our way up a mountain, we had to pay 25 Swiss Francs each to ride the lift. Over 3 days, this worked out to be $23.40/couple/day.|
|Transportation||$78.80||Zurich isn’t actually close to the Alps, so we had to pay 110 Swiss Francs to get to the Alps by Train. Getting around the city was expensive too, around 4.80 Francs per person for a short 2 stop ride.|
|Total:||$209.30||OUCH. Not great but could’ve easily been $350-400 if we didn’t bring food in and stay in an AirBnB."|
Rating: 6/5 Swiss Alps ( I know 5 is the max so 6/5 makes no sense. Shut up. I don’t care)
Despite the hefty price tag, Switzerland was hands-down my favorite place in the WHOLE world. I’d gladly pass up heaven if I could go live there for all of eternity instead.
Don’t take my word for it. Just go! And make sure your wallet knows about the pounding it’s going to receive. WORTH IT!
Click here for the next post in the series.