Day Trip to Lucerne & Bern, Switzerland
This might sound strange but I love traveling by train. It feels almost exotic to me, although I have ridden plenty of trains in my life. Still - it isn't an everyday occurrence or even a yearly occurrence so yes I will agree on any kind of trip that includes a train ride.
It might be the Swiss in me too. I mean who does trains better? They are clean, on time, and offer beautiful views wherever you go! Why wouldn't you want to travel by train? Well if you like money and are a tourist, you might not find it a great bargain. Train tickets are expensive in Switzerland. There are packages you can get that offer some discount, but most of them are intended to help the locals, not the tourists. Still, if you don't want to rent a car, there really is no way of getting around it.
Something that I love about train rides in Switzerland is that you can buy a day pass and just hop on and off wherever you may please. You have a whole day to go wherever you want for however long you want. You could just stay on the train the whole time, although there are too many cute places to stop and stretch your legs so I don't recommend doing that.
Anyways, when my mom suggested her and I get a day pass a few weeks ago, I naturally said yes. And since we are bad about visiting touristy places we thought what better time than to visit Lucerne and Bern.
We started the day taking a small train (decorated in red and white naturally) from the farmhouse to an actual train station in the nearest town. From there we hopped onto a train to Zurich where we did another quick train switch heading towards Lucerne. From there you see beautiful views of the Zurich lake glistening in the sun. I almost wanted to turn around and head back but my mother assured me there would be more beautiful views to see. She wasn't wrong.
Fortunately, the train wasn't very full so we could hop back and forth from one side of the train to the other depending on which side was more beautiful. This is harder than it sounds! There was no nice view on this trip! I realized we must have looked crazy to the locals whom this is just their regular commute, but I did warn you I am a little obsessed about train rides so its only natural I behaved a little childish.
We made it to Lucerne in under an hour from Zurich. Squeezing through the tourists (where did they all come from?!) we headed towards one of Lucerne's most iconic trademarks, the Kapellbrucke or Chapel Bridge. It is a quaint bridge that has a small water tower in the middle. Its bridge was originally built in 1365 linking the right bank to the left bank, but almost burnt down in 1993 destroying two-thirds of its interior paintings!! Fortunately, it was reconstructed for a small price of 3.4 million dollars, but a lot of the paintings on display were destroyed.
After almost drowning in tourists (so many groups) we found so peace at a nearby farmers market. We somehow always find them. From there we headed slowly through the town, eventually looping back to the lake to find the perfect lunch spot.
We eventually chose a shady bench right on the water and enjoyed our packed lunch. I am sure there are plenty of good places to eat but we were quite content with our humble lunch of sandwiches and chips (and an apple of course).
There was an outdoor pool on the lake. It essentially is 4 walls to block off the view for noisy tourists like me, but inside you can enjoy the cool lake on a hot sunny day. It was at that point I realized we should have packed our bathing suits so don't make my mistake! It was very cheap to go for a few hours; they even had a lunch rate for those that wanted to enjoy a quick swim during lunch. Ahh to be a Swiss local...
Alright so as much as we enjoyed Lucerne (minus the tourists), we also wanted to make our way to Bern. Somewhere in between Lucerne and Bern, we hopped off to enjoy a quick drink and stretch our legs a bit. I honestly can't remember what it was called, but the point of these trips is to get off literally wherever you wish and the train makes enough stops for you to pick the one perfect for you. After a refreshing trip (mother - beer, me - Shorley aka apple juice with sparkling water) we were back on a train to Bern.
Bern felt like a different part of Switzerland. It didn't feel as touristy and wasn't as sparkling clean either as Lucerne was. That doesn't mean it was messy. It just felt more lived in. We wandered through the town, avoiding fast Swiss locals walking home from work. A soccer game was on so there were several bars offering viewings outside on large TV's which was fun to see. We were a little walked out at this point so after making our way through the town we decided to grab a bite to eat. We ended up at the Rathaus Restaurant where we sat outside and enjoyed the evening sun.
There was a gentleman next to us enjoying dinner with a book, a group of friends catching up over drinks, and two elderly people (sitting separately) that were enjoying a relaxing dinner while people watching. I couldn't stop watching this couple. They sat each alone but did not come across lonely at all to me. The lady had on sunglasses and was reading a newspaper while eating, and the gentleman was smiling to people and talking to the waiter. They both seemed so at ease and content, it made me so happy to see that. I also was imaging that they were an actual couple but needed some space so decided to eat separately (haha). Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if that were true!
Anyways, after splitting a salad and main course, we headed back to the train station to catch our ride back home. Just like that our day trip was over. With just a few hours on the train, we saw 2 cities at leisure and wonderful views along the way. See - what isn't there to like about train rides in Switzerland.
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