This is the fourth of a series of 5 blog posts dedicated to Switzerland.
Since Bern, Montreux, and Lausanne were one day trips and stays, I wanted to bundle these together. These locations are more west in Switzerland.
Bern is the capital of Switzerland and German speaking, while Montreux and Lausanne’s main language is French. You’d be able to tell immediately upon arriving by train and just the name of the businesses and their buildings. I got so excited when I heard French, my obsession with France has developed over time and my time spent in the South of France with the Tourism of France.
Anyway, here’s what we did in these three cities! Hang tight, this is a long photo post!
Once we got into town it was a sunny beautiful day, we walked across the bridge to find some lunch by the water before figuring out our sightseeing destinations.
The Bear Park, in Bern
After lunch we headed to the Rose Garden Park (to get the famous view) – also known as Rosengarten. As we walked up, we saw the Bear Park. The bear is the symbol of Bern and a few of the bears are kept by the city in a large compound by the walking path (visitors can watch them down below). It’s kind of like a really neat zoo!
^^ That’s a bear just chilling. There were a few more just hanging out! It was pretty fun to watch and reminded of a drive-through zoo we have here called Bearizona.
Rose Garden Park, in Bern
I always ask for the view – where to get THAT VIEW you see online, the entire city. We were told by our hotel, go to the Rose Garden Park.
First, I want you to know that this was quite an uphill hike. Unless I missed the elevator somewhere, this was not easy. But once we got up there I saw a lot of kids playing – the park is very similar to the one in Nice, France. Second, I’m going to tell you it’s worth it, as every hike to the top is, like the view from the top of Thailand’s Phi Phi Island where I thought I was going to die in the 100 degree heat hiking to the top.
Thankfully, Switzerland weather was perfection. I prefer 60-65 degrees and sunny.
Old Town Bern / Old City Bern
Old City of Bern is the medieval city center of Bern – behind the archways are stores. You’re probably wondering how there’s no one in my photo – the answer is simple – go after-hours. Thankfully with summer time the days are longer and when stores are closed, so are the tourists. This just means that’s when you go out and take your photos!
I just imagine this in some kind of movie, it’s so epic and historic looking!
^^ The bear is the symbol for Bern. I also love my FitFlop high tops. So comfortable I need them in pink.
This French-speaking city sits right along Lake Geneva. This might be my most favorite lake, ever. From every angle it’s beautiful. Jackie and I walked through the neighborhoods on the way back into town, a great way to get some exercise in and see how people live!
^^ When I took this photo a gentleman who was enjoy the view on the park bench asked me to take a few photos of him on his Samsung phone. I took a few, directed some posing and he laughed. He was a local and we chatted for a bit, and he went on his way. I love talking with locals, don’t ever be afraid to strike up a conversation with them – overseas I swear they are much more welcoming and friendly to tourists than we are here. Americans should be kind to tourists, not annoyed.
We also chatted with other tourists and it made me miss meeting strangers, turning them into friends for a few minutes. I think that’s one of the reasons I love to travel, it not only expands your mind and heart but you as a person become more friendly, welcoming and engaging. It’s such a pleasurable thing to converse with strangers.
Chateau de Chillon, in Montreux
I love the word chateau, especially after South of France so anything with the word “chateau” just makes me daydream. This is Chillon castle, pronounced like “Chee-on.” It took over 200 years to build and first records were like 1005! Admission was free with our Swiss Pass and an English guided tour by iPod which was helpful.
It reminded me of when Jackie and I went on our Dixieland trip through the south and did the same audio tour at the Biltmore Estates! We love to learn and explore old buildings together.
Onto the next French-speaking city was Lausanne, a city recommended by Jackie’s old roommate, Marc who had lived in Switzerland for a few years. He had a lot of great tips to give us on the extra four days we extended our package trip, which would have ended in Bern. Our hotel was pretty much amazing.
And the views of Lake Geneva as well –
We bought some chocolate at Blondel, a very old and iconic chocolate place that was recommended and ate crepes the next day at Creperie d’Ouchy. You read that right. Jackie and I laughed so hard and d’Ouchy is pronounced just as you thought. Ouchy is the location and many stores were called that. Translation of language is such a funny thing isn’t it?
We mainly shopped, got some chocolate and I bought my cuckoo clock in Lausanne! It was this insanely packed souvenir shop but it had the most impressive display of clocks I knew I had to get it there. I spent over $250 for it but I think it was worth it and the suitcase space! I was going to buy myself a watch but I guess I kinda did – a big one. Haha. The gentleman helped me decide which was best and explained the different types of clocks.
The best part was Jackie saying getting this clock was like a pet – you have to feed it once a day because I have to wind my clock by pulling on the weight chain once a day. LOL. So this means let’s see how long this clock will be going before I permanently leave it on 3 pm and silent! There is a reason we don’t have pets in our household.
If you’re still with me thanks! Hope you enjoyed those three city tours and next we go into the mountains for those little village mountain towns, I promise you’ll love it. It’s probably one of my favorite ways I experienced Switzerland!