Our last trip from Bologna was to Switzerland, a country Inna and I were hesitant to visit because it is ridiculously expensive and we need to make our money last all year. Because of this, we decided to only spent a few days here. And we spent as little money as we could during that time.
Despite these restrictions, Switzerland is so amazing that we still had a great visit.
We started our stay in Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland and a city I’d never been to (I’d only been to Geneva) but Inna had visited before. We found bus tickets to Zurich for €60, €540 less than the train. We also found an Airbnb with the above view for only $70 per night. With these deals, we knew we could do Switzerland affordably.
Lake Zurich in Zurich. The beauty of Switzerland never ceases to amaze me.
There were lots of birds on Lake Zurich, which isn’t a surprise because the lake is clean and gorgeous.
As beautiful as Zurich is by day, it’s even more beautiful at night. The lighting of the buildings is amazing, glowing and warm and full of life.
This photo was taken at the same spot as the second photo in this post. You tell me, is Zurich prettier by day or by night?
The Zurich Film Festival was happening while we were in Zurich and we were super excited because La La Land was playing. Then we found out that La La Land only played the opening weekend, before we arrived. So instead we (and by we I mean I, Inna stayed home this night) checked out a collection of shorts that played on the lake. It was tons of fun!
Who are we kidding? We didn’t come to Switzerland for the lake or movies or the city, we came for dessert. We didn’t buy much food in Switzerland (its too expensive! McDonald’s alone was $20 for the two of us) but we definitely got some of this.
We only spent a couple days in Zurich, but we still had a few days before our flight out of Bologna. And lucky for us, we found another great travel deal in Switzerland.
There are no city-to-city buses in Switzerland; the country does not allow them, forcing people to take the much more expensive train instead. According to Swiss law, all city-to-city buses must either depart from or travel to another country. But we found a way around this pesky rule.
An hours drive from Zurich is Basel, a Swiss city just south of the Swiss/French/German border. Because Basel is a border city, it shares its airport with France and Germany, and the actual location of the airport is in France. That meant we could take a city-to-city bus from Zurich to the Basel airport in France, then take an intercity bus from the airport to the city, and never have to take the expensive Swiss train.
The view from the bus on our way to Basel. Traveling through Switzerland is beautiful but this drive was pretty blah.
Despite being a medieval-aged city and also the third largest city in Switzerland, Basel is not a major tourist destination and doesn’t have a ton to do. But even so, this city was beautiful.
Basel doesn’t have a ton to do but it does have some things, this red building for instance, the city’s former city hall.
We couldn’t go inside this building (we visited on Sunday, when it was closed) but the courtyard alone was stunning.
Basel also contains this church, which mostly dates back to the 12th/13th centuries. Parts of the building date back to 999 while other parts were rebuilt after a 1356 earthquake, reconstruction not being completed until 1500. But the main design is Romanesque and was achieved in the early 1200s.
The inside of the church was absolutely beautiful, and it contained something we’d never seen in a church before: a Star of David?
My favorite aspect of this church was its roof; I’d never seen a roof like this before and it was amazing.
Like all great European cities, a river cuts through Basel. This river is the Rhine, the famous European river that flows from the Alps to the North Sea, forming the borders between Switzerland and Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Germany, and Germany and France on its journey.
Behind us is a monument paying tribute to the point where Switzerland, France, and Germany meet. The actual point is in the center of the Rhine near where we are standing. This place reminded us of the Triple Frontier in Argentina, although this destination wasn’t nearly as spectacular as that one was.
“Near… Far… Wherever you are…” This quote has nothing to do with Switzerland but points for you if you get what we are referencing.
We spotted this sculpture from the tram and it wouldn’t have been special, except we saw an identical sculpture in Seattle! We have since Googled this work (Hammering Man if you are interested) and discovered that there are eleven of these around the world, including two in our home state of California; one is even in Los Angeles!
And finally, since we are still in Switzerland, we gotta have more chocolate. All I can say is yum yum yum yum yum yum yum.
At this point it was time to head back to Bologna, visit our cousins one last time, then catch the plane to our next destination. Again, we took the bus for this journey, and unlike our trip from Bologna to Zurich, which we traveled through the middle of the night, this time we traveled during the day. We made a specific point to do this because our drive was through the Swiss Alps, one of the most beautiful regions in the entire world. Here are some pictures from our journey:
The Alps are so gorgeous, pictures can’t really capture its scale and beauty. It was the same back when I took the train from Milan to Geneva; the Swiss Alps are amazing!
That brings us back to Bologna, where we had gelato one last time, said goodbye to our cousins, and headed off again. Next stop, another one of the most beautiful countries in Europe: Ireland!