A short and succinct account of our last day on holiday, spent in Switzerland.
On Monday afternoon, we returned once more to Salzburg train station and boarded another train – this time travelling out of the pretty little city. This marked the beginning of a massive six hour long journey to Zurich, in Switzerland. In The Sound of Music, the Von Trapp’s seemed to experience ease as they escaped through the mountains from Austria, but real life is not as kind; whilst “Hollywood geography” might allow for such an easy journey, the reality is that there is no border between Salzburg and Switzerland. Hence, a very, very long journey between the two countries, redeemed by the breathtaking landscapes that were prevalent throughout the duration of our trip.
Our train travelled through the Austrian and Swiss Alps along the Arlberg Pass, elevated at 5,883 ft. I was fortunate to have a window seat, meaning that at any point that I looked to my right, I was guaranteed a mesmerising view of the mountains. Sometimes this entailed solely a natural landscape, perhaps positioned behind fields of flowers or hills and meadows, and sometimes this presented quaint little rural settlements, with chalets dotted sporadically across the mountains. I used this tranquil journey as an opportunity to both start and finish my new book; my mum and sister used this opportunity as a chance to have a long nap!
We arrived in Zurich at around 9pm and walked straight to our hotel, which was centrally located and a short distance from the station. When we arrived we went straight to our rooms, where we were relieved to sit down after our long journey. Travelling seems to have an unusual tendency to be extremely tiring, despite it actually consisting of sitting stagnantly, as opposed to any form of physical activity. Our hotel in Zurich was probably the nicest hotel of our three leg holiday and so it is a shame that we only got to spent one night there. After a brief stop in the hotel room, we set out to look for dinner, which we soon found in an Italian restaurant on the same road as our hotel. I had penne pasta with pesto, which was a welcome relief from the completely plain pasta that I had had to have for many other meals. After dinner, we walked back to our hotel and went to bed rather early, as we were all exhausted.
The next morning my sisters and I all slept through breakfast, but thankfully my mum had gone downstairs and brought us up a tray of food. I had cocoa pops with no milk, whilst the rest of my family had cocoa pops with milk and croissants. As we had to check out rather early, we quickly packed and then went downstairs, depositing our suitcases in the hotel’s storeroom. We left the hotel and were delighted to discover that the weather had warmed considerably overnight – our last day on holiday was a bright and sunny day. We walked from the hotel into the city centre and onto the main shopping street. Here, we beelined straight for Sephora, which is where we have been buying our make up from since we lived in Bahrain, and which we don’t have back home.
After shopping for a while, we settled down in a café to have lunch; I had one of the least pleasant salads of my holiday. Once we had all finished eating, we walked through the city and over a bridge near the water, which provided a very pretty view. As the weather had become rather hot by this point, we sought refuge inside the cool, air conditioned Zurich Museum. A big part of me wants to describe the displays of the museum and comment on the history that I discovered, but a bigger part of me seeks to tell the truth on this blog… and the truth is that we did not actually go into the museum itself. But hey, we ventured into both the café and the gift shop, so surely that counts?
We debated both with each other and the cultured and less cultured parts of ourselves as to whether we were going to make it into the museum, but ultimately self indulgence won, and we dragged our tired feet back to the hotel, consoling ourselves with the knowledge that we had experienced plenty of history over the last week. Although we did not do much during our brief stay in Switzerland, it was nice to get a feel for the city and even nicer to load up on the cosmetics that we cannot get back home! Even from our short time in Zurich, it was clear that the feel of this city was unlike that of our two prior destination, displaying a more urban atmosphere to Salzburg, and even Austria’s capital city, Vienna. Perhaps this was a result of the locations that we visited during our time in Zurich – shopping streets packed with high end chain stores -and the historical void on the last day on our trip, but Zurich seemed to be more more globalised and homogenous than the two Austrian cities, which held a distinct and traditional charm.
And so, today marks the last day of our nine day holiday, that we spent divided between Vienna, Salzburg and Zurich. This holiday was the first time that I have been to not one but two German speaking countries and have been exposed to their subsequent cultures… and food – my family has certainly eaten their fair share of apple strudel. Over all, it has been an amazing holiday, packed with art and history and music. Highlights definitely included the The Sound of Music tour, which we embarked on in Salzburg, and visiting the three beautiful palaces / galleries in Vienna. On this holiday, we have visited some of the most aesthetic places that I have ever been: architectural beauty has been a recurrent theme throughout. Similarly, the natural landscapes have certainly been plentiful, be it the from the train window on our aforementioned journey through the Alps or permanently visable on the skyline throughout our time in Salzburg.
Two more places that I can scratch off my beloved scratch map!