10 Reasons Why I Loved Living in Switzerland. [Photo Essay]
By Alexis Moore of Les Roches International School of Hotel Management 07/31/15
There are so many things to do and places to see around this pristine country. Here’s my favorites.
Switzerland was the first country I lived in outside of the US and it was such a big part of my life these past four years. Throughout those years I’ve had a love hate relationship with this beautiful country, but these are the 10 reasons I loved the most and will definitely miss:
1. The Seasons – Switzerland does not miss a season and it’s beautiful to see the changes of scenery. From the vineyards turning orange and maroon, to waking up to more than a foot of snow or hiking the beautiful green hillsides after months of snow. Maybe it’s not too big of a deal for people on the East Coast, but coming from California, I hadn’t really experienced four seasons before moving there.
2. The Chalets – Some are lined in a row while others are scattered on a mountainside. Each of these homes are unique in their own way, many hundreds of years old. It’s hard to believe people live in these picturesque chalets in the middle of a mountain, but you cannot deny their spectacular views.
3. The Transportation – Since I didn’t have a car, I lived by the public transportation system and knew I could always rely on it. When they say Swiss time, you can guarantee any train or bus will leave at the posted time. If you’re one minute late, you’ll be waving your ride good bye, even if it’s the last one of the evening.
4. The Cows – It isn’t a trip to the alps without seeing the cows on the hillsides wearing their cow bells. Before winter arrives the locals make it an event to celebrate bringing the cows to the valleys. Village streets are blocked off for the cows and owners to walk through, the cows have beautiful flower headdresses and kids are cheering them along. The same festivities take place in the spring when the cows are returned to the fields.
5. The Christmas Markets – These markets are in all of the major cities in Europe throughout December, but Switzerland has some of the best markets to see. It’s a fun time exploring the different “chalets” which sell anything from chocolate to scarves. My favorite part of this outing is ordering the mulled wine, aka hot wine. It’s something you have to try while walking in the crisp air checking out all the booths.
6. The Lakes – Even though Switzerland is known for the mountain alps, another thing the Swiss have are beautiful lakes. They provide more stunning scenery no matter where they are found. Some are small on the mountains which you can easily walk around whereas others can be miles long like Lake Geneva. On that lake you can take a ferry to get from Ouchy to Evian, France and view fantastic sights along the way.
7. The Food – Cheese and chocolate are probably the first things which come to mind and yes, they are two big food groups for the Swiss. However, there are so many other foods you need to eat during your time there. One of my favorites is Roesti which is similar to hash browns. They also use hot stones to cook meats during the holiday season.
8. The Wine Festivals – Whether it’s in a vineyard, on a city street, or going from boat to boat, the Swiss love their wine festivals. I understand why and couldn’t agree more. You usually pay around 20 CHF ($21 USD) for a souvenir wine glass which you use to sample the wine selections at the different booths or vineyards. And did I mention it’s unlimited tastings with hundreds of wines to choose from?
9. The Skiing – There are so many resort areas to choose from with each having their unique selling points. However, you can pretty much guarantee they all have beautiful views, great conditions, wonderful runs and fun aprés ski areas. If you are traveling there during the ski season, it’s definitely something you cannot miss out on.
10. The Alps – I lived in the middle of the alps so it’s easy to say the majority of my pictures were of them. I can honestly say I never got tired of looking out at them. No matter which angle you see the alps, you could never take the same picture twice.
There are so many things to do and places to see around this pristine country. Compiling this list made me miss my home away from home these last four years. Switzerland will always have a special place in my heart and I hope you get the opportunity to explore this wonderful country and see all that it has to offer.