Cultural Experience | Switzerland

CT Dialogue: Kathy’s Swiss Adventure

Katherine tells us about her family trip to her homeland!

A friend of mine, Kathryn Wiesendanger, had the opportunity to visit Switzerland for ten days a few years back when her sister was traveling abroad in Europe.  Her and her family visited Spain, France, and Switzerland, however she said that it was Switzerland that stood out the most. There is definitely a difference between traveling abroad with friends and going with family.  There is a lot less night life involved and a lot more sight seeing and adventuring.  I had the pleasure of sitting down with her and hearing all about her trip!

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1. What was your favorite aspect of Switzerland?

The people there are so friendly and easy to talk to.  I got to meet my father’s friend from college named Uereg.  He was so warm and welcoming and showed us around his hometown, Meiringen, and introduced us to many of his friends who were just as fun to talk to.  Another thing that I loved was the public transportation.  It was so clean and easy to get from place to place, unlike California.  Nobody has cars because the trains are so nice.

2. What was your favorite activity? 

We went tobogganing down a mountain.  We took a chairlift to the top of a mountain and then tobogganed half way down the mountain and then mountain scootered down the second half.  It was so thrilling and fun.  It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.  It was something I would probably never get the chance to do here in the states.  I also loved visiting Lake Zurich.  It is a massive and has a gorgeous view from any vantage point.  I remember how sparkly the water looked and how cute and serene the town surrounding it was.  Like the rest of Switzerland, it was just so clean.  That really stands out to me.  Most lakes I have seen in America are not even close to how clean this water looked.

Switzerland, Toboggan

Toboggan Trail

Toboggan, Switzerland

Kathy ready to head down the mountain!

3. Why did your family choose to go to Switzerland?

Part of my family lives there now.  My last name comes from the town that my ancestors lived in which is actually called Wiesendangen.  That was pretty cool to see.  It was the only place in the world that my last name was actually normal.  There was even a small castle that my ancestors lived in!  There was a family living in there that let us walk around and showed us the different rooms of the castle.  This is another example of how nice the Swiss people are.  They literally let a bunch of foreign strangers into their home.

Switzerland, Wiesendangen

Small town of Wiesendangen

4. What was the weather like?

I remember the sky being the bluest sky I’ve ever seen and the grass was the greenest.  The air was so clean, it all looked like a storybook or postcard.  The weather was perfect during the summer.  While the other countries I visited in Europe were miserably hot, this was perfect.  Most of the time I was in capri pants and a tank top.

5. Was there anything you disliked about the trip?

No, not really.  I guess the only thing I can think of is that my aunt’s apartment where we stayed was right next to an airport.  There were planes taking off and landing constantly.  But the funny thing is, it didn’t seem to bother anyone.  I feel like in Europe there is more of a laid back vibe where people are more tolerant or less tense and bothered by such things as the sound of a plane taking off or landing.

6.  Since you travelled a lot around Europe that Summer, would you say Switzerland was one of your favorite places to go?

Yes.  It actually was my absolute favorite country in Europe.  Everyone was more relaxed and the culture is so into adventuring and nature.  The people are so happy and appreciative of life.  Everyday there are people walking around outside.  Restaurants and shopping areas are crowded and sidewalk cafes are bustling.  People are smiling all the time, how could you not love it?  The views are remarkable.  It is literally as if you are walking around a perfectly painted canvas.  It actually changed my perspective on life in general.  I work to be more positive and excited about life. It also might have to do with the fact that Switzerland is where my family is from.  I felt more at home because I was staying with family and knew that this is where my ancestors lived.  Either way, I would recommend a trip to Switzerland to anyone.  It is very unique and different than anything in the states.  You cannot go wrong in planning a stop here while in Europe!

Gian Ryan

UC Santa Barbara | 10 stories

Hi there! I'm Gian. I am currently a sophomore at UC Santa Barbara studying political science. In my teenage years I have been around the states and Europe to places like France, Spain, and England. I have visited Morocco and Lebanon. I am studying abroad in Florence, Italy in the coming fall. I'll be spending my summer in Los Angeles writing some fun and informative articles about traveling in college! Can't wait to get started.

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