for Semana Santa or “Easter” holidays, my mom and I reunited in Switzerland for our 1st mother-daughter vacation. We spent 11 days immersing ourselves in this opulent country—taking a leap back in time to revisit my mom’s old friends and life in Schaffhausen and also walking together in the present at a new stage in our relationship.
It is difficult to capture the totality of this incredible adventure and put our experiences into words, but I shall try.
In the beginning, we discovered, or “re-discovered” in the eyes of my mom, the city of Schaffhausen. There are really no words. Traveling to beautiful places is always a treat, but to me, connecting with genuine people and getting a sense of the authentic local life is priceless. We spent three nights there with my mom’s friend Martina and her family, visiting the local gems and catching up on life. This included going to the Rhein Fall, which is the largest waterfall in Europe, eating raclette, visiting my mom’s old work building and apartment area, admiring the watches in an IWC store, watching a water polo game, wandering the small towns along the Rhine River, and doing a girls trip to Zurich for a Foxtrail hunt in the rain. Our time spent in Schaffhausen was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was fascinating for me to come to realize that my mom and I took similar paths after college and were both crazy enough to live and work abroad at 22. I also loved seeing my mom and Martina re-connect their friendship after 20+ years of not seeing one another. Very special to witness.
Next location, we hopped on the train and spent the day in Bern. It was a charming city with cobblestone roads, bridges, ornate buildings, gorgeous river views, and their famous Zytglogge Clock Tower. After Bern, we took the train to Lausanne, a hilly town, and stayed there for 2 nights. Lausanne is in the French part of Switzerland and it felt like we were in France. One cool fact about Switzerland is that it has four national languages—French, German, Italian, and Romansh. It was very fun and sometimes tricky to remember what language to speak and to switch between Bonjour, Guten morgen, and Buongiorno. And depending on what part of the country you’re in, you can visibly see, hear, and feel the difference in culture based on your location. My favorite part of Lausanne was the cute pastry shop down the street from our hotel that we stopped at for breakfast a couple times. So delicious! Oh and I tried fondue for the 1st time here which was yummy too, but my tummy was not very happy about it. Cheese overload. While staying in Lausanne, we took the train for a day trip in Geneva. It was a little rainy and quite windy but another beautiful city with lovely architecture and bright-colored flowers.
One of our favorite cities in Switzerland was Lucerne, where we spent two nights at the Hotel Mr. Pickwick Pub with a stunning view of the river. But before Lucerne, we got off the train at Interlaken, for a quick pit stop. It’s a small mountain town so we didn’t spend much time there, but we walked around for a couple hours and enjoyed the sunshine and nature. Lucerne was breathtaking! Most of the places throughout Switzerland share common qualities—lovely architecture, the river, lush nature, bright flowers, fresh air, grand mountains, elegant bridges, general cleanliness, but Lucerne just had a different feel to it. This place felt like heaven on earth. The white swans gliding along the river, the sky, the water fountains, the streets, the light…this place was handcrafted by God. One of the highlights was taking a cable car, the highest in the world, up to the top of Mount Pilatus, which is rumored to be the burial site of Pontius Pilate, hence the name, but who knows? We also went to only one museum during our entire trip, the Kunstmuseum in Lucerne, which was a fun mix of old and new art.
Next on the list was our journey to Lake Lugano. We left Lucerne by boat to Fluelen, and then from Fluelen we took the Panoramic Express Train to Lugano. It was a five or six hour journey in total, but one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen in my life. Peering at the quaint mountain towns, hearing the rush of the river, gazing at the regal and massive snow-capped mountains, looking at tunnel art, and taking it all in with my mom was the sweetest thing. We spent two nights in Lugano in the mountain town of Agra at a charming hotel/restaurant managed by a lovely couple. It was about twenty minutes by bus up the mountain and it was refreshing to get away from the bustle of the city and just hear the sound of the birds chirping and experience the simple life. The next day we took a two-hour boat tour around Lake Lugano and were once again mesmerized by the beauty of the water, mountains, towns, and vibrant colors. Afterwards, we got to see Lugano from above, at the top of Mount Brie.
On Easter morning, we took the train to Zurich, where we stayed for our last night together. I was bummed that up until now we hadn’t done any hiking because my mom’s not really into that, but my wish got granted thanks to my mom’s old friend Charlie. It was a LOT of uphill and I’m proud of my mom for hanging in there, probably more than she expected, but oh well. However, the stunning views of all Zurich and neighboring cities was worth the climb. And getting to know my mom’s friend Charlie and hear them re-connect again was very cool.
Switzerland is exquisite! Some of the most lush and vibrant nature I have come across. And getting to travel by train and boat was phenomenal. THANK YOU to Martina, Amadeo, Roman, Julia, and Charlie for everything and I hope to see you guys soon!
Lastly, Mommy you are the best. Exploring, laughing, chatting, and just being with you is a gift. Until next time!
“When she started letting go, her vision became clearer. The present felt more manageable and the future began to look open and full of bright possibilities. As she shed the tense energy of the past, her power and creativity returned to her. With a revitalized excitement, she focused on building a new life where joy and freedom were abundant.”