Lucerne & Zurich
After an amazing few days in Interlaken (which you can read about here), we headed to Lucerne.
We were so sad to leave our sweet Airbnb in Interlaken with its incredible view, but thankfully our new place also came with a fun surprise: a rooftop patio!
Our host doesn’t advertise the patio on the listing because she likes to make sure people are “fit” enough to handle climbing the clumsy stairs to the roof.
The fitness test: walking up five flights of stairs up to the apartment while carrying giant backpacks strapped to your back.
Thank goodness we passed—which meant we had full access to the patio our entire time there. It wasn’t as great as our previous view, but still not a bad bonus!
We spent our first day walking around Old Town, which only ended up taking about two hours. It turns out there actually isn’t that much to do there. But, it was still a beautiful area and worth the visit!
The highlight of Old Town is Chapel Bridge, also known as the world’s oldest truss bridge (…don’t worry, I don’t know what that means either).
It’s a covered wooden bridge built in the 14th century and lined with the sweetest flowers on either side. The ceiling is full of paintings, but most of the originals were destroyed in a fire.
Spreuer Bridge is a quick walk from Chapel Bridge but is much smaller. It was a lot less crowded though, so it was easier to appreciate the paintings and carvings as we walked through it.
My favorite part about Old Town is the paintings on the buildings. They create such a unique feel for the whole area!
Another top spot to visit in Lucerne is Musegg Wall. You can catch a beautiful view of the city on top of the wall and even climb up each tower to explore the interior!
After our trip to France (which you can read about here) I am a huge fan of macarons. So, of course, I couldn’t resist snapping a picture with this macaron tower!
The last stop on our tour of Old Town was the Lion Monument. It was surprisingly crowded and full of large tour groups, so it was a good stopping point for our day!
Plus we needed to rest up for our early morning the next day when we went PARAGLIDING!!!
That’s right; we went flying through the air attached to strange men and a giant parachute thing.
And let me just say—it was amazing!
Although paragliding was my idea, I was terrified of doing it. Cardin, of course, wasn’t scared at all, but he at least pretended to be afraid too. 😉
Below is a picture of us waiting for our guides to arrive at the Mt Pilatus gondola station.
Check out the giant bags used to carry paragliding equipment! They certainly put our little backpacks we take on our trips to shame.
Unfortunately, as soon as we got off the gondola at the top of the mountain, a wave of clouds came through and stranded us for a bit. When visibility is low, smacking into the side of a rock is a high probability, so we were happy to wait for the sky to clear.
As we waited, Cardin and I occupied ourselves by having a little fashion show with the super attractive windbreaker pants they made us wear. Gotta love anything in that whole ‘one size fits all’ category!
And of course the final product: my rain jacket spastically tied to me and topped with a giant bucket seat backpack.
Since there wasn’t much hope for the sky to completely clear, our guides decided to take advantage of even a small break in the clouds. Cardin kindly offered to go first, so the second we started to see blue sky, he and his guide took off.
The way you begin is by standing at the top of a steep hill and start running while your guide is attached to your back. You only run for about three seconds before your feet leave the ground and once you’re up, your guide swiftly lifts you into the bucket seat where you sit comfortably for the rest of the ride.
As soon as Cardin took off, another cloud appeared. His guide had a little trouble navigating and was unable to put him into the bucket seat until they had safely cleared the mountain. From my view, all I could see was poor Cardin running in the air (they told us to keep running until we were in the bucket seat) as he uncomfortably clung to the straps.
I’m not going to lie…it looked hilarious. My payback for laughing at him was having to awkwardly sit while hanging off the edge of the hill attached to my guide for a solid ten minutes before another break in the clouds came.
Thankfully we finally got the chance to take off, and my guide was able to lift me into the seat immediately, so I was spared the same fate as Cardin.
Check out Cardin flying in the background! We were even able to talk to each other a little bit while we were in the air!
The company we used offers a photo package, but it was a bit expensive, so we opted for Cardin to hold our GoPro and take photos and video of himself, while my guide used his camera for me. I’m waaaay more clumsy than Cardin, so we figured he was the safer choice for not dropping our GoPro from 7,000 feet.
Unfortunately, it was a lot more terrifying to hold our camera than Cardin realized it would be, so he just took video of himself instead of photos. (We can take screenshots from our video of him, but we haven’t had the chance to do that yet.) So, for now, this picture of him in the background is all we’ve got!
Towards the end of our time in the sky, my guide asked me if I liked roller coasters. I thought that was a random question, but excitedly told him about how we’ve been visiting theme parks all over the world!
Little did I know what he was about to do…
Before I knew it, we were spinning upside down and being tossed from side to side. I can only compare it to feeling like you’re having a severe bout of vertigo. It was crazy!
Once the world finally turned upright, he asked if I wanted to do that again, to which I politely, but quickly declined.
Most people paraglide in Interlaken since the views are incredible, BUT you only get to fly for about 20 minutes. Plus it’s a touristy thing to do there, so you’re in the air with a ton of other jumpers.
In Lucerne, it was just us in the sky, and we were up there for an hour and a half (even though we only paid for an hour). Plus our guides only paraglide for fun on the weekends and lead regular jobs during the week. So they do it because they love it rather than wanting to make more money off tourists, which is also why they let us stay up there for so long.
And the view you get in Interlaken is the same one you would see on Harder Kulm, but the view we had in Lucerne is only visible by paragliding.
So, if you have any interest in paragliding in Switzerland—we strongly recommend doing it in Lucerne.
(Here is a link to the company we used. Our friends, Jamie and Jess, recommended them and they were amazing!)
For the last day of our trip, we decided to take a day trip to Zurich. When we first started attending our church in Orlando, they had a guest pastor from a church in Switzerland come and speak. The pastor talked about the church they built in Zurich, and as we walked out of the service that day, I turned to Cardin and said how great it would be to get to visit their church if we went to Switzerland this year.
Little did we know it would happen!!
Without planning it, we ended up being a quick train ride from Zurich on a Sunday, so of course, we had to check out International Christian Fellowship (ICF) church at Samsung Hall!
The church venue doubles as a concert space. That’s how they were able to afford building such a perfect spot—by having Samsung sponsor it as a concert hall when the church isn’t using it.
It also means they have things like Heineken umbrellas and cigarette vending machines…not something you would usually see at a church, but such a smart business plan!
They also have two great cafes where we enjoyed a delicious cappuccino and croissant before the service started.
They have an English service, but we wanted to get the full experience and go to the traditional one in German. Thankfully they have translation devices available, so when we checked in to get a device, the girl asked us where we’re from. We told her the story of how we discovered ICF, and she responded with, “oh, you must be from ReThink Life Church”!
It turns out she is the one who coordinates the pastor’s travel schedule, so she insisted we meet him after the service.
Here’s our picture with Leo Bigger (the pastor of ICF) below:
After church, we headed out to explore Zurich for a few hours. It reminded us a lot of Lucerne and didn’t take much time to explore, but we loved walking around the sweet streets.
One of the best things about Switzerland is their DELICIOUS tap water!! Especially since everything else is so expensive there, it was nice to have something free finally!
They have public water fountains labeled “drinking water” all over the country and it’s seriously some of the best tasting water we’ve ever had—especially while traveling.
Alright, now that I’ve shared with you all of the beautiful places we saw in Switzerland, I need to tell you about our dramatic journey home.
Let me start by saying that the security at the Frankfurt airport is some of the strictest we’ve encountered so far (not including in Dubai). After getting through the main security (which was a struggle in itself), they had us go through an extra passport check, where the agent informed us that my passport had been pre-selected for additional screening.
Ok, no big deal.
The man assured us that it would only take a couple of minutes and I’d be back with Cardin and on our flight in no time…
Little did I know that within just a few minutes I would be standing in front of a big flashing red computer screen while a very large man with a very large gun explained to me that it’s the protocol for him to guard a person when their belongings test positive for explosives.
That’s right, explosives.
My first thought: I’m going to miss my flight.
My second thought: I’m going to get arrested, and they’re going to make Cardin go back to America without me.
Dramatic, I know 😉 Seriously though, I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before!
It didn’t help that I was already frazzled because they separated Cardin and I from each other. I rely on him SO much for my hearing, especially at airports. (You don’t want to be the person who accidentally answers questions incorrectly when going through customs.)
So, now here I was watching my backpack get completely torn apart. I’m talking every stinky piece of dirty laundry (underwear and all) get inspected and unloaded into a bin, while a terrifying man with a machine gun is heavily monitoring me.
It was not looking good.
After clearing my bag, they proceeded to do a very invasive pat down of my entire body. Cardin and I always wear compression socks when we fly (which isn’t glamorous but helps a ton). As the woman moves onto my legs, she questions what is underneath my leggings, which means I have to awkwardly pull up my yoga pants and show off my not so cute socks.
Finally, once they have nothing left to search, the agent realized that they misplaced my plane ticket. And then they inform me that if they don’t find it and stamp it, the passport checkpoint will force me to go back through this same screening ALL OVER AGAIN.
This has to be a joke…
Eventually, they locate my ticket, crumpled and torn, underneath the pile of my pathetic belongings. After stamping it, they said I was free to head to my gate.
It’s at this point that I realize that I’m going to have to repack my bag.
I’m embarrassed to admit that until very recently, I haven’t been able to squeeze all of my belongings into my tiny backpack without Cardin’s help. He pretty much used to pack my entire bag for me. All I could think was great; after all of that, my inability to put my luggage together is going to cause me to miss my flight.
Just as I was about to panic, my sweet husband showed up, and the guards let him help me gather my stuff. He had seen me struggling from afar, and the gate agent allowed him to check on me—thank goodness!
We made it to our flight just in time. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to board a plane before!
Also, it turns out that lotion can sometimes trigger the explosives alert if it contains glycerin since that’s used to make bombs. I’ve purchased a small container of Nivea on almost all of the trips we’ve taken this year, but I have officially sworn off of it! Or at least I won’t use it when traveling again. 😉
Click here to watch our Switzerland video along with our other vlogs!
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