Danke Switzerland!

Last Friday I shared our Germany adventure and today I’m back with the Switzerland portion! Guys, Switzerland was absolutely incredible and I’m anything but neutral about it. (See what I did there?)

My husband, Jay, has been visiting Switzerland for many, many years. Without me, much to my dismay. Granted, he was there on business. And granted, he wasn’t able to do much in the way of sightseeing, but still! We made up for that in spades on this trip.

Our hotel was in Lenzburg and it’s where Jay considered home base when he’s there on business. It had a great view of Castle Lenzburg!


We grabbed lunch at the courtyard restaurant in the hotel before hiking up to the castle.

Aubergine Cordon Bleu

Aubergine Cordon Bleu

Castle Lenzburg from our balcony

Castle Lenzburg from our balcony


Live life, make waves! I just loved this guy.

Live life, make waves! I just loved this guy.

Girls and boys, yes. Sorry dragons.

Sorry dragons.

We took it easy the first day because we had a big journey planned for the following day! Why? Because we got the golden ticket! (Shout out to Gene Wilder, may he rest in peace.)


This golden ticket had little in the way to do with chocolate but did include a boat ride, cogwheel railway (at times a 48 degree angle!), aerial cable car, and panorama gondolas. We started in the city of Lucerne and took an hour boat ride to the base of Pilatus.


There was some down time before we were able to take the cogwheel railway up to the peak of the mountain but we had lunch and entertainment.

The majority of the time we were on our excursions we heard more German than anything else (which makes sense, of course). However, our ears perked up on the cogwheel railway where we sat with a few members of the Cleveland Orchestra. We spent the ride chatting with them and checking out the views.

Up we go!

Up we go!


Once off the cogwheel railway, we climbed to one of the higher points.

I can’t fully explain the feeling once we reached the top of Pilatus. We were surrounded by clouds and it felt as though we were touching the sky.


After we returned back to the city of Lucerne, we did get our handmade Swiss chocolate at Max Chocolatierour golden ticket was truly complete!

The following day we took some time in the morning to visit the Swiss division of Jay’s company, which was fantastic. It was wonderful to put faces to the names and one of his coworkers even drew a map for us to follow while we visited his hometown of Zurich.

Zurich was my favorite of the “big” cities we visited. Driving there was a bit daunting (thankfully, I wasn’t driving!) but once we got situated, it was absolutely gorgeous.




I think what I loved so much about Zurich is that we had no agenda. We wandered through the streets, visited a few churches and towers, and took in the sights.

The view from Grossmunster.

The view from Grossmunster.

That evening we had a reservation at restaurant blindekuh; this was something that we had been planning since the very inception of our trip. It is a restaurant where you eat in complete darkness.


So much of our vacation had relied on our sense of sight. Experiencing great heights and views, as seen by the photographs. However, this was completely different. We had to rely on our other senses, which became hyper focused. Our waitress, Laila was visually impaired, as was all of the wait staff at blindekuh.


Once I got over a mild panic attack after being lead into the darkness (not exaggerating – there was a moment I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stay), I got a sense of where I was in the room, where Jay was in the room, and somewhat of what was going on around me. It was a bit jarring because the majority of the conversations around us were in a different language but Laila spoke English, which helped immensely.

It was an incredible 3 hour experience.

It was an incredible 3 hour experience.

For the record, carrots and radishes have a very similar texture and I’m still not sure which one was in my salad.

I had a pasta dish, Jay had chicken (which was slightly more challenging), and we let them pick our ice cream because we weren’t quite to the point where they gave us an entire mystery meal.

The following day was another “easy” day – we spent more time in Lenzburg before heading to Hallwyl Castle in Seengen.


Even the audio guide did not help us understand what exactly was going on here.

Even the audio guide did not help us understand what exactly was going on here.



That evening we enjoyed an incredible dinner at Jay’s boss’ home. His family was gracious and lovely and really liked giving me alcoholic beverages.


The following day was our last full day of our vacation and we had big plans. We drove 2 hours to Grindelwald, primarily to do this.

A tip from me, if you ever go there… don’t wear a dress unless you like constantly doing the Marilyn Monroe pose. I had shorts on underneath my dress but even still. It was breezy!

Breezy but worth it!

Breezy but worth it!




We couldn’t have asked for a better last day on First Summit.

Next time I’ll do that!

We’ve been back home in New Jersey now for a week and with school starting for my kids on Wednesday, I’m back to being mom, cook, home project doer, and all the other responsibilities that were forgotten for just a little while on our vacation.

It’s good to be back with the experiences that I was exposed to while in Germany and Switzerland. They won’t soon be forgotten!

Happy Labor Day and enjoy each other.

Adventure Is Out There!

I am of the firm belief that when you go on vacation for any amount of time you come back home with a renewed sense of self and purpose. You see things differently when you’re on vacation. You notice little things that you might not otherwise. And when you return home, it carries over into every day life as you slide back into the routine.

Jay (my husband of 13 years and only #relationshipgoal for the past 19 years) and I have always enjoyed traveling and visiting new and different places. We don’t get it do it nearly often as we’d like because as you’re probably well aware, travel is not exactly cheap. At least not the way we do it. But we have had some incredible adventures!


2000 – cruise while we were in graduate school

2004 - Spain selfie on a legit camera (check out the blonde!)

2004 – Spain selfie on a legit camera (check out the blonde!)

Babymoon cruise while pregnant with my second baby.

Babymoon cruise while pregnant with my second baby.

Our most recent adventure has been years in the making. Yes, years.

Practically since we’ve been together Jay has been traveling to Switzerland (and in more recent years, Germany) with his company for business trips. I’ve heard countless stories about these countries, drooled over pictures, and gotten many souvenirs – usually of the chocolate variety.

The stars aligned this year and it was finally my turn to go on holiday (doesn’t that sound so European?) with him. We haven’t had the opportunity to travel alone together for awhile; it was really awesome to spend 10 days of Schmoopy time together.

During our visit we hopped from Zurich airport to Germany for 5 days and back to Switzerland for 5 days. On our way back to Switzerland we took a brief, unexpected drive through Austria. It amazes me how you can do that in Europe!

But enough of me prattling on, you want to see pictures, don’t you?


Our first day was spent at Mainau Island, which is a Botanical Garden off of Lake Constance in Germany. Our main goal this day was to stay awake. It was not easy but the scenery definitely helped!

All tomatoes shall be grown!

All tomatoes shall be grown!

That's not an optical illusion, you can see right through the butterfly's wings!

That’s not an optical illusion, you can see right through the butterfly’s wings!

After finally sleeping and getting over jetlag (staying awake the first day really did help), we visited Bavaria to see Castles Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein.


From the window of Castle Hohenschwangau.

From the window of Castle Hohenschwangau.

Hanging in the castle garden.

Hanging in the castle garden.


The hike between these castles was about 20 minutes long and we hoofed it back and forth between each. Although it was gray and raining much of the day, the views were spectacular!


Castle Neuschwanstein’s design and architecture largely inspired both Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella’s castles in Disney. Rightly so!


Our home base in Germany was Ravensburg and after driving to visit the Castles, we decided to do things around the city on our 3rd day. Ravensburg is home of Museum Ravensburger, an interactive museum dedicated to puzzles and games.



I made a friend!




Since we were hanging around our “home turf” and Ravensburg is known as the city of “towers and gates” we decided it would only be appropriate that we visited the Blaserturm, located at the center of town.


Well done, Ravensburg!

Well done, Ravensburg!


For our final full day in Germany, we decided to drive to Munich. It wasn’t exactly close by but Jay had heard about the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in the center of town and he was really looking forward to checking out the show.

From there we spent the rest of the day walking around the city, shopping for souvenirs, and taking a riding tour on a double decker bus. When we were in Spain we used them a lot to get from point A to B to C and decided to take advantage once again!





As we were traveling to Switzerland the next day, we decided to make it an earlier night, eat locally in Ravensburg and hang out back at our hotel (Hotel Obertor).


Next up, Switzerland! But that will have to wait for Monday’s post. See you soon, world travelers!

Where have you traveled lately? What is on your travel bucket list?