Hey, finally, work has finished, and it’s the xmas holiday break, finally I can get on my arse and do this. If you did stick around because of my last post, well, you’ll be glad you did with this doozy coming your way. Without a single doubt, this was the absolute highlight of the trip, by the time we arrived in Mürren, the weather had finally turned for the better, and the sun was out and ready to keep us warm and happy. We only had two nights in Mürren arriving pretty early in the morning and leaving in the afternoon, so two and a half days (sort of). I wanted to do some hiking and take in some lakes and mountains from the best perspectives (that only hiking can get you, I suppose flying or rock climbing can give you some pretty spectacular views as well), but my pregnant girlfriend was apprehensive about it all.
So in our two days there we managed to:
So yeah, a really beautiful place with so many things to see, I don’t think I’d get tired of the mountains even if I could afford to spend a month there, it was a bit disappointing not to get a good shot of mountains with a lake so that’s something to aim for next time. Definitely worth the price of admission, it’s also very peaceful there, small population, Mürren is a car-free (only local traffic for delivieries and supplies I suppose) town and so the atmosphere is one of quiet serenity (for me any way) and a really nice place to go at the end of our trip, wish I could’ve spent more time there.
Accommodation, Food, and Transport
Well, as I mentioned in the previous Switzerland post, we were using the half-fare card so were paying relatively normal prices for train tickets around the place (it’s worth it just for the Top of Europe pass which costs about 200$ bux AUD).
We stayed at the Hotel Alpina in Mürren which is a ‘budget’ option (still not cheap at all) but does have all of the amenities you should need (including a great view of the Alps from your room balcony, should you pay for it). We were put in room number 1 (or 2) which was good in that we could access the wifi in the lobby from our room, but was bad because we had to walk past the toilet to get to our room, so it was a bit smelly (the walk, not the room). Breakfast buffet provided with a decent spread, I’d recommend it if it has a good buffer in prices from the other hotels in the area, nice, friendly staff too (although no kettle in the room).
Pretty much all the hotels have restaurants where you can get normal food although I didn’t get to try much of it due to my Em’s little worm! 😀 OK, one more stop in Europe (Paris) but I won’t bother with that one because we’ve already been there twice now, and we didn’t do anything on our last visit other than a bit of shopping, so last stop on our whirlwind, whistlestop tour, not in Europe, but Hong Kong, for one night, and one night only, what did we do? You’ll find out next time (if I can be bothered), so stay tuned!
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Jebus, finally posting this, am I lazy or what? You’ve probably been waiting and waiting and thought, he’s never going to post the Switzerland stuff, and then BOOM! I post it, but you’ve already unsubscribed from this amazing blog. Any way, we’re approaching xmas and I am seriously still hoping to get all these posts up before then. Because Switzerland was so good, I’m going to split it into two, well, mainly cos there are too many pictures from the Alps to post. So I’ll be talking about, Zurich, Lucerne, and Geneva (even though we visited that place after we climbed the Alps). I mean, really, there’s not much to tell about these three cities from our point of view, we only spent one night in each place and half a day in each place.
The first thing I’m going to say is that Switzerland is bloody expensive, if you don’t know anyone there (and they better be thrifty), good luck finding a cheap eat that isn’t a kebab or something similar. Secondly, a lot of Swiss people smoke, or at least, a lot of people in Switzerland smoke, which I found very surprising considering that they’re very outdoor-sy, and the natural beauty of the country (I thought that people would be into clean living lol). All three cities are based around lakes, beautiful settings with beautifully laid out buildings and architecture. There isn’t a lot to see in town, wander around the lakes and shops, and the olde towns and that’s about it, they’re all pretty close to some great natural scenery though. That’s it, next up, the Alps, I promise to get that one up in a more prompt fashion.
Transport and Accommodation
We stayed in airbnb.com places in Lucerne and Zurich, both really nice and clean, and short distances from the town centres, we were going to stay at the YHA hostel in Geneva, but decided to stay at a hotel, the Admiral Hotel which is only a couple blocks from the Geneva train station, and a couple blocks the other way from Lake Geneva, a pretty good location, and it was relatively cheap compared to the other places in the area. It was small, but comfortable enough, although we could hear doors slamming outside, there was also a breakfast buffet provided with a reasonable spread.
In terms of transport we got around using the Swiss Half Fare card and regular train service, as well as trams within Zurich, and buses in Lucerne (although we could have just walked). In Geneva we really too tired to bother doing anything other than walking by the lake a bit.
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Hey, it’s only taken two weeks and I’m back here on the next post, I’m so diligent like that, finally two months after the fact, we’ve moved on to Amsterdam, a beautiful city in the lowlands.
Once again we tired ourselves out doing all the touristy things, and once again the weather was cold and dreary. We managed to visit the Rijksmuseum, Ann Frank Huis, a canal cruise, Dam Square, H&M (lol!), Dam Square, a wander around Jordaan, and a stroll up and down the Red Light District. It would’ve been nice if we had the time to visit a tulip farm or see some windmills or something typically Dutch like that, but the weather probably didn’t suit any way.
The Rijksmuseum is up there in terms of museums, a lot of impressive Rembrandt stuff, and a lot of other very impressive artwork. Ann Frank Huis is a very sobering experience, it’s not really that much to look at, but it is definitely well worth visiting, it’s been set up very well. I was thinking that the canal cruise would be a bit boring, but in fact it was a great way to see the city and to tour around the canals getting a different perspective of the city and it’s beautiful architecture. The Red Light District is certainly an interesting strip (excuse the pun!), with the ladies standing in the windows and the queues for the sex shows (including couples! but not us :D), it’s all a bit strange and seedy (although not as seedy prostitutes on the street I suppose).
We didn’t visit any brown coffee shops because the thought of a smokey cafe didn’t sit well with Em, it didn’t particularly excite me either, we did visit a regular coffee shop though, and it was a nice, little place in Jordaan, the walls covered in bills from all over the world. I like Amsterdam, next time some good weather would be great, and maybe we can head out of town a bit to see some of the Dutch countryside and maybe ride a bicycle. Hey, the beer is cheap, it was also cheap in Brussels (can’t remember if I mentioned that), so that’s definitely a good thing, next stop, Switzerland, let’s see how long this one takes.
ps – I’m not particularly enamoured with this new theme, but the previous one was compromised and is not available any more, I will have to continue with this one until further notice.
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Hey there loyal followers, all none of you I suppose. I’ve just got back from Europe a couple nights ago and am now getting on top of everything not work-related at home, in terms of stuff that happened while we were away any way, so I thought I’d post an update here.
Nothing much in this post, just that I will be adding my summaries of what we did over there as well as reviews of the transport, accommodation, and attractions, food (!), etc, etc, as well as some photos of course. I’m currently in the process of uploading photos to facebook, but that should be done in a day or two, and then I can start concentrating on uploading photos to flickr as well as adding stuff to here. We were only over there for two and a half weeks really, so there aren’t that many pictures to upload, but I hope that the ones that I did get are pretty high quality, it’s also Em’s birthday in a bit more than a month so I have to start organising that, as well as some other things, all in all, it’s going to be quite a busy end of the year for me, let’s hope everything works out well, and that 2014 is going to be something special. I’ll leave it at that for now, and hopefully upload something about Paris in the next week.
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Merry Xmas to everyone out there, hopefully you’ve had or are having a very peaceful time. I’ve had xmas’ away from home before, but this is the first one ever in the northern hemisphere, and I’m pretty far north. It really is Winter here, and a white Xmas as well, a little too white for my liking, it is freezing. It’s snowing, and windy, and very dark as I type this. The snow is deep and it is very cold, but it’s soft at least. The weather is a bit unpredictable and so makes it quite difficult to go out and take some photos after dark, I can’t be sure that it won’t be violently cold and windy. I hope it’s not like that when I go up to the western fjords just after the new year, if it’s just cold that’s one thing, but if it’s snowing and windy that makes it very difficult to get outside to take some photos. Perhaps I may have to settle for taking photos from inside behind windows, that would be a little disappointing, let’s cross that bridge when it comes.
I tried some putrid shark a couple days ago, this is not a delicacy here, it’s a traditional meal from western Iceland that has made its way around the rest of the country. Basically it is smelly, yucky, and burns your mouth, but you may as well try it if you’re here, really, really, awful, the worst thing I have ever eaten in my adult life (and as far as I can remember).
Anyway, here are some fresh pictures for your perusal in snowy Icy Land.
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