Switzerland and Italy with Childhood Friends
Me and 3 of my childhood friends have talked about going to Switzerland together for some time, and I’d started wondering if a trip like that could work out. Well, last year the stars (ahem, our schedules) aligned and we made it happen. A lot of research went into the trip, and it went off with only a few nerve racking moments.
Courtney lives in New Zealand, but was planning to spend a month in Germany where her sister lives. Brett, Min, and I planned our Switzerland trip with her meeting up with us in mind. I’m on the Scott’s Cheap Flights mail list, and had been monitoring that for a while, and tickets popped up for our time frame. Me and the boys purchased our DC to Zurich tickets and off we went!
Where We Stayed In Switzerland
After a lot of research we decided to stay in the town of Frutigen. If you plan on using public transportation your entire trip like we did Frutigen is an amazing choice. We could walk to and from the train station, and we had an amazing restaurant as well as a Migros grocery store (great prices) right up the street as well. Plus, the view from our AirBnN? I mean. Incredible.
We purchased groceries with the plan to eat breakfast at the AirBnN, pack lunches and snacks, bring water in our own water bottles (refill wherever), and then to eat dinners out. Food ended up not being super costly with only eating one pricey meal out a day.
Food & Transportation In Switzerland
We purchased a 4 day Swiss Travel Pass for our time in the country and it turned out to be a great choice. The pass allowed us to take buses, trains and boats all over. You hopped on and eventually someone would come through and check your ticket. Show them the Swiss Travel Pass and you’re good!
We were able to take a bus up to Adelboden from Frutigen, a boat ride with amazing views from Interlaken to Brienz and, of course, the train to places like Thun, Interlaken, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Zermatt, etc. We planned our days so that we would leave the train station in the morning and go to the cities that were all located somewhat near each other.
I recommend the Swiss Travel Pass for SURE. It saved the hassle of driving and parking, and the views are incredible along the way.
Where We Stayed In Milan
After a few days of seeing the beauty that Switzerland had to offer, and I can’t put in words how beautiful it was, we spent a night in Milan. We hopped on a train from Frutigen, and were in Milan about 3 hours later. Again, you simply get on the train with ticket in your possession and they come through and check it at some point on the journey.
We purchased a 24 hour public transportation pass when we arrived, and stayed in the Navigli district which is right on the tram line. We did a LOT of walking in our short time there, and saw a lot. The highlight though was in the evening when we ate dinner along the canal in the Navigli district near our AirBnN.
We ate most meals out in Italy because it was MUCH cheaper than Switzerland had been and also…pasta and pizza.
Our second day in Milan we did some more site seeing, then took a train to Zurich. We stayed in a hotel there that had a shuttle so we could get to our flight home early the next morning. My only regret is not getting to spend time in Zurich and see what it had to offer. Next time!
We left Courtney in Switzerland and me and the boys headed back to the states by way of London. We had a 9 hour layover there, so I’d found coupon codes to purchase tickets on the Heathrow Express. We hopped on the train once we got to London, dropped out baggage at a sketchy looking convenience store where you can reserve baggage storage through bag nanny and off we went. We walked a lot, ate some good food, and saw Kensington Palace. It was worth taking the time to leave the airport and do some site seeing.
After that we headed back to the airport where we ended up being delayed 6 hours before our flight back to DC. After we got home I filed a claim through British Airways for the flight being 6 hours delayed and they reimbursed us. We ended up getting more money back than we’d spend on our flights altogether. So if you’re even in the situation, give it a try!
The trip was amazing. I still can’t believe we made it happen and I can’t wait to go back. I found myself so many times throughout the week just feeling grateful for people and places, and beauty, and the ability to take the trip with these people I’ve known since I was 5 years old.