Woke up early to pack further. The others woke up closer to 9am but by the time we were out of the hotel it was already 10am. Had breakfast which again was a simple one, where the bar counter had been set up with the bread and cheese.
Went to the street behind to get a Swiss flag romper which would look cute on baby K.
Checked out and dragged the luggage to the main train station, across the roads and the tram tracks.
The next train for S2 was at 1045am, one hour before our flight was due. The train to the airport was only about 10mins and by the time we got to the check in counter, it was almost closing. They allowed us to check in but informed us that it was really far so we needed to hurry.
1115 and we got our boarding passes. Walked through the gates and though the X-ray machines which we had to remove bottles of milk and electronic devices and placed them in trays. The staff then isolated the bottle of milk which took some time to come back to us.
Then it was to the immigrations and again the queue that we took was taking longer as the lady seemed to be stricter. She even wanted to have a look a baby K’s eyes for confirmation even though he had fallen asleep in the Ergobaby.
The gate E was very far away and we had to take a shuttle train to reach it. When we finally arrived, it seemed like we were the last to board and had to get onboard the plane through the economy section on the 2nd floor since the first floor door was closed.
There were still quite a bit of activity on the plane when we got to our seats. The plane also delayed in taking off, could be due to us.
The entire return journey was far more difficult than the arrival one because baby K didn’t sleep mostly and when he did, it was only for a few minutes. We made a mistake of not packing the Halo swaddle into our carryons and he just couldn’t get to sleep. He was also getting cranky sometimes, crying really loudly and only wanting my wife to carry, having grown accustomed to mommy’s scent.
The passengers next to ours had a 13month old girl who had absolutely no problem falling asleep. We could only envy.
It was a really difficult flight back and by the time we landed, we were throughly exhausted and baby K still didn’t want to sleep. The humid temperature didn’t help and the whole Saturday was spent recuperating.
This was our maiden long haul journey with baby K. The itinerary was planned with a slightly different expectations and too ambitious. As a result, we couldn’t get much travelling experience out of this one and spent a lot of time bogged down by baby activities. More time should have been given for the cities so that we could truly get more out from the visit rather than a touch and go approach. It was also quite tiring for both parents and baby.
Driving in Switzerland cities was horrendous experience for me since most of them were more pro-public transportation. With a big car, it was difficult to negotiate the small carparks and roads. Some of the roads were even not allowed for driving although these were not reflected in the GPS causing confusion. Added the fact that trams, buses and bicycles share the road and parking was seldom available, it made it all the more stressful to drive in these cities.
Highlights were of course the time together with family was well spent. Never again would baby K be the same as he continue to grow and this would be something we would cherished in years to come.
As the light of dawn shine through slightly translucent curtains, I awoke to find the purple hue of sunrise from the balcony of the window. 515am and a little chilly, I took some photos of the bridge, now quiet from the bustle of day. A different perspective.
Returned to nap for a little before waking up in preparations for the day ahead. I was prepared for what was to come, when the hotel staff came and knocked urgently on our door, saying it was an emergency. When I opened the door, I was greeted by the staff that advised the parking instructions the day before, telling me that the place that I parked the car was going to have some set up for some events and I had to move it immediately. She also apologized for the slip up. What a start for the day. When I arrived at the car park, there was a long trailer already parked in front of my car. Had to speak to the job supervisor to get them to do the shifting within that tight space, which was done rather quickly. I parked at the parking garage eventually and walked the 4 mins back to the room.
We had some of the dried fruit cake that we purchased from the gas station as breakfast, knowing that there would not be time for us to have brekkie.
Our main activity today was to visit Mount Rigi. There was a package route that encompassed the ferry, cogwheel train and a cable car round trip and so we chose that. There wasn’t much information around and the brochures were non English so we tried our luck at the port. Went over to the counter and purchased the round trip tickets. The ferry would carry us to Vitznau and we would then changed to the cogwheel train all the way up to Rigis top. Then the return was taking the same train, we would alight at Kaltbad station and transfer to the cable car which would bring us to Weggis and take the ferry back to Lucerne.
The ferry at 10am-ish had so many passengers loaded up but luckily we managed to get seats at the inside of ferry. There were hot drinks available and the staff was asking customers other than ourselves, frankly not impressed by this discriminating attitude.
The ride took about 1 hour and we alighted at the port of Vitznau and hurried to the cogwheel train already waiting. As there were many people, we only got onto the cabins where seats weren’t enclosed thus exposing to possible cold draft. The climb was steep but the train wasn’t really fast so we didn’t get irritating ear pressure issues.
The ride up was about another hour, the higher we climbed the more the marvelous was the view of the surroundings. There were insects (could be bees) flying around though.
It was bright and sunny at the top and the 360 views around coupled with the refreshing mountain air (except for places with smokers, and there were just many of them) was just great. The cold air sometimes gave us the chills but it was ok most of the time.
Walked around and up to the satellite station where we could see the mountains on the one side and the flat lands with the lakes on the other. After that we had our fill of the scenery, we went back to the train station for the ride to Kaltbad to have lunch at the hotel restaurant there. There was one restaurant at the top station (with a great view) but there were too many people so we decided to eat at Kaltbad instead.
To take the cable car, we had to take a ridiculously small lift down 3 floors to the single cable car which would bring tons of people to the bottom of the mountain. This ride was very uncomfortable as it was filled to the brim, just like our MRT train during rush hour. There were many kids that went up the mountain, probably as an excursion and there were making a hell of a ruckus.
Steep ride down took about 15 minutes. Then it was another 15minutes walk to the Weggis port to take the ferry back to Lucerne. Went back to the hotel to claim the luggage and brought it to the church before I went to claim the car from the Migros which cost a crazy expensive amount of 30CHF. Loaded the luggage and off we went to Zurich.
Getting out of the city, I had to negotiate the traffic and at one instance, I thought I was caught by a speed camera (because of the flash) (which I was, at 91km/hr, 6km more than the 80km/hr limit + 5km tolerance. Paid the fine through bank transfer) before entering the tunnel.
Entering Zurich city was a nightmare again. Traffic jam and roads not allowed for travel. I had to park the car at the side of the road in front Hotel Limmatblick to unload all the luggage, quickly check in and move the luggage up before going to top up petrol and return the car. I was pretty familiar this time and returned the car in no time. I think Sixt was about to close and when I told the staff about the paint scrap at the door and the speed camera but what I got in return was that if there was anything, they would email me. Took the train back to the city.
Brought baby K to walk the city one last time before meeting up with wife for some last minute shopping for chocolates at Teuscher. 5mins before closing time at 8pm, we got into the shop and had to leave by the side doors because the main door shut automatically at 8pm.
Walked to the street behind our hotel where there were rows of restaurants and we chose to eat at one called N-68. Ordered some Rosti and Clubsandwiches. Returned to the hotel to pack for the flight home the next day.
It was an easy day in Bern and we woke up late just so that we could get more rest.
Preparations were usual and morning breakfast was included on the ground floor. The variety was almost similar to the previous day hotel, made me wonder if it was a common thing not to have too much during breakfast.
Our itinerary today was to visit Einstein house and also Einstein museum, to fulfill a little educational bit for the trip. Einstein house was situated 2mins walk from the Zytglogge stop and costed 10CHF for each adult. There was actually just one floor which was his residence while in Bern, the other floor was a history of his life – work and love life. Quite informative.
Our next stop was Einstein museum which was at Helvetiaplaz, just across the bridge. Before we visited the museum, tried feeding baby K at the Bistro Steinhalles but he was interested. Bought the tickets for the museum for 18 CHF per adult. Bags weren’t allowed and had to be stored in the boxes with locks provided.
Here was just one floor dedicated to the man for discovered Theory of Relativity. We saw the same story from the Einstein house being retold here as well. On top of that, there were many other related stuff, such as about Jews, about WWII, about Theory of Relativity. It was much bigger here and would be better if time permitted but that was what we didn’t have. Left after an hour.
Picked up our luggage from the luggage room and milk from the fridge before bidding good bye to the accommodation and drive towards Lucern, our next stop. Instead taking the much shorter route, we tried taking the route that our Contiki tour bus took 10years ago as we wanted to take the photo with the same view we did last time. The only difference was that we were driving in the opposite direction and of course, the other obvious one was presence of baby K. The only problem was we weren’t sure where we took that picture.
The longer route took us to Interlaken, a picturesque town between two lakes. There we had not seen the scenery that we wanted and so I took a detour towards Lauterbrunnen. Halfway through and still we haven’t seen it so we took a Uturn and got back on the highway. As we were about to leave the 2 beautiful lakes, I took another detour to nice little town of Brienz to get some photos of the beautiful lake.
Left disappointed that we didn’t get back the scenery, we hit the road again, climbing up the mountain through the wavy roads. After passing through and going downhill, the view of Lungern came into sight and that was when I knew we found it. Got off the car and reconfirmed it and had our camera trigger-happy moment. Some other tourists offered their help to get our family picture and it was taken pretty close to the one that we had 10years ago. Maybe we would return in another decade to this viewpoint on A8.
Another hour and we arrived in Lucern. Had to negotiate the madness of crowds and cars to locate the Pickwick hotel. It was only when we arrived that we know there wasn’t any private carpark. I had 2 options, park in the public garage and pay the charges or park in the public open carpark and get the 5CHF ticket that would allow me to leave it till the next 11am. I wasn’t confident of getting one but I managed luckily as I was about to head to the garages.
The hotel had a pub on the first floor and the reception was in fact in the pub itself. Had to make a few trips as the staff was pretty busy manning the pub which was getting busy. I was also getting worried as I had parked at the space behind the church which was never meant for parking. Once I got the accommodation settled and the wife and by then, cranky baby up to the room, I left to get to the parking.
Upon returning from the lucky finding of available parking at the public lot 2mins walk from the hotel, I found baby K to be in foul mood. Without waiting too much longer, I brought him out for a walk along the Lucern lake, where our room was facing and he immediately became better.
The clear weather and the setting sun provided the most beautiful of setting for the area. Walked around to snap a few photos, and enjoying the company of my baby.
After exploring the streets behind the hotel, where many Chinese tourists were seen, I knew it was to be the street of shops specializing in Swiss luxury watches. The rest of the other shops other than the restaurants were closed, exactly at 7pm.
Went back to the room, enjoyed a little bit of the balcony view of the Lucern lake and bridge before heading out with the wife to walk as she hadn’t gone out with us. Baby K fell asleep in the Ergobaby and we finally enjoyed the stroll without the stress of dealing with baby K crankiness.
After the stroll around including to the Zytglogge of Lucern, we went to the hotel pub for dinner, saving us some costs. Baby K was attracting some attention from both the staff and the customers for being the youngest and most adorable person in the pub. The staff also didn’t miss the opportunity of carrying our baby, giving me some time to munch on my fries. Dinner was finished eventually and back to the hotel room, baby activities started. Already getting used to this.
Tomorrow would be the final day of activity in Switzerland before we head back to hot Singapore. Enjoying it while it last.
I woke up as the alarm sounded at 7 but went back to sleep when the other 2 didn’t wake. Everyone was feeling the tiredness so we allowed ourselves more sleep.
Finally awaken about an hour later, prepared and went for breakfast. The breakfast variety was about the same as the previous one, nothing much. There wasn’t much guests eating either, supposed it was due to the renovation.
Before leaving the hotel, I feedback to the hotel staff (whom might be the owner) about not getting the room with the Matterhorn view although we paid for it and she returned to say that because there were 3 of us, and that the Swiss law dictated a larger room for that many people, and triple rooms had no Matterhorn view. Unfortunately, during booking we didn’t fill in the extra baby and I couldn’t argue further, lesson well learnt.
Going back was the same way as we came, via the shuttle train. By the time we reached Tasch, it was already 11am. Paid 15.50 CHF for 1 day parking and drove to Gruyere.
I took slightly more than 2 hours to get there. It was a difficult journey as baby K was extremely cranky and crying a lot. Wife was also tired and frustrated. By the time we arrived at the carpark, it was pure relief.
The little village was supposedly medieval and it still had that look. We went over to Le Chalet du Gruyères to have lunch. I ordered the cheese fondue as Gruyères was famous for its cheese. It was indeed really delicious, much better than the one we had in Geneva.
After lunch, we went to the Chateau de Gruyere and paid 10CHF each to enter. This was a much smaller one than the one at Montreux so we finished exploring much faster. It had better looking rooms though. There was audio guide available and it would probably be more interesting with the history information told thru the audio guide but we didn’t had time.
It was another hour to Bern and it was a pretty easy drive. Entering the city was faster than the previous cities I had been to and arriving at Marthahaus, which was In a much smaller street, there weren’t any traffic to be aware of. Furthermore, having reserved a parking slot (10CHF) just across the street, luggage was easy to handle.
This hotel offered very simple room so I supposed what you pay was what you get. Nothing much to complain nor anything to brag about too.
After resting for a while, we went to Viktoriaplatz to take the tram no. 9 to Zytglogge, where there was a huge clock and the old town to explore.
It was just 2 stops away and 5mins journey. Once off, we could see the clock a few meters away. Continued to move east and we could see the Munster Cathedral. Same same but different, the intricate cravings on top of the doorway was really attractive.
Walked in the opposite direction, we could see the Parliament building. Although a tour was available though at earlier timings. The area behind the main building had a panorama of the other side of the city.
Early dinner was our next objective since all the shops had closed at 7pm. We had nothing else to do but to head to Luce, a pretty popular dinning option on Tripadvisor.
This Italian cuisine restaurant was crowded by the time we arrived. I ordered some chicken and wife got some better tasting pasta.
We didn’t take too long to finish the meal as it was nearing the dreadful 8pm where baby K will get very cranky as he wanted to sleep.
Baby activities and bathing was a challenge as the shower was much smaller than the one in Montreux. Thereafter, baby slept and it was bottle cleaning time and unpacking of haversack from the Zermatt trip. Lights off after.
Woke up as early as the alarm sounded and got ready for the day ahead. It was to be some travelling and therefore we needed the extra time. First stop today was to catch up on the Chateau de Chillon that we missed the day before.
Went to move my car as the time was almost up, and fortunately there weren’t many cars this time so I shifted the car park to the one right opposite of the B&B. Loading the luggage was then much easier.
Had the not much variety breakfast in the B&B and proceeded to check out. Drove about 5 mins and we were back at the chateau, this time not as many cars at the car park. Parked my car easily and we proceeded to the chateau. It costed 12.50CHF per adult and with the audio guide, it was more expensive. We didn’t take the audio guide as we were short of time.
The chateau was really an old castle, very different from those that we saw in the Loire Valley, big and beautifully decorated. It was still interesting to walk around. What was unpleasant during the visit was the presence of children who were making a ruckus and we were concerned that it would wake our sleeping baby. Luckily he slept through.
Without walking the full circuit of the chateau as recommended by the brochure, we drove to Zermatt train terminal in Tasch. There was a huge parking area for many cars and parking was pretty straightforward. Went over to purchase the return tickets to Zermatt and bought some hot pastries that we brought up the shuttle train of 10mins ride.
Zermatt was also full of people. We got to the information board where there was a map that showed the location of our hotel. It was about a 5 mins walk to Admiral hotel.
Upon checking in, we were quite disappointed to have received a room without the Matterhorn view although we thought we had paid for it. There were ongoing renovation works on the top 2 floors and as the reception tried to offer the available ones, those were too low and the view was blocked by their own pine trees.
We prepared the cold wear and went to the Gornergrat train station to purchase tickets up. However we we dissuaded as the staff advised that it was not good for babies below 1years old to go above 2000m and so she recommended that we go to Riffelalp instead, at about 2200m. We took the return for 80CHF for 2 and boarded the train.
The ride up was easy and baby K fell asleep. He didn’t looked uncomfortable anyway so that was ok. The ride up was about 10mins and we got off to walkabout. The stop was actually more meant for customer staying at the luxurious Riffelalp resorts but we could walk around as would any other hikers.
We were able to see Matterhorn at a closer view but the clouds were covering its peak. Stayed long enough and went back to Zermatt instead.
As we walked back to our hotel, the peak started to clear up and so presented a photo opportunity.
Satisfied with the photos, we went to walk around the town of Zermatt and along the shopping street which was just infront of the train station. There were just lots of shops selling souvenirs, watches and clothing. We didn’t walk through everything and instead went for dinner at the Timeout Sports bar and grill. Had a burger and some curry, which was actually tasty, before returning to the room.
It was an early return and a welcome one since we really didn’t have much time to rest since the start of the journey. With all the shops closed as 7pm, there wasn’t really much that we could do then to return to the room, do baby stuff and then take a nice short break from the holidaying. More to come tomorrow when we go north towards Bern.
Today the alarm went off at 7am but we didn’t wake until almost 9am. Got ready quickly, didn’t have breakfast and we were off onto the road. Ate the biscuits that we bought the day before and arrived at Lausanne. Wanted to visit the cathedral but was afraid of the lack of carpark so I parked at the nearest mall carpark and trekked up the slope. In 15mins, we arrived at the top, La Cathedrale de Lausanne. It was a fairly small one compared to those we saw in France and we didn’t spend much time there before returning to the car. The town was pretty quiet since it was a Sunday and almost nothing was opened. Driving was substantially easier.
Next location was the Olympic museum not to far away. While nearing the lake, we saw much more people and it seemed like there were some event going on by the lake. The available carpark for the museum was the roadside ones and it was quite full until the end of the road. Had to slot in between two cars in the parallel parking, thankfully for the reverse cameras and the front sensors, the parking was done ok. Strolled along the lake bank to admire the beauty of the lake view and mountains before arriving at the museum.
We bought the tickets using the auto ticketing machine, like those of the trains. The entrance was on the 3rd floor and the exhibitions took 3 floors in all, with the history in the 3rd one and other interesting stuff such as the games, the gears and the medals. We spent nearly an hour plus just browsing mostly but it would surely take longer if we read into more details.
Figured we couldn’t have lunch at the TOM cafe with the awesome view, window shopped at the TOM shop before leaving for the Chateau de Chillon.
Took the highway and arrived at a service station with a Burger King that had an awesome view. Had some light lunch of Paninis and proceeded onwards to Montreux.
The beautiful little town was full of people, locals and tourists visit for apparent reasons. The carpark was full as usual so we changed course to check in instead, at the La Rouvenaz hotel.
This posed another challenge as the available carpark was a mall quite far away (for one with 2 huge luggage and a inflatable bathtub to carry up 3 flights of steps). So we just brought along the daily use bags first for check in.
The B&B was very modernly designed and had a big room. The toilet was very small though. I didn’t really liked the toilet design though it had translucent glass walls and movement sensor lights activation that gave it a modern feel and some Eco friendliness. But any movement caused the lights to be switched on and off and that would wake up a baby.
We had 2 options, the Chanteau or the lookout, and figuring the lookout could take too much time and impact the next day schedule, we chose to go to the lookout.
It was an hour train ride from the station in Montreux and not the usual SBB train but a train by Goldenpass. Getting from the hotel to the train station was fairly easy, just a 10mins walk and a lift up the to the fourth level from the walking street. The B&B gave us day passes and with that, we were able to purchase the Goldenpass tickets for 50% off, which came up to about 25CHF per person, quite a good deal.
The journey was filled with wows as the train climbed from the street elevation all the way to 2000m to the final station of Rochers de Naye. Some stops along the way were longer than usual and those presented a photo opportunity.
At the end of the journey, we reached a station surrounded by peaks and nature. It was simply wonderful to be on top of the world but a little chilly as well. Took some time to walk around and explore the area, such as visiting the disappointing Alphine botanical gardens before retreating to the warm cafe before the baby got too cold.
I continued to move around and was able to see some cute Marmotes that seemed to be bred in a private area. Also, while I moved further to where the cross was, I could see the lake, the town and a beautiful panorama.
Spent so much time out there till the last train at 645pm arrived, which we could not missed else we would need to stay behind. Got myself some hot coffee before boarding the train with my family.
Back at the hotel, I drove the car closer to the hotel, dropped all the luggage before parking it on the road side. As it was after 9pm, it was free till 7am the next day. The reception advised that I should parked further down as it had more hours available for parking instead of the 1hour max in front of the hotel.
It was the same night routine. Baby K got really cranky and was having trouble falling asleep, from the auto light and the sounds coming from the sink while I was doing the washing of the bottles. I went to get some McDs that thankfully stayed opened till 12MN while the rest of the restaurants closed.
The port was pretty in the sunset and even at night where hotel lights illuminated the area. I had to move my car further down to the 2 hours slot and pay at the pay station so that I do not need to move my car before 9 am. Then it was repacking for the Zermatt trip into a haversack as we didn’t want to bring the 2 huge luggage up.
Supposed to wake up earlier but overslept. The tiredness had kicked in and each day it became worse. This was expected especially for long trips, people do get tired from traveling. However, it was much faster for us, as bringing a baby together for the trip was a different ball game altogether.
I went out on the street in the early morning to get a photoshot of the popular photo on the Thiou stream because the sun was not in our favour the previous day. It was really chilly in the morning but many were up and about exercising or moving from place to place. Taking a different route to the same place, I got to shoot some places that I didn’t see previously. Arriving at that spot, I saw a huge truck parked on the bridge casting a shadow over the spot. It wasn’t too bad so I shot and went back.
My other duty was to buy breakfast and so I went into a Boulangeries Chevallier that had all the beautiful pastries decked out in the shelf. Chose 2 and paid through their auto pay machine. Interesting one.
Went back to the hotel and called the previous hotels to find out if anyone found my laptop but no one found any. We all then left to visit the biscuit shop to buy more biscuits. After that, we checked out and were on our way to Geneva, Switzerland.
Driving took a short 45mins and similarly as when we left Switzerland to France, there was a immigrations post. There were random checks on some cars and fortunately, we were chosen so we were on our way to Geneva center.
Driving in Geneva was really a bad experience. Similar to Zurich, roads were everywhere, different modes of transport share the road and it was sometimes confusing. The traffic lights were most of the time against me and when it did turn green, it allowed very few cars (like 2 cars?) to go through before turning red again. Cars lined the parking slots on the roads, making the road for travelling really tight in the middle. Twice I hit my side mirrors.
Arriving at the Kipling Hotel, I drove into the garage after bringing down all the luggage as it was advised that there weren’t any lifts from the garage. Maneuvering into the garage was challenging as it was really narrow and as i reversed into one of the parking slot, my worst nightmare happened, I scratched the sides of the door against a yellow pole, resulting in a yellow paint gash on both the door handle and the door.
I was adamant not to drive around in Geneva. At the reception, we were given not only our card keys, but also a day pass for all modes of public transport. That was what we would be using for moving around.
After bringing all the stuff back into our room, our first stop was to go to the old town, by bus number 8 towards Rive and alighting at the Metropole. The bus was similar to the bendy buses that Singapore used to have.
Dropping off, we walked towards the lake where there was a jet fountain that shot up water really high. People could get closer to it but we didn’t do that and preferred to admire from a distance.
The old town was just minutes away and it was similar to the other old towns. Walking around the streets admiring the old architecture blended with modern sales of services was interesting. Walked to the garden where there was a long wall of statues, known as the Reformation Wall. There must have been some form of history but we hadn’t read it yet. During that time, there were many stalls and concert stage tentages at in the garden, likely a music event happening over the weekend.
Went back to return bus stop and boarded the bus number 8 this time towards Appia, the stop where we could visit the Palais des Nations. This was the place where UN delegates met for discussions and even peace negotiations.
We took took the tour at 330pm in English. We were late in joining our tour and one of the staff spoke to us in Mandarin in order to help us. We were taken aback as he was quite fluent in it but it was surely amusing. It seemed that the tours were actually quite frequent, as frequent as every half an hour. It was quite an informative tour that brought us to a few halls where the delegates sit for discussions and negotiations. Bought some souvenirs at the store at the end of the tour before heading back to the hotel, taking the tram number 15 instead, which was closer to our hotel.
Back at the hotel, it was baby stuff before leaving for dinner. Wanted to visit the Patek Phillipe museum but it was almost closed by the time we arrived at the hotel.
Went to dinner at the end of the street that was part of the Manotel branches, at Hotel Edelweiss. The Restaurant Edelweiss was serving Swiss cuisine with some live Swiss traditional music being played. It was definitely a cosy atmosphere.
We ordered cheese fondue even though I wasn’t really fond of fondue. The one we ordered was a special one where the cheese was being boiled in a bread pot and we just eat away at the pot. The cheese was in fact quite nice, not the smelly cheese that we thought it was. The entertainment was also interesting where they were cows bells and blowing big horns. The restaurant was quite popular with big groups and therefore reservation was preferred. With that 15% discount that we were given for staying at the sister hotel, it was actually not too bad.
Night time activities had always been dominated by baby care and it was no different. Fell asleep after that.
The last day of the France leg. It meant that half of our holiday was almost done. The tiredness of the trip was starting to take a toll and today we woke up late.
It was supposed to be an easy day, planned some places to visit but not at all important. In the end, we decided to visit Galeries Lafayette after asking for late check out which was granted to 2pm. The reception advised us to take the tram, T1 line towards IUT which would take us to commercial center at Part Dieu and there was a GL there. The tickets could be purchased easily from the automatic machines and it was 1.8euros for a trip within 1hr of validation, which was done on the tram by inserting the tickets into the validation machine.
This mall was considerably huge and using the free wifi and downloaded the app, we sought out the places we want to visit while having lunch at their fast food joint called Quick burger. The burgers was actually tasting better than the other fast food joints. The restroom was a challenge to visit as it was passcode protected to restrict usage to its customers only.
We visited the H&M store and purchased some baby clothing and then Loccitane which was much cheaper than Singapore. After that, went to GL but was disappointed to find out that the store there did not carry Chanel. Understanding from the staff, only the one in Paris did so.
Continue to shop in the pharmacy and Carrefour where we bought Sophie the giraffe for just 10euros. Left at about 115pm.
It was a rush to pack and check out but we managed. Almost had a hard time getting out of Lyon with a slight traffic jam due to so many traffic lights and confusing roads.
The trip to Annecy was fairly easy with a time of about 1.75hrs. Stopped by the service station where there were many restaurants but all were closed as it was almost 3pm. Continued our journey but baby K was fairly cranky today.
The French Alps started to peek out against the horizon when we started to arrive towards Annecy. This was a small beautiful town and we parked at the basement parking of Novotel. It was quite difficult to park as the car was too big and I couldn’t do it parking face front. Check in was done smoothly with an incredibly friendly staff attending to us.
The room was similar standards, as with the Mercures. We stayed for a while before walking towards the old town, going thru Carnot street.
The place was quite crowded with quite a number of tourists visiting the area. We stopped by a biscuit shop “La Cure Gourmande” where they sold some really delicious biscuits made from various fruity flavours, Bought some to try before deciding on which to buy.
Proceeded to walk towards the old town where it was more known to be the little Venice of France. The place was really pretty with the rustic look and the waterways with ducks swimming on it running through the town, along the sidewalks lined with blooming flowers. The backdrop of the mountain completed the this lovely picture that we would normally get to see only in drawings. Downside was there were many people around, i was kinda surprised that many knew about this place.
We actually wanted to visit the restaurant Little Italy for dinner, but on seeing a Aux Creperie Bretonnes La Bolee, we changed our mind and had dinner there instead. Ordered a pancake and a fruity crepe and it was delicious. Left filled and satisfied. Before continuing to walk around, we got ourselves some tasty ice cream from Glacier Des Alpes, where the staff was generous enough to give us another scoop for free!
Walked to the lake and it was a little chilly. Again a beautiful sight with the setting sun. Baby K wasn’t cooperating with a family selfie but it was ok.
That was the end of Annecy walk about and 20 mins walk back to the hotel. Rest of the night was the usual, like giving baby K a warm bath after the chilly walk. Again an activity packed day as we would soon leave for Switzerland.
Woke before 5 am local time together with the baby. Had to entertain him while my wife continued to sleep.
Jetlag was hitting me hard as i stayed awake through 6am local time. We got out of the room by 7am to a nearby brekkie place just 5 mins walk away from our hotel. Ordered pancake and rosti and sat on the inside, shielded from the morning chill at Babu’s coffeehouse. The food tastes pretty good but it was a tad expensive, everything costing almost 50CHF.
Went back to the hotel and the packing began. It was not until 930 did I started my 2.5km walk to Sixt, from Google maps did not look too far but it was. The bad luck had started when I found that I have forgotten to bring along my license, my credit card and my passport and had to take the train back. From here I learnt to buy tickets from the auto machine (short distance stops tickets) and which train to take, reading from the broadcasting screen which was the earliest to leave and the train number with its corresponding track number. 4mins later, I was back at Zurich HBF and I walked quickly to the room and explained the situation to my wife before leaving with all that was required. Took another train to the Hardbrucke station and walked back to the Sixt office.
I was given a free upgrade to the BMW X1 and after struggling to start the car (not knowing that I need to insert the remote into the slot for the push start to work). When I have parked the car at the ground floor for the staff to help me change the in car GPS language to English, I was informed that there wasn’t this option. So I asked the staff and she gave me another choice, the Peugeot 508. Also I had to remind them that I need a baby seat. So went up to the 8th floor again, got into the car and this time, had an issue with finding the hand/foot brakes which wasn’t physically available. It was only a while later did I noticed the “P” at the left hand side below the aircon vent.
After arriving at the ground floor, the baby seat was already out but it looked really old and quite uncomfortable. I was also informed to install it myself using the instructions at the side of the seat.
When I’m finally ready to go, I had problem finding the hotel on the navigation system. I only found one that sounded like the hotel and shown to be on the same location that I choose it. Moving out, even the first turn i had trouble because some of the roads that pedestrians walk were in fact roads that cars could travel.
Reaching Zurich city and driving around was a total nightmare. People and bicycles all around, road works with traffic controllers around, it was chaotic. As I managed to reach the hotel, I couldn’t find a lot and was afraid to park at the road side. As a result I went around again but it was not an easy one due to the chaos. When I finally arrived after going through many detours, I tried to drive towards the car park at the opposite side of the road but the barrier wouldn’t budge. So I reversed and simply parked near the entrance of the hotel, no longer giving much of a damn. Thereafter it was moving luggage and checking out, all taking effort and time.
Punched in the location onto my garmin, I tried to navigate to the next destination, Basel, only to find that because of the distance, a wrong turn would take much time to recalculate. What’s worse, I had accidentally set up the GPS to not take toll roads, essentially the highway. It was only that I forced myself onto the highway that I realized that.
From then it was easy drive till I arrived at Basel. We were supposed to go to Basle Munster cathedral. The GPS did that but it was another nightmare altogether. I entered a zone that was practically no cars around, only people and trams. I wasn’t sure if it was not allowed but I had no other choice since I already entered. Sometimes I even drove on the the tracks that the trams took. It was really stressful and embarrassing to do that. In the end, we changed the location to the zoo.
The carpark of the zoo was a very discrete turn in, crossing the tram’s track. I missed a turn and similarly had trouble detouring and going back to the same route, with all the trams and out of place roads. After turning in the small road to the carpark, I went around the one way street carpark and it was full. Went out and further down another one which was also full but there was a car that was about to move out, just that the owner was still loading the vehicle. There was car coming out behind and I was obstructing so I had to drive out of the carpark and back again. His spot was taken because another car also just came in. Talk about luck. Went back to wait on the same car which was just about finish, eventually I managed to park there.
The tickets cost 18CHF each and we had to use the single nursing bed to change baby K diaper. Thereafter we proceeded to the aquarium to its side. The Basel zoo to say the least was normal. There wasn’t much more unexpected to see compared to the other zoos that we had gone before. What striked me the most was to see wolf, snow leopard, lamas, bisons and silverback gorillas. Also there were volunteers walking the animals on the main walking street.
We had lunch at the only restaurant available but the cooked food was sold out, as it was late afternoon. Bought a slice of pie and a slice of cheesecake and a 12ft bread, 2 drinks which all costed 22CHF but it was sure filling.
Left the restaurant filled and completed the rest of the exhibitions. As there was difficulty in finding parking in the city, we decided to leave the car at the car park (coupon hasn’t ended yet) and took the tram into the city. There were only 2 trams (number 10 and 17) both of which could reach the Theatre stop which one of the waiting passengers advised us to go to, so we bought the tickets and jumped on. After we reached and asked a passerby that we knew there was actually another stop that was closer but was still walkable anyways. We continued on foot which brought us to Marktplatz which had a beautiful red building. Upon entering we found that it was actually the Town Hall, not the attraction that we were looking for. This place had a square in front of it with tentages of stores and crowded with people. We continued on until we almost reached the bridge where we took a right turn into Rheinsprung. From this route up, the scenery of Basel town was slowly unveiling. 10mins climb which was pretty manageable even with a baby, who fell asleep sitting on his hip seat, we arrived at Basle Munster cathedral, red exterior massive cathedral similar to others that we had seen. Didn’t visit the interior as there was a service going on, we went to the back of the cathedral where there was a bird’s eye view of the Basel River and the bridges.
Walked back to Marktplatz where we waited for tram 17 that brought us 4 stops back to the zoo, cutting down on a lot of walking. Got back to the car and started a host of activities such as feeding the baby, changing the nappies, express milk, washing up accessories, cleaning up pumps and sterilising.
We hit the road after that, getting onto the highway and crossing the borders after going through a non functional border station, since Eurozone is borderless. Rest of the journey was smooth, with speeds varying from 110km-130km/hr. Took a restroom break at the service station enroute and before long, we arrived in Strasbourg.
Entering the city felt less complicated than Swiss ones and we made it to the Novotel basement parking with no drama. Checked in was easy and soon baby K was stretching himself on the doubles in the room. Bathed him and he fell asleep soon after, which changed our plans. Settled for McD as the easiest takeaways and that I was too lazy to search for anything else. The shopping mall beside was closed.
The night was spent cleaning up even though sun set only occurred at after 9pm. It was a long day but the excitement of travel drove our tired bodies for more.
The plane landed earlier than planned. There was just so many items that we brought out during the flight that we had to wait till quite a few passengers to get off first before we brought down our own bags to pack.
It was quite a distance to the train that brought us to the immigrations and baggage claim area. The queue was quite short at immigrations and we got through it rather quickly. There was a forex counter at the baggage claim area and SGD was on the board but the rates were funny. Didn’t thought too much since we have exchanged it in Singapore.
The trains were at another building, tickets could be purchased over the counter or at the ticketing machine, which we did with the help one of the staff. He informed that all trains go to Zurich HBF (main train station) at lanes 3 & 4 and so we boarded the S2 train which came earlier but left later.
10mins later, we arrived at the Zurich HBF, and thankfully with the free wifi by the Swiss trains, we navigated to our hotel, Zurich City Hotel. The room wasn’t ready as earlier advised and thus we went to the lounge on the second floor to rest. It wasn’t long before they provided a room with some expedition by the cleaning stuff – great service.
Squeezing into the tiny lift, we brought the 2 heavy luggage to the rooms, unpacked, did what we need to do before getting onto the streets. Blazing sun in the summer time turned up the temperature but baby K didn’t had a problem snoozing in the Ergobaby as we walked the old town of Zurich except that I had to constantly shield his eyes.
The old town was easy access from our hotel, just a couple of minutes walk to the shopping street of Bahnhofstrasse and a short climb up Lindenhof hill where we get to see the panaroma view of the town across the river. Thereafter going southwards to see the churches with the huge clock face on the clock towers of the church St. Peter and Fraumünster Church. The later had nice stained glass within the church but photography wasn’t permitted.
Crossing the Münsterbrücke bridge, we find ourselves at the Grossmünster cathedral with the twin towers that could be seen towering above the buildings in the old town. Within were stained glasses too with the welcome coolness from the afternoon heat.
Walking towards the lake, we stopped by for lunch at one of the Lebanese cuisine at Le Cèdre Bellevue, thinking that it was more affordable. Had some chicken wings and Falafel, a beer and a strawberry juice and it ended up almost 50CHF.
The falafel was good though.
We walked towards the lake to have a closer view but wasn’t particularly nice then we head back to the hotel, about another 30minutes walk. It was a short but tiring walk around the city, made worse by the sweltering heat.
Back in the room, we were busy with the washing up of the bottles and the baby and when jet lag hit, we fell asleep till 10pm, when the sun just set not too long ago. I went to the nearby COOP to get some sandwich and cold pasta for dinner, walking through the brightly lighted streets in much cooler weather. There were a few pubs along the way and expensive and loud cars can be seen zooming past, so similar to our Singapore streets.
Baby K slept early too, probably having the same jetlag effect and I dozed off again after dinner.