Visiting Switzerland

Switzerland is stunning. If you were to hold your hands out and make frame shape with your fingers and look anywhere, you’d have yourself a postcard perfect shot.
No exaggeration.

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We took a short train ride from Rome, Italy to Brig, Switzerland for the new year. This three day trip was spur of the moment and since Anthony rarely gets three days off in a row we jumped at the chance to visit someplace new. These last-minute kinds of trips are my favorite though with no itinerary or schedule to follow. This meant some of the things we saw like the Aletsch Glacier, were a delightful surprise, but some things we ran into, like a 33 dollar burrito stopped us in our tracks!

I wanted to share some of my experiences so if you are planning a trip to Switzerland you will not be as sticker shocked as I was.

Staying in Brig

Brig is a sleepy little village and one of the first large train stops in Switzerland from Italy. It was a great home base for our day trips. A few miles up the road is the Brigerbad Thermal Spa. A pass was 24 Swiss Franks for a 3 hour visit. This, for us, was just enough time to get thoroughly relaxed but not too long that we got bored. Totally worth the visit if you are passing through the area. FYI: this spa does not provide towels and you must either rent one for 5 Swiss Franks at the front desk or bring your own (something we learned after taking a dip in the pool).

I totally recommend staying in Brig if you are in Switzerland for a short time. Between the trip up to see the glacier, visiting the castle in town, and hopping on a bus to see the nearby traditional village known for its saffron, it really is a great home base for day trips.

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Brig’s Castle AKA the Stockalper Palace

A huge cost saver for us was that our hotel had breakfast included. Food is ridiculously expensive in Switzerland. I had no idea how anyone could afford to live here until I read this blog post which gave me a little better idea. While most of our budget went toward eating, having a breakfast included at the hotel and bringing snacks with us on our outings helped a little.

Visiting the Aletsch Glacier

This day trip from Brig is inexpensive and full of amazing views. From Brig, we hopped on the train headed to Morel. This trip was about 20 Swiss Franks a person and included one of the two gondola rides. This was definitely the biggest gondolas I have ever been on, but I wasn’t a bit nervous because the sweeping views were all I could think about.

We spent a little time in the resort area after the gondola ride taking pictures and people watching. From here we took the Gletscherbahn Moosfluh (gazoontite!) gondola to the glacier. This was less than 10 Swiss Franks a person, roundtrip. In total we were a little over 7,000 feet above sea level! As soon as you step off the gondola the glacier is right there. We just sat on the bench and looked at this wonderment hardly able to take it all in. After a little while the fog started to roll in and it began to snow so we stopped into the little cafe next to the lift to warm up. The girl working spoke a little English and told us on clearer days you can see the Matterhorn from where we were!


Switzerland is a beautiful country and the people are so kind. Definitely put it on your bucket list, and I recommend Brig as a great stopping point.

xoxo,

Kate

 

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Vatican Tour

Sorry to be out of the loop guys, apparently moving to a new country (and state!) is exhausting and takes a ton of time and energy! I wish I could update you on the millions of little details I find fascinating about Italy but I need to share this with you instead. Last weekend I had the most amazing opportunity to visit some of the behind the scenes areas of the Vatican. The graduate admissions assistant, Joanne, is married to a Swiss Guard and lives in Vatican City so she gave the graduate students and a few faculty members at AUR a tour. Here are some of the pictures I snapped.

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VaticanTour9.25.15 (10 of 20)VaticanTour9.25.15 (7 of 20) What an awesome experience. Pope Francis was in the US so there was no chance of crossing paths with him as he strolled the vatican gardens, alas. I still feel so lucky to have had this opportunity!

xoxo,

Kate