Despite the financial stability of Switzerland, my bank account by this point in the trip was a little worse for the wear and consequently I did not do many touristic outings or try much local cuisine at the restaurants. The best parts of Switzerland were the continuation of the gorgeous mountains and the chocolate. In fact, other than the terrain, Switzerland was rather disappointing. The hostel we stayed at was probably the least pleasant of all our “homes on the road” (no doubt because Switzerland is very expensive to visit). Our only two corporate visits were to the World Trade Organization in Geneva and Nestle in Vevey. Both visits were interesting in person, but not extremely notable.
Mountains. Practicing my French translation skills with road signs & security guards (one of the official national languages of Switzerland is French… the other three are German, Italian & Romansh). Vevey was absolutely gorgeous, but sadly we were only in the city for a few hours.
One afternoon, we planned to take cable cars up into the Alps for (what were we were assured would be) terrific views of Mont-Blanc, the highest Alpine peak in Europe. Again, we were disappointed due to inclement weather. We wandered around the very charming town of Chamonix, but could barely see the mountains because of non-stop rain and heavy fog. Photos I’ve seen from IBI participants in years since have been absolutely breathtaking & I’m intent on returning to ride the Aiguille du Midi car up into the thin air.
My Swiss experience is the perfect example of how we sometimes need to choose rest & rejuvenation over adventure. As an introvert who needs quite a bit of quiet time to recharge, traveling with 42 of the same people 24/7 for four weeks was a tad overwhelming. It obvious in my journal that a month into the trip, I took far less notes of the cultural experience and far more on my emotional state & who was getting on my nerves. Fortunately, France was our next stop!