By Grace Halverson
Hey, y’all! My name is Grace and I was one of Caroline’s travel buddies during our semester studying in London. (If you’re familiar with her other posts, you may have seen me in Edinburgh and Spain. If not, go check it out!) While we did a lot of adventuring together, both in the fab city of London and beyond, one trip I did solo was visiting my cousins in Switzerland. Because how often do you have the chance to do that? Exactly.
They lived in Vevey, a cute little town right on Lake Geneva, maybe an hour or so by train from Geneva. Geneva itself was pretty easy to get to—flew right in on an ungodly early flight from Heathrow where I learned that the very back of the back row of the plane doesn’t have windows—and my cousin and her kids met me at the airport.
From there, we hopped on the train and made our way to their flat. While my trip to Switzerland was a little odd in the sense that everything we did was kid-friendly and stroller-accessible (as it needs to be when you’ve got a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old), it was still a blast. Here are some of the highlights.
1. The Boat.
My cousins’ flat overlooked the lake. Absolutely beautiful. Because of this, every day, multiple times a day, they saw these huge, white steamboats with massive paddles chug by on the water. And the 3-year-old was obsessed—she’d been asking to go on the boat for days. So we did.
La Suisse – not sure if this is the specific boat we took, but it’s part of the Belle Epoque fleet
Just a quick, hour-long adventure from Vevey to the Chillon Castle, just past Montreux and back. There were longer options, including some that went across the lake to France, but I’m glad we picked the shorter one. Once we were on the boat, the 3-year-old wanted nothing more than to get off.
Me and my cousin’s kid, enjoying the view. We don’t look related at all.
I had a great time, though. The breeze in my hair, the sun on my face, that cold and clean lake smell, a stunning view of the cute villages on shore, and warm Nutella crepes made for an hour well spent.
2. The Morges Tulip Festival
A few towns over from Vevey is Morges. Each spring, they have a tulip festival in the Parc de l'Indépendance. Tens of thousands of people go each year, so we packed up the kids and went over. Tulips of every shape, size, color, and variety planted in rows, patterns, and pictures filled the park. I took hundreds of pictures as I wandered through, enjoying the flowers with the lake and mountains behind them.
Some of my favorite pictures of the festival — I’m not tall, so getting shots of the full designs was a little difficult! Ha!
Plus, Morges is adorable.
Morges before the rainstorm that blew in while we were at the festival
Hiking through the mountains was the one thing I told my cousins I Absolutely Could Not Leave Switzerland Without Doing, and they completely agreed. Of course, we couldn’t do real hiking, not with the kids. So we packed up the strollers and took the train out to Cully. We had to get a little creative navigating the train station there with two strollers, but we made it work, and then we were off.
I actually looked tan after all this hiking. I know, crazy, right?
Our hike ended up being more of an aggressive, but beautiful, uphill walk. We stuck to a paved and windy road up through the mountains. Even so, pushing that stroller up the steep hill was possibly the best work out of my life. (I could feel it in my shoulders and thighs for days after.) Everything looked picturesque—the lake, mountains, vineyards, and postcard perfect villages, all on the clearest and bluest day. We felt like we could see forever.
I perfected how to say ‘bonjour’ with a French accent on this trip—well enough to convince the people we passed while hiking that I could say more than ‘bonjour’ in French.
One night, my cousin and I left the kids with her husband and hit the town. We strolled by the lake and found some of its more well-known statues. In town, there’s a food museum called the Alimentarium, which we would have gone to if my visit had been longer. From the water, you can find it easily because there’s a giant statue of a fork right outside.
You know I had to do it
We also found the statues of nymphs on seahorses, but we forgot to look for the one of Charlie Chaplin, though he’s there somewhere.
Edouard-Marcel Sandoz sculpted three of these statues. Two are in the lake and the third is in a fountain in town.
Our walk also included boats and parks and cute streets and Swiss chocolate and a happy hour featuring cheese. 10/10 would recommend.
I think I stopped to take a photo every time we came across some boats.
5. The Train
Last but not least, the train was an unexpected highlight of my trip. We took it everywhere, and it was accessible, convenient, fast, a great way to see the countryside from a different view, and also bright red. I even bought a Christmas ornament of it.
So there you have it! My trip to Switzerland. It was one of my favorites for sure, even if I did get horribly lost in Geneva on my way back to the airport. If you ever find yourself around Lake Geneva, check out Vevey for sure!
Me and Jacks, my new best friend