Destination Reveal

Europe 019

Introduction, Part II

Welcome back! Before I proceed, if you haven’t read the first part of this introduction, click here to do so now.

If you weren’t able to read Part 1 and require a recap, Faith and I are traveling to Europe this May for a late honeymoon.

The Big Reveal

Now that we have all the formalities out of the way, I suppose it’s time to reveal our destination–er, rather–destinations.

On May 11, 2019, we will fly out of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) and land in………Toronto. “But wait”, you say, “I thought you said you were going to six countries. You do realize that only one country borders Canada, and that’s the US?”

Patience, patience. I’m not done with the story yet… After a hearty four-hour layover in Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), we’ll board yet another flight, this time overnight, and wake up as we land in………Zürich, Switzerland!

Destinations

Okay, sorry for all the drama; I promise I’ll stop now. Now I must reveal the answers to my clues; but first, the official list (with official names in official languages) of the countries we’ll be visiting, sort-of in order:

  • Swiss Confederation (Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft/Confédération Suisse/Confederazione Svizzera/Confederaziun Svizra)
  • Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana)
  • French Republic (République Française)
  • Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland)
  • Principality of Liechtenstein (Fürstentum Liechtenstein)
  • Republic of Austria (Republik Österreich)

Bonus points to anyone who can name the four official languages of Switzerland without having to look it up.

Clues Revealed

Three places I will be revisiting are: Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France; Martigny, Switzerland; and Valle d’Aosta, Italy.

The other facts revealed:

  • Liechtenstein, obviously, is one of the ten smallest countries in the world – coming in at #6. Liechtenstein is only 160 km² (about 61 mi²), has the world’s lowest unemployment rate (1.5%), and has the highest GDP per capita (USD$141,165.08 as of 2010, which is 1,118% above the world average).
  • Bears and beets are quite prominent in Switzerland, (as well as in a popular TV show).
  • Switzerland has four official languages, which explains the aforementioned commonalities.
  • The languages we’ll likely run into are German (both Swiss German and Standard German), Italian, French, Romansh, and Franco-Provençal.
  • The cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics are Chamonix, France (1924) and St. Moritz, Switzerland (1928 & 1948). Lausanne, Switzerland will host in 2020. Since writing my original post, I’ve determined we likely won’t make it to St. Moritz.

Destinations

Since everyone is now sufficiently enlightened, I’ll give you a rundown of our plans:

  • From Zürich, we’ll drive south to Luzern and the Berner Oberland region of Switzerland [2 nights], and then cross the border into Italy’s Valle d’Aosta [1 night] via the St. Bernard Pass.
  • From there, we’ll travel through the Mont Blanc Tunnel into France.
  • From Chamonix Mont-Blanc [2 nights], we’ll circle back by Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) towards Bern [1 night].
  • We’ll spend our final days in Kloten [3 nights], a northern suburb of Zürich. 
  • With Zürich as our base, we’ll travel east to Liechtenstein/Austria and north to  Germany.
[Images linked to sources]
Luzern, Switzerland
Luzern, Switzerland
Eiger - Grindelwald, Switzerland
Eiger - Grindelwald, Switzerland
Lauterbrunnen, Berner Oberland, Switzerland
Lauterbrunnen, Berner Oberland, Switzerland
Valle d'Aosta, Italy
Valle d'Aosta, Italy
Bern, Switzerland
Bern, Switzerland
Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Lake Kontanz, Germany
Lake Kontanz, Germany
Feldkirch, Austria
Feldkirch, Austria

Omissions

Faith and I are both ecstatic for this trip, but it is worth mentioning the locations we won’t be able to visit on this tour of Switzerland. As I was planning this trip, it really hurt to pass over some of these cities/regions, but there is only so much one can fit into a ten-day excursion.

  • Geneva – We’ll miss attractions such as the Reformation Wall, Olympic Museum, United Nations, International Red Cross headquarters, and more.
  • Lausanne – Lausanne is one of my all-time favorite cities. I heard one author describe it as “a real-life version of Chutes and Ladders“. It has everything: beautiful views, a lake, mountains, shopping, history, chocolate, cheese, technology, and more. We might be able to squeeze in a day trip, but it’s not likely.
  • Titlis – Located in the Uri Alps, Titlis is a mountain home to the world’s first cable car, as well as several glacier caves.
  • Basel – This city on the German/French border of Switzerland is a cultural hub with lots to do, plus easy access to the Rhine and the other two countries.
  • Neuchâtel – Home to Neuchâtel cheese and Neuchâtel Castle, the city is also near La Chaux-de-Fonds, the watchmaking capital of the world.
  • Zermatt – This auto-free village, accessible only by train, is the threshold of the Matterhorn, one of the most famous peaks in the world.
  • Titlis – Located in the Uri Alps, Titlis is a mountain home to the world’s first cable car, as well as several glacier caves.
  • Lugano – The largest city in the Italian-speaking Ticino region of Switzerland, Lugano is home to lake-and-mountain views, and is also considered by many to be the culinary capital of Switzerland, largely due to its Italian influence. Lugano is location right across the Italian border from the famous Lake Como, and is about 80km NNW of Milan.
  • Southeastern Switzerland – We will miss St. Moritz, Andermatt, Arosa, Chun – home to Europe’s highest railway – the Bernina Express,  the Swiss National Park, and most of the Romansh-speaking region.

Sorry for being long-winded, but I included the above section for a couple reasons:

  1. I wanted to have a written record of everything I would like to cover in future trips.
  2. I wanted to give you some idea about how much there is to do and see in Switzerland, or Europe in general.

While I certainly can pack a lot into an itinerary, I often have to make very difficult decisions so we can maximize our time abroad.

New Additions

Since this trip marks a new era for Church Trips, I thought I would do a few things differently, or at least include some things I haven’t in the past. So, new inclusions for this trip include:

  • Maps to show our routes between destinations, and just to show where we are in general. I may post screenshots of these, or simply link to a mapping service like HERE WeGo or Google Maps.
  • Lodging – several of you have asked to see more pictures of where we stay. In the past, I’ve typically only mentioned our accommodation’s name in passing. I usually don’t see a need to share details about domestic hotels, since they’re largely uniform, but international accommodations tend to be a bit more unique, different, and noteworthy.
  • Videos – While I don’t have the desire, time, equipment, or battery life to shoot and edit videos by myself, I’ll include some links to videos that will allow you to further explore and better appreciate the places we visit.
  • Links, in conjunction with the aforementioned videos, to third-party websites that includes information about our destinations, such as culture, traditions, cuisine, travel, history, and more.
  • Suggested additional content you would like to see…comment below [or on any of my posts], and I’ll try my best to include the content you request.

As promised, here are two maps – admittedly missing a few stops because my computer was being finicky:

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One Response

  1. Very exciting, and your thoroughness is remarkable. We look forward to following your journey.. 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♂️😻

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