If you know me personally or if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you no doubt know how much I love traveling.
Do you remember what it felt like to meet a cute boy or develop a new crush as a teenager? The excitement, the nervousness, feeling giddy, like you have so many emotions building up and fighting to get out that you are not sure if you are going to explode in a fit of giggles or start crying from the sheer emotion overload? Thinking that he was absolute perfection, often simply because he was so uniquely him? Wanting to sometimes just stare and take it all in?
That is how I feel when I visit a new place.
The excitement starts mounting up when I book the trip, and keeps on building while I wait for the time of departure to come, while I do research, look at photos, plan possible itineraries, imagine getting lost in little streets and interacting with locals in the most mundane, normally unexciting ways.
Packing for the trip might occasionally get my mind off things for a brief moment, because I am a tad neurotic about packing just right. But by the time I board the plane/train or get in the car, the excitement usually prevents me from taking a nap or focus on a movie or book (with the exception of guide books, of course.)
By the time we actually get there, the excitement has reached stratospheric proportions and I can barely handle it. When our destination finally appears into view I often have to fight back tears, in part from sheer relief that we actually made it there, despite all the organizing and budgeting and suspended flights and such, and part because OMG!! We are there!!
Because of money and time constraints, this year I probably won’t travel a whole lot.
My trip back to New York, the one I have been planning for months? Not going to happen.
I am crossing my fingers that I’ll manage to sneak a weekend in Berlin in the fall and perhaps a few days somewhere pretty during the Easter weekend, but really, it’s all up in the air and aside from my trip home to Sardinia in May, I could easily be stuck in The Great Land of Cheese and Chocolate for the whole year.
Just saying that aloud (or typing it) makes me feel… not unlike a beached whale.
To fight those feelings (frustration, disappointment, beached-whale-ness) I decided to go on Pinterest and take a few virtual trips by looking at some of the gorgeous photos of places I haven’t yet visited or places I have already traveled to and would love to visit again (and again, and again!)
but frankly I was just getting more wistful and my mood showed no improvement.
So I decided to focus on something that’s much easier to accomplish: lovely places within Switzerland, or at least at driving distance from Zurich. Why feel all travel-deprived when I have some gorgeous places fairly close to home?
Here’s the list I came up with:
40 minutes away: Lucerne
Sure, I have been there before, but there’s so much more to see! For starters, I haven’t even peeked at the old town, nor walked along the Rathausquai; I haven’t seen the sleeping lion nor taken a boat trip on the lake. Plus I know Krystal wants to show me some cute boutiques.
1 1/2 hours away: Bern
Aside from arriving at the Bern station a couple of times when I went to visit M. and a walk through the old town when we went to get our Visas before moving to NY, I haven’t seen Bern – I mean properly visited it, the kind of visit that a capital city or any city so rich in culture, history and beautiful architecture actually deserves. Must change that.
Before the year is out, I plan on visiting Bern properly and spending time exploring, photographing and enjoying the best this beautiful city has to offer.
1 hour and 40 minutes: Lindau
My husband suggested a trip to the Bodensee a few times, but frankly, with all the lakes we have in Switzerland I have a hard time keeping them straight. Now, the Bodensee is actually Lake Constance for those of us not of the German-speaking persuasion, part of which is in Switzerland, and part in Germany. Lindau is a lovely island on the German side of the Bodensee – excuse me, of Lake Constance. And based on a few photos I have seen, the place warrants a visit. Or two.
2 1/2 hours away: Lugano
Lugano is in the only Italian-speaking canton in Switzerland, Ticino (or Tessin, if you prefer Deutch). To get there you cross one of the longest tunnels in the world, the Gotthard tunnel, which is roughly 17 kilometers long. While that is no fun if you have even a hint of claustrophobia, you are rewarded on the other side by a taste of Italy, literally: not only because of the language, but the climate is very different, much milder and more often sunny – the picture is complete when you see palm trees, something you don’t spot very often in the German part of Switzerland.
Though we briefly visited Tessin (Locarno) on our way to the Lago di Garda a couple of years ago, I haven’t been to Lugano since I was pregnant with Sarah. Which is, like, forever ago.
We passed by Como on our way back from Lake Garda, but it was a very cold day and we wanted to make sure we wouldn’t get home too late, so we only spent a few hours there. However I really loved Como, and I have been meaning to go back since. And I promise it’s not because of the nearby designer outlet – though bonus points if we pass by there and I score something good.
Now, that should keep me busy planning and not make me feel too travel deprived, right?
In fact, I will pitch the idea of an Easter trip to Como to my husband tonight. Wish me luck. Or the patience to persevere until I’ve convinced him.