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Report 281: Daydreaming in Switzerland

By azwaniecki from Washington D.C., Summer 2003

Trip Description: Daydreaming in Switzerland

Destinations: Countries - Switzerland

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Art Trip; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 4: From the G-8 summit to Lausanne

We never intended to go to Switzerland because we had always thought about it as serious, stiff and boringly beautiful. But I was asked to cover the G-8 summit in Evian-les-Bains, France, just across Geneva Lake from Switzerland, and thinking that such an opportunity to see the real picture of the picture-perfect country is unlikely to happen any time soon, we decided to go. So when I was done with filing reports from the summit for a Web-based news service, I took a pleasant, 40-minute long boat ride from Evian to Lausanne.

I joined my wife in Hotel City after fighting a few ATMs, which refused to dispense cash, and dragging my heavy baggage uphill for more than a mile from Flon metro station (one website described the hotel's location as "just few steps" from that station.) The hotel - quite recently renovated - is a showcase of funky European design, combining chrome plates and glass in an awe-inspiring pattern of curvy lines and irregular shapes. But it faces a very busy intersection so we did not have goodnight's sleep that night.

Next day we took train via Zurich to Lugano in Ticino Canton. My wife bought at the Geneva airport Swiss Pass, which allowed unlimited use of trains, buses, public transportation in cities, and most boats for eight days (options with other duration also are available.). The Swiss trains, which we used most often, were fast, clean, air-conditioned and comfortable and, for most of the time, run on schedule. (However, they are not as perfect as the Swiss would like to believe. We had our share of delays and missed connections, and at one point when the train's engine broke down between Bellinzona and Locarno, we witnessed a Swiss passenger losing his cool and yelling at helpless crews. He was frustrated by conductors' efforts to squeeze all train passengers into two small busses.) And almost everywhere we went, we had stunning views to savor from their windows.

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