My first time in Europe was in 2008! I was moving from New York to Singapore via a few weeks in Switzerland. Our office was based in Lausanne. My flight landed in Geneva and I took the train to Lausanne. This was early days of travel so I was kind of a bulky traveler. I had 3 bags (none having wheels) and no sign of baggage carts. No elevator, just stairs. I had to make two trips from the train platform to the main road. It was Sunday. The entire city was shut down; everyone understood the importance of family and living a balanced life. I had the name to my hotel but I did not arrange transport from the train station. I couldn’t see a taxi stand. At this point, I was trying to take inventory of what was in my bags; keep and carry (?!) or donate and be fancy and free (?!) I opted to keep my stuff. I must have been entertaining because two gentlemen were watching me figure out the best way to get my bags to the ground level. During all the commotion, my wallet slipped out of my pocket (including my passport). The gentlemen were watching me. I panicked – racing down the steps to retrace my steps. Did I leave my wallet on the train? Did someone grab it out of my pocket? What time is it in Chicago? Who can I call to wire me some money? What is the hotel I’m meant to stay at? What’s the office address? I’m pretty sure the gentlemen felt my heart sink. One of them tapped me on the shoulder. With a big smile and a hug, he welcomed me to Switzerland and handed me my wallet. Without hesitation, I opened my wallet and offered him all my money. US dollars weren’t exactly appealing as he declined and just reminded me to be careful. I was lucky to have met such honest people. Not all of Europe is as safe as Switzerland. I bought him coffee as a thank you and away I went.
To me, Lausanne was filled with breathtaking lakes, an abundance of espresso cups, kind-hearted people AND endless amounts of time to soak up Mother Nature. I wish I remembered the name of the bakery, but they had the BEST bread! Just around the corner from the office… AMAZING! Oh and COBBLESTONE STREETS!
To me, Zurich was filled with laughter, skilled workers (I was staying with a pastry chef and his best friend owned a hair salon) and the most adorable buildings. The pastry chef was my first pen pal… one of the softest souls I’ve ever met.
To me, Bern was filled with funny stories (child eater), games in the town square with oversized game pieces, a live bear, the first clock tower (?) in Switzerland. The world is not that big because I was able to catch up with a dear friend, we met in Hong Kong and reconnected in his hometown, Bern.
Ah, the Swiss are phenomenal! They are kind-hearted, focused on a balanced life, high integrity whilst knowing when to laugh at themselves (seemed like everyone was joking around). The food was simple, delicious and heavy! I had my first fondu in Lausanne…
#GlobalNomad #Travel #Switzerland #Bern #Lausanne #Geneva #Zurich #Trains #ClockTowers