We’re starting to confuse the names of the places we’re in now, talking about Lisbon but calling it Paris and so on – at least I still know what my name is..! Countries This Week: Portugal, Spain, Switzerland. We started the week by catching up on some rest in Lisbon, Portugal – and it was well needed.
Being able to give yourself a day to work and do “nothing” was perfect. I really loved what I saw in Portugal; the views, the people, the cafes, the pastries, the tiled buildings…I will definitely be back for more, but this time around we had to leave for an overnight train to Barcelona.
Barcelona is a city I have visited many times, and it’s always fun to come back to a place a few years later and see it again with new eyes.
It has so much life and there is so much to do there that you really could stay here for weeks without being bored.
It’s one of those cities that every day shows a new side of itself: chaotic, chic, dodgy, crazy party, beautiful and ugly – it’s sort of everything at the same time, and one can choose how to look at it.
Two days later we left on another long day train to Geneva in Switzerland. The next morning we carried on to Vevey, which was our main stop in Switzerland.
As soon as we arrived, I instantly felt my body relaxing. Unlike many other cities, the train station was tiny and almost empty, the air was fresh and the pace in the town was so slow I almost felt as though everything was happening in slow motion.
The view over the lake and the rising hills and snowy mountains surrounding us was almost too much to take it – we were in true awe over this little place.
There is something special about small Swiss towns. We’ve spent over 6 months (off and on) in Switzerland, and the more places we visit here the more we love the country.
Even the landscape changes drastically when you get close to the Swiss border.
It’s too bad that travelers tend to avoid going here because of the prices, because it really is one of Europe’s absolute most beautiful countries.
I noticed quite early in the Europe Train Challenge how I started living life at a faster pace because we were traveling at a faster pace.
I’m starting to deal with it better, but at times we have been grateful for making sure we updated our current travel insurance for this trip even though we are only traveling in Europe – you never know what could happen to your health.
So International Health Insurance is also something to consider. I realize more now how important it is to give yourself time to just lay down and do nothing and think of nothing.
After two nice days in Vevey, we had gathered some energy to face the next amazing destination – one that I’ve longed to visit for so long … Venice.
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Taking the Glacier Express in Switzerland
What better way to enjoy fantastic views of the Swiss Alps than by taking the Glacier Express?
This colorful train takes you through several small villages, across more than 200 bridges, through peaceful valleys and mountainous terrain on the way from Southern Switzerland through the Swiss Alps to the world famous resort, St. Moritz.
Described by The New York Times as “A slow ride, with reason” this is one trip you need to add to your travel bucket list.
Imagine this – vast sweeping snow fields, breathtaking views and spectacular white-capped mountains.
Board the Glacier Express in one of several villages- Zermatt, Visp, Brig or another village along the way.
You can enjoy the journey and return the same way later in the day, or, as many passengers do, spend the night in St. Moritz on Mount Matterhorn.
St. Mortiz, a lovely world renown resort, offers comfortable lodgings with panoramic views of the mountains just outside your window.
Be sure to book reservations for your train ride and reserve lunch for you and your family.
You can reserve a 3-course lunch or a luncheon special that is served by Glacier Express’s experienced waiters.
They serve their guests with a special “ritual pour” that is incredibly fun and enjoyed by all. Snacks and beverages are special amenities included in the price of your ticket too.
With tall windows on either side of the train, enjoy photographing the fantastic Swiss Alp mountain passes, the sheer snow covered walls that drop down to ravines, gorges and rivers below.
You will pass over 250 bridges, go through 90 tunnels, cross the beautiful Landmassar Viaduct and continue on up the mountain to St. Moritz. Round trip, it takes 7 hours.
Tired of riding? Get off and spend the night in one of the villages you see along the way.
Many visitors prefer to do this. Zermatt, Visp and Brig are only a few villages that offer overnight accommodations to passengers.
You can board the Glacier Express in one of several pick up points, whatever fits your schedule best. Reservations can be made online.
You’ll return by 6 PM in plenty of time for dinner.
Guests are excited to see the wonderful views along the journey from Southern Switzerland through the Swiss Alps, through the Chedivide that crosses the source of the Rhine and Rhone Rivers.
Audio speakers keep passengers informed about each point of the journey.