After months of a very detailed itinerary planning which included - waking up sked to having breakfast, walking from hotel to and from the tour site, to having lunch, to riding the bus and train - name it, our dream trip finally pushed thru on a cold February winter.
At first, I had a hard time choosing among which countries to go to since I've been actually wanting to go to Romania to experience the Dracula castle tours and see all of Eastern Europe - Austria, Berlin Germany, Budapest Hungary, Prague Czech, Warsaw Poland - so I was torn between Western Europe(UK, Italy, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium) and Eastern Europe. But of course (after getting tips from friends and visiting so many travel forums, I have decided) for first timers (and last?) I know it is a no brainer so I chose the bigger and more fab cities - the Western :)
I was sooo lucky to chance upon Emirates airlines sale, we got our tickets for almost half the normal price and it was already an open-jaw ticket, SG-Switz, Rome-SG. My cousins and officemates who had been to Europe prior to our trip were so shocked upon hearing the price and I felt so proud of my resourcefulness. Lucky us, aren't we?
Stopover: Dubai airport
We had a stop-over in Dubai airport. 3.5 hours. I was kind of disappointed coz I expected more. It was very chaotic. If you've ever been to LAX airport, the feeling is similar. People rushing here and everywhere. You need to queue and wait forever - only, you are not lining up for the check-in counters but instead queueing for the bathroom and scanners:p
Honeybunch was feeling grumpy as usual. He hates taking off his boots for the scanner and he'd been wanting actually to go back to the US instead of going to Europe, that's why, so he wasn't that excited at first and the airport chaos added to the grumpiness. So after reaching past the immigration, we immediately lurked around and search if Dubai's tallest building was in sight. It was! We took a photo of the Burj Khalifa building and here's the shot.
First Stop: Lucern, Swizterland
After a 6hr flight from Dubai, we finally reached our first destination - Switzerland. Upon landing Zurich airport, snow on the runway greeted us. We could see the heavy snow pouring and we were so excited to get off the plane! Good thing my fever had already subsided and hunb's crankiness gone. We also met a very nice Swiss lady who helped us get around the airport and showed us to the train station. If it weren't for her, we would be spending minutes in the aiport trying to find our way out. She actually offered her house the next time we are visiting(I wish!)!
The temp was freezing @ -2C. Our journey began upon boarding the train to Lucerne. It was almost a 2-hr travel from Zurich airport but I didn't think we have wasted that time spent on train travel because it was a scenic ride after all.
Every European train ride is such a treat!
Our hotel is a 5-minute cab ride from Lucerne train station or a 15-20min walk. With a map on hand, we didn't even dare looking for it due heavy luggages and heavy snow. So we got a cab, reached our hotel in 4 minutes, checked-in, and went out to start our day.
We started off by walking back to the train station since there aren't much action going on around the hotel surroundings. Of course we took so many pictures on the way! And since I am no poet, I'll let the pictures speak for itself.
There weren't much tourists as the temperature was no joke! It was really freezing! I was already wearing 5-6 layers of clothing (thermal wear, a girdle(hehe), blouse, down vest, fleece jacket, and a wool jacket, a high knee socks, & thermal pants underneath my jeans) but I still felt my spine chilling. I was also wearing 2 pairs of gloves. Yes 2 pairs but my hands were still feeling numb. I already felt like grabbing some stranger's down coat. Anyway, we weren't really complaining about the weather but were actually embracing the experience. Lucerne is really a picturesque little town, everywhere you look is a picture-perfect shot worth taking.
Lucerne is the most expensive city we've been to but it's worth going to. Lucerne actually is our top pick among the 4 cities we went to. :)
Transpo: Everything can be reached by foot
Train: Zurich airport - Lucerne - 1hour 40 minutes = 29CHF
Hotel: Etap Hotel http://www.ibis.com/gb/hotel-6782-etap-hotel-luzern-city-zukunftig-ibis-budget/index.shtml
This is a new budget hotel, it's very clean, and believe me, it's the cheapest hotel in town that serves breakfast buffet .We also saw microwave oven, oven toaster, and a kettle provided in the dining area and I think are available 24/7 and of course free wi-fi's a bonus :)
There are many cheaper options but do not offer a private bathroom, (only common) and and if it did, breakfast is not included. If budget is not a problem and you're willing to spend more moolah, then you have many options around Lake Lucerne.
Food: Costco is a grocery store and it's everywhere, you can buy your food here if you're on a budget but there are also nearby Italian restos and Swiss cafes but we only tried the Italian resto once and I could not recall the amount we spent. There's also Starbucks and Mcdonalds if you want a hot cuppa coffee.
That's all for now :)