My adventures in Europe (Week 5 – Switzerland, The final few days)

Day 29 – Lucerne

Today was an official day off in the workaday calendar, so I decided to make the most of it and take a day trip to Lucerne, which I had heard was a beautiful city with a great atmosphere. It certainly did not disappoint. The place had a very relaxed vibe to it and although busy, was not what I would expect from a typical city in that there was no one rushing around or jostling in the streets, no cars beeping their horns or sirens going off every two minutes. It reminded me a little bit of Brighton in that there were both historic and modern buildings and the place had an arty student vibe about it, but it was definitely a lot calmer.

It was an early start to the day with the train leaving Thun at around 8:40 which was of course proceeded by a walk along the lake to get there. I could have taken the bus, but the walk is so lovely that I couldn’t resist! After a two hour journey with a couple of changes on route (I’d opted for the far cheaper slow train) through once again beautiful countryside on both sides of the train, I arrived at my destination for the day. My first port of call was the tourist information office to pick up a map of the city, followed closely by McDonalds, mainly because I was hungry (can you believe I forgot to pack snacks?!) but also because I could take advantage of their free facilities… I’ve come to realise that there are few public toilets in the countries I have visited!

Anyway, after purchasing a croissant and muffin to go, I headed across to the Lido (basically a long stretch of benches scattered along the eastern shore of the lake) and sat down to eat and work out a logical route in which to explore the city. As I was already at the Lido, I ended up exploring the modern part of the city first with its high street shops and food outlets, neither of which were of particular interest to me, but it gave me a chance to soak up the atmosphere amongst the busy shoppers and just enjoy the sunshine. Ambling through the many busy streets and after a quick pit stop for lunch near the lake, in the end I arrived at the historic part of town with its beautiful architecture and traditional market squares. The older part of the city is almost divided in two by the river which flows down into the lake, as it cuts straight through the middle of the streets. Fortunately there are many bridges across, enabling easy access back and forth, as well as providing great photo points with the charming views.

Exploring done and feeling decidedly weary, I made my way towards the train station to begin the long journey back to my accommodation. The time passed quickly enough as I once again found myself staring out at the beautiful surroundings of small scattered villages clinging to the sides of the mountains and winding rivers flowing steadily to their destinations. I made it back, around 5:30pm local time and after a wrong turn from the station (still don’t know how I managed that!) I corrected my path and enjoyed yet another pleasant stroll as dusk began to fall over the lake and surrounding mountains back to Hunibach. Dinner was a simple but yummy homemade pizza (minus the cheese for me) and I feel as though I was able to properly bond for the first time with my hosts tonight, through discussions about music, followed by teaching the children dance moves to YMCA… Once again music has saved the day for me. I don’t know what I would do without it in my life!

Day 30 – Chill out day

Today was Mothers Day in the UK, so like the kind and thoughtful daughter that I am, the first part of my morning was spent on Skype catching up with Mum and all the news from back home. Other than that, it was a very quiet Day spent relaxing and catching up on some much needed rest and sorting through all the stuff I have collected over the past month, to decide which bits are worth keeping as souvenirs and what realistically is rubbish and can be thrown away! It means today’s blog entry is going to be really short as there isn’t much to tell! All I can say really is that a day of doing absolutely nothing except eating, sleeping and listening to music was exactly what I needed, because I now feel a lot more refreshed and ready to tackle the last few days of my trip. I can certainly recommend it!

Day 31 – Thun

As I am now running ridiculously low on cash, I decided to spend my free time today strolling along the lake into Thun. To be honest, the views and scenery here are probably just as good as I will find anywhere else in Switzerland, so I don’t feel as though I am missing out on anything. It’s quite nice actually just to spend the last few days winding down and taking it easy, as I am well aware that there will be a lot for me to start working on when I get back home! After a little mooch around the shops, I decided to buy my host family a box of biscuits to thank them for letting me stay and feeding me all this week… Let’s face it, that in itself is a never ending task!

The rest of the afternoon was spent just relaxing by the lake thinking about all that I have experienced in the last month and reflecting on how that has impacted upon me as a person. I definitely feel as though I have grown in confidence and I feel a lot more self assured than I ever have in my life. I think that after nearly 27 years, I have finally accepted myself as I am, flaws and all and feel like I can stand with my head held a little bit higher from now on… Not bad for just taking a few weeks out from normal life! Perhaps holidays should be made available on prescription… Now there’s s sobering thought!

Day 32- Preparing to leave

Today is my last full day in Switzerland, so my hosts very kindly gave me the day off, just asking me to ensure I clean my room and the bathroom that I have been using, which I considered an extremely reasonable request. After my chores were complete, I spent the rest of the morning packing my bags, to make sure that they fit within the Easyjet hand luggage requirements. I was extremely pleased to notice that I still have a fair bit of room in my backpack, despite it being crammed and slightly oversized when I left the UK… Either I have got better at packing or I bought even more stuff out with me than I realised! I would like to think that seeing as I have now had to pack my backpack a total of 6 times, that it is the first suggestion, but I guess we will never know!

After a tasty lunch of combined leftovers from the fridge, I headed down to the lake for a final time to just sit and be. It may sound boring to some, seeing as I am supposed to be travelling, but I have come to realise that my trip should be whatever I want it to be. Right now, all I want to do is relax and reflect on how far I have come mentally, socially and also physically (I think I have lost weight and got fitter) in the past month, even more so in the past year. It’s been a back of a journey, but thanks to the unfailing support of my best friend and a bit of effort to help myself, I finally feel as though my life is getting back on track and that I can achieve anything Input my mind to. I know there will still be tough times, but I now feel empowered enough to not let them defeat me and to live life my way.

Day 33 – Return to the UK

Today has been a very long day of travelling, but for once I didn’t mind because I was to ally heading home to the UK. Don’t get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed my month in the road and the experiences that I have had, but there are times when you just need a hug from your bestie or your Mum and I have been craving this increasingly for the last week. The travelling was pretty smooth… I said goodbye to my Swiss host family around 10am this morning and caught the bus to the station . From here I travelled onto Basel Airport which fortunately was both a fast and direct train, meaning I arrived with plenty of time to spare and could take my time going through the airport checks and eating lunch. I find airports quite stressful environments, so not having to rush of worry about time was a great help in keeping me feeling relaxed.I

After proving to the hands free baggage checker that my seemingly massive bag was in actual fact hand luggage, the rest was a breeze. The flight took off on time, no major delays this time thank goodness! I’ve felt a mixture of emotions today, probably due to the fact that as usual on a travelling day, I did not get much sleep the previous night. I am sad that my trip is coming to an end, but at the same time relieved and excited to be going home to be reunited with friends and family. I am proud of what I have achieved and that I had the courage to go, as to be honest I was quite scared and anxious before leaving the UK. It may not have been what many would consider an adventurous trip, but then I think that if I had attempted too much, I would not have enjoyed it in the same way as I would have worn myself out and potentially become an emotional wreck! As it is, I feel like I have seen and done the majority of things that I set out to and feel so privileged to have been able to have had this experience.

If you are thinking of travelling solo for a while, I would definitely recommend it as it is a great opportunity to look deep within and establish who you are and what your heart desires. I feel that I have grown immensely as a person and have far more confidence than I have ever had. I just hope I put this to good use and it helps me to secure a new job and success with my musical ambitions. Whatever the outcome, I will always look back with pride that I embarked upon this journey.

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