Tips and Inspiration for your European holiday

lake-geneva150Even the best-laid holiday plans can go astray and unfortunately an illness put our travel plans on hold. Unfortunately, my husband had a kidney stone attack and had to spend five nights in a French hospital, meaning we’ve lost nearly a week of our holiday staying nearby the hospital, and we’ve had to re-route our itinerary.


Thankfully our travel insurance company will cover the costs of the hospital stay and any cancellation charges incurred due to our re-routing, but it’s still a bit disappointing that we won’t get to visit some of the places we had planned. Still, the bonus to come out of it is that we’re spending the last week of our trip in Switzerland and Munich – and it’s snowing!!


The day after our patient was discharged from hospital, we returned our hire car to Montpellier and took the TGV via Lyon to Geneva. Just like the TGV trip from Paris, the rail service is fast and a stress-free way to travel.


Arriving in Geneva at 7.45pm, we walked the short distance to our hotel, Novotel Geneva Centre, where we checked in and then enjoyed a delicious dinner in the hotel restaurant. The free internet room in the lobby (20 minutes per session) was handy for checking emails and the younger members of the family enjoyed playing on the PS2.


Swiss Alps

With half a day to look around Geneva, we got the chores out of the way first.  As we'd had to change our travel plans due to the unexpected hospital stay, we now needed to purchase train tickets for the rest of our trip. Given we wanted to start our travelling that same day, we headed to the railway station to buy them however, if we'd had more time, we could just as easily have booked and paid for them online.

The remainder of the morning was then spent walking along Lake Geneva and taking in the views of the Alps. A quick baguette at a café at the railway station satisfied our hunger before we caught the train to Bern, the Swiss capital. The one and a half hour journey included some magnificent scenery, and like most things Swiss, departed and arrived exactly on schedule.


Our stay in Bern was with a relative and we had an enjoyable few days catching up with cousins and aunties and being thoroughly spoilt in the food and hospitality department! With the temperatures plummeting during our time in Bern, we were even able to experience snow shoveling!! Heavy snowfalls overnight meant the driveway required clearing and made us appreciate the difficulties involved in living in a country where winters can be pretty harsh.


Bern, Switzerland


Despite the low temperatures (hovering around -2 degrees C), we still managed to visit the city centre and the Altstadt (old town), the new Barenpark (the bear pit, which is now a more natural woodland-type environment) and the Zytglogge (clock). We also enjoyed a soccer match at the Stade de Suisse between Bern Young Boys and St Gallen, two teams in the Swiss League.

After our few days of pampering, we’re now off to Luzern for a couple of nights before heading to snowy Munich for our last days away.


Barengraben, Bern

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