It's a new year, and we hope to share our Europe travels a little more frequently or we'll never get through our photos! After Switzerland, we still have Germany, Italy, France, and Belgium to share.
Being hosted by our friends, Zhanna and Gary, in Switzerland was amazing because we got to do activities they normally enjoy, like climbing a via ferrata and hiking to their chalet in the mountains. It also meant we did a lot of non-touristy things around home, like go soak in the local hot springs pool at night, eat their fave Thai takeout for dinner one night, and swing by Gary's mom's house to meet some of the family members we'd been hearing so much about.
Toward the end of the week, we decided we needed to venture further away from home and packed up for a short road trip. We were headed toward Lauterbrunnen, and spent a day stopping along the way in a few beautiful cities—Neuchâtel (where I did a short portrait session for Zhanna + Gary), Bern, and Thun.
There's something so wonderful and picturesque about layers of crammed rooftops, and the Swiss landscape has done the cities a favor with it's rolling hills. There are so many good view points in hilly cities! Bern especially, was one of those cities that seemed to fit in one postcard-perfect frame from up on the hill across the river as soon as we got out of the car. No need to trek anywhere.
On our third stop in Thun, we met up with a couple of photographers we had connected with through Instagram. Gosh, the internet is crazy cool. We instantly became friends with David and Kathrin over a pasta lunch at a lovely sidewalk cafe. After lunch, the six of us wandered around Thun, casually wandering through a castle (no big deal), and taking each other's photos, because that's what photographers do when they get together. David and Kathrin have friends who own a bed and breakfast retreat of some sort on Lake Thun, and they invited us to come see their beautiful property, have a coffee, and take a row boat out on the lake. The weather was overcast and a little hazy, and the light fading over the lake at the end of the day was absolutely beautiful. We didn't see a single other person or boat out—the lake was all ours.
As we traveled northwest from Monthey, the language changed from French to Swiss German. Our hosts speak French and our new friends speak Swiss German, so it was really interesting to see that English can still be the common language even between people from one country!
We parted ways with our new friends, and continued on to Lauterbrunnen with Zhanna and Gary, driving in the dark—such a shame! Now that we're home, I keep seeing stunning photos of Lake Thun and it hurts to think of the beautiful views we missed while driving around that lake. Never travel through Switzerland through the night!
We'll share photos from Lauterbrunnen, the beautiful place that inspired RR Tolkien's Rivendell, in the next post.
- Julia + Yuriy
(where I did a short portrait session for our hosts, Zhanna + Gary)
Seems like we stumbled into an amazing street market in every other town we visited in Europe.
This was my first view of Bern. It's as if the city was laid out to give a beautiful first impression.
I couldn't get over how peaceful and sweet this couple looked sitting on a bench overlooking the city. This photo made it into our 2017 postcard calendar.
(with our new friends, David + Kathrin, showing us around)
Lake Thun, Switzerland
A few of the photos David and Kathrin so generously gifted to us.