I am a German language teacher, so the German way of living comes naturally to me. My attitude towards vacations, like most other things, is planned and thorough. However, that sometimes is not enough – there are always unexpected things that you encounter during the course of your journey, and that’s when having a local friend comes in handy. Catterfly was my ‘local friend’ and guide. They not only helped me plan my holiday, but supported me throughout my journey and helped me stay in budget. Now that’s a good friend…!
My wish came true and my Swiss holiday was not only well-planned, but absolutely thrilling as well. I got to explore Switzerland to my heart’s content, covering German region, Central Switzerland and French part as well. I wish, I had more time to explore the Italian regions of Switzerland, but suppose that will have to wait for my next trip…! All the places I visited in Switzerland were picture perfect be it the city experiences in Basel, Zurich, Bern, the mountain experiences in Mt. Rigi, Titlis, Grindelwald, alpine villages of Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, or the charming lake-side towns of Vevey-Montreux, and Lausanne. The memories of being on a cruise ship going to Vitznau from Luzern are so special that I can still picture myself looking out at the limitless expanse of the vast lake, and walking (albeit unplanned) in Grindelwald, Christmas market in Montreux, and the Läderach chocolates are some of the experiences that will stay with me forever.
Despite my fondness for cruises, I did a lot of exploring by foot. Switzerland and indeed all of Europe is best seen by walking and using the excellent public transport system. Of course, all the personalized recommendations and guidance I received made my travel stress free. I was not concerned about being lost, being in an unfamiliar place, and never felt alone as I knew that the Catterfly team was only a text or phone call away. It also helped to have ‘insider’ knowledge beyond just Switzerland; when I decided to travel to Austria. The Catterfly team stayed in touch with me there as well, giving me tips on where to find Indian style coffee, how to watch an opera performance without blowing a fortune, and encouraged me to experience the old world charm of Prague…!
Of course, no holiday is complete without a misstep or two, which is after all part of the thrill. In my case, it was my German skills (or rather lack of French language skills) that had me in a pickle. Switzerland is unique in its multilingual culture and I found that in the French part of Switzerland, my German didn’t serve me at all. If there’s anything I took away from the experience, it’s that cultural immersion is key to getting authentic travel experiences. It’s well worth the effort to learn some key words and phrases in the local language. Thanks to Catterfly, I now know the word for train station in both German and French. Talk about expanding your horizons…!
Switzerland is truly breathtaking. It lives up to its nearly impossible depiction of perfection in popular culture and then surprises you some more. I would never have thought that I would one day be racing to the train station with an old Swiss couple without whom I would surely have missed my train. The people, culture and of course, my personal team of experts made the experience of travelling by myself completely stress-free. From the wonderful folks I met to the delicious chocolate I ate, Switzerland has been a roller-coaster of emotions and a delight to the senses. I cannot wait to be back and continue exploring…!