Switzerland, Burgenstock, Lucerne & Lugano

The view from our hotel room at The Burgenstock Hotel. What you can’t get from this picture is the sound of the cow bells in the back ground and the smell of the most fresh air I think I’ve ever been exposed to. These houses belong to locals and they live high up in these mountains about 20-30 minutes to town by car or boat.
The Burgentsock Hotel: This is a truly luxury hotel. We loved everything about our stay including access to their hiking trails that lead to the Hammetschwand Lift, a 1,132 meter high glass elevator that bring you to the top of the mountain. The video of our elevator ride can be watched on my Instagram account. They also give you fur coats to wear when you’re cold in the restaurants. Free access to their private funicular and ferries that take you to multiple cities. They have a panoramic heated pool on the side of the mountain with the most spectacular views.

We took the funicular to the ferry into the city of Lucerne. This is a very walkable town. On the outskirts is the large Musegg wall which was built in the 14th century. 4 of the 9 towers of this wall are still remaining and you can climb the very narrow steps into the top of the wall. You can also cross the historic Chapel Bridge that’s covered in beautiful flowers and original paintings, constructed in 1333. Another historic area is the famous Lion Monument. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution. It it much, much larger in person than in photos. We walked about 10 miles just in this city so we even out the calorie loss with sampling swiss chocolate!

On the last part of our trip in Switzerland we took the train to Lugano. Lugano is a small city on the Italian border. It’s a mix of mountains and lake. We stayed at Hotel Villa Principe Leopoldo & Spa. We stayed here not only for the amazing view (see our last photo) but because they have a Michelin rated restaurant on site. They have a small pool but their rooms are gigantic with a huge terrace! I would definitely recommend this hotel and suggest making a reservation for their restaurant in advance. They only serve for one sitting and then they close. I included some of our food photos below.

Amsterdam in 24 hours!

Beautiful flowers at the airport I couldn’t resist! I dragged paul for a one day layover in Amsterdam on our way to Switzerland because I had always seen these whimsical, story-book like photos of the city and didn’t want to miss it. We spent the day walking through cobblestone streets and eating our way back to the hotel.
Famous Winkle 43 Apple Pie. This is a must! Yes you will sit outside in the cold for 30+ minutes, looking for a place to sit and waiting on this pie but it’s worth every minute. Fresh baked throughout the day and freshly made whipped cream have locals and tourists flocking to this 12×12 bakery. We shared this piece, it was about 5-6 inches high and 4 inches wide.

Although we didn’t travel during their famous Tulip season we did visit a tulip store. I had read that most of the bulbs they sell are a scam, they don’t grow or there’s less in the bag than stated. So we didn’t buy any but it was nice to see all the varieties available.

These house boats are all over the main canals. Each one is unique and decorated differently. As you can see in this photo they often have smaller boats attached that they use for travel and the house boat mostly stays in place all year long.

This is dam square. Lots of performers and protests in this area. It’s a great spot for people watching.

Last and not least dinner! We had the most amazing food at a tiny boutique like restaurant that we found on tripadvisor at the last minute. Pictured are the stairs to the bathroom. All the stairs in Amsterdam were like this. We don’t advise this city for elderly people or those afraid of heights. This staircase was about 25 feet long and winding.

Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, located in Northern Italy is a large lake surrounded by small ports to very small towns. We stay in Tremezzo at The Grand Hotel Tremezzo. The service at this hotel was in the best in our entire 2 week honeymoon trip. The food was amazing both in the hotel and in the towns. My favorite meal was a $10 pizza we had just 5 blocks from our hotel. This hotel is one of a kind with several restaurants, a daily wine tasting, candy in the lobby, an outrageous breakfast buffet, a pool in the lake, a 3 floor gym, an outdoor pizza oven, spa and fabulous rooms.

There are a few hiking paths worth mentioning. There is a very small trail right on the hotel grounds that leads to a nice view of the mountains. There is another trail about 3 hours long that takes you through the domestic areas, passed farms and into a mountain to a church. If you’re taking this trail go prepared with a map, water and food. Also there is no cell service on this trail so only go if you’re physically fit and with a group of people. You” see some grapevines along the way, cows (stay away they can be dangerous) and you’ll find some local hidden restaurants.

You can take ferries to all the towns on the lakes. The town of Bellagio was our favorite and the most populated with stores and eateries. We did visit some of the other towns but I honestly wouldn’t recommend any of them.