Switzerland is the JAM

I have a confession to make. When my family and I discussed our plans for our 12-day vacation all around Europe, I was the least excited about Switzerland. I had previously heard about the wonders of Italy, the excitement of France and the majestic sights of England and figured our time in Switzerland would be fun, but not nearly as exciting as our time in the bigger cities.  

I was wrong.

Though we still have two big cities left on our trip (Paris and London), so far our time in Lucerne, Switzerland has been my favorite.

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Switzerland is absolutely gorgeous. As we drove into the country, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Alps, the lush green trees and the chalets and adorable Swiss homes that peeked out of the mountains.

I know I’m a Florida girl, but something inside me urns to live among the mountains. Both Ryan and I always talk about our desire to live somewhere with rolling hills and hiking trails.

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Perhaps Switzerland is the place? Winking smile 

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Not only are the mountains picturesque, but the lakes are huge and the water is crystal clear. The air feels fresh and clean and everywhere you look you see mountaintops and greenery.

I have to come back here with Ryan. I kept thinking about him today and how much fun we would have hiking all over the place in Switzerland with Sadie.


Our second day in Lucerne began with a group breakfast at the hotel. I was so stoked to see oats available and immediately filled a bowl, topped the oats with hot water and let them soak until I had a little bowl of scrappy oatmeal!

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I doctored it up a bit with a bunch of chocolate granola (amazing stuff!) and some walnuts. I also had a cup of coffee with milk and my sister and I shared a fresh roll with a bit of butter.

Then we were off!

Mount Pilatus

We had quite an adventurous day that began at the bottom of Mount Pilatus.

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From there, our group piled into cable cars to head up 7,000 feet to the top of the mountain.

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Apparently it’s the steepest cable car system in the world, and heading up the mountain at such an intense grade made quite a few of our group members nervous, including my mom!

They were all very brave and very relieved when we made it to the top.

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Once we stepped out of the cable cars and headed out toward the edge of Mount Pilatus, we were stunned at the beautiful views before us.

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We also marveled at one heck of a super-sexy hiker who also made it to the  top.

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I made sure to ask him where he got those amazing jorts (jeans + shorts) so I could nab a pair as a souvenir for Ryan.

You may notice that my mom isn’t in a lot of the pictures close to the edge of the mountain… She played it safe with a group of other women who were also a little uncomfortable with the height and dizzying views.

Naturally my dad, sister and I tried to freak them out a bit. Winking smile

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We’re fallllling!

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To give you a bit of perspective, we were standing at the highest peak of the mountain in the above picture. Crazy, huh?

When we were up there, my dad threw snowballs over the side for us to watch explode on cliffs.

lucerne 071Can you spot the snowball suspended in the air?

Eventually we made it down the mountain in a little car thing that reminded me of a ski lift.

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I loved how we went up one side of the mountain and down another. It really allowed our group to see the mountain in full and take in a bunch of different views.

Stay tuned for Part Two of our day in Switzerland! Smile 

Lake Tour + Lunch

After boarding the coach bus and heading back into the heart of Lucerne, my family and I joined our tour group for a one-hour lake cruise on Lake Lucerne where we gaped at the multi-million dollar houses, crystal clear water and snow-capped mountains.

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The white house in the above picture was once the home of Mr. Heineken, the man behind the beer!

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We also saw the old homes of Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and Wagner, the famous composer of Wagner’s Bridal Chorus, the song that I chose to walk down the aisle to at our wedding.

Once our lake cruise concluded, my family and I walked around the streets in search of lunch. We selected Grendel 19, a cute sidewalk café where my dad, sister and I all ordered large salads topped with marinated vegetables and tuna.

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This post is getting’ a little long, so I’m going to break it up into two separate posts. Stay tuned for Part Two soon!

P.S. The Fashion page was updated this morning!


  1. says

    OMG! THe pictures are just beautiful! I love the sexy hiker WOW and the ones of you all “falling.” Your family is presh. I’m glad you surprised yourself and fell in love with Switzerland – it’s gorgeous! (or looks that way from the pictures – i’m jealous!)


  2. Katie says

    No no no, not long at all! The suspense is killing me! 🙂 I’m excited to hear more about your adventures! Glad you all are having a wonderful time! 🙂 xoxo


  3. says

    Ohh don’t cut us off at the best part!! 😉

    I LOVE the picture of you with your sister and dad on the cliff! I think I would have been back with your mom though, cliffs make me super nervous 😀

    Keep having a blast, I am so jealous!


    • Macrae says

      Haha- same with me! Those pics are so beautiful but the “ski lift” trolley made my stomach churn…I’d still love to ride it 🙂
      Have so much fun the rest of the time. I’m really enjoying your posts!


  4. says

    looking at the picture of you your dad and sister near the edge of the mountain made my hands sweat! i dont know why but every year i get a little more scared of heights….now apparently the sight of them makes me nervous! Beautiful pictures, Switzerland is one of my favorite places 🙂


  5. Holly @ The Runny Egg says

    The pictures are so beautiful! Julie you look so much like your Mom and Dad, well and your sister too! What a cute family 🙂

    The jorts are hilarious!


  6. says

    You’re right, Switzerland is THE jam!! I love that place. I it is my real home 🙂

    I love Lucerne, but it is a tad touristy for me. The small villages scattered throughout the country are BEYOND amazing. My grandma/mom lived in one of those tiny villages (near the Susten Pass and Interlaken).

    Have FUN!! I love those views….and I miss it SO bad! (we went again last Summer.) I wanna be there too!!! SO enjoy away, girl!!


  7. says

    Love the updates! Looks like you’re having fun. Switzerland is one of my favorites too—except for the prices. I was not expecting to pay 13 euros for hot cocoa, lol. Can’t wait for part 2!! 🙂


  8. Rachel says

    I’m so happy you’re enjoying Switzerland! It is my favorite place in the world. I studied abroad there for a year (in Lausanne, right on Lake Geneva…gorgeous!!). I love the same things you do – natural beauty, fresh mountain air, clean lakes to swim in, amazing hiking trails everywhere – it is a fantastic place to live if you are active/into the outdoors. In the winter it is chilly and snowy but it is also so cozy. Just imagine eating raclette and drinking hot chocolate in front of the fire. 🙂

    I think what is so interesting about Switzerland is that it has a lot of the culture of Germany, France, and Italy plus its own indigenous quirks (there are 4 linguistic regions in the country) so, for example, you can get tasty Italian food but you’re in clean, beautiful Switzerland. The best of both worlds!


  9. says

    OMG- those picture of you guys on the top of the mountain made my palms sweat- hahah! I get SO nervous of heights, even just LOOKING at pictures or seeing them on TV.
    You girls + your dad are BRAVE in my book 😉
    I cannot wait to read part two- it is absolutely beautiful!!!


  10. Lisa says

    Beautiful pictures. I’m with your mom when it comes to keeping a distance from that wall/ledge. I’m terrified of heights. Was the weather cold? You and your sister look a little chilly.


  11. says

    I felt this way when I went to Switzerland too! I was visiting Milan, Lugano and Paris and I was blown away by my stay in Lugano! The breakfast was the best out of any city I visited and the sights were breathtaking. I couldn’t get enough of their yogurt, chocolate and even just plain bread with jam. It looks like you and your family are having an amazing time!


  12. Colleen says

    Julie! I’ve been reading your blog lately and was so excited to see your posts about Switzerland. Claudio and I got engaged in Zurich, and then traveled to Lucerne and Lugano. I am so glad you love Switzerland – it’s the best. I was also cracking up about the names on the souvenirs. They never had Colleen but they obviously had Claudio (very opposite of the US). Enjoy the rest of your trip!!


  13. says

    WOw amazing pictures! It looks like your family and you are having an awesome time across the pond!

    Ahh the beer mans house is marvelous.. what do I have to do to get that rich & score a house local like that?!


  14. Natalie says

    Wow, beautiful pictures! I’m glad you like my home country 😉 And I agree, Lucerne is a lovely city in magnificent surroundings! I live in Denmark right now and though I love it here, I do miss the mountains and lakes once in a while 😉

    I’m so excited to hear what you think about Paris and London, they are fantastic cities! And so HUGE (well, compared to Lucerne 😉


  15. says

    What beautiful pictures! I truly never knew that Switzerland was so amazing! It truly looks wonderful there! I would like to live in Mr. Heinken’s house! That thing is huge! I would be so scared to go in the cable car but I think would be brave and do it! It’s a once in a lifetime thing. So cool! 🙂


  16. says

    This is extroardinary! A completely different kind of landscape but gorgeous! It must be relaxing and good to breathe some fresh mountain air!


  17. Lindsey says

    You look like you’re having a blast on vacation! I took the same trip you are on a few years ago and also was overwhelmed with the lushness of Switzerland. I think part of the reason it seems so intensely green is because you go from Italy, which is so hot and relatively dry, and lacking in green space, to the gorgeous mountains. You were lucky to go up Mt. Pilatus on such a beautiful day. The day we went up it was cloudy and foggy and you could hardly see two feet ahead. Not that it mattered to me- I was running a lot of miles at the time and had such a low blood pressure that the altitude got to me quickly and I nearly passed out at the top of the mountain. I had to spend all my time sitting and trying not to freak out, so thanks for posting pictures of what the view is like!


  18. Ana Maria says

    Hi Julie! I’m not sure whether I’ve commented before – I’m a huge fan of your blog and think you are just the most wonderful ray of sunshine! I also can’t believe how close you are to me right now! I’m living right on the border with Switzerland (in a German city called Konstanz) right now, while I’m on exchange, and I agree – it’s gorgeous. I loved hiking there this weekend 🙂
    I’m glad you and your family are enjoying your trip and I wish you so much more fun in Europe!


  19. says

    I loved Switzerland too. Even if it is the place that gave me a tic in my crotch. We didn’t get to do the cable ride or the lake cruise though. I wanted to though when there!

    And Ryan would totally fit in in Florida wearing those jorts! It is what’s cool at UF after all. <— Sorry. Had to as a UGA gal. Haha!


  20. says

    I’ve never been to Switzerland and it looks absolutely breathtaking. I’m not afraid of heights, but I don’t know that I would have had the guts to stand on that ledge like that!! I think Mr. Heineken’s house would be a great place to raise a family, don’t you?


  21. says

    I have never ever been to Switzerland but this looks like the vacation of a lifetime. Everything is so crystal clear and beautiful – I hope I get the opportunity to see it for myself. The heights would definitely make me nervous, but the trip on the lake would not 😉


  22. says

    Wow just looking at those pictures makes me nervous. I am terrified of heights.

    Those views look amazing. I have always wanted to go to Italy, but Switzerland was never really on my radar. Now that I have seen your amazing pictures, I would definitely want to go!


  23. cait says

    I am so excited to be going to Lucerne in a few weeks! ahhh! this just makes me want to hop on the plane right now 🙂


  24. says

    that picture of you guys standing on that ledge seriously made my chest hurt! that gives me anxiety too, so i totally don’t blame your mama! and that little cable car would have made me nervous as well! eek you’re brave girl!


  25. says

    I loved, LOVED Lucerne!! Absolutely gorgeous. I only spent a day there but I definitely want to go back with my husband too. Switzerland is so gorgeous!


  26. Amy says

    Awesome pictures! I don’t think anyone would have complained about a really long post 😉 You just wanted to make us wait in suspense for the rest I think.


  27. Krista says

    Hi Julie! I just discovered your blog about a week ago and I’m addicted!! We are so much alike…I LOVE peanut butter, not a fan of milk, and drink smoothies nonstop… I really admire you for your positivity and healthy lifestyle – two things I’m working on before I get to college and to maintain for the rest of my life! Two things – 1. I was reading Fitness Mag and I found something perfect for your love of smoothies – an Oster MyBlend Blender! You blend your smoothie right in the bottle you drink it out of! It’s pretty cool. 2. I am also away on a trip with my fam (We had a connect flight and stopped in Orlando – funny!) and although we go on a trip this time every year, I almost can’t handle being away from my boyfriend. Of course I’ve missed him over trips within the past few years, but for some reason it’s so much harder! How do you cope with being away from Ryan? Any tips would be greatly appreciated (: Hope you’re having a blast!! Thank you!


  28. says

    I’m heading to England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Prague in June for three weeks and all of your posts are making me SO EXCITED! I’m definitely bringing along your guide to Europe while we’re over there! 🙂


  29. Emily says

    The little boys that I babysit for have gone to Switzerland the past 2 years to visit their aunt and their pictures are GORGEOUS! It’s funny to hear the 4 year old talk about it…like how does a 4 year old realize where he is and how amazing it is??!?! Nevertheless, I’ve always wanted to go since they’ve been. They have a really cute pic with a St. Bernard that’s like 10 times the size of them!

    EEEEEEEP can’t wait til your Paris post….in which I will be living vicariously through you


  30. Alison says

    Oh my goodness, I am SOOO jealous that you are in Switzerland!! I went on a 9 day bus tour of Switzerland 5 years ago and LOVED it! It is by far the most beautiful place I have ever been, and since then I’ve dreamed of living in a Swiss village at the foot of the Alps. We went to Lucerne and went to the top of Mt. Rigi, which is also gorgeous.

    Please post lots of pictures and soak in all of the beauty of the country!!


  31. says

    Wow, your pictures are absolutely *breathtaking* I think I may have just found my future honeymoon spot, ha!

    Question, did anyone get altitude sickness when going up to the top of the mtn in those little skilift cars? I’ve totally suffered from that, and it is NOT fun! gah!


  32. says

    I’m so glad that I did London and Paris first and second when I took my Europe trip. They were fun, but soooo dirty and the weather was horrible. And then the third place I went was Switzerland and it was amazing and beautiful and CLEAN! I love it there 🙂


  33. says

    Switzerland is by far one of my favorite places on earth! I think it is just so beautiful! My husband and I spent a few days at a wonderful bed and breakfast on a gorgeous lake in between the mountains. We also hiked in the Alps. Seriously such a great place!!! I was just like you were before you traveled there…not sure about it…but once I got there I never wanted to leave!!


  34. andrea says

    Yes, Switzerland is the JAM – I live there now (Zurich) and absolutely love it.
    Aside from the beautiful mountains, lakes, cities your paycheck is beautiful too, and you hardly pay any taxes (at least compared to most countries), so it’s actually not that expensive to live here 🙂


  35. katya08 says

    Hi again! You traveled to Switzerland in May? Was the weather nice? Were any of the lifts or trains closed? Did you go hiking at all, or were the trails still closed? Thank you for answering my questions! I am going on a nearly identical trip next May.


  36. Meika says

    So this post has nothing to do with Switzerland, but seeing that picture of you and your mom brought tears to me eyes! My mom had the exact same hair as your mom, and it’s one of the things I miss most about her. Thanks for bringing back memories!



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