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Student Blog: The Tour of Switzerland

20 September 2019

This weekend saw the students of Surval setting off on the first school trips of 2019/20: one group flew to the South of France for a French-immersion weekend (article on the trip coming soon...); the second travelled by coach to discover the delights of Italian-speaking Lugano and German-speaking Lucerne: highlights included a snow-throwing photo-shoot at the top of the Nufenen Pass; browsing antique shops in Lugano; eating pizza and making pasta; spectacular panoramic views from the peaks of Monte San Salvatore in Lugano and Mount Pilatus in Lucerne; strolling Lucerne's iconic Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge), the oldest Truss Bridge in the world; river-side dining and a cruise on the lake! The students were a delight to travel with - impressively punctual, reliable and responsible, and a wonderfully inclusive group. Read on for a student account of the trip by Soledad, G9, Mexico.

This past weekend the Surval girls (and a few wonderful teachers) had the amazing opportunity to visit Lugano and Lucerne. This was going to be my first time out of Montreux and I was overflowing with excitement and curiosity. Spoiler alert: I wasn't let down! 

We began our Swiss journey by journeying up the Nufenen Pass. For about an hour, we were able to drive through the highest domestic pass Switzerland has to offer. Every turn brought seas of blue mountains and eye-catching colors. The many different altitudes and roads were a maze but I am so thankful for our a-maze-ing driver! At the top, we had a quick stop on the high peak. The view made us feel like we belonged in a postcard. Every gleam of snow shone brighter than the next. Every cloud felt a reachable distance away. It seemed crazy to think this was only the beginning…

Although the road trip was beautiful, it began to feel eternal!  We finally arrived at the hotel and, after getting settled in our rooms, groups of girls were allowed to have free time around Lugano, a Southern city in the Italian section of Switzerland. We found the city as beautiful as it is old. It was inhabited in the Stone Age and remains as one of the many gems of Switzerland. My friends and I walked around and give ourselves a sightseeing tour. With every turn of our heads came a new eye-catching scene. The lake was a colorful mirror reflecting the multi-colored sunset.

In the evening, everyone met back up and we had the most delicious, mouth-watering, steamy pizza in an Italian restaurant in the same square as our hotel. Tasting authentic Italian pizza definitely brought up my expectations for fast-food pizzas! Once we finished our delicious dinner, we were allowed some free time. My under-sixteen friends and I strolled around for a bit. (The older girls were allowed out a little later, so they went in different groups.) The shining lights of the city were stars in the pitch-black night sky. After a long day, we headed to the hotel to rest for a new adventure in the morning. 

Day two in Lugano was amazing. We ate some delicious breakfast at the hotel and then quickly headed off to the funicular. It took us to the top of the picturesque Monte San Salvatore. Beautiful cloudless skies provided an excellent day for the funicular ride to overlook the Lugano area for miles in all directions. The near 360-degree view over the unspoiled city satisfied our eyes. And the way down was as exciting as it was going up. 

We then split up and had a free afternoon to explore. Most of us went to some antique shops. These show you a small portion of all the history Lugano has to offer. After some shopping, we met back up as a group and had the opportunity to make pasta. The chef at Pasta e Pesto was incredibly helpful and patient. As someone who can barely make tea, I was surprised at how much I learned. A few measuring cups later, we were able to taste the handmade pasta. There is only one word to describe it: delizioso! Once dinner was over, a few girls headed out to enjoy the night and some of us stayed in to get some rest and just hang out together in our rooms. 

Day three of the Swiss tour was jam-packed. After some delicious hotel waffles, we got back on our coach and headed to Lucerne, a city in the German part of Switzerland. Hearing and seeing German everywhere was dazzling and confusing. The hospitality and warmth of the city were extremely inviting. We had time to wander about Lucerne and then we met back at our hotel to travel by coach to the Mount Pilatus gondola. It took two sets of gondolas to get to the top of Mount Pilatus but it was worth it. Each lift brought a new elevation with even better sights. The uninterrupted view was breath-taking. The gleaming, shining mountains met the clear blue sky at a perfect horizon. The altitude was unbelievable. It made us feel like birds flying through the sky. Going back down, the gondolas were a roller coaster.  After such an amazing day we were ready to get lots of sleep – especially after the meal of salmon and Black Forest gateau in a local restaurant. 

Finally the fourth day came, our last day on the trip. We were able to sleep late and then have a great breakfast. Some girls did get up early though to go and explore Lucerne a little more. The location of the hotel was perfect. We could find a new, entertaining and eye-pleasing destination whichever way we walked. We had our last lunch as a group beside ate next to the River Reuss, which flows through Lucerne. Every crash of the waves or even squeal from a seagull was music to our ears. One of the most exciting parts of the trip for me was getting on the cruise boat after lunch. We got to see the shining city from a whole new perspective. The mountains above the lake were majestic and the bright blue water beneath was perfectly mirroring the clear as glass sky. When we arrived at our stop, we got on the bus and departed from the little lakeside town of Vitznau. I was sad to leave but it did feel refreshing to come back to our Surval family. 

As Switzerland will be my home for the next year, it felt amazing to discover a little more of it. It is incredible to see what Switzerland has to offer. This trip has been an unforgettable experience. 

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