Switzerland - 2006

May 20 2012

Dear Friends, We (Ismail, Ayfer, Damla and Okan) are the members of Servas Turkey. We departed Istanbul on July 9, 2006, at about 08:00 a.m. local time by Turkish Airlines scheduled flight (TK1907). After 2 hours and 30 minutes flight time, on our scheduled time, at about 09:30 p.m. local time, we arrived to Zurich Kloten airport.

The time difference between Turkey and Sweden was 1 hour. The population of Sweden is about 7 million and Zurich is about 350000. And about 11 million people visit Switzerland every year. The area of Turkey is 19 times larger than the area of Switzerland. Our Hertz Rental car was ready at the airport, since I reserved it online a few days before our arrival date. We loaded our luggages to the car and started driving from Zurich to Luzern to the South of Zurich. It took me about 1 hour to drive from Zurich to Luzern. The distance between Zurich and Luzern is about 50 km. We had lunch in Luzern, walked over the old wooden bridge over the lake. After Luzern, I drove to Langnau that is about 30 km east of Bern. The capital city of Switzerland is Bern and its population is about 150000. We did some shopping in Langnau and tried to find the house of our Servas Hosts, Regula and Matthias and their daughter Magdalena. Their house was up on the hill and had a beautiful view over the town of Langnau. Regula was musician playing violin having private students at home. Matthias was an engineer working in Bern.

We stayed with them for 2 nights. During that time, we visited the city of Lausanne that is located on the North shore of the lake (Lac Leman) and the city of Geneve that is located on the South West shore of the lake (Lac Leman). We had boat trip in Geneva on the lake of Lac Leman. We also had solar-electric-train trip in Geneva. The population of Geneva is about 180000 and the French language is spoken in Geneva. In Zurich area, German language is spoken. In Lugano area, Italian language is spoken. Dear Regula and Matthias, thank you for your time and hospitality. We've been happy to meet you in Langnau. Then we I drove to Tasch that is located 5 km North of Zermatt. It took us more than 3 hours to drive from Langnau to Tasch. Between the town of Kandersteg and Goppenstein, we took the car train that we have never had before. Between these two towns there is Balmhorn Mt. (3699 mt) and the train is driven in a long tunnel under this mountain. When we reached to the town of Tasch, we parked our car in a multi-story parking lot. Then we took the train between Tasch and Zermatt our main destination in Switzerland. This 5 km trip took about 10 mins. Then we were in the town of Zermatt that is one of the summer-skiing destinations in Europe. The population of Zermatt is about 5000 and it becomes 10000 in Winter season. We stayed 2 nights at Hotel Cima in Zermatt. Zermatt is a car-free town, you cannot drive to Zermatt, you have to leave your car in Tasch. There are electric-cars serving as taxis and hotel shuttle services. Zermatt is located on a river. On our first day in Zermatt, we visited Gornergrat Mt. by train (3089 mt. / 10132 ft). We had drinks at the Cafe at the top of the mountain. On our second day in Zermatt, we visited the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (3883 mt / 12736 ft) by Europe's highest mountain lift. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is one of the summer-skiing destinations in Europe. It was very crowed at the top of the mountain. There were many people skiing, trekking, walking on the snow in the middle of summer in Europe. And there were some groups climbing to the summit of the mountain covered with a thick layer of snow a few km East of the mountain lift. You can also ski to Italy from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. We had lunch at the Schwarzsee Restaurant (2583 mt). Zermatt is one of the top 50 destinations in the world. For more information about Zermatt, http://www.zermatt.ch/index.e.html

After staying 2 nights in Zermatt, we took the train from Zermatt to Tasch. After getting our rental car in Tasch, I drove to Montreux that is located on the East shore of the lake (Lac Leman). During those days, there were Montreux Jazz Festival in the city. I drove from Montreux to North of Zurich, Amlikon. In Amlikon, we met our Servas Host Ruth. From Amlikon, we followed her car and she took us to their country side farm house where we stayed for one night. In their farm house, we met her husband Johannes. In their farm, there were a lot of Cows kept inside their electric cabled-fences. We did trekking in the country side around their farm house. Dear Ruth and Johannes, thank you for your time and hospitality. We've been happy to meet you in Amlikon. After Amlikon, we drove to Zurich in about half an hour. We had boat trip in the lake of Zurich. We had lunch and in the evening, we met our Servas Hosts Philippe and Ursula and their daughters Lina and Sinja. Damla was lucky to speak in French with Ursula. We stayed 3 nights with them in Zurich. During that time, we visited Liechtenstein that is about 110 km and about 1 hour and 15 mins by car. In Liechtenstein, we had lunch and visited all of the villages and drove to the ski village of Malbun where there was no snow but sunny and warm weather in July. We also visited the city of Feldkirch of Austria. During those days, they had Wine Festival in Feldkirch. Liechtenstein has border with Austria and Switzerland. Population of Liechtenstein is about 30000. Border with Switzerland has no Custom Control. They use Swiss Frank in Liechtenstein. In Zurich, we also visited some attractions in the city.

Dear Philippe and Ursula, thank you for your time and hospitality. We've been happy to meet you and your daughters in Zurich. We stayed 2 nights in Langnau, 2 nights in Zermatt, 1 night near Amlikon, 3 nights in Zurich. I drove about 1500 km in 9 days (8 nights) in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Switzerland is greener than you think, safer than you may expect, has hundreds of tunnels, has an effective train system, has well maintained highway system, has honest and intelligent people, has world famous companies. Finally, on July 17, 2006 at 10:45 a.m. we took the scheduled flight of Turkish Airlines (TK 1908) and after 2 hours and 30 minutes, we arrived to Istanbul on our scheduled time at 02:15 p.m. Thanks to Servas and everybody who made this holiday possible, enjoyable, valuable, unforgettable. We recommend all travellers to visit these beautiful countries Switzerland and Liechtenstein when they have time and energy. With Our Best Wishes, Thanks,

ismail+ayfer=damla+okan