I know I am a bit behind on updating my blog and writing this up, but hey- thats life now with a young toddler! Switzerland has been a bucket list spot for me for a LONG time. So finally getting to experience the country was nothing short of incredible. Not to mention, we also had SO much fun while in Ireland! At the time of the trip, Charlie was about 14.5 months and has been walking for a while now so it was definitely a different dynamic than trips previously taken with him. Obviously, in some aspects it was more challenging (i.e.. airports and flying) however we had a GREAT time. It was so beautiful to see him really experience another country by being able to explore. Sure, we spent more time at parks and less time at bars.. but thats just the current phase of life we are in and I have no problems with that. Let's get to the travels!
Day 1 (September 27-28th)
The first leg of our flight was from PBI to LGA. We left PBI 1:30pm and had a couple hour layover until our final 6 hour flight directly into Dublin. In terms of how we handle airports, we try to carry on as little as possible and checked two large bags. With us we brought our diaper bag, a duffel with extra diapers and misc. items just incase they lost our bags, two different baby carriers and our favorite travel stroller- the Baby Jogger City Tour 2. Its lightweight, leans all the way back which is GREAT for naps, and folds up small enough to fit into the overhead compartment so you don't need to wait for it when you get off the plane which is nice. In terms of boarding the plane, one person stays with Charlie to let him run around and board the plane last. The other parent takes all of the luggage and gets situated on the plane. I know that won't work for everyone but it works for us! Charlie was a champ and was able to sleep for 5 hours on that flight thanks to the FlyAway kids bed. In the past we have found it worthwhile to book first class seats that way we can arrive reasonably rested, but we decided to go with business class that way Charlie could have his own seat. It worked our pretty well to have more space. We landed in Dublin at 7am, got checked into our hotel and we're thankfully able to get into our room! BLESS. We were SO grateful. John and I didn't sleep on the flight so we were all exhausted. We passed out from 9-2pm and then woke up and walked around! We were staying at The Conrad, Dublin which was in the center of the city. Not only was the hotel absolutely beautiful we were walking distance to just about everything. We stopped for coffee and then found a cute park (Iveigh Gardens) that Charlie was able to play in. Then we walked a bit more and got drinks and some INCREDIBLE Irish baked Brie at The Bleeding Horse, a pub that originated in 1649! Afterwards we found another park (St. Stephen's Green Park) for Charlie to burn off some before bed energy. We finished up the evening ordering take away from a local Thai spot that way we could relax and Charlie could get to bed. It was a long but great first day.
Day 2 (September 29th)
Thankfully we woke up today feeling refreshed and ready to go. For our first full day in Dublin we started off with breakfast at our hotel before heading to the Bretzel bakery to try out some treats. It's a 150+ year old bakery known for sourdough and pretzel bread. Then we took a quick stop to view Mary Immaculate Church before heading over to Belgrave Square for Charlie to play for the morning. On our walk back, Charlie fell asleep in the stroller so we took the opportunity to get drinks and lunch at The Conrad bar! We both got cocktails, a complimentary glass of champagne, a Cesar salad and sliders. Yum! Not to mention it felt like a little date with Charlie napping in the stroller. Our afternoon plans included a walking tour of Dublin with our guide Barry from the tour group Original Dublin. Honestly, it was THE BEST walking tour I've ever been on. Barry did such a great job narrating the history of Dublin as we toured Dublin Castle, the Dublin Castle Gardens, Christ Church Cathedral, Ha'Penny Bridge and Trinity College. It felt like you were listening to a good book that you didn't want to put down. 10/10 Recommend. Afterwards, we stopped for drinks at The Old Storehouse where we saw an Irish tap dancer and had Shepards pie, a staple if you're visiting Ireland. On our way home there was a bar playing live music. We decided to stop for a moment and listen. John picked charlie up to he could see through the window when the entire bar erupted in cheers for our little boy just wanting to jam out beside them. It was one of those moments we will forever remember about this trip.
Day 3 (September 30th)
On Saturday we decided to book a private driver and get out of the city for the day. We debated on doing the Cliffs of Mohr (it's a very popular spot in Ireland with what looks to be incredible views), however it was a 6+ hour round trip from Dublin. We decided that was not for us since we had Charlie with us, so we chose to explore the nearby county of Wicklow instead! This was probably the perfect day to do a private driver because the weather called for rain all day. Nothing crazy, but a noticeable drizzle. Our first stop was at the Powerscourt Estate, Gardens and waterfall. It's an absolutely stunning 47 acre property that was created in the 13th century and used as a military strategic base. Our second spot was at the Glendalough Monastic City, one of irelands most important christian settlements. For lunch we stopped at Wicklow Heather and had drinks, Brie, French onion soup and probably one of the best burgers I've ever had. Afterwards we made a quick stop at Guinness Lake. The fog was really starting to set in so we didn't have the best clearance but it was still beautiful. Our final stop for the day was at Johnnie Fox's pub. It was established in 1798 and is known as one of the highest pubs in Ireland! Overall, we had an incredibly day. We were able to get out of the city and see so much even with the weather. If we had stayed in Dublin we would have probably stuck to the hotel most of the day.
Day 4 (October 1st)
Our last full day in Dublin we had booked one of the hop on/hop off bus tours to check out some spots we hadn't been to yet. First up was Saint Patricks Cathedral but unfortunately we were not able to view inside due to a service going on. It was still beautiful to see. Our next stop was a tour at Teeling Whisky Distillery. Neither John or I are big whisky fans however it was still fun to see behind the scenes! We had really wanted to get into the Guinness storehouse but unfortunately I was unaware that it booked out days in advance. I tried every possible avenue to get us in but couldn't find a way. (Sorry John) A good note for anyone visiting Dublin, book your tickets in advance!! Our third stop for the day was at Phoenix Park and the Dublin zoo. The park was beautiful and Charlie had a little nap on a bench with John. The Dublin Zoo was also fun but it is quite large with only one way in and one way out. You could easily spend an entire day there which we were not prepared for lol. Overall, I wish I had done a bit more pre-planning with the different bus stops and times but we still had a good day and made the most of it. While Charlie took an afternoon nap, we stopped for drinks and sandwiches at a locally recommended spot called The Oval Bar near the river. Once Charlie woke up we started to make our way back to the hotel, making a quick stop for some gelato of course!
Day 5 (October 2nd)
Monday was our travel day from Dublin, Ireland to Geneva, Switzerland! We had an early afternoon flight booked so once we got up for the day we had breakfast. Then I quickly ran (literally ran through the park lol) over to the Butlers store to pick up a few more boxes of chocolates before we left. (You don't want to know how many I had taken from the front desk of our hotel...) We headed to the airportand had smooth travels over to Switzerland. We landed around 4:30pm and took a taxi to our hotel. This hotel stay was BY FAR the most incredible hotel stay we've ever had. The hotel is absolutely beautiful with this incredible old money european feel. By the time we got settled in, it was pretty late so we decided to stay in for the night and get Charlie to bed early since we had a full day planned tomorrow. Let me tell you though... I am forever ruined by the experience we had at Hotel d'Angleterre. We had countless people greet us at our room and offer champagne, wine, fruits, chocolates and even soap to choose from! We ordered room service for dinner and it felt like we were dining at a 5 star restruant... from the comfort of our own room! They brought a full table to set up and it felt like we were on an intimate date. Since we were traveling with just the two of us, it was so incredible to feel like we had a dinner date while charlie peacefully slept. From the incredible customer service to the dining experience we had in our room, I will never forget this stay. If you're traveling to Geneva and are able to book a stay here, I promise you won't regret it.
Day 6 (October 3rd)
Tuesday we had booked a full day trip over to Mount Blanc in Chamonix, France! After getting a lovely breakfast at Hotel d'Angleterre, we had a quick 5 minute walk over to the bus pick up spot. We hopped on the group bus at 9am and it was only an hour long ride to France. Chamonix is a resort town home to the highest mountain in the Alps- Mount Blanc! Unfortunately, Charlie was too young to take the cable car up to the 15,777 ft. summit so John chose to stay behind so I could experience the breath taking views. John had already gone to the summit on a previous trip he had taken here and encouraged me to go off on my own. Let me tell you, it was INCREDIBLE at the peak. We were so fortunate to have such a clear day. You could see for miles in every direction. I stayed up there for about an hour enjoying before heading back down to meet up with John. (I was also frozen LOL) We spent the rest of the day exploring Chamonix, shopping and eating some incredible Tartiflette. A savory French dish made with potatoes, cheese, lardons and onions- YUM. The town was so beautiful it felt like it was out of a Disney story book. We even had the opportunity with our tour group to take a short drive up the mountains to hike to a waterfall. Honestly today was absolutely incredible and worth taking the day to experience. We got back to Geneva around 6pm and decided to have another room service meal at our hotel.
Day 7 (October 4th)
So our original itinerary had us leaving Geneva today and traveling to Interlaken... but we realized that we didn't give ourselves enough time in Geneva to explore and really expericne the city since we had gotten in so late on monday. (Plus.. if were being totally honest our hotel stay had been absolutely incredible and we wanted to stay another night) It's so hard to know if you were making the right decision, but looking back we can 100% say with certainty that staying the extra day was worth it. We were able to stay another night at the hotel and only had to rebook our train tickets for the following day. So after getting breakfast at the hotel, we set off for a morning walk around Lake Geneva to a local park for Charlie to play. It was absolutely gorgeous out with clear sky's and temperatures in the 60's. We walked for quite some time before hopping on the ferry to take us over to the other side. We then spent the rest of the morning exploring the famous shopping districts of Geneva with all of the high end stores and John got to take a look into the store of his favorite watch brand. For lunch we got pizza and wine at Molino Molard, which was delicious. Then we set off for the old city of Geneva to walk the historic cobblestone streets. I am SUCH a fan of the old architecture that honestly that was my favorite part of the day. Just walking around and admiring all of the old doors and features! We stopped at a park, shopped around, picked up chocolates and had a glass of wine at one of the sidestreet cafes. As we made our way back to the hotel in the evening, we got take out for Charlie and had drinks by the water as we watched the sunset. We debated on what to do for dinner.. but ultimately decided to indulge ourselves in one more incredible room service meal at the hotel.
Day 8 (October 5th)
Thursday was our new travel day from Geneva to Interlaken! We had a morning train booked so we got up and had one last breakfast at Hotel d'Angleterre. We then proceeded to pack up our bags to walk over to the train station. Public transport in Switzerland is so convinent with most spots just a short walk to a train station or bus stop. We arrived into interlaken at 1:30pm and took the bus to the AirBnb we were staying at. It took us a second to find it as the directions were a litte tough to understand, but we were able to get ahold of the host who brought us up to the apartment. It was very cute and spacious... but SO bare. No air conditioning (which unfortunately is normal, but fine for our stay since it was cooler out), decorations or tv. Once we got settled in we realized that for us, we had made the right decision staying another day in Geneva. Afterwards we headed our to get some lunch at Cafe de Paris right around the corner from our AirBnB. (Defintely a bonus of the apartment was that it was in the center of downtown!) You could easily see all of Interlaken in a day or even afternoon, so we spent the rest of the day walking around Hoheweg Boulveard, the main street in town with so many cute shops and restaurants. Then checked out Schlosskirsche (Castle church), the Interlaken casino (which was actually really pretty), the historic covered bridge and Hohematte park! In the evening we stopped at Spatz for drinks, a wine bar right next to the river that flows through town. The atmosphere was amazing so we had a great time! It's one of those spots that you can tell the owner takes great pride in. We then headed back to the AirBnb to get Charlie to bed. For dinner we got takeout sushi from the restrauant downstairs for dinner called pure.8. For a travel day, we got to see so much and really made the most of the day.
Day 9 (October 6th)
Friday we had plans to go hiking! This was definitely a bucket list item for me to go hiking in the swiss mountains, so needless to say I was pretty excited for today. We had pre-booked our tickets to go up to the Schynige Platte to hike, beautiful mountain range in the Bernese Alpst thats right outsideof Interlaken. We were up quite early to catch the morning train. From the center of Interlaken we hopped on the first train that dropped us off at the Wilderswil station, to then take the historic cogwheel railway up to the Platte! We got up there a bit after 10:30 and started off on our hike. I was unsure how much we would actually be able to do, since you never know how young children will tolerate the travels... but it ended up working out perfectly. Charlie was quite tired as it was a long morning so fell asleep shortly after we started hiking in the back carrier. We were able to complete an hour and a half hike with the most INCREDIBLE views of the Swiss mountains and Interlaken! Charlie woke up just as we got back, so we decided to hang out for a bit and get drinks at the hotel/restaurant thats right next to the train station. We celebrated a wonderful morning with cider, beer, a few snacks and even got to see live alphornists play! Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. I was so thrilled that we really got to do a solid hike and Charlie got a good nap in. Plus the weather was cool and clear! We took the early afternoon train down to get back in time for John's appointment to go paragliding. I am not one for heights so I decided to take one for the team and hang out with Charlie. We played in the park while we waited for John to land. John said that he had an incredible experince so if you're in Interlaken, hiking and paragliding should defintely be on your list! We then stopped for drinks again at Spatz before heading back to the Airbnb for the night.
Day 10 (October 7th)
Saturday we traveled from Interlaken to our final destination of the trip- Zurich, Switzerland! We had an 11:30am train booked, so we had a slow morning getting coffee and doughnuts from Dunkin. We walked down to Hohematte park for Charlie to burn off some energy before gathering our things at the AirBnB and heading to the train station. It was only a 2 hour train to get to Zurich and Charlie decided to take a nap right as we arrived. Honestly, it worked out pretty well, as we had a solid 15 minute walk to the hotel with all of our baggage. I have to give a big round of applause and credit to John for toting our 2 50+ lb suitcases down probably 200 steps to get to the hotel. He's the real mvp. #crossfit. Our final stay of the trip was at the Storchen hotel right on the water. We checked in and decided to take the opportunity to get drinks at the rooftop hotel bar since Charlie was still asleep. Little did we know it was just voted one of the top rooftop bars in Zurich and had a waitlist to get in! Since we were hotel guests we were able to skip the line and get a table! Views, drinks and pork belly bao buns were all 10/10. It was nice to relax and enjoy the rooftop view while Charlie finished up his nap in the stroller. As Charlie woke up, we decided to take a walk around and stop at a Lululemon right across the street to pick up some warmer weather clothes. Before heading on the trip it said we were going to have cooler weather the entire time, so we did not prepare for it to be close to 80! After picking up a few pieces we kept exploring and found a little park for Charlie to run around. On our way back to the hotel, we grabbed a parmesan pretzal from Victoria Brezelbackeri to snack on. It was DELICIOUS!
Day 11 (October 8th)
Sunday the only thing we had planned was a walking tour at 11am, so we had a slow morning and got breakfast at our hotel before heading out for the day. The buffet at Storchen was so wonderful with fresh orange juice, so many delicious options to choose from and beautiful views of the canal. After fueling up for the day, we headed over to the Zurich train station to meet up with our group for the walking tour. During the tour we walked through old town, visited the famous Lindenhof park that overlooks the city and saw so many beautiful churches including Fraumunster and clock tower! I always love walking tours because you get to see the city from a locals point of view and they're able to walk you through the history. We ended the tour in a beautiful downtown square and Charlie decided it was time for a nap, so we headed over for lunch at Munsterhof. Little did we know it is known for its DELICIOUS fondue, which did not dissapoint. If you're in Zurich, thats defintely a spot you want to put on your list. After lunch we headed over to Spielplatz 58 for Charlie to play. It's a park that was recommended to us by some new friends me met at the park last night! Charlie had a BLAST and there were so many fun street performers. (Of course we stopped for gelato too and a few biscoff dounts from Dunkin. You don't want to know how many I ate. They need to be brought to the states.) We started to make our way back, but first made a stop at the famous Rathausbrucke bridge with its carousel. Charlie was so excited to get on and ride the horse! Shoulda known. Once we got back to our hotel we found out they had upgraded us to a suite on the canal, and all we did was ask nicely! WIN. Thank you Hotel Storchen for the incredible customer service!
Day 12 (October 9th)
Monday was the last full day of our trip before we started our travels back home. We debated on what to do for the day, but decided to just have a relaxing day walking around the city with no plans. After breakfast, our first stop was at a cute coffee shop near the hotel so John could get a chai latte. We then walked along lake Zurich to check out a couple parks on the south west side of the city- Arboretum, Belvoirpark and Reiterpark. This is a much more residential/industrial part of the city to walk around, so we headed back and decided to stop for lunch back at Munsterhof for fondue and wine. Could you tell we loved it so much we went back for round two? We finished our day exploring, doing more relaxing sightseeing and picked up the famous champagne truffles at Teuscher! Before heading back to the hotel, we decided to make a stop at another popular rooftop bar for afternoon drinks called "••• Rooftop Bar." Honestly today was the perfect, low key day we needed before our long day of traveling back home. Zurich is beautiful!
Day 13 (October 10th)
Tuesday was our long awaited travel day back home. We had a 10am flight out of Zurich for our first 9 hour leg to Newark. Charlie ended up taking a solid nap while on the flight and even fit into the bassinet the flight attendant's set up for us, which we were both quite surprised by lol. Things that I highly recommend traveling with to make life easier- a travel stroller that will fit into the overhead compartment (we love our baby jogger), comfy pjs to change baby into, LOTS of snack, toys they haven't seen before and snack spinners! Oh and a good mindset because while yes, there are moments that are really hard.. they're just that- moments. Breathe and move forward! Our layover was quick since we had to go through customs and there was quite the line. We made it just in time to catch out 3pm flight from Newark to Palm Beach. By the time we made it back home, technically it was midnight for us but really only 6pm Florida time.. we all crashed. It was a long day but we all hung in there. This entire trip was so incredible and I can't wait for the opportuntiy to go back to Europe!