Sorry for the delay, it is the wedding season right after our vacation so trying to balance “work” versus “blog”. 2nd day of our trip, weather forecasted to be cloudy with 50% chance of rain. The night before, I was checking the whole country of Switzerland weather and thinking of going somewhere sunny since we have the train travel pass so we have the flexibility to hop in any train and be at another part of the country within 4 hours! My choice was the southern part – Lugano region. I debated Lugano with Stein am Rhein and after showing photos of them both to Jason, he decided on Stein am Rhein because of the colorful buildings like Lucerne. Decision made!
Early in the morning, we took the 6:35 am train to Stein am Rhein via Zurich and Winterthur and arrived at 8:52 am, hoping to arrive before other tourists. We took our breakfast with us on the train to eat, my egg and ham roll was delicious while Jason’s curry one was not that great, poor him! Since it was an hour ride to Zurich, we sat up in the 2nd level and there was a section designed for group traveling together, that seat was super comfortable!
We sat on the right side of the train from Lucerne to Zurich; it has a better view when approaching Zug.
We arrived Stein am Rhein yay!!! After we got off the train station, we walked across the street to view its map for direction to the historical center. The historical center is located across this bridge with awesome views of the town!
The beautiful town sat on the bottom of a hill with a castle on top and on the riverbank, fairy-tale like!
It was cloudy but very fortunate no rain when we were there and the best part of it, no other tourists; we almost had the entire town to ourselves!
The moment we entered the historical town, this beautiful building was the first of its famous colorful painted facades we saw!
Then, we turned into the main street of the center, WOWWWWW! The details, colors, and paintings on the building were masterpieces! Even in a gloomy and cloudy day, it couldn’t cover its colorfulness! I wished I can see how it looks in a sunny day, must be extremely beautiful!
I also wish that they make miniatures of those houses but will be so expensive since everything in Switzerland is expensive. A magnet that on average can bought for 4 Euros in souvenir shops throughout Europe would cost at least 9 Euros in Switzerland, that’s how expensive things are in Switzerland!
Either we were super early or bad weather that hardly any tourists there 🙂 Photos without people was super easy to take! The main street was long and filled with colorful houses on each side.
We ventured into the side streets, although not as colorful but still cute.
We made a short loop and went back out to the main street…one of the ends of the street and looked back:
Another side street:
Those purple flowers on this vein-plant were very pretty; no other decorations needed!
Aren’t those cute window doors?
Back to the main street again with a closer look into the paintings; each tells a unique story!
Don’t want ot leave this colorful town but need to move on…where should we head next?
Bern – Switzerland’s capital!!! We arrived around lunch time so perfect to have lunch there more choices like Thai food.
It was Easter Sunday that day so many stores were closed and the city looked empty. People said best place to visit in rainy days is Bern and I get why…….their pedestrian sidewalks are built under the building so they are covered! You can shop without getting wet, how nice!
TAB TIM Thai Restaurant – we were so worried that it’ll be closed but thankfully it was open! When we were seated, the old Thai waiter asked me “you Thai?” haha! I said nope, Chinese. He spoke limited English but they do have an English menu. We ordered the fried calamari, grounded beef with green beans and basil, and stir-fried fish fillets. The dishes were small considered the cost…the main entree dish cost more than 20 CHF each!!!!
It was the most expensive Thai lunch we ever had at 60 CHF!!! After lunch, we walked toward the Bear Pit (Bärengraben) in search of the best photo spot of Bern with the river wrapping around the city!
We saw a “park” (Münsterplattform) and we walked there to check out its view, I like the sandbar there!!!
I am surprised by how many people have a little garden in the city!
The main street with the famous clock tower – Zytglogge, we’ll be back later!
We saw a big tour group of people went into a side street and we followed to see if something famous there……the City Hall and the beautiful cathedral next to it! What I like about this cathedral is it looks like a fairy-tale castle style!!!
We went in to check it out, knowing that many of the cathedrals in Switzerland prohibit taking photos. However, this one has no sign posted so we snapped a few shots!
Afterward, we continued heading down toward the direction of the Bear Pit and saw a staircase in the middle of the street lol. I was joking that it must be for photographers to take nice photos of the street haha!
View like this from the top of the staircase:
Their chimney cover is a little house, how cute!!!
Finally, we made it to the bridge (Nydeggbrücke) and the views of the red-roofed houses on both sides of the glacier blue/green Aare River were beautiful!
We walked into the Bear Pit and no bear there (the bear is down near the riverbank).
We turned right and walked up the little hill searching for the photo spot! There were trees covering the views but often found an opening here and there for a view like this:
So beautiful, I was glad we made the choice to Stein am Rhine and Bern although cloudy!
Another selfie time!
For few minutes, I was having hope that the sky would clear up but nooo back to completely cloudy again!
We didn’t think the view would get better if we walk upper because more houses and trees would block it so we walked back down and to another side – the Rose Garden! It was a steep hill on the other side that I had to stop for few times to drink water!
The most beautiful view was this one with the “S” curve street. The angle from this side and trees covering most of the river was not that great for photos. The conclusion is the other side of the hill has better views 🙂
We walked back down to the Bear Pit and down to the riverbank for bears!
There he/she is!!! He/she was napping and I waited for few minutes for him/her to lift its head hehe:
That house under the bridge looked like a miniature house haha!
This house is interesting……the attic on the street level LOL!
Back to the main street of the city center….I like those golden hanging store signs:
And the water fountains….
Back to the famous medieval clock-tower Zytglogge!!!
Of course filled with tourists!
We had time so we waited till the tour group leave for photos!
I want to see the famous astronomical clock tower in Prague!
So many cables for the electric trams woahhhhhh!
Bern is a very cute capital! Locals were there playing a game….not chess…hum what is it?
By 4 pm or so, we headed back to Lucerne, only an hour away nonstop by train 🙂 When we got back to Lucerne, we were thinking to try out Swiss’ famous cheese fondue but we gave up on that idea because we know we won’t be full by it and can’t handle a whole meal with cheese. Instead, we searched TripAdvisor for Asian restaurants. We chose Jialu National inside a fancy hotel, the decors were fancy as well as its prices but not overly expensive consider its atmosphere.
The wooden ancient Chinese style furniture matched with the wooden wall that carved out a dragon lit by LED lights were astonishing! This is probably the most beautiful Chinese restaurant we ever been in!
We ordered the “water-boiled” spicy beef and eggplants in spicy sauce, both came out to be beyond expectation. We were so shocked to find such an authentic Szechuan cuisine inside a Switzerland hotel! The flavors were unbelievable especially that eggplants dish, its sauce was so good and very homemade taste. I still remember that taste, a taste that I can’t find elsewhere back home in Boston 🙁 The above expectation and satisfying dinner came out to be 74 CHF, almost double of other Asian restaurants we tried but totally worth the splurge…at least once a while!