A little bit of Switzerland

I know the main reason most of you visit this blog is for quilty/fabric/sewing inspiration, not travelouges. So bear with me today. I thought I would share a few pictures from our trip to Switzerland last week.  I think Switzerland is pretty easy on the eyes, so I figured there might be a few who wouldn’t mind sitting through some trip pictures. There’s still a little stitching involved as well.
The real reason (excuse) for our trip was that my husband was invited to come consult and train employees at a company conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Since his trip was paid for, we figured it was an opportunity not to be missed, so we scraped together a plane ticket for me to tag along. (I know. I’m such a good sport to not make him go alone.) Neither of us had ever been to Geneva before. While my husband was in his meetings, I kept myself thoroughly entertained exploring the old city. 
Here’s a sampling of some of the shop windows I passed.  Lots of chocolatiers and specialized patisseries (pastry shops) as well as antique, book and children’s shops.  Also some incredible scherenschnitte (intricate paper cutting).

As I was walking through the old, medieval part of the city, I just happened to see a little stitchery shop called Mercerie Catherine. The inside was cozy and stuffed to the gills with patterns and samples (mostly cross-stitch and embroidery) as well as beautiful lace, ribbon, threads, and woven cloth for stitching. Of course I especially loved the swiss-themed patterns and pictures. I’m a total sucker for red and white – I feel inspired to finally make a red and white quilt this Christmas.

I thought it would be fun to buy a little bit of ribbon and trim as a memento so I picked the Swiss cows and flags as well as the ‘Poulets’ (chickens).  I got a meter of each and when the owner told me the price I about died at how expensive it was for three little meters of trim! Yikes! By then it was already cut and my French was not good enough to get myself out of it, so I now need to think of something extra special for my expensive little trims! I love to collect Christmas ornaments from other countries, and didn’t find any on this trip, so I think I’ll use some of my trim to make my own commemorative Swiss ornaments. That might help assuage my sticker shock.

When my husband wasn’t working we took a drive around the north side of Lake Geneva, stopping in the little towns along the way to Lausanne.  It was beautiful, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed that it was such an overcast day which meant limited views of the lake itself or the alps on the other side of the lake. (I’ve since been told, this is typical, so I don’t take it as personally anymore.)

Lausanne was another charming old city. While there we passed a Bernina vendor- one of my very favorite Swiss exports. (Felt appropriate since I love my Swiss-engineered Bernina!) Just beyond Lausane were incredible vineyards built on terraced hillsides. I’ve never seen anything like it – I can only imagine how spectacular they look on sunny days with the lake as a backdrop.

On our final afternoon in Switzerland, we decided to try driving to see some Alps.  We didn’t have time to visit central Switzerland on this trips, but we were close to the French alps to the south – only an hour away in Chamonix, France. My husband is a mountain lover especially and liked the idea of riding the tram to see Mont Blanc. We were so happy the skies were clear so that we finally got to see the spectacular alpine views. The tram ride was exciting (if not a little stomach lurching at moments) and the views from the top were incredible.  There was a way-station carved out of and built in the rock of the mountain. It felt like being inside the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland, only it was the real thing! And no, that’s not us doing the mountain climbing in the picture on the right.

I have a few more pictures to share from Paris, but there’s enough that I’ll save the traveloguing for another post. I still can’t believe we were actually there. Now that we’re back in the normal routine it all seams like a dream. I feel so lucky (and a little spoiled) to have been able to go, but I’ve learned from missed chances in the past, to grab opportunities when they come, because you never know when they’ll come again!


  1. says

    For us, other Europeans, Switserland is expensive too! You Americans are so lucky to have such a variety af 'cheap' fabric and stuff to choose from :-) I've never been to Switserland as it is too 'clean' for me, I like the rough mountains of Scotland or Norway :-)

  2. says

    How amazing! I think anytime you have a chance to go visit a new place or a foreign country, it's a great idea to jump on it. I love the photos of the French Alps, so lovely.

  3. says

    Your photos are fabulous! I have always wanted to travel to Switzerland but have never yet had the chance. Your photos make me want to go 😉

  4. says

    Thank you for sharing your amazing photos and stories. <br />Wow Amy! What a gorgeous country you were able to see. <br />How perfect that it all fell around your anniversary!<br />Those red and white patterns made me think of you immediately.<br />And I can&#39;t wait to see what you create with your new ribbon.<br />

  5. says

    Love the photos and commentary. what a great experience. I think ornaments would be a great project for that pricey ribbon (I think she pulled your american leg). How fun though.

  6. says

    Posts most definitely do not always have to be about fabric – and I can&#39;t think of anything better to intersperse with than awesome travel photos and stories! Thank you so much for sharing :-) I am glad you &quot;scraped&quot; enough together to get to go enjoy Switzerland and have a fun trip with the husband.<br />cheers!<br />-k

  7. says

    Beautiful pics! My husband goes yearly to Geneva for work (for a European air show) and yes, it is very expensive there–but I still plan to go along one of these times. He also has shared similar pics like yours of Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva but, gee, he didn&#39;t seem to have one of the Bernina shop! Apparently I haven&#39;t made it clear enough how much I love mine!?

  8. says

    Since I&#39;ll probably never make it to Switzerland, I enjoyed looking at your photo&#39;s. Thanks for sharing! And I think you are very lucky to have been able to take such a fabulous trip. I&#39;m sure with all of your husband&#39;s travels, it&#39;s nice to get a few perks here and there.

  9. says

    I enjoy your posts to watch your work and share what you are willing to share–so these were a treat! Thanks for letting us see some of your sightings! It looks wonderful and I am glad you took advantage of the opportunity!!

  10. says

    Amy, I&#39;m so glad you seized the moment! I did the same thing when my parents went to Italy a couple years ago. I had a terrific time, had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn&#39;t dreaming it, and when I bought some fabric from a Roman fabric store I about died from sticker shock! I haven&#39;t decided what to make from that fabric yet. LOL

  11. says

    Thankyou for sharing photos from your trip….lets me daydream a little!! We are visiting Europe next year and its great to hear of places that other people have visited and loved. Have a lovely weekend! x

  12. says

    I love this post! I have had the amazing privilege of traveling to Switzerland, too, and loved Lausanne. I know the vineyards on the terraced hillsides – on the way to Montreux, right? I think it&#39;s one of the most beautiful sights I&#39;ve ever seen. Sigh. Thanks for (virtually) taking me there again. –Lauren D.

  13. says

    Enjoyed your pictures of Switzerland as well as your comments. I spent the summer of 1971 studying French at the University of Lausanne after arriving in Geneva. It was enchanting and I have many wonderful memories of walking up and down those hilly streets on the way to and from classes. My calves were never so toned! I am so glad to have relived some of those memories while viewing your

  14. says

    Wow! Those are absolutely beautiful! Will you post more pictures?? :) They&#39;re all fantastic, but I especially love the one with the red leaves along the gate that overlooks the city. How gorgeous! I&#39;m at home with two little kiddos while my husband&#39;s in grad school – there&#39;s no way I&#39;m going to Switzerland anytime soon!! So, it&#39;s nice to enjoy such gorgeous places – even

  15. says

    Yay for you! I lived in Switzerland for three months on an exchange in high school. LOVED it! So glad you got a chance to experience it. :)

  16. says

    How wonderful. I wish I had known so that I could have rushed down to the lake to just say hi. That would have been good fun. 😀 I can tell you had a great time. Lovely pictures. If you ever pass by my neighborhood again give me a shout. And, about the prices… I KNOW! It is CRAZY expensive here. That is why I buy all my stuff online overseas. Although I do have to pay TVA on it most of the time

  17. says

    So happy that you had a great time in my homecountry. The pictures are lovely and yes the prices are….like Anette said, crazy!! Thanks for sharing. <br />Have a great time<br />Martina

  18. says

    I feel a little homesick after seeing your pictures as I&#39;m a Swiss girl living in England. I&#39;m glad you enjoyed your trip to Switzerland. Prices are more reasonable when you get away from the big cities and towns like Geneva, Zürich, Lausanne and Basel.

  19. says

    Amazing! Never apologize for posting stuff like that! If there is some weirdo out there who doesn&#39;t want to look at pretty pictures of cool places, well, they can click away easily enough. :) It&#39;s really great that you travel with your husband so much–I think a lot of people would say &quot;oh, but the kids…&quot; and miss out on those neat opportunities. Bravo for seizing the

  20. says

    Thanks so much for this lovely post! It&#39;s another grey day here in Geneva, so thank you for making me see, through an outsider&#39;s eyes, that the place IS beautiful. The leaves all blew down last weekend, and a tree fell next to our car. The prices… what can we say… few people sew, and everyone now orders abroad. Good for the economy your side of the Pond, at least! JJ

  21. says

    What beautiful pictures, Amy- thanks for sharing!! So happy you were able to make the trip and I too would be pinching myself- was this for real or just a dream!!:) What wonderful memories!!

  22. says

    its official. we are now in a fight. i was okay with you being in paris without telling me (3 hour train ride I would have done for a few hours of fun shopping with you), but then you just had to go to switzerland (two hour train ride) and not tell me! thank goodness we are cousins cause I am sure we wont be in a fight for long. but I felt like I should just let you know that we are in a fight.

  23. says

    Dear amy, I&#39;m glad you had such a good time in Geneva! Unfortunately everything is much more expensive here in Switzerland, not only ribbons… I often order fabric from the u.s. because including international shipping and customs it&#39;s still cheaper than here. <br />And next time you&#39;re in Switzerland you have to visit Bern, we don&#39;t have a lake but the city is even more

  24. says

    There&#39;s nothing wrong with non-quilty posts! First, being of Swiss ancestry, I enjoyed the photos. Also, quilters get inspiration from all types of sources. Several of your photos offered great color combinations for inspiration!

  25. says

    The Bernina store pic made me smile because I just got back from an anniversary trip with my husband…we saw a Bernina store in Tel Aviv, Israel and I was so excited! Does that mean we qualify as sewing nerds? :)

  26. says

    ohhh! i love all your non quilty posts as much as all your quilty posts!! Switzerland is such a beautiful place! how i wish i can go there someday! For now.. i will just drool looking at all your beautiful pics! ^^

  27. says

    Oh, you lucky girl! Your photos are beautiful and it sounds like you had a grand time. Switzerland is one of my favorite places. If your hubby goes back you should try to get to the mountains around Interlaken. You can hike up there in the summer and there are lots of cows with those hugs swiss bells around their necks — you&#39;ll feel just like Heidi LOL!

  28. says

    I just ran across your blog this evening and this post caught my eye. I&#39;m Swiss but I grew up in the States. I&#39;ve visited Geneva and been in that very same antique book shop. :)<br />I taught my teen cousins in Luzern to quilt on my last visit and brought all the fabrics with me. The Swiss prices are crazy!<br />Long live Bernina!

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