The Twelve Days of National #PlanForVacation Day 2019

Every year more than 52% of Americans fail to use all their time off, creating a stockpile of 705 million unused vacation days in 2018! It is a mistery to us how people can let their vacation days to go to waste. Yes, here at AAV Travel we are all about taking trips abroad. However, no trip is too small. We strongly encourage you to use your vacation days! There are so many beautiful places to see and experience everywhere.

In 2019, the US Travel Association has made it once again their mission to encourage people to plan their vacation, so fewer days go unused in the future. By celebrating January 29, 2019, as the National Plan for Vacation Day, they want to encourage Americans to take their well-deserved time off. We want to take it a step further and give you some ideas!

We want to give you ideas and encourage you to plan a vacation. That is why we decided to create the Twelve Days of National #PlanForVacation Day. For the next twelve days, we’ll be populating this blog post with one destination highlight each day.

For the First Day, leading up to January 29, we will be traveling across the globe to Australia’s Northern Territory, the South part of it to be precise!

In addition, here are three tips to help you get started with your vacation planning:

npvd_3-tips

Let us know if and how you will be using your vacation days; we’d love to hear from you!

stefanie pichonnat aavtravel

Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel; a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com.

24 hours in Paris – Paris is always a good idea!

paris, il de la cite, notre dame, seine, aavtravelI will never forget my very first time in Paris. I had just turned 14 and my parents decided to take my sister and I to the City of Lights for a couple of days. It was sometime in the 80’s and the TGV, the high speed train, had just been introduced. This new, super fast train, made traveling from Bern to Paris non-stop and a breeze.

Quite a few memories remain from that visit. Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen and Le Magasin Tati, shopping heaven for bargain hunters, or teens on a limited budget. The incredible grandeur of Versailles impressed me forever with its lavishly decorated halls and perfectly manicured gardens. Dinner in a typical French restaurant, somewhere along the Seine river. A charming French waiter who traced a heart of whipped cream on my dessert, timidly asking my parents if he could take me out that night. Me, deeply embarrassed and the laughing stock of my sister. Needless to say, the trip left an everlasting impression.

ile de la cite, paris, seine, river, aavtravelA couple of years later, I returned to stay for a year. The city was still beautiful; but had become somewhat more menacing. I spent my mornings working as a nanny in one of the suburbs and the afternoons perfecting my French at the Alliance Francaise in the 6e arrondissement. Most of my free time I spent roaming around Paris, discovering every nook and cranny, meticulously following the different walks suggested in Michelin’s Guide Vert. For almost a year, I discovered Paris inside and out. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I’ve returned many times since but this summer was going to be different. I was headed in that direction with my girls and it was their very first time. We only had about 48 hours but I absolutely wanted them to see Paris, even if it was just for a day. It was an incredible experience to watch them get excited, show interest, and wanting to discover more.

Here are a few pictures from our day visiting some of my personal highlights in the city. Enjoy!

carousel, merry-go-round, bercy, paris, aavtravelOur first stop, the carousel at the Parc de Bercy. This is probably Paris’ newest park which is beautiful and consists of 3 different gardens, The Romantic Garden, The Flower Beds and The Meadows. There was no chance we could leave the carousel, without enjoying one of the enormous “barbe à papa” (cotton candy or loosely translated, daddy’s beard).

barbe a papa, cotton candy, paris, bercy, carousel, aavtravelNext on the list was one of my very favorite places in Paris. La Place des Vosges, home to Victor Hugo’s house, located in the area called Le Marais.

le marais, place des vosges, paris, aavtravelplace des vosges, playground, le marais, paris, aavtravella place des Vosges, paris, marais, aavtravelWe headed towards Les Quais de la Seine, the boardwalks by the Seine river where until today, you can find merchants selling old books, magazines, posters and paintings.

quais, seine, marche, livres, paris, aavtravelseine, parisLively St. Michel made for the perfect lunch stop. We opted for Indian food at Le Safran and enjoyed a lovely lunch in their upstairs area.

Indian food, paris, safran, restaurantLe Louvre was already closed when we got there but no matter what, it is beautiful to look at. I remember the controversy of the pyramids when they first installed them and today they are an integral part of these ancient buildings. If you go, make sure to check out La Pyramide Inversée, the inverted pyramid as well, which acts as a skylight.

louvre, paris, aavtravellouvre, pyramides, paris, aavtravellouvre, road, paris, aavtravelWe went on to Le Jardin de Tuileries (the Tuilerie gardens) where the summer carnival was in full swing. We did go on the Ferris wheel which was incredibly overpriced and honestly said, not worth the money. I was however able to get some nice shots. Can you spot La Défense,  Le Musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides, Opéra Garnier and Sacré-Coeur?

tuileries gardens, carnival, jardin des tuileries, paris, aavtraveljardin des tulieries, tuileries, musee d'orsay, paris, gardens, aavtravelmontmartre, opera, paris, tuileries, aerial view, aavtravel, parisDawn was setting in as we headed North to the Montmartre area, one of my absolute favorites because of the incredible view. subway station, metro , louvre rivoli, parisThat evening, it was incredibly busy due to it being Le 14 juillet (Bastille Day).

sacre coeur, montmartre, paris, aavtravelparis, montmartre, view, aavtravelWe decided to head back to the Tuileries to watch the fireworks and walked towards Pigalle where the Moulin Rouge is located.

mourlin rouge, pigalle, paris, aavtravelWe enjoyed the fireworks from a distance and then traveled back to the hotel for a last night in Paris.

eiffel tower, paris, by night, aavtravelBonne nuit mes amis! We had a great time, short but sweet. We will be back!

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelWritten by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner and travel consultant at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm customizing travel itineraries for discerning customers. With her extensive travel experience in France and Paris, she can help you create a wonderful trip. Contact Stefanie at stefanie@aav-travel.com

 

Äscher-Wildkirchli – Hiking in Switzerland’s Appenzell

Have you ever looked at one of the “Most Amazing Places on Earth” lists? If so, you have likely seen an image of the Aescher-Wildkirchli cliff restaurant and guesthouse. The dramatic cliff restaurant is world famous, yet many people don’t know where it is and how to get there.

Äscher Wildkirchli, cliff, restaurant, mountain, guesthouse, Äscher, Aescher WildkirchliOn an early morning in June, my two daughters (8 and 10 years old) head out from Bern for an adventurous day in Appenzell. The air is chilly, especially after days of excruciating heat, but the day promises to be perfect. We are starting with a 3 hour train ride, first-class, among business people headed to Zurich to work. As always, they look at us with a certain curiosity, but we don’t mind, playing cards as we go. The train goes straight to Gossau, and once we pass Zurich, the compartment starts to feel deserted.

Past Zurich, the landscape becomes more and more beautiful. Rolling hills, timbered houses, sunflower fields, cow pastures, and the scenery green and bountiful. In Gossau, we change train to board the smaller Appenzeller Bahn. A 50 minute train ride takes us through an incredibly romantic area of Switzerland. Mountains are green and rounded. Houses are painted with a lot of love and detail. Appenzell is one of the most picturesque and also conservative areas of Switzerland. As a result, it is really well preserved and tradition runs deep.

appenzell, switzerland, aavtravelOnce in Wasserauen we cross the street and arrive at the Ebenalp cable car station. The ride takes us swiftly in the air and quickly gains height. Drastic cliffsides as well as alpine meadows are abundant. The ride takes less than 10 minutes.
ebenalp, appenzell, switzerland, panoramaThe panorama that greets you once you step out of the Ebenalp station is incredible. Green mountain tops as far as the eye can see, snow covered mountains and Lake Constance in the distance. The air you breathe is fresh, the grass greener, and wildflowers abundant. Many cows graze peacefully along our side as we start the descent.

The walk to the Äscher-Wildkirchli only takes about 15 minutes, but is exciting on many levels. After crossing the pasture, it quickly descends to the prehistoric Wildkirchl Caves which you cross via a safe path and then leads to the ancient hermit dwellings. The hermits that settled here in the early 1600 would accompany travelers through the caves for safe passage.  The caves are dark and despite some lights you might want to bring your own flashlight. Past the dwellings you then come to the actual chapel, dating back to 1621, built into the mountain side.
Äscher-Wildkirchli, wildkirchli, Äscher, Appenzell, cliff, mountains, switzerland, aavtravelÄscher-Wildkirchli, wildkirchli, Äscher, Appenzell, cliff, mountains, switzerland, aavtravelAround the bend you go and there it is, the world famous Aescher-Wildkirchli Gasthaus. The Äscher-Wildkirchli is a restaurant as well as simple guesthouse with a few dormitory style beds. It is built directly into the cliffside and some of its back wall is bare rock. The guesthouse dates back to the 1800 when hermits and milkers (Sennen) started serving simple food and drinks. It turned into an actual guesthouse in early 1900.

Äscher-Wildkirchli, wildkirchli, Äscher, Appenzell, cliff, mountains, switzerland, aavtravelFrom here you can either return up to the Ebenalp cable car station or start your hike down towards Unterauen. The hike takes about 2 hours, and is very steep at times.

ebenalp, appenzell, alpstein, aavtravel, switzerlandWe decided to embrace the challenge and started our hike towards Wasserauen. It was an excellent time although due to the constant descent, very challenging towards the end.

ebenalp, appenzell, alpstein, aavtravel, switzerlandebenalp, appenzell, alpstein, aavtravel, switzerlandebenalp, appenzell, alpstein, aavtravel, switzerland

alpstein, appenzell, switzerland, cows, alps, alpine, mountains, aavtravelThe way down is steep and not always clearly indicated. Beautiful views, spectacular alpine scenery, many colorful wildflowers accompanied our way, and we also made new friends…

 

ebenalp, appenzell, alpstein, aavtravel, switzerland, cow

ebenalp, appenzell, alpstein, aavtravel, switzerlandWe did get lost on our way and ended up in Weissbad instead of Wasserauen which wasn’t really a problem since the train back to Gossau stopped there as well. It was a wonderful day-trip which we will treasure forever. All in all, it took us a full day (12 hours) from Bern, and we slept very well that night.

Ebenalp/Aescher-Wildkirchli makes for a wonderful day-trip from many cities in Switzerland. Here are a few things you will want to watch out for:

  • Weather in altitude is generally cooler and can change in an instant. Be prepared.
  • Bring a picnic. There is nothing more beautiful than to sit on an alpine meadow and have a snack. Don’t forget a little trash bag so you don’t leave anything behind.
  • Your shoes need good tread. The terrain is steep, there are rocks, gravel, and steps. Make sure your shoes snug tightly to your feet and your gear is adequate.
  • Trail indications are not the best. Our rule of thumb: As long as you go downhill you are going the right way.
  • You will be walking through cow pastures. Before you decide to touch a cow, assess the situation. If the animal seems restless or scared, do not attempt to approach and touch it.
  • The trail requires a certain level of fitness. You do not need to be a professional athlete, but it is very steep at times and if you have issues with your knees or back it is definitely not recommended.
  • You can do the trail with your children, however they need to be old enough to hike on their own and you need to feel comfortable to let them run a little risk every now and then. One of my girls stumbled, one slid and fell on her butt. Some tears were shed but we survived and have some beautiful memories. My daughter told me afterwards that it made her feel stronger.
  • Make sure you factor in the travel time. From Bern the train ride to Wasserauen takes about 3 hours. From Zurich it will take about 2 hours. Depending on where you are, it will be shorter or longer.
  • How to get there? You first need to travel to Gossau (St. Gallen). From there you take the Appenzeller Bahn to Wasserauen. The Ebenalp cablecar ground station is located right across the street. The adult roundtrip cablecar ride prices at roughly 15 CHF.

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelWritten by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner and travel consultant at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specializing in customizing travel itineraries for discerning customers. Being originally from Switzerland makes her an expert and she can help you create a wonderful trip. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

 

Discover the Dominican Republic on an Outback Safari Adventure

It is easy to close your eyes and not even try to understand the country you are traveling to, or the conditions people are living in. Spending a week at a luxurious all-inclusive, sipping on a cocktail, eating at your heart’s desire, relaxing under a swaying palm tree. Paradise, right?

zoetry agua, pool, punta cana, honeymoon, ocean, aavexplorationsHowever, there is always someone that calls paradise their home and might not be living the same life of luxury. I would like to hope that all my clients have a certain respect and consideration for the destination they are visiting. Tourism is vital to many Caribbean islands and we can make a huge impact on the quality of life the people have, particularly the children.

On my recent trip to the Dominican Republic I was introduced to the Outback Safari Adventures company. This company is not only interesting because you get to see parts of the Dominican Republic, its culture and what it has to offer, but the company also believes in sustainable tourism and makes a huge difference in the communities they serve.

outback advenure safari, dominican republic, punta canaThe tour is conducted in an open-air school bus and offers a great way to leave Punta Cana’s resort area behind and discover the real Dominican Republic. It is a wonderful and safe excursion for both adults and children, however, pregnant women are not allowed on the tour and people with back problems should also stay clear. The road gets very bumpy at times and the old school bus does not offer the best shock-absorbers.

OutbackAdventure013 outback safari adventures, dominican republic, village, aavtravel, punta cana OutbackAdventure012I love soaking up everything a destination has to offer and felt that driving through the different villages was very exciting. After about an hour we stopped to visit a local school to make some donations. Donations are not given to the children, but to the teacher as to avoid that the children will become beggars. Your donation allows the teacher to buy school supplies and sweets for her classroom. When making donations, remember to bring small bills, as it is very hard to exchange even $5 or $10 bills in the rural areas. Instead of money, you can also bring actual school supplies.

outback safari adventures, dominican republic, village, aavtravel, punta cana, school OutbackAdventure016Stopping at the village school and meeting the children was definitely one of the highlights of the tour. The school we visited consisted of one classroom in which all grades were being taught.

Next stop was Outback Safari Adventures’ own animal sanctuary as well as a crafting village. There you get to see Iguanas, crocodiles, as well as a cigar maker at his work. There are several local products for sale. There is absolutely no pressure to buy and the goods are really well priced. From the famous Mama Juana to handmade jewelry, carvings, lotions, and creams you are sure to find something to take home. Best of all, your money is not going to a resort but straight back into the local community. Here the company also serves a snack or lunch which was wonderful.

outback safari adventures, dominican republic, village, aavtravel, punta cana, iguanaOn your tour you will also stop in a local home where you can learn about sugar cane, cocoa and coffee.

outback safari adventures, dominican republic, village, aavtravel, punta cana, cocoaThe way back will take you through more villages and many opportunities to snap pictures.

outback safari adventures, dominican republic, village, aavtravel, punta cana OutbackAdventure022 OutbackAdventure023 OutbackAdventure021At the end of the tour you get to dip your toes in the sand and for those who like to, swim at one of the Dominican Republic’s beautiful beaches.

outback safari adventures, dominican republic, village, aavtravel, punta canaOutback Safari Adventures truly offers a great tour if you want to leave your resort behind and experience the real Dominican Republic for a day. I would recommend it to anyone traveling to the area. You can book your tour through the resort or online at Outback Safari Adventures.

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelWritten by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is a Honeymoon & Destination Weddings Specialist. She is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

 

Early morning glimpse of Alaska’s Inside Passage

6am, the ship’s hallway is very quiet and empty. Bundled up with wind-proof jackets, gloves, and hats we make it outside to the upper deck. As you come out, the air is crisp, the wind stiff, the view and lighting is slowly but surely emerging. Our big cruise ship all of a sudden seems miniscule. There is water, islands, and mountains as far as the eye can see, and nothing else. There seems to be no one out there, except for our co-cruisers of course, early risers that are here to hopefully spot a humpback whale or maybe even a killer whale. The view is magnificent. Rays of sunlight perching through the cloudy sky, lighting up a mountain side, or a spot in the ocean. Just like in an art gallery, the sun highlights different natural masterpieces.

alaska, ocean, inside passage, princess cruise, crown princessThis morning we are sailing into the northern portion of the Inside Passage on our way to Juneau. After a choppy night out on the Northern Pacific we have made it to the calmer, more protected waters. Never ending pine forests and steep glacier carved mountainsides, icebergs, waterfalls, and sometimes a small glaciers. Since we are sailing early in the season we also get to see some snow. Later on, July and August, it will be gone. Looking at the stunning countryside one wonders why nobody inhabits the little islands that scatter all over. It would be the perfect place for someone trying to escape from the world, leading a life dictated by the sun and working for survival only. The lack of fresh water, however, prevents just this. There is very little potable water available in the area and hence it is as unspoiled and untouched as it was thousands of years ago.
sun, rays, ocean, alaska, inside passage, cruise, aavtravel alaska, ocean, views, cruise, princess, aavtravelLater today we are reaching Juneau, Alaska’s State Capital. On this first morning along the Inside Passage we did spot some humpback whales as well as schools of porpoises riding the waves alongside our vessel. We even spotted a bush pilot, hero of the last frontier. Alas, the killer whales will have to wait for another day, but no matter, Alaska already worked its magic. There is no falling out of love with it now.
alaska, inside passage, ocean, cruise ship, princess, aavtravelstefanie pichonnat aavtravel
Written by STEFANIE
PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is a Princess Cruise Lines Certified Expert at AAV Travel. With her personal experience in Alaska she can help you create and customize a personalized travel itinerary. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

My “Daily Burn” or how to stay fit even when you travel

Everybody is busy. Oftentimes so much that we don’t have time to take care of ourselves. So for once this isn’t about a destination, it is about making you feel good – always, before you travel, or during your travels.

As a business owner, single mom and frequent traveler, my days feel busy and my schedule is unpredictable. Going to a gym, or joining  a fitness class, is more of a hassle than a benefit, simply because it steals way too much of my time and I am not always sure I can make it. However, that all changed about a year ago, when I discovered Daily Burn.

dailyburn, workout, fitness, travel, on the goDaily Burn is your stream of customized workouts. I am sure you are familiar with Netflix or Hulu. This is kind of similar. You create an account, log in your basic health stats, choose a fitness level and then get to select a workout program that fits you and your personality. The beauty of it is that you can exercise at any time, wherever you want. Whether you stream it on your tv, use a tablet, or, heck, even on your phone. It is crazy convenient!
dailyburn, program, workout, fitnessYou can even take it on the road. Daily Burn streams pretty much anywhere around the globe, provided you have a good wifi connection. China and Russia are exceptions and there might be some others. Granted, you might not be up for a 50 minute workout everyday you travel, but there are always shorter workouts available. They allow you to keep your fitness level up whilst being away.

Or, let’s just say your significant other planned one of these spontaneous beach getaways and you feel your body is not quite up for the beach parade. And yes, I actually have clients that told me exactly that. There are plenty of short and very efficient programs that make you see changes in as little as three weeks provided you follow them.

In addition to your workout, Daily Burn also offers meal plans and recipes to go with your program. So if you are really serious about this, you have every tool to take it to the next level.

daily burn, workout, fitnessDaily Burn offers a free month trial before you commit. If you are busy and are looking for something that will help you keep fit, then this might just be the answer. However, these are a few things I think will influence your success:

  • Daily Burn means working out on your own. If you need a group of people to motivate you, cheer you on, or keep you accountable, you might struggle with this concept.
  • Make sure to be safe and execute the exercises properly. If in doubt, schedule an appointment with a fitness instructor so they can show you how to properly exercise.
  • Every Daily Burn exercise ends with a cool down but those are usually short. If you work your body hard, don’t forget to take some extra time and stretch.

Daily Burn has allowed me to stay healthy and fit without having to compromise my schedule or making me say “I don’t have time to work out”. I am super excited to try it on the road this summer, from Alaska to the Dominican Republic and on to Europe, I will be able to stream my program and get my workout in. It is much easier and more fun to travel when you feel healthy and fit!

Have you tried Daily Burn? How do you feel about it? I would love to hear your comments.

Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Avid daily burner and owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

dailyburn, stefanie pichonnat, aavtravel

 

10 Reasons why Bern makes the perfect hub when traveling to Switzerland

Being originally from Switzerland it is only natural that I feel very passionate about this topic. Not only do I help many clients with their trip to this mountainous country but I also return home on a regular basis.

switzerland, matterhorn, cervin, alps, suisse, aavexplorations, aavtravel

Image credit: swiss-image.ch//Max Schmid

When asked what they would like to see in Switzerland, most of my clients start with Interlaken, Lucerne, Zurich and Zermatt. What they don’t understand, is that despite the small size of Switzerland, it is not necessarily easy and fast to get from one point to the next. The Alps pretty much split Switzerland in half and many times you have to travel around the mountains before you can get to a specific place. This is why I always recommend having a hub. Not only does it mean you don’t have to pack and unpack all the time, but it also allows you to adjust your itinerary depending on weather. Personally I also think it is very important that you get to experience Switzerland versus simply taking as many pictures as possible.

fondue, switzerland, cheese, aavtravelImage credit: swiss-image.ch/Christian Perret

Bern is the underdog when it comes to the list of destinations promoted by the Swiss Tourism Board. However, I think it actually deserves to be on top because of its central location.

Here are 10 reasons why Bern makes an excellent hub when traveling to Switzerland:

  • Bern is the Gateway to the Bernese Alps
    Granted, many say it is Interlaken and it is true, Interlaken is closer, depending on where exactly you want to go that is. Wherever you want to go in the Bernese Alps, you will either have to go through Spiez or Interlaken. Both destinations are reached in approximately 1 hour scenic train ride from Bern.

Bern, Switzerland, alps, junfrau, eiger, aavtravelImage credit: swiss-image.ch/Christof Sonderegger

  • Bern is the gateway to the French part of Switzerland
    Whether you want to visit one of the cities like Lausanne or Montreux, or visit the Gruyeres cheese dairy or Cailler chocolate factory, explore the vineyards of the Lavaux, a comfortable train ride of approximately an hour will take you there.
  • Bern is the gateway to Zermatt and the Matterhorn
    Without doubt, the Matterhorn is one of Switzerland’s most famous mountains. Zermatt is a charming mountain village to explore. In 2006 the Lötschberg Base Tunnel opened and cut the travel time from Bern to Zermatt in half. Instead of having to travel around the mountain range, you can now cross via one of the longest tunnels, approximately 35km/22 miles. It takes approximately 2 hours to travel from Bern to Zermatt via train.
  • Bern is a UNESCO Heritage town
    Founded in 1191 (almost 100 years before Switzerland was founded) the medieval town was developed over several centuries. The Old Town dates back to the 15th and 16th century and retains much of its original character. Not only does it offer wonderful sights like Bern’s Clock Tower or the Muenster but it also boasts numerous medieval fountains, all spouting potable drinking water.

bern, altstadt, old town, medieval, aare, switzerland, aavtravelImage credit: ST/swiss-image.ch/Terence du Fresne

  • Bern is perfect for rainy days
    Why you might ask? Bern’s Old Town is lined with 6 km/4 miles of arcades which are not only beautiful and unique, but make shopping on a rainy day a breeze.
  • Bern is very pedestrian friendly
    Cars can only drive in the heart of the Old Town with a special permit. The locals travel around either via the public tram and bus system, ride their bikes, or walk. It is a pleasure to stroll through Bern on foot. When you get tired you hop on a tram. It is as simple as that.

bern, switzerland, zytglogge, cobble stone street, aavtravelImage credit: swiss-image.ch/Jan Geerk

  • Bern is perfect for a workout
    The Old Town of Bern sits on an elevated peninsula surrounded by the River Aare. Throughout hundreds of years, the river has carved out the valley surrounding the Old Town. Today, many staircases connect the lower river level with the upper Old Town. A perfect way to burn calories whilst sightseeing. Oh, and you can always climb the Muenster tower, the 222 stone steps should do the trick.
  • Bern is home to the Paul Klee museum
    The Zentrum Paul Klee features about 40% of all of Paul Klee’s pictorial oeuvre. Apart from the large collection of excellent artwork it is also an architectural masterpiece by Renzo Piano. Three undulations perfectly blend into the green countryside.

bern, market, switzerland, flowers, aavtravelImage credit: swiss-image.ch/Stephan Engler

  • Die Berner – The Locals
    When traveling Switzerland you will quickly understand that despite the small size of the country, there are quite a few differences between the cities and areas. Many Swiss say that the Bernese are slow. I will argue that this is inaccurate. The Bernese are simply less driven than, let’s say people from Zurich. Not because they are lazy, but because they want to enjoy life. They strive to find a balance between career and happiness. Why is that good for you? No matter what you wear, you will get by in Bern. People here are casual and relaxed. No need to fret over a not so fancy wardrobe.

bern, switzerland, dinner, restaurant, aavtravelImage credit: ST/swiss-image.ch

  • Bern’s Outdoor Spaces
    Whether it is a stroll along the river Aare, a pic-nic on the Bundesterrasse, or an ice cream in the beautiful Rosengarten overlooking the Old Town, Bern is an outdoor town and people enjoy the fresh air. You will find them sitting outside at restaurants, you will find them sitting on the lawn enjoying the sun. You will even find kids playing in the 26 fountain display (representing the 26 Swiss cantons) located right in front of Switzerland’s Parliament. Bern is absolutely fantastic for anyone who loves to be outside.

bern, switzerland, muensterplatform, aare, aavtravelImage credit: ST/swiss-image.ch

Have you been to Bern? Want to go? Have a question? Feel free to comment below, I would love to hear your feedback!

stefanie pichonnat aavtravel

Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat has been creating customized vacations to Switzerland for 8 years. She is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com