Caves, Castles and Explosives: Exploring Central Switzerland As A New Expat

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been living in Switzerland for almost three weeks now! Week three has seen me growing by leaps and bounds. I still haven’t learned anymore German, but check out all the other neat things I’ve done!

Checked out the mysterious and beautiful Hollgrotten Caves in the wilderness of Baar. I love this picture, to me it was almost like wandering around inside Antonio Gaudi’s dreams. Parts of the caves are illuminated with LED lights set to oscillate gently with some atmospheric music. The effect was incredible.


I could’ve sat there and watched it all day long. But caves are kinda cold and damp. The caves were just as magical without the help of any LED lights though. Check it out!


Magnificent brain stalagmite, surrounded by natural spring water.


Supercool Stalactites. The informational guide said that this particular type is fossilized water and tree roots. Amazeballs!

Getting to the caves is an experience in and of itself. For us it involved a short bus ride out into the countryside, and then some serious wandering in some of this gorgeous Swiss nature I’ve been hearing about. There was some serious, the hills are alive, level vistas going on, and we’re not very good at following directions, so we got hopelessly lost.

But on the way we got to see this:


And this!

The entire time, I felt pretty much like this guy:

It all ended up okay though. I acosted a nice Swiss lady walking her dog by a corn field and asked her for directions. Tuned out we needed to keep walking down into the ravine toward the river instead of up. Lesson learned. And the caves were well worth the confusion.

So let’s see, what else happened this week?

I got my internet, phone and bank account set up!

I discovered that we recycle by horse drawn covered wagon here in Switzerland!


I experienced the awesomeness of August 1st, the Swiss national holiday. For us it involved festivities and fireworks on Lake Zug.

And it involved music! I have no idea who this band is, but check out this bassonist going to town!

The sister and I took an incredible trip to the Italian speaking area of Switzerland to go Castle-spotting at Bellinzona.


If you love castles, this is definitely worth the trip. Heck, the mega picturesque train ride is alone is worth it! I’ve been to a lot of castles in my time, I’ve even lived in one for a brief period of time, but I have never been to one like Castlegrande Bellinzona. The grounds are enormous but what’s really special is how visitors can walk extensively on the ramparts and battlements, just like real soldiers from the middle ages! I was all ready to fire arrows and pour hot oil on my enemies after that, let me tell you.

We didn’t check out the other two castles, but we did indulge in some delicious Italian food before making our way home. All in all, it was incredible.

And now I’m back home organizing my flat for the upcoming school year. (Oh yes, I’ll actually be working while I’m here. Novel idea, that.) I’ve gone through generations of random junk from past tenants, junked some of it, and banished a whole bunch of redundant clutter to the basement. Today’s big triumph was cleaning out the storage room and creating a clean, spare and sunny place for yoga and meditation. I’ve decorated a bit too. At this rate, my little castle will be ship shape for the beginning of the school year.

Day after day I feel more and more at home here. Switzerland and Swiss people are really growing on me. The best part is, that I know this is just the beginning. There’s an awesome adventure just around the corner for me. I can’t wait.

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