I just loved the beauty of Switzerland. It’s hard to describe but I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures. The green hills and snow capped mountains. The chalets. The villages in the valleys and along the hilltops. The winding roads and rustic fences. The quaint and serene log houses and shops.
In Interlaken, though, there is a busy shopping district and grand, opulent five-star hotels. I enjoyed roaming the town and taking the train to the lake cafe. Having brunch under the trees while families were rowing in their boats and canoes nearby. It was very relaxing.
You are quite astute. We had indeed purposefully planned to hit Interlaken in Switzerland and Chamonix in France during our trip. This was due to advice and recommendations from fellow traveler friends on blogs and YouTube. Our plan was to even hit Venice along the way. But all hotels in and around Venice were booked solid that weekend. In this regard, we failed by not planning ahead and booking Venice hotel. We were on a tight schedule (each day was mapped out in our itinerary) and we had to keep driving. Which is why we settled for hotel in nearby Trieste.
After Italy, our plan wasn’t to do much touristy things UNTIL we get to Istanbul. Plan was to spend 3-4 days in Istanbul. It’s a unique city. East meets West in the truest sense! Literal meeting point of Asia and Europe. You will see women in full burqa as well as women in tank tops and shorts and it’s all the norm.
Anyways due to time constraints and a carefully outlined itinerary, we decided to prioritize Interlaken, Chamonix, Venice, and Istanbul. The breakaway republics of former Yugoslavia (and Eastern Europe in general) we decided to just drive through until night fell and we could find a roadside hotel. Even though these drives themselves, during the day, were quite scenic (along the Adriatic Sea) and through farms and villages.