- David Filice
Travel Blog: Switzerland and Paris!
Let me start this by saying I love Switzerland! I remember first going there in 2011 to play a music festival, and it has been one of my favorite places since. I mean, the chocolate alone is enough to fly all the way there. I don’t know how or what they do to it, but if you’ve had it (and like chocolate) then you know what I’m talking about. And you can bet I stocked up on my way out. But beyond the chocolate, it’s just beautiful, pleasant, and unique.
This visit, we had a show in Pontresina, which is a ski town about 4 hours from Zurich airport. I was excited looking at the itinerary that we were going to be taking a train from the airport to Pontresina. I thought, okay that is going to be amazing to ride a train through Switzerland, and look out the window as we wind our way through the alps. And it was definitely that! The only drawback is it took four trains to get there, and some with very tight (3 minutes) connections. After a long transatlantic flight originating in Los Angeles, and with a large suitcase, a bass, and my flight pack in tow, it provided a bit of an extra challenge. But nonetheless, it was still everything I had hoped for as far as views of green pastures and those mountains heading up to Pontresina. My crew and I finally arrived there around 4pm, and hopped in a nice quick 5 minute transport to the hotel. What a gorgeous area! Although they had a much than lower snow pack this year so it wasn’t quite covered in the soft blanket of powder I was expecting. The hotel was called Hotel Saratz, and it was European charming. As soon as you enter the lobby you are greeted by friendly staff, a beautiful paint and bar, and a warm fireplace crackling in the lobby. The rooms are nice and comfy, with a full size tub and beautiful view. And their breakfast European buffet was incredible every morning. They even had a juicer and a basket of fruits and vegetables to make your own healthy concoction. The hotel is also equipped with a great indoor heated pool, and both steam and dry sauna. If I was in the area I’d definitely stay here again.
After a 24 hour day of traveling with layovers I was pretty hungry getting to the hotel. Pontresina has one strip of shops and restaurants and they all close very early. One in particular didn’t seem to want us there at all. The food was delectable though. I just had a burger but it was one of the best I’ve ever had. And everyone else had pretty rave reviews for their meal that night. Fortunately there is one grocery store close, but that closes at 6pm too. Being jet lagged and also cause I tend to keep vampire hours at home, I knew I’d need to stock up for the night and settle in. And good thing I did cause I was up bright and early at 3:30am. Even had a really nice conversation with the hotel’s midnight desk operator named Pavel about life and travel. The next day was a show day and it consisted of going in the sauna for a minute, a quick snow sled run on the hill behind the hotel, and catching short nap bursts so I wouldn’t be too tired for work. And I needed it because the show turned out to be four hours with little or no red bull lol. But it went great nonetheless and everyone had a great time. Sometimes I look at my bass when I am playing or traveling and say, who knew practicing and jamming along to Rush albums when I was a teenager would lead to here. But it did and this was a good one.
We played a good show. And the next day headed to the train station to do the route in reverse. The nice thing was, on our way back, I had a 12 hour layover in Paris! So after making the four train treck back we landed in Paris at around 9pm and got a few hours and a good French dinner in. I had some of the best spaghetti bolognese I’ve had in a long time at this cafe right near the Eiffel Tower. This was my first time being in Paris and I wanted to take in as much as I had time for. I thought I was gonna hit a ton of things but I ended up having dinner and taking a nice walk around the area, sitting under the tower in amazement and appreciation. The next day it was time to head home. It was a quick three day trip. Not many occupations do you go to Europe just for the weekend. But as I’ve said before about this job, I’ve been to a LOT of places for a short period of time. And this was no exception. What a wonderful weekend though. And I always love going to Europe. It never gets old. Was this one of the hotels and places I would pay to go back to. Probably not. The hotel was lovely and the area is so beautiful. If I was in the area I’d definitely stay here again. But unless it was to actually ski and stay for a few days, I’d say this was a bit out of the way logistically to go on a separate trip to get there. Although, it might be worth it just to get more Swiss Chocolate!