Ethan Hampton

Autumn Break Trip 2022

I spent my autumn break exploring London, Geneva, Zermatt, Bern, Lucerne, and Zurich. It was a lot of fun and I know that I learned a lot on my adventures. The following pictures are some of the highlights of the trip and document some of the experiences I had.

You can click the panoramas to open the full version of them for easier viewing!

Note that this has been edited for public viewing and does not constitute every single thing I did. The overall experience of the trip remains, but some crucial details have been removed. The internet is forever and privacy should be respected.


I started my trip in London after landing at Gatwick on the evening of October 13th. I got to take the new Elizabeth Tube line to my hotel. The new Elizabeth Tube line

Day 1

On my first full day, I explored the area around Westminster. I saw Big Ben, Westminster Abby, Buckinham Palace, the London Eye, 10 Downing Street and all the “big” stuff in the area. There was a climate protest happening in the afternoon so I decided to go back to my hotel, take a nap, then head to the British Museum for the afternoon.
Big Ben

The front of the British Museum
The British Museum was a great experience. Definitely didn’t have time to see everything, but I did my best to see a little of many things. I find myself drawn to history more and more as I grow up. I find the story of how civilization developed to be fascinating, especially things that help to demonstrate the scale of civilization thousands of years ago.

As I was returning, I saw a street fair just a block away from where I was staying. I decided to return there for dinner and just to hang out for a bit. The theme was global culture so there was food, music and dancing from many different parts of the world. It was a really good way to end my first full day in London and left me feeling energized for the days ahead.

Day 2

In the morning I grabbed coffee with another Mac-town native, then headed to a local sustainability event. We each got a bottle of locally produced beer (and had some great conversations)!
A bottle of Energy Garden Ale

Mid-afternoon, we headed to Camden Market where we did a bit of shopping, met some other folks studying in London and grabbed food (fish & chips, duh).

Finally, we barely made it in time to the theater and bought tickets at the door to see “& Juliet” which answered the question “What if Juliet hadn’t killed herself at the end of Romeo & Juliet?”. The musical was phenomenal and will be coming to Broadway at the end of this month!


Day 3 (Geneva)

I flew to Switzerland and landed in Geneva by late afternoon. I decided to explore the area around the complex of U.N. offices with the remaining daylight. I also walked through the botanical gardens and alongside the lake. It was very peaceful walking along the lake during golden hour, taking in all the sights along the way.

Panorama from the West side of Lake Geneva looking East in Geneva

Day 4 (Zermatt)

I woke up early for a 4 hour train ride up the Alps towards Zermatt. Normally this costs significant money, but I had a 4 day unlimited travel pass which paid for itself many times over across the time I was in Switzerland. I was immediately rewarded with spectacular views from the train as it meandered towards the town.

Once I got into town, the views continued to be spectacular.
Taken looking South in Zermatt with the river in the foreground and the Matterhorn in the background during fall

After a quick lunch, I made my way up Klein Matterhorn in 3 different ski lifts/cable cars over the course of 45 minutes. The elevation at the top is 3,883 meters or 12,739 feet. That’s about 1,500 feet higher than the top of Mount Hood in Oregon!

There was also a small cave with ice sculptures that tourists could explore. Cold, but it was worth it!

Panorama looking North from the top of Klein Matterhorn (Matterhorn Glacier Paradise viewpoint)

And then back down the mountain!

The trains getting back were a bit of a mess, but it was all sorted in the end. I ended up eating at an Indian place in Visp (about an hour by train from Zermatt) while waiting for things to settle down.

Day 5 (Bern)

This was my laziest day, since I had a fairly packed schedule up to this point. I was originally going to visit Lausanne but I decided that it didn’t make sense given my travel constraints and energy levels at the time. So instead, I explored the city of Bern! It was still very enjoyable and was time well-spent.

Day 6 (Lucerne/Zurich)

For my final full day, I headed to Lucerne with the idea that I would head up Mount Pilatus for a final view over the Swiss landscape. The weather had other plans, with heavy fog in the morning. So instead, I just explored the city for a bit before heading back to Zurich.

I enjoyed exploring Zurich and spent time window shopping all the shops offering $60,000+ watches.

I finished the day off with some chocolate :)
Bag of Laderach chocolate

Day 7 (Heading Home)

I had to wake up quite early to catch my 7am flight back to Denmark from Zurich’s airport. I came right back to my dorm and took a nap. Now I’m spending my remaining break time catching up on homework and procrastinating on catching up on homework.

Also, on a whim I ended up shaving off my goatee. We’ll see how I like that decision moving forward!


I added up my walking totals each day, and it turns out that I walked over 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) during the week. And honestly, it felt great! I walked or used public transit (excluding flights) to get around during the week. It was awesome to see how different cultures approach their public transit.

This trip was absolutely amazing. I learned so much and have several different things I know I want to change in my life as a result. I try to see the world through multiple lens and the lens I ended up focusing on this trip was community. I saw different forms and methods of community in each place I visited. Each city had unique ways that they fostered happiness and well-being in their communities. Every decision, from zoning law to font choices on signs all go into creating a healthy environment for community. Communities can be different for temporary visitors like myself and long term inhabitants, which can be an additional struggle. In the same way we need many valid solutions to solve climate change, there are also many valid “solutions” needed to create a community that feels right. “A community that feels right” is a hard thing to objectively define, but it’s a vision I want to work towards and do a better job of seeking out wherever I am in the world.

The physical world is just as impressive. I saw landscapes that were breathtakingly beautiful and buildings that were completely overwhelming. It makes me happy to know that each corner of the Earth will forever have individual styles and flavors of physical creation.

So yeah. This was an amazing trip (though not without faults) and a solo experience I’m glad I was able to pursue. Who knows what the future holds, but I know it is as bright as ever. What a way to spend break!

Thoughts and Ideas

Subscribe to my collection of internet links, thoughts and ideas, delivered straight to your inbox