Aug 23, 2011 - 5:47 PM
Greetings to Arno, Annika and all posters, as promised a brief? report on our recent trip to Switzerland in case our experiences are of interest or help to anyone. Unfortunately the weather was changeable so we didn’t go up in the mountains as much as usual but thanks to my pre-trip research we had other plans we could use. We spent the first week in a hotel in Biel/Bienne, conveniently located 5 mins from railway station. All the places we visited this week were new to us and included a 3-lake cruise, a visit to Papiliorama to see butterflies and more (a wet day), walking the vine path above Lake Biel (in deference to our age in 2 trips – from Biel to Twann one day and La Neuveville to Twann on another!) We also got up very early one day to get to Montreux early enough to do the Chocolate train trip – highly recommended.
The next two weeks were spent in the more familiar area of the Bernese Oberland staying in a fabulous holiday apartment in Thun – still a new experience as we had not done self-catering before. We enjoyed shopping in the excellent Coop supermarket and for fresh salad and fruit in Thun’s street market. We visited some favourite places like Mannlichen, Kandersteg, Brienz, Lauerbrunnen, Wengen, Grindelwald Interlaken, Beatenberg etc., cruised on Lake Thun, paid a second visit to the Roman museum in Kaiseraugst near Basel, but also visited new places like Brig and the amazing Stockalper Schloss there. We went to Lucerne and across the lake to Vitznau to go up Mt. Rigi then down via Aard-Gothau, back to Lucerne and taking pretty route back via Meiringen and Interlaken. On Aug 1st we went on the special parade of boats cruise on Lake Thun with attendant firework displays en route – a fabulous experience. One Saturday we went by train to Domodossola to visit the huge market and came back to Brig by postbus over the Simplon Pass – another first though we have visited the market before. All in all as usual we had a wonderful time and have already booked 3 weeks in the Thun holiday apartment – our hosts were very welcoming and kind and we got on very well despite my less than perfect German!
People say Switzerland is very expensive but we spent less than we expected, finding excellent places to have lunch in all the various locations we visited and enjoying fresh salads and cheese or ham etc in the evenings. Because we had the Swiss Saver Pass almost all our travel was already paid for ( the rest discounted) and got us a discount in the hotel in Biel – in fact our 3 weeks this year cost us less than our usual 2 week stay in a hotel. My advice to visitors is to make use of this site before you set off for ideas for your excursions and also use the internet in general to find out what the attractions are in the places you are interested in. That way you can be flexible and adapt to weather conditions and not waste any of the precious time you have in the beautiful country that is Switzerland. Many thanks to all contributors to this forum for ideas and advice. Best wishes, Maggie