Hi Jane- Here are some thoughts on subjects where I can comment.
I typed them in MS Word, and copied in here. The formatting was lost....perhaps you had the same problem. The links may have to be cut and pasted into your browser window. Some may not have reformatted correctly. Sorry if that is the case. I'm doing a bit of reformatting.
10 Dec Zurich [Stay at Zurich] – planning a day trip here, are there any special Christmasevents?As you note below, Basel has whatmay be the largest Christmas Market in Switzerland. However, there is a nice one in the main station at Zürich, starting early in December. It is nice to have it concentrated in one location. But, it is still cold….the station is not heated. Quite a change from the climate in Singapore. I enjoy walking around the old town of Zürich on both sides of the river. The frequent and convenient trams help to get around. You can get information on day tickets,transit maps, etc., from the office of the Zürich Transit System, (ZVV, Zürich VerkehrsVerein) recently relocated to a new section of the “Shopville” under the station.
On the west bank, a small hill holds the Lindenhof, which was fortified by the Romans. It has nice views over the river to the universities. Other parts of the old town are nearby. Between there and St. Peter’s church are lots of old streets to wander. The well-known Bahnhofstrasse shopping street is a few streets to the east of there. It is nicely decorated for Christmas.
Across the river is the Niederdorf (“lower village”) part of the old town.
I like Zürich best of all the Swiss cities, but it is not so much for what a tourist sees in one day. It rewards staying there and getting to knowall the cultural and culinary resources.
11 Dec [Stay at Zurich] Day trip toSt Gallen/Appenzell - any idea if there is a day tripticket I can purchase since I am thinking of doing both towns? Should I focuson one? I love libraries so I am definitely going for Stiftsbibliothek.
I don’t know about the daycard. This might help:
The information is surely on the SBB website somewhere, but you might have to dig.
Arno and Annika (The forum moderators) are the experts on that sort of thing.
(I hold a Swiss residents 3 year Half Fare Card – a so called Halb Abo or Halbtax card) - and it offers day tickets. This is the card for residents, is being altered to a new type of card, and is different from yours - www.myswissalps.com/ swisshalffarecard When I have gotten day tickets, it has required a lot of travel to justify the cost. I am not sure that Zürich- St. Gallen-Appenzell –Zürich would justify one, but that is just a guess.)
St. Gallen – The Stiftsbiblithek (and cathedral) is worth a journey. It is about a 5-10minute walk from the station. The old town of St. Gallen surrounds it and is anice place to walk around.If possible, have a meal at the very old and very Swiss Weinstube zum Bäumli near the cathedral and library.
and, www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/st-gallen.html
I have not explored Appenzell thoroughly. We went in the summer, as aside trip from a visit to Ebenalp. I think that the main square and small old own are the main attractions, and, can be seen in a couple of hours or less. However, others may have more to say.
12 Dec [Stay at Zurich] Day trip to either Rheinfall or Basel – I’m notsure if Rheinfall is worth visiting during winter (frozen waterfall?) so Iplanned for Basel for the christmas markets.
I have no opinion on the Rheinfall.
Basel has a lot to see in addition to the Christmas markets. Unless it is frozen, the Tingueley water sculpture is definitely worth a look. There are some excellent art museums. If that interests you, the Rietberg , near the German border, is stunning. A bit of a tram ride (with connections that confused me the first time) and a short walk. Ask at tourist info in the mainstation. Every time I have been there,the same bored lady was the staff at the Tourist Info desk, but she was thorough and provided good information on how to get around. If you go for the markets, just walk.
Trains (plus) schedules.
Some of your questions on travel are best answered by using the timetable, which covers all modes of public transportation
Other timetables may not include all of the means of transport, such as cable cars. Use the genuine Swiss article ;-)
If you want to see if a particular “ski” lift is running on a particular day, it can provide the answer. That is useful,because in your first days in Switzerland, some of the high alpine services may not have re-started after their mid-season break. By the time you come back, they should be running. They are needed for Mürren. However, it is wise to check because some services close for maintenance at various times in the winter.
I would use it to check on your question about travel from Grindelwald on the 22nd, and will do so later.That’s a start.