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2 week Swiss trip with baby & rental car (Sept)


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Apmer01
Apmer01
6 posts
new member
Oct 11, 2018 - 3:04 PM

The most important thing: research everything and anything. When I look back at our trip this step was the most imperative in getting most out of our trip.

We are: Two adults in our 20s, and a 10 month old.

A note on driving vs rail: We decided not to buy any passes for the rail as we rented a car for our two weeks. I was a little apprehensive about renting a car in Switzerland as I had read many warning/negatives (expensive, speed cameras etc). None of this was true. I am an average driver (from Florida!!! We have zero laws, no one yields to anyone) and we did fine. Our trip was I think 50 times better due to having a car. Sure trains are great, but car is better. We could get to more remote places and see more scenery on our own pace instead of wasting time waiting for trains etc. With a 10 month old having a car was a necessity as well. Lastly, do take a few train rides ie: panoramic express trains etc.

We arrived in Zurich on September 1st and immediately left for Lucerne after picking up our Travelers WiFi of course (used extensively everywhere for directions etc, and also to backup our 10GB photos we took). Like any 1st world airport has signs everyone, quite easy to follow and the signs are in English too! The train station is within the airport across the main street (see google satellite maps). Download the SBB app, very easy to use, only rely on the app to buy tickets, it saves time and is a life saver.

Lucerne: We stayed at Hotel PickWick, excellent location, excellent price, nice rooms, well worth it in my opinion. We skipped Mt Pilatus etc as we were heading in to the mountains anyway later on our trip. We spent a day and half and honestly it was enough. Must do: walk around, see the Chapel bridge/Lion monument/Mussegg wall. We skipped the boat ride as we had plans to do this later at Grandhotel Geissbach. Food: Laderach near the shoe store, breakfast: Heini Luzern, dinner: Some Turkish restaurant close to Hotel pickwick (is halal).

We took the train to Interlaken (awesome scenery) and taxi to Hertz in town to rent a car. Drove to Lauterbrunnen (one of the best moments of my life). Parked the car in the garage and went up to Wengen. I think this has been said multiple times, do not stay in Interlaken. Stay in the mountains, nothing like waking up and looking up and down many 100s/1000s of meters/feet of scenery.

Wengen: a very nice village, we stayed here for 4 days, What he did: Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg hike, Lake Blausee and Oeschinen Lake, Oberhofen castle and St. Beatus caves. Best photo viewpoint: church. Food: breakfast was included in our hotel, dinner: any would be good, Terrase was excellent (is halal). Hotel we stayed was Hotel Victoria-Lauberhorn, good location, the view from the panoramic view room was okish (buildings/train station blocked our view somewhat), nice rooms, good price.

imgur.com/Yim5R2e

View from wengen at dawn

imgur.com/QoY5S0L

St Beatus caves

imgur.com/48uvMzp

Oberhofen castle

Our next hotel/stop was the highlight of the trip: Grand hotel Geissbach. We drove up to the hotel from Lauterbrunnen and were stunned with the property/the falls/the lake/Brienz etc. Just a magical place. We stayed 3 days and got the waterfall view room with balcony. Smaller rooms but given the age of the building they are great, updated bathrooms, amazing view/restaurant/spectacular breakfast, best bang for our buck in CH. We took the funicular/boat rides/climbed up the fall (all complimentary). Placed to eat: hotel only.

imgur.com/YhL4JXx

Geissbach falls

imgur.com/IBWic13

Brienz

imgur.com/q9jf68Z

Hotel itself

After our time at the grand hotel we drove to Locarno via Sustenpass. Spectacular drive (less traffic and less bus traffic than the more famous furka pass). Remember brake fade, again Florida is flat, our highest peak is 105m/345feet. Susten touches 2500m/8000feet, this was my first time driving in the mountains. The views and the drive is exceptional.

imgur.com/uh9lf50

Glacier from Sustenpass

Locarno: We stayed for two days, we primarily came for Ponte dei salti, but ended with so much more. We stayed at Hotel Morettina. Excellent in every regard, run by a nice family who go above and beyond in all regards. Gasosa Ticinese Romerio – limone made this trip worth it, if this is the champagne of the poor, then I will be poor for the rest of my life. Ponte dei salti was amazing, enough said. To do: don’t miss the Visconteo castle, walk the park next to Hotel Garni Millenium. Any waterfront restaurant will do.

imgur.com/uuGDteM

Ponte Dei Salti

imgur.com/d1WaVej

View from Locarno

After staying in Locarno we returned to Lauterbrunnen valley for a week. We checked into Hotel Staubbach. Which I think was overpriced and not that great, however it could be that we were spoilt by our prior stays. We did a few things here, visited a few falls, Murren (chestnut soup at Café LIV was amazing!), stayed in Grindelwald at Hotel Hirschen, we drove to Interlaken daily for food and souvenir shops. Watching the night sky here is amazing, drive out of town a little bit for a nice dark place. We also rode the Gelmerbahn funicular (amazing time!)

We did not go to any high peaks ie Jungfraujoch due to our 10 month old (although no scientific studies exist on this matter, we limited our stay to below 2500m/8000feet).

Unfortunately, after the two weeks were up we had to leave Switzerland for home. We stayed at holiday inn Zurich express for a night and walked/ate on the Bahnhofstrasse. Flew back home under duress.

imgur.com/yq2Tnuu

Milkyway over Lauterbrunnen

imgur.com/17NdOue

I think my favorite pic, the valley in all its glory

Photo highlight:

imgur.com/a/pWXl35e

Lucas
Lucas
10495 posts
top member
Oct 12, 2018 - 7:07 AM in reply to Apmer01

Hi Apmer01,

Thanks for the trip report! Really nice pictures and nicely detailed for our members. :)

Glad the trip went well, good to have a report on someone who drove as well as it isn't too common.

Arno
Arno
15694 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 12, 2018 - 7:50 AM

Thank you Apmer01, great report and great pictures. I can see how you got to 10 Gb of images as you visited some wonderful places with very nice weather :-) With a baby I surely understand that a car can be convenient. A mix of car and train can work very well. Both modes of transport have advantages. Cars can go where trains can't go in some locations (particularly in summer), and trains/cable cars can go where cars can't go in other areas. Hotel Giessbach is amazing indeed. I haven't stayed there but the location is superb.

GabiBaiense
GabiBaiense
1 post
new member
Oct 24, 2018 - 8:54 PM

Hey Apmero!

Thanks for your explanations. Me and my family go to the Swiss in July and we have a little questions:

- HOw we can visit Geissbach falls?

- Did you think a trash travel for your son?

during the my daughter will be 1 year and a half

Lucas
Lucas
10495 posts
top member
Oct 25, 2018 - 8:30 AM in reply to GabiBaiense

Hi GabiBaiense and welcome to MySwissAlps!

To get to Giessbach Falls, you can enter the bus stop "Brienz BE, Abzw. Giessbach" on the Swiss railways timetable to find how to get there on public transit: www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Apmer01
Apmer01
6 posts
new member
Oct 25, 2018 - 1:50 PM in reply to GabiBaiense

Lucas answered the first one.

I am not sure what a trash travel is? our daughter was 10 months old, we did go as high up as 22-2300m on our hike for a few hours and 2400m on the road without any issue for her.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7567 posts
expert
Nov 20, 2018 - 8:39 AM in reply to Apmer01

Hi Apmer01 -

You did a super job on managing exposure on the Milky Way photo. Impressive. Nice to be able to do that where city lights don't interfere.

Slowpoke

Peterli
Peterli
1205 posts
top member
Nov 21, 2018 - 6:41 AM

Hello Apmero1,

I am so happy that you went to the Giessbach, as so few people on this website even mention it. Did you take the short funicular ride down to the lake ? I'm wondering because a friend of mine sometimes works on that funi. Lucas mentioned above how to get there by bus and I will add (for others who may be reading this) that one can get also there by boat on the Brienzersee, and of course, by car.

I am also impressed that you made the decision to do much of your moving around by car and that you figure your trip was << 50 times better >> as a result. I am a great believer in the total freedom one has when travelling by car, even though obviously there are some places in Switzerland that are inaccessible by car. I assume that you were respectful of speed limits and other traffic regulations, because there are radars in many places, and you may not even know you were controlled until a ticket arrives in the mail.

My compliments to you on your photography, whether is was in the Ticino or the Berner Oberland or elsewhere. I too liked your image of the Milky Way taken from deep in the Lauterbrunnen valley. May I assume that you were not using some sort of simple point-and-shoot camera ?

Apmer01
Apmer01
6 posts
new member
Nov 21, 2018 - 1:09 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you Slowpoke & Peterli. I used an older DSLR with an ok lens, the milkyway was a 8 photo panorama, unfortunately the image looks quite pixelated on the image hosting website.

As for the car comment, absolutely! We couldn't have done a lot of things without the car. I would usually activate the cruise control at the speed limit and sit back. Driving was a pleasure over there as everyone observes the rules (unlike where I live).

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7567 posts
expert
Nov 21, 2018 - 1:55 PM in reply to Apmer01

Here is a 7 photo panorama, taken in the middle of the Emmental during an unusually warm dry week or two of weather in mid-April, 2014. Spring had just appeared, and there was plenty of snow left at higher altitudes.

I used my Olympus EM-5 ( Mk 1) a 16 MP micro 4/3 camera. Crop factor 2. The lens was a particularly good one- the Oly micro 4/3 - 75 mm f1.8. That was fast enough that I could shoot handheld. Don't recall exactly, but somewhere upwards of 1/250th second.

The tonality was managed in Photoshop, but the image quality is due to the lens.

Panoramas are fun. Cheap way to get a higher megapixel camera. ;-)

Slowpoke

Attachments
Apmer01
Apmer01
6 posts
new member
Nov 21, 2018 - 2:24 PM

Nice!!!

Heres my sustenpass. Had to reduce it to less than 1mb, orig pano was 57mb

Attachments
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7567 posts
expert
Nov 21, 2018 - 2:29 PM in reply to Apmer01

You have a feel for panoramas. Nicely framed and dynamic...the eye moves through the image. I like the composition.

Slowpoke

Apmer01
Apmer01
6 posts
new member
Nov 21, 2018 - 3:05 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks!

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