3 week trip to Switzerland

3 week trip to Switzerland

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SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Oct 18, 2016 - 8:00 AM

Arno & Slowpoke, Thanks again!

SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Nov 5, 2016 - 3:09 PM in reply to SureshSrini

Hi,

We completed our trip earlier this week, and we are completely overwhelmed.

Even more than the scenery, it’s the Swiss people I remember more. Our complete gratitude….

For building a tremendous infrastructure – the trains, the tourism offices….it was so easy to travel

For building all those railways a 100+ years ago – you know I suspect that culture of building the mountain-rails, one after the other, is key. It gives us the ability to go thro the mountains and valleys, and see them from up close.

For being so kind, smiling, friendly and always helpful

For keeping the place so clean and sparkling – special thanks to the workers who do that very difficult job

And of course to Arno and Annika – I was so informed, that people thought I was a seasoned traveler to the country!

Thanks ,Thanks, and Thanks!

SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Nov 5, 2016 - 3:31 PM

Oh i forgot to mention the folks who drive the mountain trains! Its fantastic as a passenger, but for them it must be pretty monotonous - you have to drive very slowly, very carefully and i don't think its fun. It seemed a strain, actually. Still, and i chatted with many of them, they loved their jobs so much.

With all the above points, i come away with a lot of learning from the Swiss.

We spent 23 days in Switzerland, with a 15-day Flexi pass. We thought 15 days of touring the country was rare, in that it was pretty long. But it pales, when you see Alpenrose's travel!

Still, its a large number of things we got to do. We even revisited some of the places we liked. And we also have a list of things to do, when we visit the country next time!

We did the following: Glacier Express, Golden Pass, Mt Titlis, Klein Matterhorn, Jungfrau, Cheese & Chocolate factory in Gruyeres, the Wilhelm Tell route, Murren, Schynige Platte, a visit to the village of Les Avants and the funicular to Sonloup, going around Berne, Lucerne, Lausanne, Interlaken & Zurich (not in detail though), Chamonix & Domodossola.

SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Nov 6, 2016 - 3:09 AM in reply to SureshSrini

Much more than the mountain tops, we enjoyed the rides – up and down the mountains, in a train or a cable car, for one; then, the train rides along the lake shores were very pretty, when you watch your train winding one way and then the other; the rides in the ferry. Nothing like a hike to enjoy the views - that’s what I realized during the one short hike that we did – so we will do more next time! And then the walks in the quaint old- town areas, the pretty villages…..

Driver’s view seats : We took the VIP seats in the GoldenPass, and of course that was a good choice. But on the lighter side….pls see attached pic……‘Farewell’ is not the right translation for ‘Bon Voyage’ J. They need to change that. It chills your bones when you walk into a train, and see this!

On the train to Chamonix, I got pretty much the same driver’s view as the VIP seats : I happened to be in the 1st compartment. The driver’s cabin is separated from the compartment by a door and windows, and the blinds were up. So I did the entire journey looking thro that window, and thro the front of the train J

Come to think of it, the views from the rear of the train are just as good. I happened to be in the last compartment in one of the trips. At the very end of the coach, there’s a door with a glass covering much of the area. So you get to see a good view, as the rail track and the scenery recedes. Its quite lovely. I happened to discover it on the very scenic, St Moritz to Chur route. Also, in that train I discovered to my surprise that the window could be opened partially. We pulled it down, put our heads out and enjoyed the scenery, the wind, and for a while there was even snow falling on our faces! So if you are interested, be sure to check if your coach has windows that open!

Also on the train to Schynige Platte, the staff on the train may be ok if you want to occupy the little cabin at the end of the train – for a 270degrees view as you go uphill or back down! Do ask them, if you’d like that…

Chamonix : We went to Chamonix but didn’t do the cable car to the top. They not only have a 3000-m climb to the top, but also a cable car ride which goes some 5 kms over the peaks! Now that must be one awesome ride, has to be one of the best in the world. But this ride is unfortunately closed for the season.

SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Nov 6, 2016 - 3:17 AM in reply to SureshSrini

Attaching the pic i referred to in the post above, seems not to have gotten uploaded .

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Nov 6, 2016 - 8:55 AM in reply to SureshSrini

Hi Sureshshrini

Picture may be too large. It needs to be less than 1 Mb

Slowpoke

Last modified on Nov 6, 2016 - 8:56 AM by Slowpoke
Arno
Arno
10347 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 6, 2016 - 11:14 AM

Hi Suresh,

Many thanks for reporting back here. Very useful! Note that if you post your report in the Trip Reports forum more people will find it.

SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Nov 8, 2016 - 8:15 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks Slowpoke and Arno.

Arno, my feeling was, I wasn’t quite writing a trip report. ( a trip report like Alpenrose’s, requires a lot of application!). I was instead going thro the photos (and memories) to highlight some stuff, mostly. But if you think its worthwhile, I will put all of the above together and post it there too.

Schynige Platte : This was unique, in that it was the only mountain with Christmas trees. How come? i have no idea which species it was, though.

And since these trees were the most prominent trees, it made the slopes look so beautiful. So so pretty.

It also prompted a question – how come, while the leaves on trees all around were changing colors and falling down, the Christmas trees keep their green and don’t shed leaves??

The views were good, as you ride up the mountain. But the best view is right at the top, just a few seconds before the train pulls into the station. You get to look vertically all the way down – at the roads, villages, and a stream. The height of Schynige Platte is about 2000m – and Interlaken is 556 – so this drop must be 1500m? It was beautiful!

Why is the Brienzersee a deep blue?? None of the other lakes were ever that color. We saw Lake Brienz twice, and on each occasion it was a lovely dark blue. The 2nd time we saw it, was as we were coming down from Schynige Platte - It was very tempting, so the next thing we did was a cruise on that lake, and for the entire 3 hour duration, the color was remained the same J

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Nov 8, 2016 - 9:05 AM in reply to SureshSrini

Hi Sureshshrini-

<<"It also prompted a question – how come, while the leaves on trees all around were changing colors and falling down, the Christmas trees keep their green and don’t shed leaves??">>

Actually, we call them "evergreens" for obvious reasons. They are a large class of trees (pines, spruce, firs, to name a few) that in many cases don't have leaves, but have needles. The needles do fall off and turn brown to some degree, but the trees mostly keep there foliage all year around. The are common in temperate climates around the world. Wiki knows more about it than I do.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Evergreen

The treeline in Switzerland (height above which trees don't grow), is at about 2000 meters, varying a few hundred meters in various terrains and regions.

This article tells you more than you ever wanted to know about treelines in Switzerland, with a nice picture on page 3 and numbers on page 9.

landscapeonline.de/arc hive/2012/28/Szerencsi ts_LO28_2012.pdf

Slowpoke

Annika
Annika
4924 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 8, 2016 - 10:51 AM in reply to SureshSrini

All experiences are welcome in the trip reports section, and yours are certainly worth it. So feel free to add it there, but if you don't have the time it's fine too of course. In any case future travelers will be able to learn for your experiences and impressions.

SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Nov 13, 2016 - 2:45 PM

Thanks Annika, Slowpoke.

The unique color of Lake Brienz explained as follows (more turquoise-blue really, not the ‘deep-blue’ that I mentioned above):

(www.lakelubbers.com/la ke-brienz-1143/)

‘Lake Brienz (Brienzersee in Swiss) displays beautiful turquoise and emerald hues, colors often associated with shallow Caribbean waters. However, Lake Brienz is not shallow, plunging to depths of around 800 feet. Its beautiful colors result from glacial particles known as "rock flour" that reflect the blue-green sector of the light spectrum’

(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Rock_flour)

‘Rock flour, or glacial flour, consists of fine-grained, silt-sized particles of rock, generated by mechanical grinding of bedrock by glacial erosion’

‘When the sediments enter a river, they turn the river's colour grey, light brown, iridescent blue-green, or milky white.’ (the river stream running alongside, while you are riding on the Glacier Express, or on the train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, are of these colors – grey/ iridescent blue-green/ or milky white)

‘If the river flows into a glacial lake, the lake may appear turquoise in colour as a result’

The lake ride we did was Interlaken-Brienz-Interlaken. When the ferry stopped at Brienz (it stops for 20mins), we were also greeted by a pretty sight – the train that takes you up to Brienzer Rothorn, was pulling in to the station. That 100 year old steam engine was looking bright and sparkling new! I requested the driver if I could step in and have a look? He was kind enough to say “Yes!”. So I climbed up and spent a couple of minutes. The carriages themselves were unique – the roof sort of rolls up, and so its all open to the sky – like a convertible. A ride up the mountain, with that open top, has to be fantastic…

Lausanne Olympic Museum : Lausanne is the HQ of the International Olympic Committee. There’s a museum in the same location, which we didn’t visit; but a beautiful point of interest is the 100m track in the same premises. In a lovely piece of creative work, you get to ‘race’ with Usain Bolt, in a ‘virtual’ sense.

This is how it works – red lights line the entire 100m track, from the starting-point to the finish-line. As you set off on the race, there’s a sensor that picks up that you have set off. It then sets off the row of lights alongside the track: one by one, in sequence from start to finishing-line, they come on. The lights are progressing up the track, at the same pace as Usain Bolt, had he been running alongside you!! So your experience is that of racing with him! That’s when you realize how stunningly fast this guy really is. Especially, stand next to the track, about midway, and watch him ‘running’ from left to right… the speed is incredible.

SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Nov 23, 2016 - 9:25 AM

The only small disappointment, if you can call it that, was the Cliff walk in Mt Titlis. I was expecting one scary, near-impossible-to-do walk, but it wasn’t that at all L. I don’t know why. But on the way back from Murren – in the cable car from Murren to Gimmelwald – I caught a glimpse of what looked like a walk, on a platform high up in the air, between 2 steep ridges. Has anyone been on that? Any details on that pls? Have to try that next time!

Arno
Arno
10347 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 23, 2016 - 5:10 PM in reply to SureshSrini

Hi Suresh,

I see what you mean. It's a matter of expectations I guess. Most attractions in Switzerland are suitable for the "average tourist", including families with children. So they're safe and perhaps not really adventurous if you're into extreme sports. The Cliff Walk should be doable for about anyone except people who have a fear of height or vertigo.

What you saw near Mürren is possibly the Via Ferrata: www.klettersteig-muerren.ch. Now, that's certainly not for everyone. Although it's still much safer than base jumping, for example. Perhaps you should indeed try this next time. It can't be done in winter by the way.

SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Nov 29, 2016 - 9:48 AM in reply to Arno

Yeah Arno, it must be. The pic in the below link, is what i think i saw, a bit of it that is....

www.klettersteig-muerren.ch/bilder/disp layimage.php?pid=62&fullsize=1

A walk on this bridge i want to try, but the rest of the adventure, a walk on the via ferrata, is NOT what i was planning! Its a different league altogether.

But is there a 'easy' way to reach the bridge and back? Without doing the entire via ferrata?

Arno
Arno
10347 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 29, 2016 - 11:38 AM in reply to SureshSrini

I think the Nepalbrücke as shown on www.klettersteig-muerren.ch/index.php/e n/ might be easily accessible as it's close to the cable car station in Gimmelwald. But you'd better ask them directly, and whether it is recommended without a guide. There is certainly a risk to unsecured walking on such a bridge.

Last modified on Nov 29, 2016 - 11:39 AM by Arno
SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Dec 4, 2016 - 10:59 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno.

On our last day, we had a few hours and decided to repeat our trip of the first day's! Montreux to Les-Avants, such a sweet-scenic trip. You are looking out the window on the left, and then you switch to the right, and then back to the left, and so on. Well most train rides in the country were like that. Everytime we got into a train, me & my wife would look for not two, but four free window seats, just so we could keep switching as the scenery required! Which in practice meant, we would be occupying two whole bays of 8 seats.

That further meant, you could also switch between a seat that's facing the same direction as the train, and the seat that's opposite! Very important when say, the train is on a curve and going over a bridge?....Just one of those million things that went perfect in the entire trip!

So the 2nd time that we were going up to Les-Avants, i caught a glimpse of what then looked like a small museum. But when i google now, its actually www.blonay-chamby.ch/. The pictures that i see of the trains, the rides, the museums....are totally mouthwatering. God, how did i miss seeing this? Next time i guess :(.

Does this have an entry in this website, like the Lucerne museum does?

Thanks....

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Arno
Arno
10347 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 4, 2016 - 12:13 PM in reply to SureshSrini

That's a "museum steam train". I didn't have a chance yet to visit it so there's no page about it on MySwissAlps. I think it only operates during weekends in summer, and a few other days, so you really have to plan for it. I'd suggest to put it on your wish list :-)

SureshSrini
SureshSrini
48 posts
active member
Dec 4, 2016 - 3:29 PM in reply to Arno

i definitely will. This, and the Furka railway (which closed before we reached Switzerland).

There's also a museum in one of the stations, on the Glacier Express route. I cannot remember which one, do you know of it pls?

Thanks, as always...

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Dec 4, 2016 - 4:33 PM in reply to SureshSrini

Hi Suresh-

The train runs on an abandoned line connecting the line up from the lakeshore at Vevey to Les Pleiades and the main line from Montreux to Montbovon. The line runs more or less parallel to the lake shore.

It runs between Blonay and Chambly, from May 7 to October 30 (in 2016)

map.search.ch/?pos=559028,145404&z=64

It runs about 11 times per day on most warm weather Saturdays and Sundays, starting at about 1000. The trip starts at Blonay, and runs to station Chambly- Musee (and return). It takes 20 minutes. When I rode it a few years ago, it had a locomotive and 2 or 3 cars.

Some trains are steam powered.

In 2016, the steam powered train also ran occasionally from Vevey to the Museum via Blonay.One day toward the end of each month from May through October.

I have attached a screen grab for July 1, 2017. Steam power at 1520.

When I was there, the museum had a small collection, most housed in crowded conditions in one large shed. There were some interesting pieces of rolling stock. The rolling stock is not displayed in an uncrowded and well-lighted space, as is the case with das Verkehrshaus in Luzern. it is crowded and poorly lighted.

Still, it is an interesting collection, and a nice excursion.

Slowpoke

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Arno
Arno
10347 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 4, 2016 - 4:37 PM in reply to SureshSrini

There's a museum on the Albula line. Both the Glacier Express and Bernina Express pass by there. Their website is in German only, but they're working on a new one: www.bahnmuseum-albula.ch.

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