Switzerland in September - 3 week planning help

Switzerland in September - 3 week planning help

Print this page
Create an account to receive an e-mail when someone replies to this thread
Posts: 69
This thread is closed. You are welcome to log in and submit a new thread.
rockoyster
rockoyster
3388 posts
expert
Jan 17, 2018 - 4:48 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

We may not have any mountain railways (or serious mountains for that matter) but how about this www.dangerousroads.org /australia-and-oceania/tasmania/971-jacobs-ladder-tasmania.html, he said sticking his chin out.

Last modified on Jan 17, 2018 - 4:51 AM by rockoyster
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Jan 17, 2018 - 10:15 AM in reply to rockoyster

<<"Oh yeah Slowpoke? What do you call this www.wcwr.com.au 😥">>

Nice. Also, maybe, cute. ;-)

So is the Centovalli line, and the Berner Oberland Bahn. And lots of meter gauge excursion lines. Or, the 80 cm gauge at the Schynige Platte. They are all tourist attractions as well as ...for the Swiss/Italian ones .... functioning intercity transport.

The Gotthard is different because it is a standard gauge, double-tracked line built to carry heavy freight as well as passengers across and through the Alps, for the Amsterdam to Mediterranean ports rail axis.

In that sense, it is fascinating ( to me, and to serious rail buffs) to compare with the UP.

The Cajon Pass picture the Kay provided, although on the Santa Fe, not the UP, is another example of mountainous heavy rail. Coincidentally both the original Gotthard and the Cajon Pass rail lines have a high point of about 1150 meters.

www.american-rails.com/cajon.html

And, the UP has its own spiral...all out in the open:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Tehachapi_Loop

On the Gotthard, the loops are built into the cliff walls as tunnels.

Slowpoke

PS-

I have attached a few pictures to give an idea of the size of one of the UP's 4-8-8-4 Big Boys.. It is currently located on a static display on the bluff above the interstate highway as you enter Nebraska from Iowa, and getting good pictures is not easy, as you will see.

Last modified on Jan 17, 2018 - 10:23 AM by Slowpoke
Please login to see the attached documents
kperigo
kperigo
34 posts
active member
Jan 17, 2018 - 4:46 PM

Great stuff, Slowpoke. When I worked for UP back in the 1980's the UP was running on Santa Fe rail over the Cajon Pass. An exciting ride for sure. I went over the pass at least 3 times. Every time a crew member thought to point out the nudist colony along side the track just as you come over the pass heading West.

I investigated a runaway train incident when crew jumped from the train fearing derailment. The engineer rode it out and train ultimately came to a stop. Certainly no where near the scope of the tragic SP derailment in 1989 that cost so many lives.

And just to keep it interesting this is what we experienced in Michigan last night. A meteor passing overhead and exploding! Bright light, and numerous loud rumbles, house shaking. My geologist/geophysicist husband said thunder snow. I said you are crazy that was not thunder and lightning. So, I was right. Though the explosion did show up as a 2.0 earthquake.

Please login to see the attached documents
kperigo
kperigo
34 posts
active member
Jan 17, 2018 - 4:47 PM in reply to kperigo

Just to be clear, I did not take this picture.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Jan 17, 2018 - 6:07 PM in reply to kperigo

<<"Just to be clear, I did not take this picture.">>

Still pretty amazing! I'd never have been able to react fast enough to get that picture. ;-(

Thanks,

Slowpoke

kperigo
kperigo
34 posts
active member
Jan 17, 2018 - 10:05 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Slowpoke, take a look at this screenshot. Is this the higher Gotthard line over the higher pass you mention?

Thanks

Please login to see the attached documents
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Jan 17, 2018 - 10:25 PM

Hi Kay

Yes.

The way to find out is to check the timetable in more detail.

In your case, click the plus on the vertical line between stations, and you get a list of intermediate stops.

See attached.

If those intermediate stops were not there, you'd be in the new "Basis Tunnel" tunnel underneath.

Göschenen is the marker you are looking for. Also, the phrase 'Gotthard Panoramastrecke." Other wise, it would say "....Basis Tunnel...."

The time table will tend to default to the fastest route, so sometimes it is necessary to put in an intermediate stop, as a "via" or "connection" if you want a more scenic route, which is usually slower.

If you force the journey through Göschenen, by using the "via" function in the Advanced time table described here, that will put you on the "Panoramastrecke."

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

That is also where the side line meter gauge Furka Oberalp branches off from the old route, and goes to toward ...eventually.. Brig.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 17, 2018 - 10:32 PM by Slowpoke
Please login to see the attached documents
rockoyster
rockoyster
3388 posts
expert
Jan 17, 2018 - 11:33 PM in reply to kperigo

Hi Kay,

If you wan't to take the Gotthard Panorama Express with commentary etc then you need the train as per attached. There is only one departure a day. It does not run on Mondays!

The timetable excerpt you are looking at is a regular train.

From the marketing blurb (www.mystsnet.com/en/do wnload-centre/download/232-backgrounder-gotthard-panorama-express/448/file/Gotth ard_Panorama_Express_E N.pdf) . . . . .

The Gotthard Panorama Express has three air-conditioned 1st class panorama coaches with large panoramic windows, offering a perfect view of the mountains and the various sights along the route (coach numbers 11, 12 and 13). If, in exceptional circumstances, panorama coaches cannot be provided, these will be replaced by normal 1st class coaches.

A limited number of 2nd class seats are available in coach 15 (air-conditioned coach WITHOUT panorama windows) for passengers on a smaller budget.

In-between is coach 14, the photography coach with windows which open. This 2nd class coach, which is not air-conditioned, is ideal for photographers. A number of “photography coach” seats are available to book. These seats are not numbered, so passengers are free to sit where they wish. Passengers from the adjacent coaches can also travel in the photography coach and they too can choose where they sit.

Last modified on Jan 17, 2018 - 11:38 PM by rockoyster
Please login to see the attached documents
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Jan 17, 2018 - 11:59 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster-

Thanks for the added details. I was not aware of the "photographers options."

Thanks also for showing the special information that pops up in the listings when one of the panoramic trains is involved.

Of course, there are many trains per day that follow the same route in regular cars...it is still spectacular. The fact that they provide that much support for photography gives you some clues about just how spectacular.

I've been meaning to go back over the Gotthard every time I've been in Switzerland since well before they opened the new tunnel. Now, I'll have to go for it.

It's always fun to see what a real serious mountain railroad is like. ;-)

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 18, 2018 - 12:03 AM by Slowpoke
Peterli
Peterli
401 posts
top member
Jan 18, 2018 - 1:59 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster,

I too was completely unaware of these special trains and will have to re-visit this area soon. Thank you for all this information. And it's always fun to see the church in Wassen from so many perspectives. I recall going through the spiral tunnels with a group of my students (21 of them) and watching the needle of a compass slowly turn as we completed the loops.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3388 posts
expert
Jan 18, 2018 - 2:58 AM

Hi Slowpoke and Peterli,

If you want even more detail, see www.mystsnet.com/filea dmin/doc/02_Produkte_S ervices/01_Swiss_Trave l_System/04_Premium_Pa noramazuege/Gotthard_P anorama_Express/Gottha rd_Panorama_Express_bo oking_terms_and_condit ions_2018_for_TO_01.pd f That is actually the document from which I quoted the text in my earlier post. It's designed for travel agents and tour operators.

We did the GPE at end of May last year.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3388 posts
expert
Jan 18, 2018 - 3:02 AM in reply to kperigo

Hi Kay,

I know your plans are pretty close to settled but here's a supplementary thought. If you were able to sneak a day or two out of all your hiking days you could have an extra night or two in Lugano. Then you could fit in a quick return trip to Domodossola on the Centovalli Express. It departs Locarno which is well worth a visit anyway. As are the castles of Bellinzona.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Jan 18, 2018 - 10:55 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster -

I don't know whether Kay's plans are settled or not. I do know that accommodations in September, even in the preferred Alpine locations, are readily available, long after July and August have gotten tight.

Lugano-

We have stayed in Lugano for several days, in Bellinzona for a couple of nights once when we had a car, and two or three times in Locarno.

It is sometimes said that the Ticino presents Italian ambience( great food) , but with Swiss functionality. For example, the trains run on time. ;-)

There are many worthwhile things to do in Lugano. We enjoyed the Customs Museum, across the lake, ate some really good Italian food at a small restaurant on the side of the mountain south of town near the funicular, went up on a mountain or two, rode the lake boat and walked along the lake shore. We found the distance of the main part of town from the train station, with its funicular down to the main town level a bit of a nuisance with luggage, but not a serious problem. Once you are at the bottom, you still have a bit of a walk to the lake shore, through what is basically an Italian town. Nice to walk around in.

On balance,we prefer Locarno. One reason is that the train station is very close to the water front hotels and restaurants and the lakeside park, the old town is an easy walk, Santa Maria del Sasso is worth more than one visit, and the funicular up to it is close to the main station, and the terminus of the Centovalli line is close by.

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/madonna-del-sasso-locarno.html

Kay has picked some nice places to spend several days each. Some are transport hubs, or near transport hubs good for day trips when the local weather is nasty. Switzerland south of the Alps offers warm and different weather, especially useful when Switzerland is in the midst of a grey cold dreary Central European Winter. There are a lot of nice places where a bit of time would be enjoyable. The problem is to avoid too many one night stands...unless that is your preferred mode of travel... a lot of sampling instead of getting well acquainted with a region.

By concentrating on trains, especially the most spectacular routes, with passing mention of hiking, we have tended to fragment the journey. Kay will have enough time in Switzerland to do some of that - as much as she wishes. But,my sense is that she has picked some places where she wants to spend a goodly amount of time, and many offer some or a lot of hiking options.

I have not seen Kay write "can we cover (name your town) in 1 day ( or, 1/2 a day). ;-)

We see those kinds of posts fairly frequently, and they are a contrast to Kay's proposed itinerary.

Doesn't hurt to suggest, of course.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Jan 18, 2018 - 12:04 PM in reply to kperigo

Hi Kay-

Back to hiking -

I was looking back through the thread, and realized that in the early discussion of hiking maps, I forgot to include the link for Switzerland Mobility. When I open Switzerland Mobility, I often get it in German. I have to get all the way back to the home page to switch it to English.

The comments in that early post in this thread there are related to this link, or links:

Main page with travel mode selection - all forms of personal mobility:

map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en&season=summer& bgLayer=pk&resolution= 500&E=2631750&N=118900 0&layers=Wanderland

The heavy green lines are National Routes. They carry supplemental information if you click on the them. To get other route options, click on the green "+" by "Hiking in Switzerland

A map of the Wengen region, showing the National Routes (heavy green lines):

map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en&season=summer& bgLayer=pk&resolution= 50&E=2631750&N=1166200 &layers=Wanderland. To go further, click on a heavy green line.

[[Here is one map which also show the the hiking trails which do not carry supplementary information:

map.wanderland.ch/?lang=en&route=all&bgLa yer=pk&resolution=5&se ason=summer&E=2635250& N=1161764&layers=Wande rland]]

After you click on a on a heavy green line, a menu box opens after a brief pause with a trail name and stage in it. For example, "Via Alpina, Stage 11." Click on that.

That gets you to the screen shown in the attached screen grab, with an information panel on the left.. ( I could not make a link reproduce it here, so I had to use the screen grab).

Scroll down to "Directions" in that information panel and click on it. That action gets you to the detailed information page.

www.schweizmobil.ch/en /hiking-in-switzerland/routes/rou te/etappe-01560.html

Once you get there, that page, available for each stage of a National Route, is full of useful information. You can also search for National Routes by name...such as Via Alpina.

Note that you can select "Show height profile" which gives you this:

images0.schweizmobil.c h/files/wl_1.11.pdf

There is also a very detailed map, accommodation information, interesting things to see, etc.

I find the Switzerland Mobility web site awkward to use, I have not internalized the menu and options system. The data available are very useful, once you find your way to them. I really like the height profiles.

I do know that you can use the search function, which often works OK for me if I enter place names and explore the links that open. Some of then may be links to named routes. The visual approach from the map that I described above is an option, of course.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 18, 2018 - 12:07 PM by Slowpoke
kperigo
kperigo
34 posts
active member
Jan 19, 2018 - 10:18 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Slowpoke, you have me pegged pretty well. We are slow travelers. Like to settle into a place rather than rush through and move on. I made concessions in planning this trip. I wanted 6 weeks. My husband only wanted 3 weeks. I settled on 4. Therefore only 2 nights in Zermatt and 3 nights in Luzern. One night in Basel and only 1 in Lugano.

I did indeed pick the locations based on good hiking/walking opportunities. We normally rent apartments while travelling but this trip it will be hotels offering half board. These have already been determined and booked. Lodging in Basel and Lugano is still open. I pretty much knew what I wanted coming into this site. You and Rockyoyster, and Peterli helped me focus and refine the itinerary. For that I am very grateful. It is much more train centric than I had thought it would be. This is a good thing! And you, Slowpoke, have given me a treasure trove of information to help me pass the time waiting until September arrives. I will know all my options when we arrive and then let conditions and our fancy determine what we ultimately do. Still have to spend some time looking at passes and what makes sense for 22 days. So, you guys are not done with me yet.

Kay

kperigo
kperigo
34 posts
active member
Jan 19, 2018 - 10:24 PM in reply to rockoyster

Rockyoyster, thanks for this. Very helpful brochure.

Kay

rockoyster
rockoyster
3388 posts
expert
Jan 19, 2018 - 10:25 PM in reply to kperigo

Hi Kay,

Going out on a limb here but betting you’ll find a 15-day Swiss Travel Pass Flex your best fit.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Jan 19, 2018 - 11:35 PM in reply to kperigo

Hi Kay-

You got a bit ahead of me on the itinerary, and I still don't fully understand it.

I did not expect that you would book your hotels this early. It is definitely not necessary.

However, it is certainly a good way to put pins in the map.

I looked back at the post where you last listed your itinerary, on January 17th, at 12:23 AM.

<<"September 11 train to Basel

Basel 1N

Wengen 6N

Kandersteg 4N

Zernatt 2N

Sils Maria 4N (via GEX)

BE to Lugano

Lugano 1N

Luzern 3N (via Centovalli Express)

October 3 train to Paris from Luzern via Basel">>

Picking up on your comments about good hiking, I agree that you have done that well. The exceptions are Lugano, where you might not wish to take the time to find a hike, and Basel.

First- has the Lugano to Luzern leg been changed to the Gotthard Panorama route? You know my opinion. I think that is the best choice vs. the route via the Centovalli line. Whether you take the boat from Flüelen to Luzern along the route is a matter of personal preferences. I would do it, unless I were pressed for time.

The whole trip is nice, but the boat ride's best part is from Flüelen to somewhere past Brunnen, as far as maybe Vitznau.. Not that the remainder is not a good ride. It is. It is just that the last part may seem a little slow. But, you can look at hiking maps if you get tired of looking at the surroundings.

About 1 hour+/- by train from Flüelen to Luzern, vs. about 3 hours on the boat. How about partway? Not so good. The only logical place to take the boat partway, get off, and then pick up a train is awkward.. It is at Brunnen. The train station is a 10 minute walk from the ship landing ( bus usually meets the train). And you cut short some of the nicest part of the lake. I'd stick with the boat, myself.

2. Night in Basel.

I have to ask "Why?"

The 1055 train from Paris Est seems like the logical choice. If so, it takes about 4 hours to Basel and about 7 hours to go all the way to Wengen. You can arrive at 1749. Basel is not a hikers paradise. It has some great art museums and historic churches. It has the Tinguely Water Sculpture ( Fountain).

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/tinguely-fountain-basel.html

www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4vK2L8ZUe0

The old town is not much, in comparison to Luzern, for example, or Bern. If I were doing it, and had no specific known reasons to stop in Basel, I'd go directly to Wengen, adding a good part of the next day for experiencing the Bernese Oberland.

The train journey is similar in length ( time) to the one at the end from Luzern to Paris.

And, it could allow another night at the end, in Luzern, or along the way. If you want another city, run up to Bern when you are in Luzern or Kandersteg or Wengen ( on a cloudy day). In my experience, either one is a much nicer city to walk around in than Basel.

So, offering my opinion, unless you have specific reasons that make it the right choice for you, I recommend skipping Basel entirely.

For what it is worth....;-)

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 19, 2018 - 11:41 PM by Slowpoke
kperigo
kperigo
34 posts
active member
Jan 21, 2018 - 9:40 PM

Hello All, Here is my last, final itinerary:

September 5 depart DTW (Detroit) to Paris

Paris 6N

September 12 Depart Paris to Wengen

Wengen 6N

Kandersteg 4N

Zermatt 2N

Sils Maria by GEX 4N

Lugano by BEX 2N

Luzern by Gotthard Express 3n

Luzern to Paris 2N

October 5 Paris to DTW

This is now 21 days in Switzerland. There is enough left undone to warrant a trip back ; )

kperigo
kperigo
34 posts
active member
Jan 21, 2018 - 9:41 PM in reply to rockoyster

Rockoyster, would you expand on why you like the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass Flex for this trip?

Thanks, Kay

More on MySwissAlps.com

Swiss tips in your mailbox

Sign up to receive our newsletter and the latest forum messages. The best way to prepare for your trip!

Sign up

Get a customized itinerary for your trip

Let Swiss travel consultants create a customized itinerary. They will book your entire trip.

More
© MySwissAlps.com 2002-2018