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May 2019 wondrous trip in Switzerland


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Regularbrad
Regularbrad
16 posts
new member
Jul 10, 2019 - 4:19 PM

Once again our utmost thanks to MySwissAlps.com for help in planning our trip.

A quick summary is below and possibly in the future I will give more details of our wondrous trip.

Upon return from Switzerland we have upgraded our bucket list and have told our family and friends that the one place you must visit before that final day is Switzerland and it really does not matter which cities or towns you visit as they are All beautiful or at least the ones we visited.

I will give a couple of negatives we did find which did not affect overall the beautiful trip that we had but I figured readers may want to know what we thought could have been improved and a safety note for readers as foreigners sometimes can be caught in circumstances they do not anticipate.

The beautiful towns/cites visited first in no particular order. -- Lucerne, Zurich, Lauterbrunnen,Lugano, the Fribourg region, First, Grindenwald, Gimmenwald , Chur, Interlaken, Brig, Bellinzona, Arosa, Bern, Lauterbrunnen, Raperswil etc. Our favorites were First, Lauterbrunnen , Arosa and Lugano.

Exciting trains included the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express Bus and Train.

As stated, everywhere we went was beautiful with the Beautiful Alps surrounding the Beautiful Lakes. Every where was extremely clean although one negative (especially around the train stations) was a lot of graffitti . (especially Bern) However in speaking with the locals it appears that a lot of this graffiti are young people expressing themselves.. We did get used to the graffiti but at the onset were surprised to see the amount. .

We had the Swiss Travel Pass and it was excellent . Second class travel is absolutely fine with clean trains and trains that are 99% on time with a very smooth ride. The freedom of going any where at any time was great although one important negative readers should know and was a freak occurrence is that some specialty trains in the alps for certain areas are not covered by the Swiss Travel Pass. We were aware of this before we took our trip but were unaware that in the middle of a trip a train could turn into a "specialty train",

Although our circumstance --an unplanned hike down to Wengen ended up being an experience caught on video tape and we arrived safely ---it was a little scary during the hike.

Let it be said we showed our Swiss Travel Pass to the conductor and continued on this train not knowing that it the middle of the route it "became a specialty train" requiring another few hundred francs to continue on the route which we were unaware of and we thought was unfair.(We thought the conductor should have told us that when she first saw our Swiss Travel Pass upon boarding the train)

The conductor would not back down and effectively threw us off the train and said we could hike down to Wengen and it would only take an hour or so.(made it sound like it was an easy hike and we thought that is exactly what should have been)

There was a lot of snow on the trail and slippery and deep at points and overall could be considered dangerous for amateurs like ourselves. We made it safely to Wengen in about two and one half hours but we think the conductor should have given more details about the hike down.

I would not want other people in the future to fall into this scenario and that is why I bring it up. I do not think anything was intentional on anybody's part but maybe the conductor when she first saw our swiss travel pass and allowed us on the train should have told us that "the train turns into a specialty train in the middle of run.

Like I said this was a very unusual thing to happen but I bring it up to make other travellers aware .

The hotels we stayed in were clean and staff very friendly. The Swiss people were very nice and helpful.

The travel on the train with numerous lakes and mountains passing us by was just unexpected and train travel would be recommended..

The food in Switzerland was wonderful but restaurants could be very expensive although we knew that Switzerland is generally expensive. We did utilize the Coop supermarkets frequently and they were well supplied with everything you would need and extremely clean like everything in Switzerland.

Wifi was very good in the hotels and the three prong adapter worked but also a two pronger may have been adequate also.

However I can summarize everything up in one word ---Scenery - you may not find anywhere else in the world .----- The cable cars and lifts were just amazing also as well as all the hiking we did.

Thank you again for all your help in planning our trip.

Last modified on Jul 11, 2019 - 3:12 PM by Steph
Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
237 posts
active member
Jul 11, 2019 - 4:19 PM

Nice to read but sad to know incident where your train converted into special train. Can any member explain this

Annika
Annika
7112 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 11, 2019 - 5:51 PM in reply to Regularbrad

Hi Regularbrad! Thanks so much for getting back to us. I'm happy to hear our website has been useful while you planned your trip, and even more so: that you actually anjoyed exploring Switzerland! I think you're right: pretty much all towns and areas are charming in their own way and travelers usually don't get disappointed, whatever they choose. I agree with you on the graffiti in and around the larger towns. It doesn't seem to match with the often beautiful town centres, cleanliness and scenic landscapes.

I'm sorry to hear about the surprise of paying extra with your Swiss Travel Pass. Did you carefully study the validity information at www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity? It shows that not all routes are fully covered and that extra payment is required for most mountain routes. I'm afraid your train conductor didn't do a great job explaining this to you, when he said that the same train would turn into a "specialty train" at some point. He probably meant to explain that part of the route was fully covered by your Swiss Travel Pass and another part wasn't. Where exactly were you traveling when this happened? I suspect it must have been between Jungfraujoch/Grindelwald/Kleine Scheidegg and Wengen, which indeed is 25% off and not for free. It's mentioned at the validity page I referred to and at www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfraujoch/tickets. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the flexibility of the Swiss Travel Pass overall!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7567 posts
expert
Jul 12, 2019 - 4:04 PM in reply to Annika

Hi Annika - <<"requiring another few hundred francs to continue on the route which we were unaware of and we thought was unfair.">>

Sounds like Brad must have been going up to the Jungfraujoch from Lauterbrunnen. As you know, and the coverage map shows, the interurban link from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen is free with the STP ( and, really cheap without it). Once the train passes Wengen, it is no longer on an interurban track, but, rather a "mountain excursion" or "specialty" track.

I have not used an STP ( or the earlier equivalent) for years, but it used to come with a paper coverage map. Has that practice been discontinued? What if you get your pass online?

If I am correct, they could have ridden as far as Kleine Scheidegg for a substantial fare, in the tens of CHF, but not "few hundreds of franks." Those words suggest that they were planing to go to Jungfraujoch. Perhaps some emotions, as well as weak English got in the way.

And, hindsight is perfect, but I look at maps before I take a trip I've not taken before, and note the locations of train stations, to better understand options. That might have helped Brad clarify the options at (likely) Allmend, or, (possibly) Wengernalp. For instance, he could have waited for a train down to Wengen, that would not cost "hundreds" of CHF.

And, the post also makes the point that high trails are far from safely passable in May even at 1200-1500 meters or so.

Slowpoke

Annika
Annika
7112 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 12, 2019 - 5:08 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

One can always study the PDF validity map showing what's covered is there's no paper map. There's a downloadable version at the Swiss Travel Pass validity page I linked to.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Jul 13, 2019 - 12:52 AM in reply to Regularbrad

Hi Brad,

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

The 25% discount-only with STP on the route above Wengen is indeed a trap for young players. BIt harsh of the conducter to toss you off the train though as the 25% discount fare from Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen is only CHF18. Still the hike was probably something you will remember for many years to come.

The STP does not apply to specific trains but rather to routes so it pays to be right on top of the validity map which shows the change of coverage clearly. 😞

Last modified on Jul 13, 2019 - 12:58 AM by rockoyster

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