Day One: July 13, 7:30am arrived Zurich from Washington DC area. Stopped in rail station coop for snacks. With 1st class 15 day Swiss Travel Pass stepped onto train to Lucerne.
Hints: at baggage the push luggage carts are free and can be taken to grocery and rail platform. 1st class carriages have Yellow stripe. Most trains have 3 narrow steps, it was difficult lifting my carry on.
At Luzern visitors center I learned there was time to check in Hotel Pickwick and take boat to Pilatus. After that delightful experience was surprised about the length of walking to the bus. Fortunately downhill and gave time to replay the beauty of the day. Back to Luzern for quick grocery shopping. Sitting on my little balcony with beer, cheese, salad dinner, yummy pastry, people watching, view of Bridge made the ending of my first day perfect.
Day 2: Spent the day walking, riding city buses to view the city and Lion, two art museums, reading on my 2 person balcony, relaxing and enjoying Luzern.
Hint: On Saturday there is a large farmers market at The Historical Bridge.
At most venues requiring a ticket you will need to use the ticket several times, keep it handy. My coin purse has front plastic slot which was perfect as the bar code can be read thru plastic.
Day 3: Gotthard Panorama Express to Lugano. What can I say-delightful, fun, a must do. Enjoyed Lugano's festival activities by the lake, not so much at Hotel Acquarello. The 2nd floor room was very acceptable, rail noise 5:30am-11:30pm was not. I was told I couldn't have a quiet room because I was solo.
Hint: when possible reserve Bus front seat next to driver, view is the best. On trains, If travelers are solo or couple, reserve seat for 2 facing each other. I observed a couple forced to share seating for 4 with couple, toddler and dog, couple did not look happy. I couldn't get sbb site for reserving seat. After reserving with another agency was told Train does not go to Lugano on Sunday! I changed at Bellinzona.
Day 4: Bernina Express to St.Moritz. Great way to view the areas. I enjoyed every minute. Wow, 3 star Unique Hotel Eden Superior had formal napkin rings at breakfast and recommended a super tiny restaurant for delicious dinner.
Day 5: Glacier Express to Zermatt.
Beautiful,breathtaking is how my friends reviewed my iPhone photos. What an amazing way to enjoy Nature.
Hint: always carry iPhone cables & converter. Even with external battery you may need to charge. Wearing a solid dark top and keeping my iPhone low on the glass helped with glare and reflections behind me.
Days 5,6,7: Zermatt. Hotel Sarazena, met me at station and we walked to hotel with my rolling carry on bag in a wheelbarrow.
Tourist agent advised not good day for Klein Matterhorn. As I sat for hours on Sunnegga that big old Matterhorn smile at me, no clouds. Here I spoke with my first Americans, 400 orchestra youth. Only chatted with a few as they sat with me for lunch. Next morning off to Klein Matterhorn. Enjoyed the rides up/down, awesome views and several short movies. What more can be said, another perfect day.
Hint: up high prepare for cold. I layered 2 tops, lite jacket, knit hat. Due to limited bag space I didn't take gloves, instead took hand & toe warmers, these worked magic. In Zermatt short sleeves during the day, light jacket in evening.
Day 8/9: Next stop Meiringen. Hotel Rebstock was good except for those Church Bells.
6 hours with the Postman was off the scale of perfection, including cows blocking the road and our stop to watch them being milked in a tiny trailer.
Sitting behind the driver I asked if he was a good driver. He hesitated then said "this is my first trip driving". That was translated for other riders who I suspect use the bus for local transport, everyone laughed. Obviously I was the only outsider.
This ride has twists/turns, up/down, clear/fog, lots of stops, amazing views. Left me thinking it might be fun to ride with the Postman in other areas.
At this point there were 3 unplanned days I had reserved if weather was bad. Weather was perfect.
Decided on 2 days at Rheinfalls.
Day 10: Changing train In Zurich racing for a train I failed to look at the Number. Had a pleasant unexpected tour of Countryside.I considered this an unplanned adventure. At next stop took train back and got on correct train. Checked in Hotel Rheinfall. about 915pm walked to watch Falls as lights came on. I got back to the hotel as lightning and rain came.
Day 11: 6 hour boat ride on the Rhein and rail back. Every riverbank was lined with people of all ages enjoying fantastic weather. Swimming, floating, kayaking, sailing, picnics and family fun. Most spectacular were hundreds of Swans with their young as well as a variety of ducks. Life can't get any better.
The hotel said I could stay another night.
Next Morning weather was clouds so delayed Falls visit. I was sad to learn the museums are closed on Monday. Saw bus 6 and off I traveled to wherever it was going. Driver laughed when I said I was going his full route. The front seat is the place to see gardens, playgrounds, life.
In the afternoon I Railed to Falls. 10 minutes later sky opened to heavy rain. I put on my poncho and as did others, walked down to the falls. The rain stopped as quickly as it started. Sun out, viewing great. I decided against the boat rides, instead sat on a bench and marveled at my time in Switzerland.
Day 12/13: I fooled around in Rheinfalls area and reached Zurich late afternoon. Possible Thunderstorm prevented my planned walking around . Movenpick's Stay@airport lodging provides free shuttle to airport. Later I gave up on weather, returned to airport for grocery shopping.
Today Zurich weather indicated sun late afternoon and it happened. I spent 3 hours
Hint: I never left my lodging without my poncho. I used it for a few minutes several times.
Always carry water. My small pony size was perfect.
The Swiss Travel Pass made travel a breeze. For me the cost of First Klass was worth every CHF. There were many large tours, large loud families, babies and toddlers bored and active on these long rides, people with 2 dogs all traveling in Second. I am a people person but preferred to have soft voices during this trip, especially on the long rides.
My purpose for this journey was to enjoy a little of life in the Countryside of Switzerland. I wanted to feel the beauty at a slow pace. I choose not to do larger cities. My hotel requirements were: easy access to train station or free shuttle; Free Wifi; full bathroom including toilet; walking distance to grocery. My lodgings were advertised as 3 star hotels costing 89-123 CHF per night. All were exceptionally clean. About half included breakfast. Other days I had breakfast at a Migros. For this trip I was not a foodie and found Movenpick's 33CHF breakfast as well as other cities' hotel breakfast a bit more than I care to spend. Didn't say I couldn't afford.
I have so enjoyed and marveled at the beauty of Switzerland. It would have been great to have the ability to hike, bike or ski
But not so bad sitting on a bench enjoying the surroundings.
I am impressed with the cleanness everywhere. Very little graffiti and only near
larger towns. I did not see any trash along my routes.
I spent hours planning and arranging my schedule.
I wouldn't change a thing about this travel. Oh OK, maybe one hotel.
You helpful administrators and sharing members were more valuable than you can possibly know. I thank you and offer my help when you visit my Country.
I am Grandmom, 77 years, first solo travel in Europe. Tomorrow I return home to my husband of 55 years who has hinted he has missed my cooking and our cocktail hour together.