Sep 10, 2013 - 5:14 PM
Hello everyone, Grüezi
As it’s fairly quiet on the forum at the moment, I thought I’d post final thoughts on our Swiss adventure this year with a brief diary of our excursions and some general observations,
Tues. 16th July – travel via Swiss Air from Birmingham to Zürich ,then train to Thun where our hosts kindly met us to take us to their apartment (top floor of their house). Unpacked, borrowed shopping trolley and went to local Co-op for provisions.
Wed. 17th shopped in Thun market for salad and fruit, cheese etc then train to Interlaken and boat back.
Thurs. 18th Schaffhausen, Rhinefalls – river cruise.
Fri. 19th St. Gallen, monastery Library and cathedral
Sat. 20th Thun market and Drehorgelfest (traditional barrel organs of all kinds and sizes), Sigriswil and new suspension bridge.
Sun. 21st English language service in church in Interlaken, Mürren, Allmendhubel, Stechelberg, Lauterbrunnen.
Mon.22nd Niesen, Kandersteg, Sunnbüel
Tues.23rd Lake Zürich – 7 hour cruise
Wed. 24th Zweisimmen, Lenk, Iffigenalp, Iffigenfalle
Thurs.25th Brienzer Rothorn by steam railway ,return via Sörenberg, Schüpfheim, Lucerne and Interlaken
Fri. 26th husband went hiking – Fafleralp to Lauchneralp
Sat 27th – very hot! Did washing and joined hosts for barbecue supper in garden and bi-lingual conversation!
Sun 28th Männlichen via Wengen – Trachtenfest (traditional dancing, alphorn duet, flag swinging, whip-cracking, yodelling and other musical entertainment) return via Grindelwald.
Mon 29th heavy RAIN and windy so only ventured out for lunch in one of the many lovely eating places in Thun.
Tues 30th Martigny and St. Bernard Dog Museum
Wed 31st Saas-Fee by train and bus.
Thurs. 1st Aug. Bönigen house trail, parade in Interlaken, firework cruise on Lake Thun.
Fri. 2nd Meiringen by train, Oberwald by bus (lovely views), train to Andermatt, return via Brig.
Sat 3rd. hot again – did washing and had lazy day.
Sun 4th church in Interlaken, train to Brienz, walkabout, boat to Interlaken and boat to Thun.
Mon 5th train to Engelberg via Bern and Lucerne. Visited Monastery cheese factory, bus to gondola trip half way up Brunni then return in reverse.
Tues. 6th trains to Einsiedeln via Zürich – visited cathedral, Diorama, Mineral Museum, Panorama and Gingerbread Museum. (part of train trip needed replacement bus very efficiently managed)
Wed 7th train to Reichenbach, postbus to Griesalp (spectacular ride) and back (lunch at top), bus to Frutigen, bus to Kandersteg and train back – rain on and off but dodged most of it.
Thurs. 8th showery again so long train trip to Arosa (4 trains, 4 and a bit hours) Weisshorn by gondola, lunch at top and train trip back. From Chur to Arosa is a bit like a mini-Glacier Express!
Fri. 9th some more rain, lunch in Thun, bus to Interlaken, train back
Sat. 10th trains to Zweisimmen and Gstaad, bus to Col du Pillon, gondola to Glacier 3000, snow bus on glacier. Reverse trip back.
Sun 11th Männlichen via Wengen – Alphornfest (78 Alphorns playing together with flag swingers – also performances by duos, small groups etc). return via Grindelwald.
Mon 12th walk along lake from Thun to Oberhofen for lunch. Return by bus to do packing.
Tues 13th train to Zürich Airport and flight back to Birmingham.
For those maybe wondering why such famous places a sJungfraujoch, Schynige Platte, Pilatus, Rigi, Montreux, Geneva etc. didn’t figure on our trip, we were making a conscious effort to visit as many new places as possible, having visited all those places on previous visits.
We were very pleased that we went for whole month as it felt very relaxed, no urgency to fit things in and the occasional “day off” because of rain or excessive heat didn’t matter. The apartment is very well appointed with a view of the castle from its balcony, our hosts friendly and generous and the atmosphere in Thun isspecial. It is an excellent transport hub for travelling in all directions and we made the most of our Swiss Pass. Because we go in the busy season we chose to get the 1st class pass so had no trouble finding seats on busy trains and the upper deck of boats is also less crowded. On our return home I did the maths and worked out that the cost of the pass plus the reduced fares on gondolas etc came to 2211.60 chf and if we had paid full prices in 1st class where available, 2nd where not, and museum entrance (only one was not free with pass!) we would have had to pay 8504 chf! I could hardly believe the difference myself when I worked it all out. Even the short trips to station and back would have come to more than 250 chf. We enjoy the self-catering life-style as we can take advantage of the lovely fresh produce in the market and the local shops stock a good variety of food. Had we been at home we would have had to buy food so it doesn’t really add to the overall costs of the holiday and it’s a pleasure to eat lunch out in the little cafes etc. in the various places we visited. I had saved money by buying air tickets and Swiss Pass early and the apartment rent was good value for money. We wouldn’t go back to hotel living now we have experienced this way of doing things for the last three of our trips.
I apologise for the length of this post and thank you to those with the patience to read it all – I hope our experience may help those with future plans! Back here in the UK my enthusiasm has influenced at least 3 people to consider holidaying in Switzerland!
Best wishes to all