It's been almost ten days that we are back from our Swiss trip and we hope we have passed the quarantine period safely as with god's grace we are doing good.
We visited Switzerland from 20-27th July 2020 from The Netherlands. Initially our trip was planned for April which we booked during early January 2020 through easyJet (flights only). Thereafter came the wave of Covid pandemic. We had to shift the tour to July end and still we were not sure but we kept our hope alive.
We started to see the flattening of curve from may and by June Europe started to ease the travel restriction and flights resumed although in limited capacity and tourism began slowly with caution so we decided to take the chance. Although our easyJet flights was postponed from morning to night killing our one full day Geneva sight seeing plan so we had to make some cut shorts but over all we enjoyed our trip.
We bought the 8 days Swiss travel pass from happy rail at a better price just three days ahead of our journey and received our e-pass within one minute.
Day1: Arrive at Geneva and spend the night at hotel de Geneve. The hotel was near cornavin station and was cozy , fine for a night. The airport was empty, passengers in the plane had to wear mask, the flight was half full. The bus from Geneva station to hotel was half full as well. Hotel informed us that we need to take away our breakfast to the room and eat as due to Corona their buffet is closed in the lobby.
well as we were following the news daily we were prepared for such kind of change and we're ready to accept. But that's why we got a decent rate of the hotel in the otherwise expensive city centre of Geneva.
Day 2: we visited jet d'eu and flower clock quickly and started our journey to laussane. Needless to say the city was so beautiful we were little upset to leave so quickly. Alas if our flight would have been postponed!!
Our train to laussane was again half filled so we had no problem to maintain social distance. Our hotel was Bellerive in laussane and it was an cozy hotel which offered lake view room and spacious bathroom. We were offered early check in upon our arrival . Already we understood the perks of travelling during the Corona restriction time because no way in summer and peak season tourist can have early check in so easily! We then went to Chillion castle. Just to appreciate it's beauty from the outside as our main target was to avail the lavaux express at 3pm. We had some confusion about the bus stand because the bus doesn't stop right way we need to wave to driver actually. We noticed that later and missed one bus. Anyway we made to lavaux express counter at cully through bus and then train as per our scheduled and we were so glad that we booked this journey. Well the train was full. The view was awesome. our kids enjoyed a lot. We enjoyed the wine tasting and they loved the grape juice. We spend some time at the lakeshore after the train journey and returned to hotel in the evening after grabbing some take a way from Mac from main station of laussane.
Day 3: We started early. We headed towards Broc chocolate factory. Due to Corona now the entry was as per time slot. You can prebook slot if you pay separately but if you had swiss pass like us you need to talk to the counter and get your entry time then n there. We saw a decent amount of people waiting there. We had a waiting time of 45 minutes. Worth it. We enjoyed the tour. Although some chocolate making stop s were closed but some were open and kids were excited to see. We had enough chocolates from the buffet. All smiles and warm welcome by the staff. You know mask can't hide hospitality ! We tasted so many chocolates.
After the chocolate factory we went to visit gruyere castle. There was again some confusion with the bus route. The bus number Google mentioned was actually not going to gruyere castle , it had an alternative route. So technically Same bus number once going to another mountain top and gruyere castle alternatively. Hourly one bus, which is supposed to be twice in an hour. But the bus driver helped us and explained it. Grueyre castle was beautiful. I personally preferred the Grueyere castle over chillion. Before going there we couldn't decide which one to choose! As we had time for one . But am so glad we decided over gruyere. This country side is extremely scenic. The walk to the castle.. the view from the castle over the town or the beautiful Fresco's inside everything was mesmerizing. Our kids even enjoyed. We had lunch at the town and then returned to train station where the cheese factory la Maison the gruyere was located and we visited that too . The cheese making we couldn't see as it was evening but the audio guide and the walk was nice. They were sanitizing the audio guides in front of us before passing it to our hand. This was satisfying. After that we went to montbovon to catch a golden pass ride to Montreux. The journey was exceptionally beautiful just like the morning train ride to grueyre.
later we had a relaxing walk at the Montreux promenade. We watched sunset over lake leman with a wine and our dinner and after that we returned to our hotel to call it a day.
Day 4: We started early to lauterbrunen. We travelled through Bern and although the forecast was for rain and cloud we got an excellent weather when we reached Lauterbrunen station so then n there we booked our jungfrau pass and discounted tickets to top of Europe , dropped our luggage at the hotel Staubbach gave us Early check in too. We we're lucky indeed. The journey to jungfrau top of Europe was jaw dropping. It's expensive but worth every penny. We enjoyed it thoroughly. Here we saw rail employees cleaning and sanitizing train windows and seats after each ride. We had our own sanitizing mops and we were cleaning the window, table, hand rest our selves too! We spend the rest of the day at jungfrau and returned in the evening . One benefit we received was no reservations cost for jungfrau bahn to top of Europe due to low demand. We booked a waterfall view room in staubbach and the night was beautiful. The enlightened view of the staubbach waterfalls was out of the world. I was tired but couldn't close my eyes to admire the beauty from my bed. staubbach allowed biggest breakfast and we enjoyed the hot and tasty spread.
Day 5: The only cloudy and rainy day during our visit. We went to murren amidst the cloud a different sort of experience. And then went to trummelbach waterfalls a perfect gateaway for rainy day in lauterbrunen. This was an amazing experience for my daughter. We too were overwhelmed to understand the engineering behind it.the sound of the waterfalls the power and the grace will take your breath away. Such an close counter with a waterfall from inside out I am sure this is one of a kind experience in my life. We returned to hotel to cook lunch and then went to Interlaken for cruise to lake breinz. Another option for a rainy day.T he journey was nice. But in my view a sunny day would have been better. However next stop was harderkulm and we got some sun there. Although we saw long queue and waiting time for an hour after reaching there. So by the time we reach the mountain top it was cloudy . This is the fun with mountain cities the weather changes now and then. the funicular was completely occupied and we had to stand to reach the top.
after spending a good amount of time we headed back to Interlaken, appreciated the city with some relaxing walk , had dinner and headed back to lauterbrunen hotel.
Day 6: We planned for mannlichen wengen cable car to reach Grindelwald first. We took a stop at mannlichen play ground where children could enjoy and we can admire the magnificent view. The cable car ride was of good twenty minutes from mannlichen to Grindelwald and it was extremely rewarding. The short cable car ride from wengen to mannlichen was like a vertical lift. But the longer cross valley mannlichen to Grindelwald was More horizontal and more scenic. Everthing was covered in jungfrau pass so we didn't spend anything extra anywhere. This was an weekend so we faced a good amount of crowd waiting at first mountain cable car . It was almost 40 minutes waiting. We booked ticket for first flyer adventure. Now surprisingly the first flyer had a mandatory face mask rule but not in the cliff walk . This was surprising as we knew face mask is mandatory in public transport, we couldn't imagine the same case in an outdoor adventure activity. We saw many people were refused entry because they came without a mask . There was almost 90 minutes waiting time for the first flyer and it was sold out by lunch time due to limited availability. We were just in time. Thank God. The flyer experience was once in a life time. We loved the adrenaline rush. We also went to Tissot cliff walk and enjoyed the mountain top restaurant there which was surprisingly not so expensive. The Tissot walk had long queue but the view and the sunny weather compensated it.
after spending the entire day in mannlichen n Grindelwald we returned to lauterbrunen and took our luggage from hotel reception and headed to lucern. We took the lucern express at 8 pm and watched the sunset over the lakes and mountains on our way to lucern from interlaken. The train was almost full. We saw huge group of students coming to lauterbrunen e with hiking hears as we were leaving Interlaken.
Day 7: Here I must say the Google transport information was more correct and precise in comparison to the laussane or grueyre area. We loved this city. Beautiful, big and charming. We hired an apartment here named as vission apparent. Due to Corona they didn't provide any room cleaning during our stay just the opposite experience of our stay in laussane and lauterbrunen where they did it happily.
We started our day with a visit to omega museum. We had time so we visited the Swatch museum too. A collection of 6000 watches under one roof, all the special collection, the appollo mission gears, the 007 bond watches worth a visit. It's free for everyone. They had a nice film explaining the watch making and history was interesting as well.
From watch museum we went back to lucern and took the ferry to weggis and headed to rigi bahn. It was free with our swiss travel pass and the scenery was very different , exotic. It was an uncommon experience. we returned to Vitznauu and again took the ferry to lucern. Amazing sunny day rewarded us with amazing view and photographs during the cruise and To the rigi Mountain top, we understood why it is called the queen of mountain.
Day 8: Engelberg was in our itinerary in the last day. We checked out from our apartment kept our luggage in locker at the platform 13 in lucern station and visited the chappel bridge and boarded the train to engelberg. The train was full almost. We started to assume the summer vacation has started and more and more tourists flocking to mountains. Engelberg is pretty and so is brunni. We didn't visit Titlis as one snow experience in jungfrau was enough for us. Moreover many activities were closed like chair lift, snow fun etc. The tickets were slightly discounted but we chose a rather sunny side of engelberg that is brunni and specially for the family chairlift to the mountain top so that my daughter can ride together and believe me that fifteen minutes journey together as a family blowing wind under my feet and over my hair crossing the alpine valleys was Almost heavenly for us. We are so happy that We visited brunni. Stunningly pretty.. green and snow capped mountains around it was beautiful. The mountain parks was a cherry on the cake . My daughter had fun all day.
In the afternoon we returned to lucern to catch our train to Basel airport. Our trip ended with heavy heart. It was like living your dream. Every day has a different surprise. We utilized our pass as much as possible . Our kids were more than happy and as parents that's the biggest satisfying feeling. We took utmost care for isolation distance and hygiene. We obeyed the govt rules for Corona everywhere. And here we are back to our home safe and sound. So cheer up my friends avoid busy places as much as you can. Plan little bit off beat.Brake care travel safe. Enjoy your summer. Precaution is everything I believe.
Untill next time Bye.
With a big thanks to the ever helpful Members.