The Reluctant Travellers' Swiss Adventure - part 6

The Reluctant Travellers' Swiss Adventure - part 6

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rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 3:03 AM

Gotthard Panorama Express to Luzern and beyond

By this stage, with three panoramic trains, numerous regular train trips and a few lake cruises under our belts, the trepidation with which we had started our Swiss Adventure was no more.

We were growing increasingly eager to get to Konstanz to meet up with our son, his partner and our new grandson. But first we had a few more touristy must-do things on our list.

Departing Lugano after a most-enjoyable five night stay we hopped on a local train to Bellinzona to connect with the Gotthard Panorama Express. We had elected to do all the panoramas in 1st Class. Our carriage on the GPEX was only a third full.

It was a pleasant and scenic two-hour trip to Flüelen accompanied by an interesting commentary on the history of the Gotthard line. There was even a light and picture show in the actual tunnel. I can't say the scenery was mind-blowing but it's easy to become blasé when constantly surrounded by wonderful views. One thing that stood out was the number of freeways running along the same route.

Transfer to the lake steamer was pretty seamless. A crew member showed passengers where to stow their luggage and we settled in to enjoy the cruise. We had already paid the class upgrade so we could sit on the upper deck but people seemed to roam around the boat at will. It was a lovely sunny day and the lake was full of yachts. We met a charming gentleman, a retired SBB official, who was on a day-trip from Zurich. Between his limited English and my wife’s school-girl French we learned a good deal about our surroundings.

On arrival in Luzern we found the main station directly across the road from the steamer terminal. A short walk and we were at the Hotel Continental Park; a very nice hotel with modern rooms and in a surprisingly quiet part of town given its proximity to the station.

Over the next few days we: did the Golden Tour roundtrip Kriens - Pilatus - Alpnachstad; visited Rigi via Arth-Goldhau and Vitznau; took a train ride to Engelberg; toured the old city; found the Lion Monument and the Glacier Gardens; visited the Rosengart Collection; and, the Swiss Transport Museum.

If you catch the #1 bus to Kriens make sure it is pointing south-west rather than north-east. You'll get there eventually but starting off in the right direction speeds up the process. In the Transport Museum I got to drive the Bernina Express - well a simulation thereof. In the Rosengart Collection we came to the conclusion that Picasso is best consumed in smaller portions. The Mirror Maze in the Glacier Gardens had us lost for a while. Personal opinion of course, but the Spreuerbrücke (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Spreuer_Bridge) appealed more than the Chapel Bridge. Further than those few observations I won’t bore you with a lengthy description of all the places we visited but will let a few selected photos (attached below) do the talking.

There is a Tourist Information office (get a map for the self-guided city tour) at the north-eastern end of Luzern Bahnhof and a shopping mall including two supermarkets on the lower level. Keep an eye out for Bobby and Fritz and try their currywurst. Their footpedal-operated sauce, mustard and mayo dispenser takes fast food to a new level.

At the end of our four-day stay we set off via the Voralpen Express to St Gallen and then finally on to Konstanz where our family lives. Konstanz is in Germany but only just (much to the confusion of our Swiss Salt SIM card). It has a charming old city and better yet it is on the shores of the Bodensee - we don’t like to get too far from water.

Kreuslingen in Switzerland is only a three-minute train ride away. So were easily able to use our Swiss Travel Pass for a day trip to the amazingly popular Rhine Falls, a train ride along the southern shore of the Bodensee to Rorshach and then a 50%-discounted boat ride to medieval Lindau and return, and a river cruise along the Rhine to picturesque Stein am Rhein. We also visited the island of Minau which is a giant park where the butterfly house is a particularly impressive indoor tropical paradise.

All the sights and scenes during our trip were great but nothing topped spending time with the kids and meeting our new grandson - he’s a smasher!

Our five days in Konstanz flew by and before we knew it we were packing our bags to press on into Germany on the Black Forest Railway for a short stay in Gengenbach. Then it was onward to Frankfurt to catch the flight back home with a whole new set of memories. Reluctant travellers no more!

That’s all for this trip folks. Thanks for following.

ps If anyone plans to visit the Black Forest from Switzerland we can highly recommend Gengenbach. Quaint little town slightly off the beaten track and one of a number of villages which offer the KONUS Card for free bus and train transport all over the Black Forest Region. You won’t get a KONUS Card in any of the major cities. Gengenbach even had a mini-zoo with a couple of emus!

For earlier editions of The Reluctant Traveller’s Swiss Adventure see

Part 1 - Initial Report (https://goo.gl/8bw51n), Part 2 - Basel to Brig (https://goo.gl/626K1i), Part 3 - The Glacier Express (https://goo.gl/K9hHfR), Part 4 - The Bernina Express (https://goo.gl/LTkZjT), Part 5 - Lugano and Surrounds (https://goo.gl/ZE5daC)

rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 3:06 AM

Gotthard Panorama Express photos . . . .

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rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 3:08 AM

Luzern photos . . . .

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rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 3:10 AM

Pilatus photos . . . .

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rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 3:17 AM

Rigi photos . . . .

(We caught a train to Arth-Goldhau and had to walk several hundred metres to what we discovered later was a provisional Rigi Bahn Station. The original station which is in a bridge crossing over the platform at Arth-Goldhau has been undergoing renovation and refurbishment for several years. I just read somewhere that the original station which is something of a national treasure has now been re-opened.)

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rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 3:21 AM

Photos from Konstanz, Bodensee and Lindau . . . . .

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rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 3:29 AM

Photos from the Rhine Falls . . . .

(I am amazed at the number of people on MySwissAlps who seem to make the Rhine Falls a top priority for their Swiss itinerary. But then I visited the Victoria Falls when I was 12 years old so waterfalls have never been quite the same since.)

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rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 3:36 AM

Photos from the cruise along the Rhine from Konstanz to Stein an Rhein . . .

The boat actually goes as far as Schaffhausen but we had already been there by train. When first planning our Europe trip we had considered a 14-day Rhine Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. We were more than happy with this budget (free with Swiss Travel Pass) variant.

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rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 3:37 AM

Stein am Rhein photos . . . . .

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Adelaidean
Adelaidean
107 posts
active member
Jul 2, 2017 - 8:57 AM

More wonderful photos, rockoyster, I have enjoyed following you on this journey.

And congratulations on your grandson 😀

I, too, wondered about the Rhine Falls and thought that either photos don't do it justice or it is on the 'list' of things to see somewhere in a travel agents' office (the one that also states Luzern, Interlaken, and Jungfraujoch..)

I have been to Victoria Falls too, so agree that sets the bar rather high.

Last modified on Jul 2, 2017 - 8:58 AM by Adelaidean
Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Jul 2, 2017 - 9:24 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks rockoyster for another entertaining account covering the final leg of your travels. You have some wonderful photos there, and some quirky ones too!

I'm sure the planning for your next trip to Switzerland has already begun!

Alpenrose

rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 10:37 AM in reply to Removed user

Too right cobber. Thanks for following along . . And for much inspiration. ;-)

Last modified on Jul 2, 2017 - 10:41 AM by rockoyster
rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 10:40 AM in reply to Adelaidean

Thanks Adelaidean. I hope you enjoy your Swiss Adventure as much as we enjoyed ours.

Julie49
Julie49
22 posts
new member
Jul 2, 2017 - 1:57 PM

I am sorry to have your adventure end. As I've written earlier I enjoyed the writing, pictures, and adventure. My husband and I decided to revise our Swiss Itinerary to include the Bernina Express and time in Lugano as a result. Thanks Rockoyster .... When you return to Switzerland to visit #1 grandchild I'll look for another well written travelogue.

Annika
Annika
4992 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 2, 2017 - 6:06 PM

Hi Rockoyster,

Thanks so much for your enjoyable, informative and comprehensive 6 part trip report. It's been wonderful to read about your experiences with scenery, train traveling, the locals, food, and so on. Very helpful to other travelers, as I'm sure you've noticed by now, judging from the many enthusiastic reactions. And you've shared lovely pictures as well. I hope you keep joining the forum, either to help out fellow travelers or to prepare for your next Switzerland trip :-)!

2sk21
2sk21
23 posts
new member
Jul 2, 2017 - 7:23 PM

Really enjoying your series. Brings back great memories of my own trip back in April. I recall you had a number of questions then. Looks like everything worked out very well.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 11:01 PM in reply to Julie49

You're most welcome Julie. I hope you enjoy the Bernina and Lugano. I'll be back!

rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 11:05 PM in reply to Annika

Hi Annika,

Thanks for your kind words. I got so much out of this forum it only seemed right to give something back. I'll be sticking around and offering advice where I can while we plan our next trip (and the one after that).

rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Jul 2, 2017 - 11:08 PM in reply to 2sk21

Hi 2sk21,

Yes it all worked out great thanks to all the things I learned from this forum. Glad my report stirred some memories.

Laisofun8
Laisofun8
38 posts
active member
Jul 3, 2017 - 2:54 AM in reply to rockoyster

Good morning rockoyster

Thank you so much on your hearty sharings and vivid reports on your travelling. I have been following till this final leg. It's amazing and seems to travel along through the photos. We will have our first tour to Switzerland in late August and are already inspired for the next trip planning by your attractions in the interesting description.

looking forward in reading your other writings

Ms LAI so fun

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