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Trip report Grand Train Tour of Switzerland (7)


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Danielsan
Danielsan
310 posts
top member
Oct 24, 2018 - 6:03 PM

Hello Forum folks,

Day 13: Well, first things first. No, not breakfast, but out to see the sunrise. The peacefulness at 7000 feet at 0645 is hard to describe. Cool, quiet, just simply awesome. Seeing the sunrise, with a little bit of haziness, was as good as it gets. Climbing up to the high point, about a 7-10 minute climb, was well worth getting up early for. The lakes below, the silhouettes of the surrounding mountains, just before the sun comes over the horizon, again just awesome. Seeing the folks from the night before, many people having the same intentions of seeing the sun come up over towards Mt. Rigi was absolutely beautiful. On the other side of one of the thick, cobblestone wall was an antelope, (or whatever animal that lives in the mountains, not sure) just hanging out at 7000 feet looking for something to eat, grazing, or maybe just enjoying the cool early morning weather that we were. That too, was pretty neat to see. After the red rubber ball came over the horizon, and many pictures later, I decided to have some breakfast in the magnificent building that was my palace in the sky for a night.

After which, I checked-out, and then a brand-new adventure took place. What is said to be a half hour walk on the Flower Trail, took me probably over two and a quarter-hours. Lots to see on this rugged trail through, around and up, higher and higher I want to get to the summit. I didn’t think there was this much left up there. After a while, the paved part ends and then one is walking over/on rock. No two steps are the same. There is a railing to mark the trail and that is it. Very interesting. I’m glad I continued to the end and have some good pictures on the top of this side of Pilatus. The final ascent is going up a ridge, with a path and railing on one side of it and just air on the other side, that one doesn’t realize until on the top. Great photo op. Once again, the weather was phenomenal. With Luzern, the different parts of the lake, Mt. Rigi, all in the distance. I was able to see the Stanserhorn in all its glory, which I tried to do twice, to no avail. Going down was a bit more difficult, since I wanted to be careful not to turn an ankle and ruin a great trip. So, I took my time returning the Kulm, and just didn’t expect to be on the mountain for this long, but it was a lot of fun. I guess I made my way back down the cog railway to Alpnachtstad about 1400 hrs. or so, where I had a hot dog at a little café across from the Pilatusbahn. Then, back to Luzern, where I did some last-minute walking around before collecting my big bag from the locker and heading to Zurich for my last night in Switzerland. I was amazed how much café’s and such there were in Zurich when I walked around in the area across from the train station. Wow. What choices one has there. After a few cocktails and some food, I called it a night.

Day 14: Homeward bound. What a fantastic trip!!!

If anyone out there does stay on the Pilatus, I strongly recommend putting your bags in a locker at the train station. Take a nap-sack, as I did, and it gave me so much more freedom to hike after I checked-out. I wasn’t saddled with the burden of the big bag and could do other things if I wanted to.

The highlights of my trip were the Gornergrat, and the night spent on the Pilatus. Again, highly recommended for anyone who has the time or desire to include in their itinerary. The panoramic trains were also nice, and I’m glad I did them, but the regular trains are on the same tracks and the scenery will be the same. I’m glad I did the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, but I also wished I’d spent more time in some places like Lugano, and Montreux. But I can do this on my next trip. I just have to plan an itinerary for that which has already started in Zermatt. I will fill in the rest over the next year and take it from there. It is amazing to me how much I wanted to see while making my plans, and how much I just ran out of time for. Just so much to see. Have fun folks!

Danielsan

Lucas
Lucas
10495 posts
top member
Oct 25, 2018 - 8:18 AM in reply to Danielsan

Thanks again for all the trip reports Danielsan!

Still lots to see and do on your next trip to Switzerland. Ticino is one of my favourite regions: www.myswissalps.com/ti cino and Graubünden: www.myswissalps.com/gr aubunden

Mark
Mark
699 posts
top member
Oct 25, 2018 - 11:02 AM

Hi Danielsan

you clearly have put a lot of thought and effort into both the planning and reporting on your Swiss trip. Great job !! Mark

Micalj
Micalj
80 posts
active member
Oct 26, 2018 - 6:15 PM

Danielsan,

I have gleaned much from your descriptions and thank you for taking the time to share it with the rest of us. Sounds like you'll be returning for another visit soon. I have created a Swiss Google map (Google MyMaps) where I have accurately placed 40+ castles and additionally the train / ferry stations for reference. If you are interested, I can share a link and give you permission to view. I put quite a bit of work in it, and most of the location have an embedded URL that will take you to the web page corresponding to the place of interest. Hope you have safe travels, and look forward to more adventures.

Mike J

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
701 posts
top member
Oct 28, 2018 - 3:23 PM

Hello Danielsan

I have enjoyed so much reading all your reports, so well written and with so much detail and useful tips and information. The pleasure you derived from your holiday comes across so powerfully and must surely inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Also your careful preparation clearly had an influence on such a successful outcome and should be an example to follow.

Having had to miss out on our planned trip this year because of illness it has cheered me to read of someone else's happy experiences so thank you for that! I hope you manage to return and do some of the things you hadn't time for. As you say so many choices to make, so many options! We have been to Switzerland every year since 2001 and there are still some places on our "must do next time" list!

Thank you again

Maggie

Danielsan
Danielsan
310 posts
top member
Oct 29, 2018 - 1:07 AM in reply to maggiehorswell

Hello to all the Forum folks,

Thank you to all, for so many kind responses to my trip reports. I am glad any tips I have thrown out there have had some kind of impact. Hope folks can put any of them to good use. Obviously, everyone has there desires as to what to see on their trip, mine were cable cars, trains and boats/ferries. Unfortunately I never was able to take advantage of the nearly 500 museums that are free with the STP because I was to busy exploring the mountains. But I have no regrets, and it was a fantastic trip.

To Maggiehorswell, I am glad to brought some happiness your way, and am sorry you had to miss out on your journey this year. What a bummer. I am also impressed ( and very envious ) that you have been able to visit every year. That's a beautiful thing. Hope you are back on your feet and planning your next trip. I am curious as to what is/was your favorite part of Switzerland in so many visits?

Thanks again Lucas for all your information. You must do this full time in between your part time teaching. Your help is invaluable to so many, thanks for that.

Danielsan

Arno
Arno
15706 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 29, 2018 - 6:37 AM

Thanks for all the time you put into to this Danielsan. I will link to your report from our social media channels early next year, when people start planning their holidays again. I am sure there will be many people who find this useful.

Lucas
Lucas
10495 posts
top member
Oct 29, 2018 - 6:47 AM in reply to Danielsan

Thanks Danielsan - hope you can get back soon!

Danielsan
Danielsan
310 posts
top member
Oct 29, 2018 - 10:44 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

You're welcome and thank you. This is one hell of a beautiful site you have set up here. Unbelievably helpful to so many, and I'm so glad I found it.

Danielsan

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
701 posts
top member
Nov 8, 2018 - 10:38 PM in reply to Danielsan

Hi again Danielsan

Sorry to be so long replying to your question - unfortunately been a bit busy with appointments with hospital consultants!

You asked about my favourite places in Switzerland so I thought I would look at my spreadsheet that lists all the places we have been to and check how often we have been to each place in case I forget something! Allmendhubel wins hands down and I would have picked it anyway - the views are great, the restaurant serves good food, it is fun to watch children enjoying the play area, there are some easy trails to follow including a very well documented flower trail and it's not overcrowded! We go up there nearly every year.

Other favourites include Brienzer Rothorn and Schynige Platte, both of which have really scenic train rides up as well. If the weather is particularly hot we sometimes head up Niederhorn as there seems to be a cool breeze up there even on hot days. We like Arosa though it is quite a long trip from our base but worth the effort! The mountain there - Weisshorn - has great 360 views and fewer visitors (a plus for us) with an excellent restaurant. The train trip from Chur to Arosa is very scenic too. For poorer weather days we like visiting Bern and our favourite museum is the outdoor museum at Ballenberg - again good idea for dull days.

Despite our numerous visits we have not yet been up Titlis! We have usually been in Switzerland in busy tourist season and don't fancy the crowds up there! Might give it a go next year as we hope to go in September for a change. Our plans normally include finding new places off the beaten track if possible so last year went up Zugerberg near Zug, Weissenstein near Solothurn and Brambuesch near Chur. (these smaller mountains are sometimes known as Hausberge I believe and it was last year's aim to visit some). The last two years we have spent a week in St. Moritz before travelling to our usual base in the Bernese Oberland (in or near Thun - an excellent base for connections all over Switzerland and a lovely little city in its own right) and have a new favourite in the Engadine area - Sils Maria, we also particularly like Soglio and the bus journey to get there.

So we have many favourite places to which we like to return, mixing that up with finding the new ones! A rather long reply now I have got round to it! But it is hard to choose favourites from so many lovely places! I could list even more but will resist!

Hope you enjoy planning your next trip - Zermatt is an excellent place to start - I will never forget my first view of the Matterhorn - I was just in awe!

Best wishes from Maggie

Last modified on Nov 9, 2018 - 8:28 AM by Lucas
Ladynbrown
Ladynbrown
13 posts
new member
Nov 9, 2018 - 3:38 PM in reply to Micalj

We have plans to take the grand train tour in June and I really enjoyed and learned a lot reading about detailed descriptions of this itinerary. This is our first trip to Switzerland and we are getting excited.

To Mike J, I would like to request permission to access your Swiss google map which can help us alot in planning this upcoming trip. Thanks.

thank you again for all your forum discussions which are very helpful to all newbies like us.

Micalj
Micalj
80 posts
active member
Nov 9, 2018 - 7:46 PM

Hi Ladynbrown,

At this point, I will defer to the site moderators - Annika, Lucas and Arno, to see if it is appropriate to post a Google Maps shareable link for this info (map created with MyMaps at Google), and if so, where it should be posted. If not, we'll see about getting the info to you in another way.

Mike J

Last modified on Nov 9, 2018 - 8:16 PM by Micalj
Arno
Arno
15706 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 9, 2018 - 8:25 PM in reply to Micalj

Hi Mike,

If you're willing to share you're map here, please feel free to do so. As long as there's no personal data like phone numbers and e-mail addresses in it, it's fine.

Micalj
Micalj
80 posts
active member
Nov 9, 2018 - 8:38 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Thanks. Here is the link. I have embedded URL's with each castle, and tried to place the closest transport hubs on the map as well. Also have a few walking directions. Hopefully folks find this helpful. I did not include castle ruins on the map.

drive.google.com/open?id=1dYNEm-yjcdO-MnqNtQ416Z1WMjE&usp=sh aring

Ladynbrown
Ladynbrown
13 posts
new member
Nov 10, 2018 - 3:07 AM in reply to Micalj

Thank you very much Mike. This will definitely help us find our way to these castles.

Thanks Arno for all your help!

Lucas
Lucas
10495 posts
top member
Nov 10, 2018 - 8:02 AM in reply to Micalj

Thanks Mike - very nice map!

Micalj
Micalj
80 posts
active member
Nov 11, 2018 - 2:33 PM in reply to Ladynbrown

Thanks Ladynbrown and Lucas! It was fun doing the research.

If you like castles, the 3 castles of Bellinzona (a UNESCO World Heritage site) are worth a visit:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/bellinzona3castle s

Then a trip to Montreux via the Golden Pass line gets you the alps, then walk to the ferry in Montreux and take it to Chateau de Chillon castle and tour it! All included in the Swiss Travel Pass. Also there is the ferry on Lake Thun that can take you to the castles on its shores for an amazing day. And that just barely scratches the surface. Have fun planning and then traveling!

Mike J

Last modified on Nov 11, 2018 - 4:08 PM by Lucas
Danielsan
Danielsan
310 posts
top member
Nov 12, 2018 - 10:49 PM in reply to Micalj

Hi Micalj,

I did browse through your castle map. Beautiful job on that. That must have taken quite some time to put together, very, very well done. Thank you very much, I very much enjoyed looking through it, and will continue to do so. Thank you again.

Danielsan

Danielsan
Danielsan
310 posts
top member
Nov 12, 2018 - 11:49 PM in reply to maggiehorswell

Hello Maggie,

Please, no apologies necessary….. I just hope that you are back on your feet again. Thanks for your response, I appreciate it. I know there is quite a lot on that “favorite list”, but you did well, considering you had so much that you have seen, (and even more). I would like to see Thun, and Brienz. I only stopped in Brienz on my way to Luzern on the Golden Pass leg from Interlaken Ost to Luzern. I also wanted to see Mt. Niederhorn and the Beatus caves. But as I have said before, and as you very well know, there is just so much to see. I looked over brochures, and google maps for the better part of 5 months, and still had no plan what so ever for the three nights I was to spend in Wengen. That’s how much I wanted to do and see. I wanted to see the Schynige Platte, Grindelwald First, Schilthorn (which I missed by ten minutes), Harder Kulm, and Manlichen. The more I looked at the Jungfrau Region maps, the more I found that I wanted to see/do…. I did see the Allmendhu funicular when I was walking through Murren. I will put that on my list of things for my next trip to the O.B. region. ( I was able to see the Jungfraujoch as a little boy with my father, so it was not at the top of my list on this trip.) I didn’t get to see Grindelwald at all, due to cloud cover, except for glimpses of it on the hike from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. So, there is still quite a bit to see on a return trip. Zermatt is another place I have to return to. So, so very much to see and do there. I agree, seeing the Matterhorn is just a special sight. To see it as an adult after some 4o years was truly special. I don’t know if I will make it back next year or wait another year, but I am definitely going back. Hope all goes well for you and I can read a trip report from you soon. Thanks again.

Danielsan

Micalj
Micalj
80 posts
active member
Nov 16, 2018 - 7:51 PM in reply to Danielsan

Danilesan,

Thanks for your kind words about the map. It's always nice to have folks acknowledge an effort. Thanks again, and safe travels.

Mike J

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