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Trip Report A Taste Switzerland

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After 3 weeks in France it was time to change venues: We arrived in Geneva mid-afternoon, hungry and tired. We stopped at a cafe in the train station and sticker shock! I innocently told my husband i wanted the yogurt with muesli out of the case. We're talking a container of yogurt! It cost about 6-7 dollars… and the guy behind the counter pushed "dollars" before my husband could understand what was happening. That conversion cost another 3%. after that, we always chose CHF currency since I knew our credit card offered the conversion for free. That start got us cranky.

Next was to buy our ticket to Bern, our first stop. We didn't want to use our Swiss pass yet since we knew we had to spend about $75 dollars/day each to break even.

We got our tickets (about $35 each) and got to Bern and a nice lady at an info counter told us how to get to our hostel. Yeah, that's right. I tried to impress my husband with my budget choice. It was a private room and bath, but still it was a hostel. Backpackers Glocke in old town Bern. We rolled our bags about 4 blocks and we were there. One case of stairs to reception and a small elevator to the top.

it turned out to be great value. non-smoking awesomeness. I could finally do a load of laundry!! I could tell my husband was chewing his lip when we learned it was 5 Francs a load, 3 more to dry and 1 for the laundry soap. I hit the wrong button, got the longer wash and it added 2 more Francs to that. I was quite popular with my husband at that moment. My husband breathed through it… and said little. But now we had clean jeans and shirts for the rest of our trip!!

Our one night in Bern was a way to see where Einstein worked. I just finished the Walter Issacson book and it was cool to see the clock tower and his apt. We also had a great meal at Punkt, right next door to the hostel. It was crazy spicy but we enjoyed a change of pace. We split the meal and it was plenty of food. A couple of glasses of wine later and we were good.

We both agreed the long day and several train rides was too much. We would have been better off staying in Geneva. Just because you have short train rides, it doesn't matter. If you have to lift and drag your bags 3 or more times, it's taxing. This was the first day I would have changed our plan.

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annealex on May 13, 14 at 7:57pm
STOP 7. 2 nights. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. Hotel Staubbach.

We woke in Bern and had some coffee -- we had brought our small french press coffee maker and it had come in a handy several times on our trip. We strolled old town for an hour and then dragged our suitcases the 4 blocks to the train station. At the desk the agent sold us the tickets to Lauterbrunnen and activated our Swiss pass for the next day. That seemed the best use of our 4-day pass. We would see if it was worth the price!

The train took us through Interlaken Ost. (We could have taken an earlier one to Interlaken West and changed but this was a more efficient route.) From Interlaken Ost we took the train to Lauterbrunnen. It was a quick ride - maybe 1.5 hours?

Lauterbrunnen is way more scenic than the pictures. You can't breathe the pictures. You can't take in the shimmery snow-covered Alps and the waterfalls all in one scan. It was stunning.

I had a lucky streak going. I wasn't quite sure where the hotel was. I didn't do my usual planning since we had 9 stops. But it worked out. We walked toward the main waterfall since I knew the hotel had a view of it. But, there are dozens of waterfalls. And just as I was beginning to wonder we found the hotel. We had a very warm welcome at the hotel.

It's a well-worn hotel with creaky floors and tattered carpets. It also has sweet views over the valley from our standard room and an ample breakfast. We liked it!

We knew the weather to go to Jungfrau was iffy, but we hoped it would clear by our last day. The weather we had that first afternoon turned out to be the best. Good thing we took a walk that afternoon to take in the town and views. Because after that, it was rain and clouds.

That night we tried the fondue at Hotel Oberland. They have seating outside and inside. Part of the outdoor area is reserved for non-smokers which is usually not the case. We took full advantage of the area and had a totally wonderful fondue. It included a small green salad. The fondue is served with bread and small potatoes. It also has ample servings of fresh garlic, onions, chives and mushrooms which you can add to the fondue.

My biggest fear was running out of the fondue! I never wanted it to end. It was so good. Luckily, I did get full before it ran out. My husband mopped up the rest in a ridiculous orgy of a scene.

The next day it was raining lightly. After breakfast we took the bus to Trummelback Falls. WOW. This was dramatic. This highly engineered setting inside the mountain allows you to see the force of water coming directly from the highest peaks above. You take a cable car partially up and then take a series of wet stairs up and then down the falls. I was surprised people brought their young children. It's slippery and you must use caution.

This was worth the admission!

From there we took the bus again (included in our Swiss pass!) to Stechelberg, a short 1-2 miles down the road. From there we got on the cable car to Murren. (My husband was keeping a running tally of what we would have spent sans the Swiss Pass…) Not one for heights I was curious how I would fare. The ride to Murren was smooth and easy! We went up about 1,000 feet to Murren and it was snowing. We warmed up in one of the few places open. Now, this was early May so summer season had not really begun. But the hot chocolate was terrific and the peaceful snow-covered town was dreamy.

We then took the train through Winteregg to Grutschalp. The views were limited because of the clouds. We arrived back in Lauterbrunnen. After a break we took a train to Wengen. The train was so scenic -- we didn't really do anything once we got there.

We headed to Interlaken for some Indian food. My husband had found this place online. Spice indian. I was so happy to find all this spicy food in Switzerland! This place was really great. Given the price of things in Switzerland we split a main course and got some sides. Plenty of food for us.

The next day we took a train to Grindelwald just to see the town. We saw fleeting glimpses of what I believe is Eiger above the town. We grumbled a bit about our Swiss Pass. If the weather isn't good, it's hard to make good use of it. Even with all our train trips we hadn't used it enough. But there was always Lucerne!!

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