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Trip Report Trip to Switzerland and Austria, June 2011 - general observations

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With a lot of help from the people here, our trip turned out great. I'll do more standard trip reports, but first some general observations.
1) Switzerland is expensive, much more than Austria. I was astounded at the cost of food, whether in restaurants or in grocery stores.
2) More smoking than I expected, although it didn't bother us particularly.
3) June was a good time to go. We were a little unlucky with the weather in Switzerland, we were told that it was about 10 degrees cooler than normal and wetter than normal. But we'd brought layers, and it wasn't constant rain, so we got to do most of what we had on our list. The weather was much improved when we got to Austria.
4) There's a lot of English out there. I brushed up on my German for the trip (I used LiveMocha online, I highly recommend it), and I did use it, but we would have been fine even if neither one of us spoke a word of German. I don't regret the study time, I really believe that it's appreciated when you do your best with the local language, and it's obnoxious to assume that everyone everywhere speaks English.
5) We loved Austria. We were in Salzburg and Vienna and adored both. Coffeehouses are my new favorite thing.
6) I'd asked a lot about transportation and we ended up renting a car in Switzerland and getting a half pass and that was perfect. The half pass was paid for just by Jungfraujoch, and applied to anything that moved. When we left Switzerland for Austria, we dropped the car near the Zurich train station and took a train to Salzburg - the half pass applied to the Switzerland part of the train ride as well. We didn't need a car in the cities and traveled from Salzburg to Vienna by train, and used the subway in Vienna.
7) I booked concert tickets at home, online, before the trip, and that worked well.
8) The Salzburg Pass is a steal, well worth the money - it lets you into almost everything free of charge.

That's all I can think of for now, I'll do some more specific posts about where we stayed and what we did - soon.

Alice

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