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Want info on out of the way spots in Switzerland and Germany

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My husband and I were in Switzerland two years ago. We travelled the entire eastern portion and it was fabulous. Here are my observations, and please excuse the spelling. Lucerne is a wonderful place for a day trip and not to be missed. I would not recommend staying there, however, since it is very touristy and very expensive. But definitely worth a train trip for the day. Each town has its own characteristics. Our very favorite by far was Appenzel. The people were warm and friendly and it is a romantic storybook town. Fantastic scenery and shopping and restaurants at the most reasonable prices we encountered anywhere in Switzerland. Charm does not begin to describe the beauty of the architecture in the center of town. It is quintessential Switzerland. Our next favorite spot was Triesenburg which is in Liechtenstein, right next to Switzerland. We stayed at the Hotel Kulm which was awesome. Halfway up a mountain. Fantastic rooms, incredible scenery, warm and welcoming and helpful owners and staff. And, REASONABLE prices. Incredible. No matter where you are in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, the public transportation is phenomenal. Easy to understand, frequent departures on busses or trains. All stops centrally located in the middle and within walking distance of everything. Be sure to check out "passes" as individual trips can be pricey. In every town, the train station is is the middle of your destination and has a wonderful and reasonable restaurant (really). There is always a map outside so you can figure out where you're going. If you can rent a car for a day or two, there is a road parallel to the (I think) Glacier Express train tracks. The scenery is absolutely spectacular. For further info, be sure to pick up a comprehensive tour guide. Read it and take it with you. For more info and tips, feel free to e-mail!

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    Although you prefer mountains over cities, let me suggest one Swiss city I went to in 1994 that is most romantic, and not to be missed: Locarno. It is out of the way, and is not at all "touristy."

    Locarno is in the southern part of Switzerland, in the province of Ticino (best way from Geneva by rail is via Domodossola, Italy). The climate is mediterranean (suprised?), and they speak Italian there as much as they do German and French. Don't expect much English to be spoken there, though! But most of the folks I encountered were absolutely delighted when I stumbled along in my broken German, and very charitable about my (numerous) mistakes. Don't be daunted by the language thing.

    Locarno has a beautiful lakefront, lots of wonderful restaurants and shops and, in summer, an international film festival on the Piazza Grande. It is a great place to relax, soak up some sun, and get away from all the Americans! (We went on from there to Interlaken, and we were resentful of all the English speakers in Interlaken.)

    I have an absolutely WONDERFUL hotel to recommend in Locarno. It is not luxurious, but it is right on the Piazza Grande in the center of town, and the views (if you pick the right room) are magnificent. The hotel is Dell' Angelo, tel. 093/31-81-75, fax 093/31-82-56. We found it in Fodor's 94 (hardcopy) guide for Switzerland, and it was great. Ask for a room on the fourth floor. If you do, your room will open out onto a common (but little used) large patio (with tables with those cool umbrellas) that overlooks the Piazza Grande and the sweep of the Locarno skyline (which tumbles down a terraced mountainside). In the morning, you will wake to the sounds of the chimes of the city's cathedrals, and the vigourous sweeping of the merchants as they scrub the sidewalks (with soap and water, I'm serious!) for the morning's business.

    Dell' Angelo is a gem, and not too expensive for Switzerland (about $120 a night in '94, as I recall, which is cheap for hotels there). The staff are great, and the breakfasts of traditional Swiss bread and cheese, with strong coffee, are fortifying.

    I know I sound like a commercial here, but we really loved the place, and would recommend it to anyone.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at mactude@iwaynet.net.

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