A Swiss Alpine Autumn

Old Oct 1st, 2019, 09:17 AM
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A Swiss Alpine Autumn

September 29 -

With an 11 am flight from our nearest international airport (DEN), we drove the ~two hours from our home to the Big Smoke, had a leisurely dinner at our favorite Mile High City Mexican joint, and then spent the night in a hotel, an attempt to keep our travel stress to a minimum.

We’d determined that the most economical option for long term parking would be to leave our car at the 61st & Peña parking lot, from which the only transportation service to the airport is Light Rail, available for $10.50 per person for the 11 minute journey. We’d be gone almost a month, so we purchased the 30 day parking pass ($48).

Sept 30 –

DEN-IAD-ZRH – United Airlines

We were up with the birds, and despite taking the longer, slower back route to the parking facility in the thick of morning traffic, we’d parked, taken our first ride on Light Rail and were at the airport 2:45 hours prior to our flight, quite pleased that our low stress plan had worked.

And then things went sideways.

As we scanned our passports at the check-in kiosk, a big red notice came up, advising our flight had been delayed by 90 minutes, giving us all of ten minutes to make our connecting flight in Dulles. United had struck again.

Our options were to 1) take the delayed flight, and potentially spend a night at Dulles, completely screwing up our well laid plans, 2) take the delayed flight and try to get on a Lufthansa flight that would put us in Zurich six hours later than planned (causing us to miss our pre-purchased train to our first destination in Switzerland, or 3) run like hell, try to get through security and to the gate to make a flight to Dulles leaving in 50 minutes (and losing the Economy Plus seats we’d booked six months ago, in exchange for two middle seats and the possibility that our luggage wouldn’t make it). God I hate United. Million Miler status means absolutely nothing.

We chose to run like hell. We made it…just.

The second leg of the trip went better – Dreamliner from Dulles to Zurich, half empty, nice Economy Plus seats, empty seat between us, shortish flight - 7:15. Flight left an hour late (but weirdly, we still landed on time), Entertainment system was not working for either of us, flight attendants a bit gruff, etc.

October 1 –

Hello Switzerland.

We’re not strangers to this beautiful country, but we usually visit in late November/early December or early/late spring, when many Swiss villages are blissfully deserted and near-shuttered.

This year however, we decided to give autumn a go.

And here we are.

The itinerary:

Adelboden – five nights

Grengoils – five nights

Flims – five nights

Soglio – three nights

Scuol – five nights

Erlenbach – two nights

Sorting out the various and sundry Swiss train passes invariably causes head cramps, but we’ve learned from experience that the Half Fare Card works best for us. We purchased two Half Fare Cards online (SBB website, 120 CHF each) two days prior to our trip to prevent having to queue for them upon arrival in Zurich (and there was quite a queue let me tell you).

We’d also saved a fair bit by purchasing SuperSaver Tickets a week before we left home using the SBB phone app, including today’s journey from Zurich to Adelboden.

Having little faith in United, we’d booked a train specific ticket for two hours after expected arrival; a risk, but it paid off (normal fare from Zurich to Adelboden, including bus transfer to the stop nearest our apartment was 84.40 CHF for both with Half Fare Card, 41.20 CHF for both with Half Fare Card and SuperSaver Ticket.

We’re currently ensconced in a lovely little apartment in hilly Adelboden, watching and listening to the tinkling of bells around the necks of two long haired black and white sheep grazing outside the kitchen window (and hoping they’re not nocturnal). We’re going on 30 hours with no sleep, but trying to resist the urge to crawl into bed before it's dark.

Monte Grappa, 537 chf via E-Domizil, inclusive of cleaning, and insurance.

Monte Grappa - Ferienwohnung in Adelboden

Views from our dinner venue this evening (apartment balcony):



It's dark! I'm going to bed.

To be continued...

Last edited by Melnq8; Oct 1st, 2019 at 09:26 AM.
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Old Oct 1st, 2019, 09:33 AM
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Glad you made it to Zurich in one piece ;-) Nice apartment and gorgeous weather!! The apartment is located a bit below the actual village, right?

Looking forward to the next posts!

Btw, snow is in the forecast ...
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Old Oct 1st, 2019, 09:46 AM
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Are you loving the green for a change, Mel?
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Old Oct 1st, 2019, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
September 29 -

Views from our dinner venue this evening (apartment balcony):



It's dark! I'm going to bed.

To be continued...
Gorgeous photo -- I'm looking forward to your TR!
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Old Oct 1st, 2019, 08:08 PM
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Ingo, yes the apartment is located below the village. As the owner explained when we asked how to get to the Coop..."go up, up, up, up!" This seems par for the course for us in Switzerland.

I failed to mention our routing to Adelboden in my exhausted state yesterday - 10:18 am train to Bern, then train to Fruitigen (having to get off the train at Spiez and get back on at the front, after a lovey young conductor told us the train would split and we were at the wrong end!).

And then bus ride from Fruitigen up to Adelboden aboard a rather busy hot bus. Another American couple headed to Adelboden tried to engage me in a long chat, but having forgotten how squiggly the ride was and feeling rather car sick I wasn't much of a conversationalist.

The English speaking daughter of the apartment owner met us at the bus stop and led us to Monte Grappa, explaining it was named after a mountain in the Italian Alps on behalf of her grandfather.

Adelaidean - yes, very green, and surprisingly warm yesterday.
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Old Oct 1st, 2019, 09:19 PM
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Oooh, will really enjoy your report, as always!!

I am just behind you, will be in Switzerland 26 Oct. But not going anywhere untroden... a few days in Thun, then almost two weeks in Montreux, then a few days in Chur.

Looking forward, and hoping the knee holds up!

s
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Old Oct 2nd, 2019, 07:17 AM
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swandav - any trip to Switzerland is good trip, untrodden or otherwise!
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Old Oct 2nd, 2019, 07:36 AM
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Soooooo true!!!
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Old Oct 2nd, 2019, 08:45 AM
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October 2-

Nice quiet night, no sheep bells. We both had a good sleep, and when I got up in the dark to check the clock, it was almost six, so we were spared the usual jet-lag induced wee hour wake-up.

After a leisurely breakfast, we made the trek up to the visitor’s center to look into hiking options. The beautiful sunshine of yesterday was gone, today was bleak and wet.

We managed to miss the 9 am bus to Unter dem Birg by two minutes (we’d decided to take the Engstligenalp Luftseilbahn and walk the gentle loop at the top), so we quickly changed gears and boarded the 9:15 bus to Bergläger, figuring we’d find a walk when we got there.

Our guest card covered the bus as far as Gilbach, from there it was 2.50 CHF each (half fare) to Bergläger. On went the waterproof backpack covers. We set out on the walk up to Geils, me wondering what I might have gotten myself into as we picked our way uphill and across wet rock and slippery tree limbs.

Upon arrival in Geils we popped into the Landler Stubli to warm up with hot chocolate and consult our walking map. A sudden burst of sunshine convinced us to keep walking up to Hannenmoos, but it was gone two minutes later.

The climb to Hannenmoos was a bit steep; there’s a hotel and large cafeteria style restaurant at the top…and probably some spectacular views on a clear day. We had a nice lunch here – pumpkin cream soup, Flammkuchen mit speck, beer, wine and a nice tiramisu – 44 CHF.

Note: A gondola runs from Adelboden to Bergläger, and from Geils to Hannenmoos, but we chose to walk.

As we left Hannenmoos, the rain got serious, so it was back into the restaurant to put on our waterproof pants.

We then walked back to Geils and on to Bergläger, where we briefly considered walking all the way back to Adelboden, but having seen what it looked like from the bus coming up we didn’t think about it long. So we cooled our heels for a bit and then caught the 3:08 pm bus back to Adelboden (5 CHF). We’d logged some six miles and suspect we’ll be feeling those hills tomorrow.

As I sit here in the kitchen and type our neighbors the sheep are doing their thing…baaaa……tinkle….baaaa…tinkle …

And it’s still light outside at 6:30 pm – quite a contrast from our December visits!


Adelboden

Berglager

Adelboden

Adelboden

Berglager

To be continued…
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Old Oct 2nd, 2019, 09:51 AM
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Still beautiful pictures despite the rain. You made the best of the day! Is it already the season for hot chocolate? Unbelievable - I had chocolate with ice cream yesterday ;-)
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Old Oct 2nd, 2019, 10:25 AM
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Ingo -

Yesterday was ice cream weather and I was burning up on the bus. Today was definitely a hot chocolate day. Bill has been fussing about not packing his down slippers.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2019, 01:35 PM
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It looks gorgeous!
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Old Oct 2nd, 2019, 02:14 PM
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So beautiful!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2019, 11:06 AM
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October 3 –

After a lazy start, we walked up a series of steep winding stairs that led us past front doors, through gardens and alongside parking slots of neighboring chalets, wondering if this is really what our hostess meant when she told us ‘go up’. We couldn’t help but feel like we were trespassing, although no one came out to chase us away with a kitchen knife. We took our recycling with us, and were surprised to find a bin for bread in addition to the usual paper, plastic, various colored glass, batteries, aluminum…and a few bins we couldn’t identify.

The day looked suspiciously promising after the forecast of five days of rain. Optimists that we are, we popped into the Visitor’s Center to inquire about a two day cable car/gondola pass.

The young woman who had helped us so much yesterday was manning the desk and advised that because today was a market day, the gondola to TschentenAlp was only 5 CHF each return (normally 19 CHF return after discount for Half Fare Card holders). It was one of the gondolas we wanted to take anyway, so we scratched the two day pass idea and walked over to the station and took the 9:40 gondola up.

It had snowed overnight – those vibrant green mountains were now bright green at the bottom and white at the top – beautiful.

The views from TschentenAlp were spectacular, all the more so because wispy snippets of cloud rose from the valley and floated directly in front of the mountains.

We wandered around the top for a bit, and were joined by four little boys, who excitedly exclaimed “schnee!” as soon as they walked out to the viewing area.

We explored a few tracks and tried to determine if the trek down to Adelboden was as innocuous as it looked. Normally, we’d have gone for it, but we wanted to make hay while the sun was shining and fit in a second cable car trip, so instead we sat on the sun terrace of the self-service restaurant with a mug of hot chocolate, enjoying the sunshine and those gorgeous views while awaiting our return gondola to Adelboden.

Back in town, and with time to spare before our bus to Unter dem Birg, we wandered the streets, elbow-to-elbow with seemingly every resident of Adelboden and Frutigen. The streets were alive with people, music, and vendors selling all manner of goods. Sausages sizzled, balloon toting kids ran about and everyone seemed to be having a great time and enjoying the beautiful day.

I’ve since learned that this event is known as Märit Autumn Fair.

We eventually worked our way to the bus station and took the busy 12:20 bus to Unter dem Birg (free with guest card). Once there, we boarded the cable car to Engstligenalp (16 CHF each return, with Half Fare Card and filled to the brim) and were whisked up the side of the mountain. We only got a quick glimpse of the waterfalls as we worked our way to the top – too many heads in the way - but the views from the top were pretty impressive.

We were half-starved (and regretted not partaking of some fair food), so we worked our way to the closest restaurant (there appeared to be three up here) and settled in for a self-service lunch of Apfel Makkaroni on the sun terrace (not the best we’ve ever had but probably the most expensive at 18 CHF each).

Stomachs happy, we set about to explore the series of gentle walking paths. Bill was intrigued by the 5.5 hour walk to Lenk via Hannanmoos, but no way, no how was I going for that after yesterday’s adventure (not to mention there just wasn’t enough daylight left).

Instead we settled for walking the longer Rundweg (estimated at 60 Swiss minutes, but taking 1:15 Bill and Mel photo-snapping minutes), walking up to the viewpoints and watching some intrepid golfers negotiate one of the strangest golf courses we’d ever seen (with the notable exceptions of the golf courses in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Coober Pedy!).

Without meaning to we managed to walk over five miles and thoroughly wear ourselves out.

We took the 3:50 cable car back down to Unter dem Birg and had to wait 40 minutes for the next bus (only one per hour and we’d failed to check the schedule before we went up) plenty of time for a drink, but alas both restaurants were closed.

The sun went behind the mountains at exactly 4:10, sending us digging for our fleece hats. It gets cold in a hurry when that sun disappears.

Then it was back to sunny and warm Adelboden, on to the Coop for provisions and then down the never-ending stairs to our apartment.

To be continued...
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Old Oct 3rd, 2019, 11:12 AM
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TschentenAlp

TschentenAlp

TschentenAlp

TschentenAlp

Engstligenalp

Engstligenalp

Skinny Adelboden garage
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Old Oct 3rd, 2019, 02:04 PM
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All are lovely pictures but that first one just brings on a smile! I'm enjoying your trip report, so signing on here.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2019, 07:49 PM
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Mel, saw some snow on distant peaks on leaving Bressanone and so wanted to head there!

Looking forward to your thoughts on Scuol in autumn
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Old Oct 3rd, 2019, 07:59 PM
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I love looking at your photos and Adelaidean's photos!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2019, 11:07 PM
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Thanks for tagging along. Just finishing up the breakfast dishes and deciding how best to spend the day - a bit gloomy out there at the moment, but so far, it's dry.
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Old Oct 4th, 2019, 06:15 AM
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Great stuff Mel, signing on as well. I like to read about parts of Switzerland that I know nothing about, which is virtually all of it.

I also enjoy it when there is a fresh dusting of snow on the mountaintops and some wispy clouds floating around.

We saw that accident avoidance poster on my recent trip, in Verbier I think (?). Someone in our group had a surprisingly similar story.
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