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jelane Apr 21st, 2007 08:36 AM

Base Wengen?
 
Trying to decide between Wengen (caprice) and Thun for base for three days in June. We do not hike(knee injury), enjoy shopping, dining and sitting on a balcony looking at views. Do you have any advice to share and which would be the closest to take trains up mountains. Swandav has given me good information, I just want to be sure that Thun is not too spread out and large to enjoy the ambience of mountain village. (very little info on Thun from books) Thank you

swandav2000 Apr 21st, 2007 09:05 AM

Hi jelane,

Just to clarify: Thun is not a mountain village in anyway; it is a city that sits at a lake with the mountains about 1h30 away. I always suggest this town as an alternative to the charmless Interlaken --

As I recall, I began suggesting Thun because of a very looooong train ride, and stopping at Thun would make a sensible stop. Wengen is another two hours beyond, so if you think you can do it, then, yes Wengen would make a great base.

s

bob_brown Apr 21st, 2007 07:14 PM

Wengen = mountain views and access
Thun = lake views and access

One is mutually exclusive of the views offered by the other.

Depends on what you want.

I would prefer Wengen because of the mountains.

jelane Apr 23rd, 2007 04:16 PM

I appreciate all your help and I guess it is going to be a longer trip for me but I have booked the Caprice. Is it still Marseille to Bern, then what train line do I take to get to Wengen.....and from Wengen to Bellagio in Lake Como, does anyone know the train line? Thank you

bob_brown Apr 23rd, 2007 06:09 PM

From Bern, you take the Swiss National Rail system to Interlaken Ost.

Change there to the BOB mountain train that serves Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen.

The Lauterbrunnen section of the joint train leave usually fron Sektor 2A.
(The train divides along the way.)

Once in Lauterbrunnen, you take the Wengernalpbahn (WAB) to Wengen.

The time from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen is 20 minutes.
There you change to the green and yellow Wengernalpbahn for the steep ride up the valley side to Wengen.

If you have a Swiss Pass it should be valid as far as Wengen

From Wengen you can go higher on the same train to Kleine Scheidegg where you can change trains again for the Jungfraujoch.

And you can take a cable lift from Wengen to the crest of the towering Männlichen, that ridge that dominates the east side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

If you want a base from which you can "get high" I think Wengen will fill the requirement.

I personally stay in Lauterbrunnen because I can go more easily to Mürren on the opposite side of the valley from Wengen, to Wengen itself, Kleine Scheidegg, and Grindelwald.

From Grindelwald there are several outstanding destinations. The best one to me is the gondola ride from the Grindelwald Valley station to the destination named First ( = ridge in Swiss-German) Another terrific destination for non hikers is to take the bus from Grindelwald to Grosse Scheidegg. Have lunch or a snack on the terrace of the restaurant and drink in the scenery. It is awesome, goregous - enough so it lures me back again and again.

Another beautiful ride is to take the train from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg, and change again for Wengen.

This trip is expensive in the extreme, but beautiful.

Another option, if you have the bankroll to do it, is to take the cable lift to the Männlichen from Wengen. Then take the long gondola down the more gentle eastern slope to Grindelwald Grund.

Walk a short distance to the Grindelwald Grund rail station and return to Wengen via Kleine Scheidegg.

or for the cheaper option, take the regular train. Go from Grindelwald Grund to Grindelwald, main station.

From there take the train to Zweilütschinen and change to the train to Lauterbrunnen. One word of warning.
Be keenly aware of the times of the last trips. The cable lifts in particularl tend to shut down before you might expect them to in the early afternoon when there is still plenty of daylight.

The last timely connection from Grindelwald back to Lauterbrunnen is at
18:05. And that time is valid only in the summer season. I am not sure when the summer schedule goes into effect, but it is in place by mid May.

To get to Bellagio, you will need a variety of transit modes.

From Wengen, you retrace your route to Spiez. Then you change to a train, probably a Cisalpino, to Milan Central and from there to Verenna. I think you need a boat or a bus to Bellagio

Someone more experienced with Italian train travel than I will have to tell you how to reach Bellagio.



jelane Apr 23rd, 2007 08:57 PM

Wow....how lucky are we to have all this knowledge....I am starting a file and will in the morning look at the train schedules. Thank you again.

jelane Apr 23rd, 2007 09:03 PM

Oh my I have printed this off.....I have got to figure out getting from Marsielle to Bern and the on to OB in the light of day, would you believe I am afraid of heights. This may be interesting. I almost had heart failure going up Anacapri in a bus....thanks again for all your effort in this.

jelane Apr 23rd, 2007 09:12 PM

I have been looking for threads on Rail Passes and there is some information........We will be there for four days, which pass would benefit us the most. Thanks

bob_brown Apr 24th, 2007 09:30 AM

Jelane: There is no simple answer to your question. Believe or not, but you just stumbled into a major can of worms.

The type and variety of Swiss train discount instruments is truly awesome, particularly when you throw in the ones that are specific to the Berner Oberland extended. (The Berner Oberland Regional Pass.)

IF you are arriving in Switzerland by train AND leaving by train AND most of your travel within Switzerland is going to be in the Berner Oberland on various mountain trains, cable lifts, and buses, I strongly suggest the SWISS CARD.

Here is why:

1. Upon entrance, you get an included trip from the border to your first destination.

2. Upon deprture, you get an included trip from your abode to the border.
(Entrance and exit points need NOT be the same. I have come in from Zürich and gone out from Geneva airport, and come in from Basel and gone out at the Zürich airport.)

3. In between, you get 50% off of all mountain trains and cable lifts in the Berner Oberland with only 2 very minor exceptions that I know of where the discount is only 25%.

You can order the SWISS CARD from Rail Europe for about what you pay if you got it from the Swiss folks. In fact, last year I HAD to buy from Rail Europe.

Even so, the prices were not out of line. In fact, I think it might have been a little cheaper because of the sag in the dollar.

At any rate, you can get a comprehensive look at the national passes at this page on the SBB web site:

https://www.sbb.ch/mct/wi/shop/b2c/tree.do?key=40
Click on the + sign for the Swiss Pass and all the varieties will be revealed.

If you are not good at German, click on en for English.

The price is 178 chf from the Swiss rail office. I doubt if this will apply, but a dog can have one for half price.

Given the number of beautiful dogs I see in Switzerland, I have no problem with riding with one. They are usually much better behaved than Swiss school kids.
(Riding a local train with Swiss school types is unnerving at times. They like to beat on eachother and they are not too observant on who might be considered collateral damage. The train is the school bus in many instances.)


jelane Apr 24th, 2007 11:39 AM

Thank you, I just found out today that a business friend of mine traveling in Geneva had his briefcase with wallet, computer and passport stolen on train, in fact four businessmen had briefcase stolen on same train, one bumps into you spills his money, drink and the other makes off with your valuable. What a shame, we often get too distracted and trusting. However back to the passes I will go on the site. Thanks again


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