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Ingo's Switzerland pics have altered my itinerary

Ingo's Switzerland pics have altered my itinerary

Nov 26th, 2005, 07:22 AM
  #41  
Doble_Vergasser
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Whitey,

Sounds like the trip is coming together very well. By car or train it would be great.

There is alpine hiking in the lakes area. Since you mention a 3 year old, do you slow the hike down to her pace or go solo? (I guess the 2 seat convertibles are out ).

We are big fans of Lake Como, You might use on of your avaiable days there. If you tire of the lake, there still would be plenty of interesting small roads. You could even go on to Bergamo (we were not able).
 
Nov 26th, 2005, 07:24 AM
  #42  
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Have you considered train France to CH, pick up car in CH. That saves you traverversing across Switzerland again.
 
Nov 26th, 2005, 08:50 AM
  #43  
 
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Whitey,

it looks like a good itinerary to me. A bit too short stays for my taste, but it's your decision.

I would strongly recommend to stay in Montreux/Vevey. Don't know your price range, but the 3star Hotel Masson would be a good choice (have stayed there). It's not far from Chillon. Avoid Lausanne.

I don't think there are restrictions for your 3 year old daughter going to the Jungfraujoch. On the other hand, consider alternatives for cloudy weather.

For the Engadin: Is it your wish to explore the little towns/villages or get a closer look of mountains/glaciers? The most charming towns/villages are located in the lower Engadin (around Scuol): Guarda, Ardez, Sent, Scuol. It doesn't make much sense to stay in Pontresina if the only activity is to drive to Guarda etc. Preferred activities from Pontresina are hikes, rail trips (Bernina Express), mountains/glaciers watching.

Beside that, I think you should definitely add another day to the Engadin.

If you want to stay a night in Varenna, why don't you drive there and take the car ferry the other day to Menaggio? Would be much more locical.

I would add another day to Ascona. With only one full day in the area you will not see much. On your first day explore Ascona, Locarno and do a lake cruis to the Brissago Islands, on the second day drive to Valle Maggia (or better Val Verzasca, which is more spectacular IMO) and maybe add a short visit of Bellinzona in the afternoon.

Nice/France would be a good option to fly out since it is not too far from Ascona if you want to avoid the drop-off fee for the car.

That will be a memorable trip!

Ingo
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Nov 26th, 2005, 10:00 AM
  #44  
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Hi Doble,
Thankfully, I usually am running to keep up with my daughter, so if anything, we'll make record time on the hikes. Taking Ingo's advice and driving to Varenna instead of Mennagio does make the most sense..I picked Varenna, because I've seen quite a few posts on this board recommending it, and being mid-lake I figured it was close to most everything. Where's your favorite place to stay on the lake?

Hi Ingo,
Which do you prefer - Montreux or Vevey? As far as hotel budget goes, we usually try to shoot for 100 euros or less ($100 - 120 US), but I imagine Switzerland is a bit more expensive compared to its neighboring countries, and we may need to raise our limit somewhat. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do in the Engadin, mostly the hikes and glaciers, taking photos/video, and scenic drives with some short stops in the charming towns for lunch and dinners. Maybe I could stay 2 nights in Pontresina and a night in Scuol... I think I will add another night in Ascona, we'll want to be winding down a bit being so near to the end of our trip....

Thanks again,
Whitey
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Nov 26th, 2005, 10:30 AM
  #45  
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Whitey,
On Lake Como, the car ferries operate in what I call the Varenna, Belaggio, Menaggio triangle. Varenna is considered more of a typical Italian town than the other two. With your hotel at one of these towns, the other two towns are a fifteen minute boat ride away. If time allows visit all three.

We have stayed twice at Albergo Olivedo. With three of you, Laura will probably give an end room (larger). We usually get the half board plan. The albergo is at the boat and ferry dock, technically there is a 1,000 FT lakefront walk to get to Varenna (actually nice).
 
Nov 26th, 2005, 10:31 AM
  #46  
 
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Hi whitey,

A small reminder: Switzerland uses the Swiss franc, abbreviated chf or swf, not the Euro.

Today's rate is $1 = 1.319 chf, so $100 = 130 chf.

s
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Nov 26th, 2005, 10:48 AM
  #47  
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Hi S,
I looked at the Hotel Masson in Montreux recommended by Ingo. It looks very nice; Their rates are 150 - 250 CHF, ($115 US to $190 US). Anything over $150 US is a splurge for me. Are most of the "decent" hotels in Switzerland in this range?

Thanks, Whitey
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Nov 26th, 2005, 11:26 AM
  #48  
 
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If finances are a big factor, consider the website bnb.ch for bed & breakfasts. All price ranges and since you're driving, you can be flexible with the location. Switzerland is expensive. I know it's not possible given your itinerary, but the best hotel prices are for stays of three or more nights. Think about skipping Como and adding that night to Lac Leman or the Engadin. Maybe add one of your left-over days to Ascona? Like s', I usually stay four or more. But your trip sounds like a grand adventure. If you fail to return with a detailed trip report, we will all be very unhappy. J.
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Nov 26th, 2005, 11:57 AM
  #49  
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Hi J,

Thanks for the website. Its pretty good; they give you the number and type of beds, amenities and the pricing for each individual room in the house/inn, and the pricing looks good too!

Whitey
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Nov 26th, 2005, 12:08 PM
  #50  
 
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Hi Whitey,

I have stayed a week in the Masson in Montreux (which is obviously too expensive for you, but believe it or not, the rate I got through my travel agency was 50 Euro per night and person incl. breakfast and dinner!) and once for three nights on business occasion in the Eden au Lac (four star).

I think Vevey has the more authentic ambience of a Swiss-French town, while Montreux is more a vacation "resort" with remains of the Belle Epoque charm. However, there is also an old town section of Montreux a few hundred meters from the lake promenade. As far as I recall there is a small, nice looking hotel in this old part of town, which might be in your price range.

Another fellow here on Fodors stayed in the Hotel des Negociants in Vevey and recommends it. Not sure about rates, but definitely cheaper than the Masson.

I don't like the one-night stays, and I do not recommend you move from Pontresina to Scuol only for one night. In this case a day trip is more economical. Add this night to Pontresina.

Given your price range you migth have problems to find decent accommodation in Pontresina (and Varenna+Ascona!). I thought it might be a good idea to look into other small towns in the Engadin. A very cute (more authentic) village is Celerina, located between Pontresina and St. Moritz. There is a nice looking B&B in an old renovated house - Chesa Nick. I walked by this B&B on my last vacation - it is in the centre, next to the church. Please check their website - German, but you can see pictures. Their room rate is 150 Sfr (approx. 120 USD) per room and night incl. breakfast buffet and parking. www.chesa-nick.ch

You might also consider that you are travelling quite early in the season and many hotels will still be closed in the Alps (Wengen and Engadin). The advantage is that the wildflowers will be in bloom!

Good decision to add another night to Ascona.

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Nov 27th, 2005, 08:11 AM
  #51  
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Whitey,

I think that the Swiss sometimes quote their accomodations in 'per person per day' (but you probably knew that. It's just the engineer in me.)

Although someone has mentioned dropping Lake Como, I think that Italy might help your budget (compared to Switzerland). The Scenery is fantastic. (For a visual of the scenery, try http://www.arcellaschi.com/. There is a button in the lower right that leads to their photo offerings. All from the Lake Como area.)

Your trip is looking great. With some boat trips on the lakes and some hiking and some fantastic roads to drive, it will be good trip. Take lots of pictures (and share).
 
Nov 28th, 2005, 07:58 AM
  #52  
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Hi Ingo,
I checked out Chesa Nick. It looks good to me; I prefer the smaller Inns, like this one. Also, the past few trips we've made a habit of staying a couple of nights in private homes or zimmers, it's been fun to meet the people of a particular area. I'll be looking into zimmers and J. gave me a good site to check out too.

Hi Doble,
I wasn't aware of the Swiss quoting per person - I'll have to keep a close eye out for that.. Thanks for the website, its good in that it shows you the town on the map and then gives you the individual pics....I wish I was there now...

Whitey
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Nov 30th, 2005, 11:54 AM
  #53  
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My wife is working on a specialty degree from work, and she finally got her class schedule today. Wouldn't you know it, she will be away in D.C. for classes, June 5 - 10th, right in the middle of my planned itinerary. Would we be better off going a week earlier say May 17 - June 3, or later say June 11th - 25th. I assume the weather is better later in Switzerland, but are there more crowds?

Whitey
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Nov 30th, 2005, 06:44 PM
  #54  
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There are not too many tourists in June, [but if you travel without room reservation, then it may be more off a PITA at times.]

If it was me (which it isn't) I would go forward into June. (Regarding the weather - the Splugen pass officially opens for June (not May). Other passes could be the same.)
 
Nov 30th, 2005, 08:18 PM
  #55  
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Thanks Doble, I think that's what I'll do - and I'll probably get a better chance at reliable weather.
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Dec 1st, 2005, 02:30 AM
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Hi, For what it's worth, I'll mention that my last two visits to Switzerland (admittedly a couple of years ago) were the second week in June or thereabouts. Both times I found the weather very warm, especially in Ticino and Zurich. I'm a budget traveller, so there were no air-conditioned rooms (WHO would think we would ever need ac in Switzerland?!) Anyway, I've decided that when I return, it will be the very first week of the month, even if that includes the last of May. Global warming?

p.s. I have not read anyone's mention of extreme temps in the Engadine, so that area might be exempt.

J.
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Dec 1st, 2005, 06:46 AM
  #57  
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Hi J,
Thanks for the info. From what I've read, alot of the mountain hotels and hiking trails don't really open up until June, so I've been thinking that it might be a waste of time going the last 2 weeks of May. But, if you think that everything will be open, I will have to keep my options open. I know for sure that the airfare will be at least $200-300 cheaper per person, if we go earlier.

Whitey
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Dec 1st, 2005, 09:27 AM
  #58  
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I'll start a new post, asking advice just on the weather for the two times.
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Dec 1st, 2005, 11:26 AM
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Whitey, we were there last year around Jun 18-27. It was HOT in Lugano (around 92) but thankfully we had a/c. Wasn't too bad in Wengen, but it was miserable in Montreux and Geneva. Not only not air conditioned, but no fans to move the air. I'm sure next year it will be cold and rainy, LOL!
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Dec 12th, 2005, 03:32 PM
  #60  
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Hi...Just another thanks to everyone, and an update to my plans...I just booked airfare- Bos to CDG $1642 total for the three of us, Sept 9 - Sept 23. The good news is that I have more money in my budget for hotels !
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