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Rail travel - From Frankfurt to Switzerland (6 days) and then to Italy ... Help! Plus advice needed on dealing with shopping and luggage ...

Rail travel - From Frankfurt to Switzerland (6 days) and then to Italy ... Help! Plus advice needed on dealing with shopping and luggage ...

Jun 3rd, 2007, 01:05 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,626
Packing/shopping:

Limit yourselves to a suitcase no larger than 24" (and preferably a 22" suitcase). Use an expandable one and pack so that the suitcase is full but not packed. That should give you enough room to buy things and fit them into your suitcase. If you can't imagine restricting yourselves to such small suitcases, then pack larger ones and then drag them a few miles, including up and down flights of stairs, on and off escalators, in and out of cars, etc. You'll pack light after that experience.

Pack old undies and socks, and then throw them out when you get to the end of your trip, increasing space for new purchases.

When it comes to shopping, focus on only buying items that are unique to the place you're visiting. No shopping at the Gap. You'll likely find that Switzerland is expensive, but there will be some attractive items in Italy (I came home with two leather jackets on my last trip.) At least by that point you'll be near the end of your trip, so that lugging an extra bag won't be too much of a problem (or mailing stuff to yourself, as others have mentioned). Don't forget that you can choose to mail your clothes, instead of mailing the fragile special new item you just bought, if you want to.
Kate_W is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 02:49 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,512
MELSAL, you asked about the train to the Jungfraujoch. You will get lots of opinions about this, from "must do" to "tourist hype". I guess my opinion is somewhere in between, We've been up there twice, but I dodn't need to go again. It is highly promoted by tour groups, and they all do it. As a result, it can be very crowded---uncomfortably so for me. I actually enjoyed it more when we went up in a snowstorm because hardly anyone else was there. Much of the train ride up from Kleine Scheidegg is in a tunnel ; you are actually inside the Eiger. They stop the train once and you can disembark and look out of windows cut in the rock. You can appreciate this part of the ride as a marvelous feat of engineering, or hate it if you are a bit clautrophic (as I am).

There are various things to do once you get there. The ice palace, with passages carved in the solid ice of the glacier, and sculptures, is one of our favorites. You can go outside and walk on the snow. They have husky rides and little toboggans, etc., but the lines are long and we leave that to others. You can also walk out to the Monchsjochhütte for lunch or hot chocolate, on a safe level marked path across the snow. We've never taken the time to do that. Getting anything to eat inside the main building (where the train stops) can be a project---long lines and high prices. The views of course are amazing, especially out across the Konkordiaplatz---the huge bowl where the glaciers start. But the views in other directions can be found from other viewpoints as well.

All in all, it's a beautiful viewpoint, but crowded by too many people, and pretty expensive. You might consider doing the other excursion I suggested---the Lauterbrunnen---Grutschalp---Mürren---Stechelberg---Trummelbach Falls---Lauterbrunnen loop first; if the day is a good one for a ride up to the top of the Schilthorn from Mürren you could include that. Many people have said they prefer the views from the Schilthorn, and it's not as crowded (not on the tour group path, for one thing). Then, on your second day, you could decide if you wish to tackle another mountaintop trip, or just go as far as Kleine Scheidegg and enjoy the views from there. (Actually, Jungfraujoch is not a mountaintop like the Schilthorn is; you are at the base of the actual Jungfrau peak).

For your travel day to Luzern, you could either go straight there and have some time in the afternoon for a boat ride, or consider a stop along the way for a short detour to Giessbach, with it's waterfall and lovely hotel if you want a terrace lunch. I found some photos of the boat trip, the hotel (which looks like a fairy castle) and the falls on the web:

http://www.pbase.com/wcralley/giessbach_falls

I'm hoping we'll have time to do this ourselves. You get there by leaving the train from Interlaken to Luzern at Brienz, catching a boat for a short (10 or 15 minutes) ride across the lake to Giessbach, and then a funicular up to the hotel. I believe the falls are an easy walk beyond the hotel.

Other things to do in Luzern (besides shopping and sitting by the lake) would be the popular Swiss Transport museum, , and the Picasso museum (which is actually known more for its photos of the artist than the examples of his work displayed there).
enzian is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 04:00 PM
  #23  
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 25
Bindi - Yes, the rail travel side of things is now straight forward. And I will certainly post a report on the trip. Have no doubt that it will be glowing!

Kate_W - Perfect timing with your advice on the size of the cases. I'm heading out to buy new cases today! Thanks.

enzian - I think we'll give Jungfraujoch a miss. Given there are other fabulous options away from the masses of tourists, it's a fairly easy decision to make! I hope that you have a fabulous holiday. Thank you very, very much for your input.
MELSAL is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 04:04 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
Q5, Take smaller bags, therefore if you buy stuff something else has to go
alanRow is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 06:26 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 182
If you are flying in from the east coast of the United States you will have about an 8 to 8.5 hour flight, 1 to 1.5 hours of getting off your plane,customs, and finding your luggage. Then 6 hours of train travel to Wengen, with a minimum of 3 changes.

Do you really want to do this ? Find a nice hotel room, shower,nap then tour a little and have dinner at a unique restaurant like The Bruckenkeller.

You will be ready yo "charge " in the morning.
gplusg is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 08:51 PM
  #26  
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 25
gplusg, We're from Australia but flying in from Singapore. I'm keen to get the travelling out of the way, hence the plan to jump on a train soon after arrival in Frankfurt. We'll see how it goes ... Thanks!
MELSAL is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 02:00 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 479
Hi MELSAL,
Just to reassure you, we flew from Sydney to Frankfurt last year and survived to travel on to Heidelberg. [We had an hour at Singapore airport, where we changed from BA to Qantas.] We needed to change trains in Frankfurt to get one to Heidelberg, but perhaps you don't need to do that if you're going straight to Switzerland? And presumably you're catching an express. We did appreciate the fact that we'd booked our first two nights' accommodation in Europe at the Heidelberg Ibis, which was right next to the station! And they let us have our room immediately, which was mid-morning! [Of course, you have extra changes to get to Wengen - you may consider a night somewhere on the way. But then you're *only* coming from Singapore!!!] Enjoy your trip, and do travel light!
Suelynne is offline  
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