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Some last minute advice needed for trip to Switzerland.

Some last minute advice needed for trip to Switzerland.

Jan 12th, 2002, 10:17 AM
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Some last minute advice needed for trip to Switzerland.

I am leaving for Switzerland the middle of next week. I will be staying in Geneva 2 days. I have 1 day open which is an aniversary for me and my girlfriend, I plan on proposeing to her, where should we go, give me some ideas. On to Zermat for two days we will be staying at the Zermatterhof. On to Lugano for two Days, staying at Seafood Restaurant & Art Deco Hotel Del Lago. On to Interlaken for three days staying at Sunny Days B&B. Then on to Bulle for 4 days. Give me some suggestions of romantic things to do and see in these towns. Does anybody know anything about the places we will be staying. Also I am a recent graduate of culinary school so any recomendations related to food, like choclate factories and cheese factories are welcomed.Also I have not been able to find a good map of all of the train routes in Switzerland, where can I find one? I was wanting to go on the Glaicer Express from Zermat on to Lugano But I can't figure where we will have to get off to head South to Lugano.
Jan 12th, 2002, 10:43 AM
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The city park in Lugano is a wonderful place to propose if you want to do it outside (I'm sending you a photo). Make sure you try the risotto al funghi at a good restaurant in Lugano. Excellent!! And the Ticino wines are very good-- we like the light reds and roses (which are darker than most roses, more like a very light red). Don't know about the trains, hopefully someone will be more helpful with that. Good luck!!
BTilke (Brussels--and Basel, starting tomorrow)
Jan 12th, 2002, 11:05 AM
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Swiss national trains are www.sbb.ch

From Zermatt to Lugano there are basically two ways, the Simplon pass and the Gottard pass. If you want to get some time on the Glacier express you really need to go further than Brig which is where you would catch a more direct route to Lugano. (through Italy via Dommodosola) My map inidicated it's about Andermatt that you have to get off, but the train site gives a small town by the name of Goeschenen?? In any case trains to Lugano from Zermatt are not that convenient. (3 transfers minimum) You might want to consider the train to Brig and then the bus to Lugano.
Jan 12th, 2002, 11:40 AM
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BTilke, thanks for the photos. What is funghi?
Jan 12th, 2002, 12:30 PM
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funghi=mushrooms. Risotto al funghi, my favorite dish in the Ticino, especially when accompanied by a nice light Ticino red or rose!

Jan 12th, 2002, 01:37 PM
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Hi Rodney,

this is a great itinerary, I could be envious! I wonder about the differences in accommodations, 5star Grand Hotel Zermatterhof vs. Sunny Days B&B?

I am wondering about romantic places for a proposal. Maybe you could climb the tower of the cathedral (wonderful view over the lake, the fountain Jet d’eau, the city and the mountains). Or you walk from the town hall through a big portal with columns to the “Promenade de Treille”, a terrace with chestnut trees (of course better in summer) and a 126 m long bench, a place for lovers, as the people in Geneva say. It is right above the wall with famous persons from Reformation: Calvin, Luther, Knox … and a beautiful park. But there are still more places … the park of La Grange, park des Eaux-Vives, both on the lake. Or the cathedral itself is a place for proposal: After entering turn to the right and go into the Chapel of Maccabees.

The region of Geneva and around the lake is known for the best food, best restaurants in Switzerland. But the best restaurants are expensive, they are named in Guide Michelin and Gault Millau. Cheaper places: Brasserie Lipp, Rue de la Confederation, Restaurant Les Armures, Rue des Puits-St. Pierre (cheese fondue), Restaurant St. Germain, Boulevard St. Georges (Sea fish).

In Zermatt you definitely have to do an excursion by cog-wheel train to Gornergrat. Take care sitting to the right side of the train for the better Matterhorn view. You can go skiing or not – the trip is a must. If you buy a ski pass for this day, you can continue your excursion with cable cars and gondolas via Hohtaelli, Gant, Blauherd to Sunnegga and walk down (1 hour) to the romantic hamlet Findeln with great mountain restaurants. I recommend to have raclette or cheese fondue for lunch. Air dried beef, thin sliced, is a speciality in Switzerland, called “Walliser Trockenfleisch” or “Buendnerfleisch”. Near Zermatt you find the highest located vineyards in Europe (1100 m, Visperterminen). The wine is called “Heidawein”, a rare speciality. A chair lift takes you back to Sunnegga and from there a funicular down to Zermatt. Walk along the car-free streets to the old church and the old wooden houses around.

Unfortunately, the Glacier Express goes from Zermatt to St. Moritz, not to Lugano. You can take it for the first leg of your journey to Lugano, Zermatt – Andermatt. There you have to change.

Zermatt Dep. 10:10
Andermatt Arr. 13:21 Dep. 13:30
Göschenen Arr. 13:47 Dep. 13:50
Lugano Arr. 15:23

In Lugano you must walk along the streets in the old part of the town (pedestrian zone). For fantastic food do not miss the via Pessina street. Gabbani family has 3 shops for finest salami, cheese, desserts, wine … It is a paradise, but expensive.

Still some advice for restaurants:
La Tinera, Italian cuisine, reasonable prices, Via dei Gorini 2, old town, close to Piazza della Riforma,
Gambrinus, Piazza della Riforma, for fish and desserts
Al Portone, Viale Cassarate, expensive, fantastic Italian cuisine

Piazza della Riforma is the place to meet people in nice cafes, bar etc. At the moment they have fantastic weather, but it wasn’t raining for 80 days!

I second BTilke, the red wine (Merlot) in Ticino is great.

Jan 12th, 2002, 01:41 PM
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...part 2 (too much for one reply)

You have two days in Interlaken. One of them you should do an excursion up to the mountains. Take the train to Lauterbrunnen, funicular to Gruetschalp and walk via Restaurant Winteregg to the romantic village Muerren. Take the funicular to Allmendhubel and walk down via Blumental valley to Muerren, take the cable car to Stechelberg, bus to Lauterbrunnen, train back to Interlaken.
For the second day you can do another trip to the mountains, maybe train to Grindelwald, gondola to First, hike to Faulhorn mountain (hotel) and sled down to Grindelwald (rent a sledge in Grindelwald), train back to Interlaken.
Or you do an excursion to the capital of Switzerland, Bern, by train. The old town is UNESCO world heritage. Lots of sights, good shopping.

Bulle is the perfect place for a chocolate factory visit. Broc, close to Bulle (4 km), is the home of a chocolate factory of Nestlé (Cailler, founded in 1898). They have a video show, and you can taste the chocolate. Opened Mo to Fri in the afternoon.

A must is a visit of the small medieval village Gruyeres. It is situated on a ridge, only 4 km from Bulle. Close to the train station you find a cheese factory (open for tourists, daily 10 to 11 and 14 to 15 you can watch the making of the cheese). 10 min walk from the station is the village with its romantic(!) old castle.

A good day trip is an excursion to the vineyards of Lavaux region above Lake Geneva. Medieval villages, typic wine restaurants called Caveaux offer specialities of the region, saucisson vaudoise (sausage), cheese and wine. The region is famous for its white wine (Chasselas), but I found a very good Pinot Noir in the village Lutry.

A must in the region of Lake Geneva is the castle of Chillon. It is situated on a small rocky island in the lake, close to the shore. The castle is a very romantic place, more than 800 years old and one of the most frequently visited sights in Switzerland. You will pass it by train on your way from Geneva to Zermatt. It is also reachable by train from Bulle, via Montbovon and Montreux, then bus No. 1 to the castle (direction Villeneuve).

I hope this is of any help.

Bye and wish you a fantastic vacation!

Jan 12th, 2002, 06:54 PM
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Thank you Ingo all of your recomendations sound wonderful. They are better than any guide book I have looked through
BTilke I guess I should have figured out funghi, I didn'treally look at it good.
Anybody else have any suggestion? What about some food markets or shops?
Jan 12th, 2002, 08:34 PM
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The Glacier Express runs between Zermatt and St. Moritz only. What a truly incredible all day journey! Reserve a lunch table in the dining car, but either 2nd class or 1st class are wonderful for the ride. RailEurope.com can provide great information for you. Geneva is beautiful. Stroll old town, narrow cobbled alleyways, and a nice romantic dinner/lunch at Les Amures Hotel in Old Town, near the cathedral.
Also, be sure to check out some of the major department stores- on the basement floor there are usually gourmet food stores that are so very fun to browse!
Bon Voyage, Au revoir!
Jan 13th, 2002, 06:53 PM
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Anything else I should do?
Do they give hot air baloon rides in any of these towns in the winter. I have seen all kinds of out door activities listed for most of these towns in the winter but I have seen no mention of snowmobiles can you rent them anywhere or go on a back country tour through a company.
Jan 13th, 2002, 11:51 PM
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Hello Rodney, We have been having lovely sunny weather in the mountains around Switzerland lately. But of course that could change at any moment (really foggy in the valleys though). I just wanted to warn you about the obvious: that if you plan on walking in the mountains you will definitely need warm clothes and good boots (from the walk to Grutschalp to Muerren for example which BTW is stunning IF it's clear). There are no snowmachine rentals anywhere that I have ever seen so that is not a possibility. But you can do as the locals do if you don't want to ski, ride a cable car/ski lift up and rent a wooden sled and ride down the mountains on specially created toboggan trails. Winter hiking on prepared mountain trails is also hugely popular with the Swiss, you will be blown away by the beauty of the Snow covered Alps on a clear day. I don't know about hot air balloon rides, but yesterday I did see 6 balloons take off from Flims resort, Chateau d'oex is famous for hot air balloons. But again this works only IF the weather cooperates. And if you didn't understand before to really enjoy Switzerland you must be willing to get up into the mountains. One good walk you could do (not easy but moderate) is from Zermatt to the little hamlet of Zmutt at the foot of the Matterhorn. Check if the route is open in winter. Good luck.

P.S. looks like we may have some snow flurries mid-week but clearing by the weekend.

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