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Swiss train experts: put on your thinking caps!

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Feb 11th, 2009, 10:40 AM
  #1
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Swiss train experts: put on your thinking caps!

...and help me plan a full day of riding the rails.

I have access to a week-end day pass in March that will let me travel around the whole of Switzerland (in first class), as far as I want to go. Doesn't have to be a round trip (point A to B then back to A--I can go A to B to C to D and then back to A or whatever)

The caveats:
Start and end in Basel SBB
No Interlaken/Jungfraujoch (I recently spent the day in Wengen)
No boat rides (I love lakeside vistas, but I'm not in the mood for a boat trip on this excursion). A stopover along a lake would be fine.
Leave Basel about 7 am and get back around 8 to 9 pm (what I see the first hour starting out and the last hour heading home aren't important, I know that region pretty well).
A nice break somewhere in the middle for about two hours to stretch my legs, grab a coffee, beer or wine. Maybe lunch, but I think I'll simply grab a sandwich somewhere or take along a picnic lunch.
No mandatory seat reservations
Have been to Luzern, Bern and Zurich recently, so no plans to stop at any of those except to change trains

Goal: to see as much scenery as I can cram in a whole day. Lakes, mountains, fields, villages, cities...

So...where do you suggest I go?

Thanks!

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Feb 11th, 2009, 10:59 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Easy

Plan 1
Day 1
Basel Zürich Landquart Davos (or Thusis) Pontresina

Day 2
Ponresina Bernina Tirano Bus to Lugano Airolo Luzern Basel

Plan 2:
Day 1
Basel Bern Thun Frutigen Kandersteg Zermatt

Day 2
Zermatt Brig Goeschenen Luzern Basel

Good luck with your choices!
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Feb 11th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Plan 3:

Day 1
Basel Zurich Klosters Scuol Guarda
Day 2
Guarda Samedan Thusis Disentis Sedrun Luzern Basel
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Feb 11th, 2009, 11:02 AM
  #4
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Hi Schuler,

Thanks, but I have to do all my travel in ONE day, not two. (The pass is only good on week-ends, though, not during the week).

Sorry for the confusion.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 12:15 PM
  #5
 
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This gets you a good chunk of most everything Switzerland has to offer:

~ The Jura - wooded mountain ranges in the morning light, with that special earthy smell from the forests when you change trains in Glovelier

~ the shores of lake Neuchâtel

~ the rolling flatland down to Lausanne

~ lake Geneva with the Mont Blanc views etc.

~ the scenic route throught the Bernese Oberland

~ views of the “Big Three” - Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau from Spiez to Interlaken

~ then the Brienzersee and Brünigpass scenery to Lucerne,

~ a romantic stroll across the wooden bridge in the fading light, and

~ home at a decent hour...

Basel lvg 7:37

Glovelier arr. 8:35 lvg. 8:38

La Chaux-de-Fonds arr. 9:57 lvg. 10:01

Neuchâtel arr. 10:29 lvg 10:34

Lausanne arr. 11:15 take the new Métro down to Ouchy. Now it’s time to exercise your legs before they atrophy from sitting on trains. Stroll 1 km west to Vidy and indulge in an early lunch, a leg stretch back to Ouchy, enjoy the mountain views, get back up to Lausanne station and here we go:

Lausanne lvg 13:20

Montreux arr. 13:39 lvg. 13:45

Zweisimmen arr. 15:32 lvg 15:38

Interlaken Ost arr. 16:50 lvg 17:04

Luzern arr. 19:04 (via Meiringen-Brünigpass!)

Either take the next train to Basel (lvg. 19:30 arr. 20:44) or - aren't you ready for a leg stretch and dinner? Walk west along the Bahnhofstrasse, then across the famous rebuilt wooden bridge Kapellbrücke and back on the Seebrücke to the station. Eat wherever.

Take the next train home.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 12:47 PM
  #6
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Thanks--it's a possibility. However, I was in Luzern/Zug a few times recently and also was just up in Wengen, so the Eiger, etc aren't a high priority.

The Ouchy Vidy etc detour sounds interesting, I don't know that part of Switzerland very well (I found Neuchatel disappointing).

The passes are available year round, so I may opt to focus on one area each time and stretch it out over several trips.

DL, do you live in Switzerland now?
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Feb 11th, 2009, 12:59 PM
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Can you give us or at least I some details on the pass you are talking about - prices, where to buy - at stations, etc.

How about Basel to Lausanne - Montreux for lake-side lunch - then the Golden Pass scenic route to Spiez

day 2- Spiez on the old line (not the new tunnel) via Lotschberg to Brig (perhaps the most scenic mainline anywhere) and down the Rhone Valley, stopping at Sion (two great old castles) for lunch and back to Basel via Neuchatel and its lake.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 01:11 PM
  #8
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Hi Pal,

They're not available to the public, it's through my employer.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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Does your pass include cablecars?

Then I would follow the route DL set out as far as Montreux, but then continue on along Lac Leman to to Martigny and into the Rhone Valley, past Sion to Brig. Then take a local train a few stops to one of the connections that will whisk you on a cable car high above the Rhone Valley to the village of Bettmeralp

www.bettmeralo.ch

And ride to the top of the Bettmerhorn for lunch:

http://bettmerhorn.bettmeralpbahnen.ch/e/

Or continue to the next stop at Fiesch and ride a cablecar to the top of the Eggishorn:

http://www.eggishorn.ch/jwa/de/home.jsp


Either one will offer terrific views over the Aletschgletscher. Bettmeralp is a nice little village worth a walk through.

Then return to the valley on the cablecar, head back to Brig, and connectto a northbound train via Kandersteg (stop and ride a lift up to Oeschinensee if there is still time www.oeschinensee.ch) and on to Spiez and your return home.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 01:26 PM
  #10
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That sounds like a great itinerary! Is there also an option in that area for the CCC (cable car coward)? I prefer to stay on land (no problem with funiculars or little trains like the one up to Wengen).

In the morning, I watch the parade of webcams around the Alps on Swiss TV while having my coffee. As I recall, it was snowing heavily around Bettmeralp. It looked beautiful.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 02:03 PM
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Unfortunately, I don't think there is an alternative to the cablecar. But it is a big, sturdy, reliable Swiss one, if that helps!
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Feb 11th, 2009, 09:09 PM
  #12
 
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Hi Passerine,

I haven't researched this route (what a great job DalaiLama did!), but this is what I would do --

Basel to Gstaad

Gstaad to Gruyeres
have lunch and a little stroll

Gruyeres to Montreux

Montreux to Morges

Morges to Basel

Here are some links to my "reviews" (w/photos) of these areas so you can get an idea what you'll be seeing:


Lavaux
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Promenade Fleuri
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Morges
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...rges_Vaud.html

Gruyeres
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR..._Fribourg.html

Saanen
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...wiss_Alps.html

Gstaad
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...wiss_Alps.html

Let us know what you decide!

s
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