Switzerland first times!

Apr 17th, 2010, 10:36 PM
  #61  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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As it's your first visit to Europe I would suggest Venice instead of Verona.You'll love it.Paul
tovarich is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 03:43 PM
  #62  
 
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I hadn't realized you were asking about Zurich also. Some say Zurich is a staid banking city, but we found much to see and do there. To what has already been suggested, I would add that, if you are interested in Art, Zurich has, in my opinion, the best art Museum in Switzerland. There is also a private collection that is open only two days a month, so you have to schedule around that (they had a major theft a few years ago, so are now very concerned about security) If you would be interested in that, see http://buehrle.ch/?lang=en

They are sometimes slow in responding to inquiries, but I am assuming they will start their twice monthly tours (in German) once their exhibit at the museum ends in June. The collection is well worth adjusting your schedule and making and confirming a reservation; there is almost more in those rooms than you can absorb.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 05:48 AM
  #63  
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Thanks to everyone for all the great help! We have officially booked all our hotels, our flight is confirmed, we're ready to go! Now hopefully this volcano won't be an issue for us thankfully, i only booked hotels which we could cancel within 24 hours in advance, and i have really good travel insurance, so we wouldn't lose much money. but i'd be very sad! anyways, i'm sure i'll have more specific questions soon about things to see and places to eat, but at least we have the "big picture" in place!
kaleighmh is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 08:15 AM
  #64  
 
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Zurich IMO is a really nice city - for a big city - it has a sweet Altstadt (Old Town area) and is lovingly set on a long narrow lake - hill-climbing trams take you into bucolic natural surroundings and yes art BUT for the average traveler who has never been to Switzerland i would put Zurich low on the list - Zurich is nice but so so many Swiss places are much more nicer and romantic - places like Wengen, Murren and yes IMO Gruyeres - though i would never base there but is a great few-hour place - one of Europe's finest walled towns IMO
Palenque is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 08:38 AM
  #65  
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Well, we will be visiting "nicer and romantic" places as well! We're really only going to Zurich to catch the overnight train to Prague, but we figured if we're going, we might as well "see the sites." We'll only be there one night and about 3/4 of a day. Though I'm sad to be missing Gruyeres, we had to choose between an extra night in the BO, or an extra night in Vevey (to take a day trip to Gruyeres). For our interests (hiking, mountains, mountain biking, etc.), the BO was a better choice.
kaleighmh is offline  
Apr 21st, 2010, 10:27 AM
  #66  
 
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SWISS FAMILY RAIL SALE
If anyone reading this thread is considering a rail trip around Switzerland within six months of April 27, 2010 and is traveling with at least one child then there is, for one week only, a super-duper Switzerland Family Rail Sale just announced for passes bought in the U.S. before tne end of April 27, 2010:

Only on 3-day Swiss Saver Flexipasses and 8-consecutive-day passes - first adult pays full price - 2nd adult pays 50% AND also includes:

*** A free ticket up and down Mt Pilatus (by Lucerne) from either Krens or Alpnachstad or mixing these two - go up one way and down the other

*** Two free rides on Mt Pilatus summer tobagganing run- Switzerland's longest summer tobaggoning run (1,350 metre long steel chrome channel

*** One free fast baggage transfer (send bags on trains without you - retrieve them by 5 or 6pm at destination - usually costs i think 20 Swiss francs per bag

So a super deal if buying one of those passes anyway and traveling with at least one kid - mandatory to have one kid - kids get free Family Passes, as usual, and go free on all trains, boats, etc.
Palenque is offline  
Apr 21st, 2010, 11:28 AM
  #67  
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wow! that's a great deal!! can someone loan me their child for a couple of weeks??
kaleighmh is offline  
Apr 21st, 2010, 11:52 AM
  #68  
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on the subject of discounts... not sure how many Fodorites use hostels, but swissbackpackers.ch is an awesome site for finding nice hostels... and with a Swiss Pass the third night is 50% off!
kaleighmh is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 07:04 AM
  #69  
 
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kaleighmh - thanks for that tidbit about 50% off with a Swiss Pass at those backpacker places - i have stayed in some of them and found them nice for any ages.
Palenque is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 11:45 AM
  #70  
 
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kaleighmh - the Family Deal is even sweeter than i initially posted above - both adults get 50% off the cost of an adult 3-day flexi or 8-straight-day pass - i said the first one paid full price the second got 50% off!

But it is 50% off not the p.p. Saverpass price but the Solo Pass price - still it saves each person about $100 over the usual price of these passes for two adults.
Palenque is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 12:52 PM
  #71  
 
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Is there a US phone number to call to purchase the pass?

Thanks.
NYWANDERER is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 04:20 PM
  #72  
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I believe you can purchase this deal through any US pass seller (like Raileurope.com which has phone numbers listed on their website), or you can probably call BETS at the number that Palenque posted earlier in this thread
kaleighmh is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 09:52 PM
  #73  
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so I've been reading other forum threads, and my guidebooks, and I'm a little confused about the credit card "chip and pin" issue...has anyone had a problem with this in Switzerland? the other threads mostly mention france....
kaleighmh is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2010, 11:04 AM
  #74  
 
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My credit card has no chip or pin. In Switzerland, a lot of the small town train stations have no ticket agent, just a machine. On our last visit, in February, the machine would not accept my credit card, so I had to pay with cash. When I got to a town with a ticket agent, I asked what the problem was. He said try it with my machine; its the same system. It worked with his machine, but I did have to sign the order. So my credit card works in some places, but not others; I suspect it will work only where there is an attendant to get your signature. Interestingly, on our prior trip in October, a debit card worked in the remote machines, with a four digit pin, but would not work on the later trip!

My ATM card (debit card) worked with a four digit pin at all ATMs I tried.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2010, 12:09 PM
  #75  
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Thanks for the response cleveland- since we will be using the swiss pass, hopefully the train stations won't be an issue. I had heard a lot of small restaurants in other countries were accepting Chip and Pin cards only, (and cash of course). I just didn't know if it would be an issue in Switzerland. I guess the best thing to do is keep enough francs on hand that we can cover our bill. Since all the ATM's worked fine for you, hopefully getting cash will be easy enough.
kaleighmh is offline  
Apr 26th, 2010, 07:57 AM
  #76  
 
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And also getting cash for dollars from any train station ticket window is a snap and they change at about bank rates IME - this is handy if say it's your last day and you do not want to incur ATM fees - i always carry some $20 bills and these can be exchanged instantly at train station ticket windows day and night it seems. And yes i have never had a problem with Swiss ATMs - but be sure to notify your local bank about going to Switzerland so the transaction will not be blocked for security reasons - ditto for telling your credit card issuers about what countries you are going to and may be using your card.
Palenque is offline  

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