The Engadine calls us back...again

Feb 14th, 2018, 07:35 AM
  #41  
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Diane - I just looked through my photos again - are you referring to the star on the derelict building in Tschlin? If so, see what you mean. My reference was to the star in Ilanz (on the last set of photos which I have up on Flikr, but haven't yet posted the link to on this report) - they go with the next segment.
Melnq8 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2018, 01:13 PM
  #42  
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Ilanz – Day 14 (Christmas Day)

We woke to clear, vibrant blue skies – perfect walking weather.

Bill was intrigued with the two churches we could see high up on the mountainside across from Ilanz; he suggested we look into what he referred to as “the church-to-church walk”’.

But first, we wandered through the historic center of Ilanz, which, while compact, has some interesting buildings from the 16th and 17th century, dead quiet on this Christmas morning.

We’d not yet ventured to the other side of the Vorderrhein (Ilanz Spital), so we carefully picked our way across the icy bridge, passing a woman who was either annoyed with the treacherous ice - or her partner – who was doing a fine job of ignoring her.

We aimlessly meandered through the empty streets, and then backtracked to the train/bus station, where we boarded a bus to the tiny village of Ladir, situated above and to the north of Ilanz - and - we hoped - the starting point for Bill’s “church-to-church walk” (2.20 CHF each, ½ fare).

Upon arrival, we walked over to Kirche Ladir to take in the incredible views. There didn’t appear to be a trail to the church we’d hoped to walk to (Kirche Ruschein, I believe) just a road, so instead we followed it back through Ladir, and then continued walking up above the village, where, lucky us, we stumbled upon the nicely groomed winterwanderwege to Falera.

The day was beautiful, blue skies, sparkling snow; it took us about 90 minutes to reach Falera – a lovely walk. We came upon a children’s ski area, tiny kids learning how to ski - some having fun, others clearly terrified - older kids zipping down the slopes on sleds, parents giving a hand or looking on. All of Falera seemed to be out on this gorgeous Christmas Day.

We eventually tore ourselves away from the free entertainment and walked down to the village, past the busy outdoor ice skating rink and up to the 500 year old St. Remigius Church, rewarded with some pretty spectacular views.

https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/...en-falera.html

We returned to Ilanz via bus – encountering our first grumpy bus driver - despite asking for Halbtax tickets (Half Fare), the driver charged us full fare. We resisted, advising we had Half Fare Cards, to no avail. Not wanting to hold up the bus, we relented. When the bus came to a complete stop to await a connecting bus, Bill made another run at it – he took our Half Fare Cards up to the driver - a long grumbling session ensued, most of which we didn’t understand, but the bus driver made the adjustment and refunded the difference (3.40 CHF each, ½ fare).

Note: Thus far bus drivers had shown no interest in seeing our Half Fare Cards when we purchased tickets on board. My understanding is that Swiss buses (and some short trains) operate on the honor system. If a plainclothes ticket inspector is on board, it’s they who want to see your Half Fare Card, not the bus driver (any clarification on this Ingo?).

Back at the apartment we cooled our heels, depleted our fridge and pantry provisions and got organized for departure.

It’d been a wonderful day – we’d logged some six miles - our kind of Christmas.

Photos here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/melnq8...h/40189201841/

Wrapping up...
Melnq8 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2018, 01:41 PM
  #43  
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Ilanz-Chur-Munich – Day 15

We bid adieu to our hosts, walked down to the station and boarded our train to Chur - me surprised to discover that the toilet on board was the drop chute variety, the first I’d seen on this trip.

Upon arrival in Chur, we took the escalator upstairs to the bus station, located our bus to Munich and checked in our luggage with the driver. The departure information board listed our bus number at the bottom of the screen, under Flixbus, yet there was no such logo on the bus and the information video onboard referred to it as an IC bus.

We’d booked the tickets through the Deutsche Bahn website prior to leaving home (59 Euro for both of us including train from Chur and connecting S-Bahn to Munich Ostbahnhof) and we’d selected our seats (mandatory) at booking. Why the bus instead of the train? 1) It was direct – only one short stop en route – whereas traveling by train involved some 3-4 changes – a pain with luggage. 2) It was less expensive than the train - even taking into consideration the discount that would apply within Switzerland with the Half Fare Card.

Taking the bus was a great choice; it was surprisingly quiet (with the exception of the antics of a restless little boy across from us). The seats were comfortable and equipped with tray tables complete with cup holders (rather handy for our wine infused onboard picnic), informational videos were in several languages, WiFi was free, and there was a toilet and refreshments on board (you haven’t lived until you’ve used the loo in a moving bus!); a pleasant journey all around. Our route took us through four countries – Switzerland and Germany of course, as well as a wee bit of Liechtenstein and Austria.

Some three hours later we were pulling into Munich’s central bus station, ZOB Hackerbrücke, where we crossed a walkway and took an escalator down to the S-Bahn platform.

https://www.muenchen-zob.de/en/directions

We boarded a train and within minutes we were at the Ostbahnhof (Munich East Station) where we hoofed it to the Marriott Courtyard Munich Ost, our go-to accommodation in Munich. Checking in was a bit of an ordeal, only one employee at reception, a lobby full of guests, each of whom was speaking a different language and making various requests, ringing phones, etc. I felt bad for the guy; needless to say, it took forever to get checked in.

Sorted and settled, we walked back to the Ostbahnhof, bought short trip S-Bahn tickets (1.50 Euro each), detrained at Isartor and sought out our favorite Munich Indian Restaurant, Goa, which we’d booked via e-mail two weeks in advance, knowing our options would be limited on this day after Christmas.

And what a good idea that was - Kadai Chicken for Bill, Paneer Achari for me (recommended by our waiter and spot on), garlic naan, beer and wine – 43 Euro and absolutely Wunderbar!

Then we backtracked to the Ostbahnhof (1.50 Euro each) and the Marriott Courtyard for pre-departure sleep.

Departure – Day 16

A good night’s rest and a decent breakfast later, we walked to the Ostbahnhof, purchased train tickets to the Flughafen (11.60 Euro each, + the 5 Euro note that the ticket machine ate when we took too long to grab our change!) and were on our way.

We checked in (Lufthansa), cleared security, picked up my favorite duty free chocolates and settled into the Senator Lounge, Bill commenting that Lufthansa “knows how to treat a traveler” - translation - Weizenbier on draft!

The plane was full, but our flight went well – 10.5 hours, five movies, decent food and minimal turbulence. In Denver, our Global Entry worked a treat – we were through within minutes.

Home again, home again.

------------------------------------

As for those Swiss rail numbers:

Half Fare Card – 120 CHF each

Amount spent on Swiss transportation at half fare – 145.20 CHF each

So, Half Fare Card paid for itself and was the right choice for this particular trip.
Melnq8 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 12:15 AM
  #44  
 
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Sad to see the end, Mel....

That bus option is useful to know, we often choose Munich as our arrival/ departure city as we have family there.

And have noted Goa, for our week in Munich in September, thank you for mentioning it.
Adelaidean is online now  
Feb 15th, 2018, 06:48 AM
  #45  
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Thanks for tuning in Adelaidean. Good luck with your current trip planning. We'll be back down your way in April/May (well, sort of - we're going back to the South Island of NZ).

Stay cool.
Melnq8 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2018, 09:32 AM
  #46  
 
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Aahh, too bad about the disappointing food on Christmas Eve, especially on such a day! Yes, as far as I know the Swiss buses operate on the honor system and the inspector (if on board) wants to check the tickets and Halbtax Abos. No idea why your bus driver was so grumpy. Maybe he was annoyed you didn't buy the tickets in advance - because that's recommended. Usually there are ticket machines in bigger stations or you buy at the Tourist Office/Post office (we were advised to do that in Sils e.g.) Anyway, there was no reason why he would charge you full fare. Btw, I love the church in Falera - did you go inside?

Thank you, Mel, for taking the time posting this detailed report and the brilliant pictures. I enjoyed taking this trip virtually with you.

Cheers!
Ingo is online now  
Feb 16th, 2018, 11:16 AM
  #47  
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HI Ingo -

Buying the ticket in advance wasn't an option, there was no ticket machine in Falera. My guess is that he was grumpy because he had to work on Christmas Day, lol.

Yes, I went inside St. Remigius Church, but not the one right in town, next to the bus stop.

Thanks for tuning in!
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