To the top of Europe, and back again.

Aug 24th, 2017, 09:04 PM
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To the top of Europe, and back again.

As some here will know, my DH has faced some health challenges this year, and while he was having his treatment, we talked about where he might like to go afterwards; given his love of the mountains, and the need for easy travel, it just had to be Switzerland, so Switzerland it was. We'd been skiing there many years ago, and driven through bits over the years, but never spent an extended time there during the summer. And we had never done the iconic train ride to the Junfraujoch [aka the "top of Europe" ] so that was a major goal for us both [though it wasn't without its unforeseen difficulties].

After a lot of help from my fodorite friends [ ] we came up with this itinerary:

4 nights in Interlaken [mainly for the boat trips we could do but also access to other places if we liked and because DH really wanted to go there because he remembered it fondly from our skiing trip]

3 nights in Wengen [for the mountains]

4 nights in Lucerne [for boats and mountains, plus some time in the city and attending concerts at the Lucerne Music Festival which just happened to co-incide with our trip]

We also spent the night in a hotel near Geneva Airport on our first evening as we arrived quite late and wanted to have a restful night to recuperate from the journey before we set off anywhere. As it turned out that wasn't exactly what we got, as you will later discover [should you care to keep reading of course!]

As we didn't really do a lot of chasing about, I'm not going to give a day by day account but split the TR into sections - transport, hotels, and destinations, not necessarily in that order.

Anyone who wants to come along for the ride - hop on!
annhig is offline  
Aug 24th, 2017, 10:10 PM
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thumb out
bilboburgler is offline  
Aug 24th, 2017, 10:14 PM
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I'm hitching a ride too.
hetismij2 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 01:46 AM
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Me too,

.....we leave in a week
Adelaidean is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 01:50 AM
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Welcome back - looking forward to reading about your well-deserved trip and hearing how it went!
progol is online now  
Aug 25th, 2017, 02:00 AM
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I am on board!
jamikins is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 02:13 AM
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Looking forward. DH and I can not seem to find the love for Switzerland, so perhaps your travel tales will change our minds.
fourfortravel is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 06:23 AM
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On board!
sundriedtopepo is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 08:07 AM
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Swiss Travel Passes valid on your ride - if so I'm aboard!
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 08:28 AM
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Always enjoy your trip reports.
Jennifer_Travels is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 10:38 AM
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Looking forward to reading about you trip!
Saraho is online now  
Aug 25th, 2017, 11:49 AM
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Day 1 - a cautionary tale of over-confidence

[ I know I said that I wasn't going to do a day by day account, but for reasons that will become clear, Day 1 is an exception].

This trip was all about making things as easy as possible, so we opted for a flight from our "local" airport ["only" 3 hours drive away] at a reasonable hour, so we left home at about 11am, dropped the car off in the off-airport carpark [great on arrival, a pain on return] got the shuttle bus [the first of many I was to take that day, though I didn't know that at the time] and in no time at all, we were at the airport. We'd paid for "Easy boarding" and Fast Track, [both worth every penny] so in next to no time we were through bag drop, passport control [where the much vaunted queues simply didn't exist] and security, we had negotiated the hazardous "Duty Free" maze, and were safely ensconced in the departure lounge.

The flight was uneventful [definitely the best thing you can say about a flight, IMO], the walk from the plane to the airport blessedly short and we were soon strolling towards the baggage reclaim area, where I managed to find a seat for DH while I found our bags. Truly [or so i thought] the baggage reclaim gods were smiling upon me as our bags came through really quickly, and in no time at all we were out of the airport building and on the shuttle bus to the airport hotel where we were going to spend the night. It took a little while to check in, but that didn't matter as all we wanted to do was to have a quick drink and snack in the bar, and go to bed.

This where we stayed:

Should you ever want a hotel near Geneva airport, I cannot recommend this hotel enough. Very cheap for Switzerland, it had everything you need for a night's stay, and an excellent breakfast in the morning.

Finding our room was easy, and we were keen to change our shoes before going back downstairs so i went to open my case and it struck me that something was wrong, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. While I was still puzzling this out, my mobile phone rang, and it was a lady from the airport asking [you've probably guessed by now] if I had the right case. oh dear. No, I didn't have the right case, I had the wrong one, at least the wrong case for me.

Of course I reassured her that I was going to return to the airport immediately [after all, I wanted my own case back] and ignoring the bemusement of DH and suggesting he went to get a drink, and trying like mad to memorise the instruction for getting back into the baggage reclaim area, I lugged "not my case" back to the lift, and went downstairs to wait for the shuttle bus, which fortunately was still running. Back at the airport the instructions were spot on, and after offering the owner of "not my case" profuse apologies, and being presented with "my case" by the very kind and friendly baggage area official, me and "my case" trundled our way back to the shuttle bus stop where my new best friend was still waiting for me. What a treasure. The beer certainly tasted when I met up with DH in the hotel bar.

After all that excitement we slept surprisingly well, had a great breakfast [the best we had in Switzerland] and after checking out, got back on the shuttle bus so that we could catch the train to Interlaken, our first destination.

The holiday gods were not quite finished with me however; having accepted my credit card with no problem at the hotel, when I tried to use the same c/card to pay for our swiss travel passes [admittedly for a great deal more money] it was rejected so I had to use a different card. Then when we were on the train I got a text from them to say that they were allowing the swiss train transaction, but not the hotel! noooo! A flurry of texts later, they ended up accepting the hotel payment and voiding the rail pass one. Phew - i didn't relish trying to sort that out when I got home.

And the moral of my tale - double check the cases you are taking from the baggage reclaim. No matter how much you think that you cannot mix your case up with someone else's, yes you can. Despite a strap with our name on it being wrapped around our cases, I did.

Next - to buy the Swiss rail pass, or not to buy the Swiss rail pass - that is the question.
annhig is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 11:51 AM
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Thanks for joining in, everyone - your interest in our doings is greatly appreciated.
annhig is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 12:46 PM
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Annhig, so glad you were able to make this trip. I always enjoy your trip reports, looking forward to more!
bon_voyage is online now  
Aug 25th, 2017, 12:53 PM
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I'm in - sorry about the early wobble with luggage - completely understand how it could happen no matter how many times you've done it.

(My father did it when he visited us one year - but he didn't realize it until he opened the suitcase to go to bed and discovered.......bras)
Elizabeth_S is online now  
Aug 25th, 2017, 12:59 PM
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I'm really looking forward to this report, terrific start!

BTW, was your phone number on the luggage tag, is that how they tracked you down? Just asking because I never bother with the tag, I guess I will now...
sugarmaple is online now  
Aug 25th, 2017, 01:21 PM
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Thanks for the timely reminders, Ann, am off to the bank today to inform of my travels and clarify maximum outgoings ...and have put very clear hotel details on and in my bag.
Adelaidean is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 01:33 PM
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I'm signing on for the ride too. Just finished my own trip report so I'm ready to read about your travels and travails, hopefully more of the former than the latter.
Nikki is offline  
Aug 25th, 2017, 01:39 PM
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Along for the ride annhig, I've been looking forward to this.
Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 25th, 2017, 02:34 PM
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Following along!
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