Switzerland anyone?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Challenged, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    I'm planning on taking my wife to Switzerland in September for our anniversary. Any recommendations for things to see or hotels to book or really any helpful information? I've never been to Europe, so any tips would be appreciated.
     
  2. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Very picturesque but, Do not stay in Switzerland. It is insanely expensive. I would only stay again if someone else was paying the bill. Hostel was $180/night, cheap fondue dinner for 3 was $130. Stay just outside like in Italy or Austria and make Switzerland a day trip or several if need be. Pack a lunch. Lake Constance was nice. So was Lucerne but a bit touristy. Geneva was a huge pain to drive in. Bern was nice. St. Gallen has a famous library and was worth a look. Zurich is industrial. Look for a small plane ride around the mountains as the Swiss are active aviators. Nearby Lichtenstein is not worth the stop if you would be thinking that way. Large Hadron collider at Cern was interesting if you are a science geek like myself and my Daughter.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  3. catmandu

    catmandu Cleared for Takeoff

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    Well, it is not cheap, but not undoable. We spent three nights in Lucerne last September, escorting my Dad before a ten night river cruise he had that started in Basel. We got a nice 2BR apartment on the bus line for $300 per night via VRBO. Did the yelp thing and found some nice restaurants at a reasonable fee. Do the research, there are travel passes that make self-scheduled tours pretty reasonable. We bought one which got us a ferry/cogwheel/train round trip to Mount Pilatus one day, and an Alpine train tour the next. Absolutely loved the short time we spent there, the people especially. Dad said the three nights in Lucerne were the best part of his trip. We will schedule a full week at a later date, probably in a smaller village, but on a train line.
     
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  4. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    I have relatives that live in Lucerne. Yep, it’s expensive.

    Another idea is to take the train “through” the mountain to the top at Jungfraujoch. That was a cool ride.
     
  5. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    My experience is centered around Geneva. One of my partners in my former Middle East venture lives there.

    Geneva itself is one of those expensive "United Nations expense account" cities. Filled with boring bankers. But it's a great base to do some day trip exploring in that region. Because Geneva has such a large expatriate population, within the city and through much of the region English is commonly spoken, so it's not a difficult place to travel.

    Take the train to Montreux - I prefer it to Lausanne.

    On Sunday Geneva is dead, dead, dead. Rent a car and explore the fabulous Sunday market at Divonne les Bains, a short distance away, just across the border in France. On a weekday take the car to Annecy (again, in France, but a bit further away in the other direction). Plan to have lunch in the old town - it is one of my favorite places in all of Europe. If it is a nice day it's one of those experiences you'll never forget.

    If you don't want to stay in Geneva, head along the lake towards Nyon. There are all kinds of little family owned country inns on the lake, or overlooking the lake from the hills, and a bit less expensive than Geneva. Or stay over in Divonne and treat your wife to the spa.

    Enjoy. For four of the years I lived in the Middle East I kept an apartment in Central London, and used it as a base to explore a good portion of the UK and Europe. For all the bad press Europe gets in North America, there's a lot of really magical places to explore there.
     
  6. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Swiss cities are a pain to drive into. The Swiss railway otoh is a good way to get around. Just get a car for a trip into the mountains. As for the cost: You get what you pay for.
     
  7. Eric Brunelle

    Eric Brunelle Filing Flight Plan

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    We did a Rick Steves tour - fantastic. Many beautiful llaces, and I did hang gliding in the Alps! Your on vacation - you are going to spend some money.
     
  8. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    I once had a few days in Lausanne. The train was a good way to get there from Geneva airport. It was off seeing palm, banana, and lemon trees growing in the area. Interesting microclimate!
     
  9. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    Only been to Zurich, but I'll echo the above.

    Food is expensive.
    Hotels are expensive.
    Taxis are expensive.
    Take the train.
    Absolutely gorgeous country, with very nice people.

    In Europe you're always gambling on language, but the Swiss are typically very good English speakers. A few words of Swiss French and/or Swiss German won't hurt though.

    The Swiss Senator lounge in the Zurich airport has a very, very extensive whisky bar that is completely free with some excellent bartenders. So if you are flying Swiss or United and like whisky - give yourself at least an hour in there. I drank several nice ones and then worked my way up the years of Tomintoul.

    Oh and don't buy chocolates in the airport.
     
  10. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I loved Switzerland. If I recall, it wasn't really that much more expensive than other places in Europe. We rented a nice house for a few weeks and took the train/public transportation everywhere. One of the highlights was taking the train, switching to a cable car, and then to a lift up into the Alps.

    If it was expensive, I don't really remember that now, but I do remember the memories of the beautiful scenery and the wonderful people. And the beer. Then we took the night train, with a sleeper berth, to Barcelona. First night there, we went to a highly rated restaurant around 9pm, but they looked closed, so we walked around a little, and when we walked by again around 10pm, they were open. We went in and the place was empty, except for the staff and us. But we sat down and had a wonderful meal. By time we left, around 11:00pm, the place was packed. They really do eat late in Spain. (Just thought I would through that in there).
     
  11. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I love Switzerland. Been all over the country. It's expensive, but.... There are ways to keep the cost down a bit.

    Geneva - interesting. Consider staying on the France side of the border and taking the bus/streetcar. Likewise dining. Worth a visit.

    Consider either getting a car and driving around Lake Geneva or taking the boat. Lots of great towns, including Evian.

    I like Montreaux. Get on the geared train up to Rochers de Naye. Watch the hang gliders launch from the top.

    Interlaken is scenic, as is Lucerne. As I recall, there's a transportation museum in Lucerne (or one of the towns near you).

    Zurich is a banking city and expensive, but the old town is nice.

    One thing to put on your list is the Glacier Express train. Scenic any time, but especially so in the winter.
     
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  12. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-Flight

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    What activities do you like? Cities or mountains? Hiking?
    I will take my wife there in early Sept for a week. We will hike every morning, then drive to another location and stroll around in the evening.
     
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  13. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for the great input so far guys, this is all very helpful! I guess we're a good mix of city/mountain, so some sort of outdoor task in the morning (boating, easy-ish hike, winery visit, historic site, train ride) and then relaxing in the evening at a nice restaurant would probably be good for all involved.
     
  14. wrbix

    wrbix Pattern Altitude

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    Been a few years but have motorcycle toured the Alps a few times and actually had a Civil Ceremony wedding in Montreux....CH can be a bit more pricey than northern Italy, etc but you get what you pay for. A lovely, well maintained country with a proud populace.
    Montreux was a good bit less cosmopolitan back then (read pretty laid back), the castle is worth a tour, boat ride on the Lac, get out in the countryside for hikes.
    Have fun!
     
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  15. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

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    See if Pilatus gives tours of the aircraft factory.
     
  16. KRyan

    KRyan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    As an interesting sidenote, the Pilatus factory was used as "Auric Enterprises" in the movie "Goldfinger." It's the place they melted down the car.
     
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  17. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-Flight

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    We land in Basel and will drive to Lichtenstein. There are beautiful views from the mountains to the east of Vaduz (you can drive or hike).
    Next is Lake/town of Lucerne and Pilatus peak.
    Next we will hit Interlaken. Will do two hikes there: one north of town, and one above Lauterbrunnen
    We will then go to Chamonix and do two hikes (one east and one north)
    We then drive to Geneva and fly out.
    If it was my first time in CH, I would definitely go to Zermatt and hike above it to see Matterhorn. Absolutely classic alpine scenery.
    Cheers.
     
  18. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    Amen to that. I was there a couple years ago for required training at the IEC. Required of all new officers. I've been involved in IEC standards work for so long that I was the most experienced person in the room, including the instructors, and could have taught the class. Oh well, get your ticket punched.

    I've been to Switzerland several times over the decades. It is a beautiful country and you'll have fun wherever you go. Zurich is interesting (been there a few times). Back in 1983 I had a symposium to attend, but due to the schedule for my wife's flights we went a few days early and took the trains down to Lauterbrunnen. A friend had ski patrolled in the area when he was stationed in Germany and recommended that we go immediately to the top of the Schilthorn if the weather was clear. Another location for the James Bond film. It was and we went up. Great views from on top. Took the train up to Kleine Scheidig the next day and spent the day skiing. From the top of that mountain down to Grindelwald is about 5000 vertical feet. Talk about rubber legs at the bottom of the hill. Then took the train back to Zurich for the meetings. My wife went back down to the area when we were there a number of years later (another symposium in Zurich) and took the train up to the Jungfrau (the train stopped at Jungfraujoch IIRC) and enjoyed that very much. Well worth the visit.

    Don't completely write off Geneva. There are some interesting places to visit in the old part of the city. Spend a day there.

    Have fun!
     
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  19. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Lichtenschteen... Sorry, got young frankenschteen stuck in my head.

    Seriously, that's a great itinerary!


    Agree, but not just the old part. Th s a botanical garden, the League of Nations, the Roman ruins under the cathedral in old town, and a bunch of other stuff. I enjoyed the Saturday flea markets. If you go at the right time, there may be a festival by the lake or something at Palexpo.

    When I go I stay in Old Town. These days it's Hotel Les Armures, used to be Hotel Chandelier (they sold and it's now a consulate of some small country). The area around Hotel de Ville has a number of restaurants and outside cafes, sometime it can end up being 1 am and the Gamay is still flowing...
     
  20. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Cleared for Takeoff

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    We stayed in Interlaken at a B&B and then took the train for day trips. There is a "Chocolate Train" that takes you to a cheese factory and a chocolate factory. You can go up Mt Pilatus in a cogwheel train. You can take the boat across Lake Thun. You can go up into the mountains just south of Interlaken and hike. Go up to Grindelwald and wander around. Pretty sure there is a glacier still up there. Then you've got the big cities - Zurich and Geneva.