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Re: 10 day Switzerland trip with young boys and grandparents 4 years ago Save 1. The itinerary looks OK to me except that I would visit Geneva on Day 1 and then continue that late afternoon to Montreuxspending nights of days 1 and 2 in the Vevey Montreux area. Two nights in a hotel are generally better than one - more relaxing - and it is only an hour between Geneva and Montreux by train. You are doing a lot I love Switzerland country boys travel and the Married housewives wants sex Salt Lake City is probably a good bet for you. But to be sure you have to do the maths. Figure Bitch to fuck in mesa az the full cost of all train fares and add them on a daily basis.
Very funny, Thomas. But, like a lot of terrible jokes, it contains a kernel of wisdom: Switzerland is, indeed, a great place to travel.
And not just for its flag. Switzerland was one of the first places I visited in Europe, and I used to go there frequently, but somehow I had not set foot on Swiss soil in a decade. Switzerland is an utterly wonderful place to travel, and the Swiss are utterly wonderful people. Here are my observations about Switzerland and its people — culled both from my recent trip, and from years of earlier travels. Full disclosure: My parents lived in Switzerland before I was born, so I grew up thinking things like a cowbell by the fireplace, fondue at Christmas, and Bircher Muesli for breakfast were normal.
This is an obvious one, but it bears repeating.
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Even on a cloudy day, they can be gorgeous — provided visibility is good. Here are a few tips for enjoying those Alps:. I love how the first channel on any Swiss hotel TV is live webcam footage showing area mountaintops.
This helps you decide, at a glance, what to do today. One day I was staying in Luzern and hoping to head up to Rigi. The Luzern forecast was miserable. But I carefully checked the webcams and weather report specifically for Rigi.
Luzern was cloudy and had a high chance of rain; Rigi had neither.
So I took a leap of faith…and had a glorious mountaintop adventure, above the clouds, while Luzern suffered in the drizzle. I hiked all day in the sun before descending by cogwheel train to still-foggy Wengen.
Once up top, keep an eye out for those handy yellow Swiss hiking s, which mark various trails. Feel the financial pain once…then enjoy. And in all three cities, as if fulfilling a blood oath to the Swiss Tourist Board, they repeatedly pointed out the perpetually flowing water fountains that gurgle throughout their cities — and bragged that the water was entirely potable.
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In fact, they carry around plastic cups to let their guests try it for themselves. Americans are spoiled by having public water fountains everywhere. But, come to think of it, flowing drinkable water is quite rare in Europe. In most countries, all of the prettiest fountains have big Acqua Non Potable or Kein Trinkwasser s, warning you that filling up your bottle can lead to an unpleasant memory.
Filling up your bottle at a free fountain is a big money-saver. Second, the water quality is excellent — usually piped in from high-mountain springs or purified glacier melt. During my visit, the historic old streets of Bern were torn up. It was a mess just trying to walk through the city center. The rails for the tram actually began to warp. It became hazardous and there was a big worry about derailments. There are few countries as tied to nature as the Swiss. And when their landscape struggles, they struggle too. Seeing political posters for the upcoming elections, I asked if right-wing nativist parties were on the upswing here.
I was told that, in contrast to much of Europe, their influence is waning, mainly because they are flat-footed when it comes to climate issues. My takeaway — admittedly an oversimplification — is that even Swiss racists are more motivated by climate change than by xenophobia.
The other way increasing temperatures impact travelers: air-conditioning. I was surprised to see many hotels with both air-conditioning and fans — used in tandem to take the edge off.
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And ask for a quiet room, high up and facing away from noisy streets, so you can keep your window open while you sleep. This may seem at odds with the rigid, stern image of Switzerland. But until this visit, I was not aware that they are far from interchangeable. Migros focuses on in-store brands. Like much of Europe, Switzerland has been struggling with huge crowds. Lifts scheduled for twice hourly often go more frequently — more or less continuously — at busy times.
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Be on the first or second lift of the day — which are often discounted and always uncrowded. The lift operators know better than anyone what the day-to-day crowd patterns are, and have a knack for predicting the weather.
The main draw are the melted cheese dishes: fondue and raclette. But all that melted cheese can be very fragrant. And they actively avoid ye olde traditional melted cheese restaurants because it makes their clothes stink like a festering foot for a couple of days.
And go before laundry day. Switzerland is expensive.
Very expensive. People are polite, competent, and efficient.
On my way out of Switzerland, I arrived at the airport — and checked in, and got through security — long before I expected to. In Italy, just getting a cab can be a high adventure. Walking through the streets of Bern, my local guide pointed to a big, shiny, 5-franc coin on the cobbles. A few seconds later, an unsuspecting tourist wandered by, saw the coin, bent over to pick it up…and got spritzed by water squirted from the eaves overhead. My guide relished every moment. Later, just a few hundred yards down the main drag, my guide called my attention to a little three-part channel, exposing the stream that runs through the middle of Bern.
Do you notice anything? Finally, I noticed that the middle channel was running uphill — in the opposite direction of the channels before and after it.
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Her eyes danced with enjoyment. Walking along a one-lane road at the base of a vertical cliff, along the shoreline of Lake Luzern, I came upon a ramshackle shed huddled up against the rock. Stepping through its rickety door, I found myself at the entrance to a foot-long, heavily fortified tunnel, leading to machine guns, huge artillery cannons, and barracks where a hundred armed-to-the-teeth Swiss soldiers could hole up indefinitely, protecting one of several dozen mountain passes that are all just as fortified.
They embraced the symbol of a hedgehog — cute and cuddly, but capable of hunkering down and exposing its spines when threatened.
The government came up with a bold plan: In case of invasion, Switzerland would contract like that hedgehog. The passes into and out of this rugged mountain fortress — called the Swiss National Redoubt — would be heavily guarded. With the Cold War and threat of nuclear attack, Switzerland doubled down on these plans.
And today, every bridge and tunnel in the country is rigged with explosives, innocent mountain slopes conceal missile silos, military service is compulsory, and every Swiss household has a loaded gun. Swiss neutrality has been criticized.
It also means not taking sides — or playing both sides — even in times of moral absolutes. This debate is dealt with openly and constructively in Swiss society, confronting the populace with unpleasant realities and tough choices.
But ultimately, the Swiss have made their decision. It looks like Coke but tastes like chewable vitamins. But Rivella may be my favorite.
But Swiss cities are pretty great, too. Consider weaving some urban Switzerland into your itinerary — or, given how small and well-connected this country is, escape to the cities on rainy, socked-in days. Among Swiss, Bern is known as the city of bureaucrats and students… things are relaxed and mellow. Lake Luzernwhich stretches deep into soaring cut-glass mountain panoramas.
Lake cruises are hard to resist here. You could spend a week in Luzern and visit a different mountaintop every day. And Basel — at the vertex of Switzerland, France, and Germany — has a lively market square, a colorful town hall, and the Rhine running through its middle. What are your favorite things about the Swiss? I was in Switzerland updating our Rick Steves Switzerland guidebook.
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The newly updated edition is out in May While there, I crossed paths with several of our Best of Switzerland tours — and everyone was having a blast. Want to about Switzerland? On this same trip, I went for a glorious high-mountain Swiss hike above the village of Gimmelwald. Years ago, I spent a memorable Christmas in the Swiss Alps. And I chose Bern as one of my European Discoveries for Nice article.