As usual, this is a very long Trip Report! I'll add the rest in subsequent posts. I chose to add it to the Tour category as we are invited to share candid tour experiences and this is mostly about my GAS tour.
Overview: This is a terrific tour! I’ve been looking at it for several years since I did the 21 BOE and had such a jaw-dropping day in Switzerland. I liked that this tour stayed in Muerren 3 nights, so 2 full days in the Berner Oberland. This visit lived up to my expectations as did the whole tour!
Itinerary: I liked the fact that this had smaller cities as well as some larger ones. I did discover that altho I really enjoy the big cities of Paris and London that I prefer smaller towns to the bigger, bustling ones! I really liked Trier, Baden-Baden, Muerren and Hallstatt. Munich, Salzburg and Vienna were fine, glad I visited but at this point no need to return. I’m not sure if the heat colored my thoughts on these destinations. BTW, I’m not a shopper but if you are and especially like high end stores, this tour is for you.
-Trier: I got there on Thursday afternoon. Friday I did the Landesmuseum including their special Nero exhibit, the Kaiserthermen and wandered around until I had to get out of the heat. Sat. did the Konstantin Basilica, walked thru the palace gardens and spent a good bit of time in the Dom including seeing the reliquary for the robe of Jesus. Had met up with a friend and when we were in the Dom there was a Sat. concert at 11:30 (2 Euro) which we listened to. This tour normally starts on a Saturday, I think, so that means that the walking tour is Sunday AM. There is not enough time to go in to either the Dom or the Basilica plus they are having Sunday services, so if these are on your list of things to see, plan for an extra day in Trier. We also went in the Church of Our Lady which is connected by a short hallway to the Dom. On our walking tour we did go in the Kaiserthermen which I do not think is always done. I think Carlos wanted to lay the foundation for the baths at Baden-Baden. This meant I went in twice which was fine with me as they are interesting and very big! Others on our tour took a boat trip on the Mosel before the tour started and enjoyed it a lot.
-Baden-Baden: A number of people did the thermal baths here. That’s not my thing so I did some birding along the Lichtentaler Allee which was very nice. People watching as well as bird watching!
-Muerren: Carlos got us organized the first day for the trip up to Piz Gloria at the top of the Schilthorn for those that wanted to go, then met up after lunch with those who wanted to hike beginning at the Almendhubel funicular. This transportation was out of pocket. Carlos paid for the tickets and we repaid him. Most of the group did the North Face hike but 2 others and I elected to do the easier Mountain View hike. We enjoyed it immensely and deeply appreciated Carlos’ getting us started on the right trail. Day 2 transportation down to the Lauterbrunnen Valley and back to Muerren was covered. We did the Truemmelbach Falls via bus, then Richard drove us in to Lauterbrunnen. Many of us chose to go up to Mannlichen (via Wengen) and walk to Kleine Scheidegg, then take the cog train back down to Lauterbrunnen. This was not a group activity altho we were mostly in a group anyway. One person did the Jungfraujoch altho Carlos did not think there was time enough to do it. In retrospect, if we had spent less time at Truemmelbach it would have allowed more time for the afternoon activities. The ticket up to Mannlichen and back down from Kleine Scheidegg was about $63 but well worth it, then we had the return ticket from Lauterbrunnen back up to Muerren. My suggestion here is to plan to spend the money on the transport both to the top of the Schilthorn and up to the other side, whatever options you choose. They take credit cards and really, it is SO worth it to hike/walk in this area.