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Switzerland August/September 2021 trip report

So a little late but starting this trip report.

Our trip was originally going to be Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia with a final stop in Paris. Due to some unforeseen issues we ended up at the last minute changing to just Switzerland, Austria and Paris. Fortunately in the time of Covid changing at the last minute wasn’t costly or problematic. All hotels have 24 hour cancellation policies and airlines usually at least one free change. We were originally going to use BA both over and back but after BA changed our flights about 5 times we bailed on them on the way over and just took them on the way back. We didn’t want to take a chance going over. So we rebanked the miles with BA (will use that for a trip in 2022) and just spent the big $$$ for one way tickets on Swiss for the trip over. Off to LAX via car service. Got us there super fast so we had lots of time in the lounge, which was nice. On flight in business, we each had what’s called a “throne” seat and had to sit away from each other. Spouse did not like the throne seat, felt it a bit cramped. Was fine for me. At check in in LA had to present CDC cards, the Swiss PLFs. All went fine there.
Anyway landed in Zurich, and then trying to figure out how to work the machine to buy train tickets into the city. A wonderful SBB employee helped us. People are so kind! He went all the way downstairs with us and helped us get the tix. Caught the train in, we stayed at a good hotel really close to the train station so walked there. Got settled, then our first stress problem as we were having major issues with our Eurail pass app. That was a couple of hours of hell, I would never use Eurail or their app again. Unfortunate, because we have used Eurail with great ease for many trips before this. No more! Their app is awful. Many other people also had trouble and we only found a solution by hours of research on forum websites. We had only bought these passes as we had a 50% fares.

Anyway after the fatigue of 11 hour flight and the 2 hours of trying to get the app, finally went out for dinner and found a nice place right across the street. It ended up (see later) being our go to place. By Zurich standards, inexpensive and casual, small menu but was so easy. Again people so nice, so friendly and so welcoming.

Long sleep! Off the next day to Wengen. Train Zurich to Bern to Lauterbrunnen to Wengen. Love the ease of Swiss train travel. One gets in, you have just enough time to switch platforms and off you go on the next one. We have also done this trip several times before so knew what we were doing.
Arrive Wengen! Our happy place! Our happiest place!!! See part 2 trip report.

Posted by
2771 posts

Glad to hear we weren’t the only ones having trouble with the ticket machines at the airport. 😊

Posted by
2771 posts

What was the name of your Zurich hotel? If you mentioned it earlier, i missed it. I already checked out your Wengen hotel and they had some great prices for June. I'm toying with the idea of going back May/June and then somewhere else in the Fall. Probably won't be any cows in the Spring though.

Posted by
497 posts

Hi Carrie, we stayed in Zurich at the St. Gotthard hotel. It’s fine, mostly due to location a few blocks from train station. There are also some other hotels around that area, might check those out too. If I were to stay in Zurich a few days might stay somewhere else but this was fine for one day here, one day there.

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So we arrived in Wengen to clouds. No matter, it was later in the afternoon so we took the opportunity to hand wash some clothes and sort our gear for hiking the next several days. Checking weather often. We stay at Hotel Schönegg every time we are in Wengen and we love it there. It’s $$$ but for us worth every penny. We do half board so all we need to worry about is feeding ourselves lunch.
Anyway next day was cloudy up above but seemed like it was clearing off more so we decided to walk the valley. There is a great bakery in Wengen where we bought sandwiches and lunch food. Headed down to Lauterbrunnen. The more we walked the clearer it got until it was a beautiful sunny day down there! How wonderful. Hiked down past the turn to Trammelbach and had our lunch at a spot on the trail we know that has picnic area. Amazes me how nice the Swiss are, this had a little grill/BBQ area and of course it was stocked with wood for people to use. Did a lot of photos and videos, come sweet lowland cows very friendly. After lunch we walked back, crossed the river to Trammelbach and then took the bus back to Lauterbrunnen. Decided to take the train all the way up to KS for a beer. Got up there and had about a half a beer and started pouring. Was amazing how clear it was in the valley and how cloudy it was up top. Anyway back to home base, lovely dinner, great food and wine and then out!
Next day similar, we knew from checking weather possible to be so-so up top so we decided to head to the other side and see how Murren and Grutschalp side was. Ride up to Grutschalp, then train to Murren. Murren is changing, getting more developed. The whole area seems to be actually. Weather clearing so decided to do the hike back to Grutschalp as it is easy peasy. Good thing, about 1/4 mile down my hiking pole broke! Snapped and totally unrepairable. Anyway knew the next day’s hike and other hikes I would need poles so went to the Mountain Sports place in Wengen when we got back and rented two poles for the duration. It was cheap. DH decided however that we were going to haul the broken pole the entire rest of the trip so he could send it back. ??? Whatever. Had beers on the deck, enjoyed the sun, another wonderful day in Switzerland.
Next day we decided to do a hike we had not done before but looked at on the map and seemed to be a beautiful ridge line on the Eiger side. Packed up lunch again from the bakery and with my two rental hiking poles off we went. This was the hike from Mannlichen to Alpinglen. I posted another thread on this at the time called “Know your Hike, or the Stupids Step Out”. What we learned is that yes this is a spectacular beautiful ridge hike with views beyond amazing BUT the first section and the last section were VERY VERY STEEP. Thank goodness I had two poles! Someone was looking out for me, if my pole had broken this day I think they would’ve had to helicopter me out, lol. Anyway weather completely clear, lots of cows, flowers, and just views that bring tears to your eyes. The last mile or so was the worst, off the Alp trail and onto the gravel trail down to Alpinglen. Anyway made it an hopped the train back to KS, had another beer and then down to Wengen. Doing some TLC on the feet and especially poor toes that night. Next day just some light hike and rides around. Part 3- Wengen to Lucerne and Lucerne to Zurich and then followed by the Nightjet to come.
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