Suggestions and Observations
- Switzerland may be a neutral party for the wars happened, but the Swiss people don’t keep quiet if they see something that they are not happy with. I learnt this, when I got an advise from a stranger in the train - please read my blog to learn about it.
- Get used to the high prices of everything, from train tickets to pizza. The reason is that the people get paid reasonably well.
- There are a lot of options regarding the train passes and I was confused with the choices. If money is not a primary concern or you are traveling solo (or two people and planning to cover a lot in a short period), you should get the train passes because it the best transportation system I have ever seen - the trains, buses and the boats are very well connected. The information counters in each station will provide you the plan for the day if you ask for advise. You can’t beat the convenience with the trains/buses/boats here.
- The road system is pretty awesome, so driving shouldn’t be a concern when the weather is good. It’ll be economical to rent a car if you are traveling in a group of three or more. It depends on the number of places you want to go and trips you want to take, so do the math before deciding to buy the train pass.
- The hotel prices are pretty steep during the season in the main touristy areas, one thing that you could do to cut down the hotel costs (if you want and if you have the train pass or your own vehicle) is to book the hotel in small cities closer to the place where you want to visit with good bus or train or boat transport. As indicated earlier, the transportation is awesome and won’t take you much time to get from one place to other and more than that you may love staying the small towns more than the big cities.
- When booking the hotels, consider whether breakfast provided or not and consider the cost. Good breakfast costs about $15/person minimum.
- The shops close at 6pm every day and closed on Sundays, so plan accordingly. The shops at the train/bus stations are normally open on Sundays and late evenings.
- Always, make sure that the immigration official stamps your passport while leaving or entering the country. My passport was not stamped when I was exiting Rome and got into trouble
- The dolls performance at the clock tower in Bern is good given the number of years it’s been performing, but it is not really worth making all the changes to your travel schedule just for that. If you happen to be in Bern for this, go for it.
- Switzerland is different from Japan, where you stand in one place in Japan for more than 2 minutes with a map, someone will approach you and ask you whether you need any assistance. Nothing that sort of happened in Switzerland. Another thing that we noticed was that there’re a lot of Indian tourists in Switzerland more than any other nationality and talking to a few of them, most of them are from India (not Indians living somewhere). Guessing that the Bollywood movies have a great impact on the tourism.
- We didn't find many Africans or other non-white people in Lucern or in Lauterbrunnen or in Bern but Basel is more cosmopolitan.
Stories on the way to Geneva
My trip to Switzerland started badly when my flight to Abu Dhabi got delayed by 5 hours and me missing the connecting flight. The way Etihad airlines handled the whole rerouting was terrible but worked any way.
There’s a guy who was going for honeymoon to somewhere Europe and he was fighting with the airline agents to get another flight to get on time to go to Abu Dhabi because he didn’t want to waste a day waiting in the airport. The whole fight or argument was fun to watch…felt sorry for the desperate guy :-(
I had long lay overs in Abu Dhabi and in Rome. Abu Dhabi had better places to hangout than in Rome. Met a white lady with a typical yellow color bag from Thiruvannamali (close to my native place) and started talking to her in the Abu Dhabi airport lounge. She has been going to Thiruvannamalai for the last six years and almost every time she spends about 4-6 months. She is into yoga and meditation but I don’t find a lot of centers for these in
Thiruvannamalai, so asked her why Thiruvannamalai, the reason she told me was eye opening. She mentioned that she had been to a number of temples in south india but when came to Thiruvannamalai she could feel much more in peace and she feels that it’s her home. She is not a follower of any of the hundred swamis in Thiruvannamali but she just stays in Thiruvannamali to go to the temple and to the Ramana Ashram. She couldn’t explain why she feels that way but it works, so she keeps coming. We talked about Ramana and other related things about the place before I left for my flight to Rome.
When I was going through the immigration, the immigration officer just looked at my passport and handed over it to me without stamping and I was thinking that it’ll be stamped when I leave but it was not. It caused a minor problem for me in the Bern airport.
Getting Shocked at Geneva
After joining my daughters who were waiting near the arrival gate in Geneva, we went for dinner and got shocked at the prices in McDonalds as well as in other restaurants. Then came another shock when I paid for the 4 day train pass (even though i knew the amount, paying time it hurts) and left for Lucerne. It was cloudy and cold when we arrived in Lucerne and no information center was open because it’s 7pm, but the people are very helpful when you approach them.
10pm and we were thinking what to do the next day because it’s going to rain for the next 2 days.
you could visit. It’s raining all the time when we were in Bern (about half a day) and it was cold, we followed the walking tour in the map before getting back to Lucerne. It is nice to see the beautiful houses in Bern with a garden growing on their roof. Since
Swiss Drama and Free Advise
In most parts of the world, people would have ignored when someone was irritating or bugging someone but what I heard and experienced was that the Swiss people will openly voice their concern if they are not happy with what they say.
Walking on the Wall
Nature Wonderland - Lauterbrunnen
Dinner with Strangers
not to go to Jungfraujoch because it may be cloudy and when you are on the very top you are going to look down so the views may not be good, and advised me to leave early to Schilthorn. We decided to pickup breakfast in the train station because the breakfast at the host was about $8 for a glass of juice and two slices of break.
Chinese Food at InterlakenWe came down to Lauterbrunnen a little after 2pm and since none of the restaurants were open because it’s Sunday, we decided to go to Interlaken for lunch and from there we wanted to take a ferry on the lake Thunersse. Train ride to Interlaken was nice and the city is a medium size town. The restaurants closer to the train station were closed but we walked around the town to find a
Visit to Wenger
Short stop @Basel
Appreciation From the Turkish Lady
Summary and What I would do different
- Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places to visit for the natural lovers. I would love to come and spend a lot of time in Lauterbrunnen.
- If I visit next time, I will come after July when the weather is better so that I can camp and hike. If I come alone, I will take the train, bring my camping gear and cooking supplies.
- The Swiss fondue was good but you can’t eat it everyday. For vegetarians, they have very less options.
- If you ski or snowboard, this is the place you have to ski at least once in your lifetime