Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Grab a pastry from one of the early - opening bakeries on Bahnofstrasse.
- I got what looked like an icingless cinnamon roll. Turned out to be a orange - hazelnut roll with a thin layer of orange glaze. Quite tasty.
Take the train to Geneva. Another beautiful ride. Takes about three hours.
If you have time, spend a few days in Geneva. Ang said it was better than Paris. I unfortunately did not have time, so I headed all the way into Geneva airport.
- Make your way up the stairs and out of the arrivals terminal where the train station is. I flew easyJet. The Geneva airport is small and mellow, so enjoy the leisurely wait until your plane takes off.
Bid adieu to Switzerland out the plane window and settle in for a short flight back to the UK.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
- Schuh Chocolateria for amazing truffles. I got four: Caramel, Baileys, Vanille, and Dark Chocolate. Only 4.60 CHF.
- Merkur Confiserien for even more chocolate. This place is a chocolate warehouse. I bought 28 CHF worth of chocolate here. They have bars, cookies, and truffles of every sort. Check out the back of the store for good sales.
- Heidi's Souvenir-Shop: I found my Switzerland charm (I collect charms for a charm bracelet from every country I go to) here. A good selection of Swiss souvenirs at a very reasonable price.
Train from Interlaken to Zermatt. Change at Spiez. If you have enough time, walk outside the station to see beautiful changing colors in Autumn.
Zermatt is a resort town. No cars allowed so hotels and construction companies use these little carts as "taxis."
Stay at Matterhorn Hostel, about 5 minute walk from the train station. Free Internet, cheap breakfast, and really friendly staff. It gets really cold at night so be prepared with flannel p.j.s or borrow any extra blankets from unoccupied beds. I used three.
Dinner at Hotel Derby Restaurant. Dining room has a mountain elegance and staff is pleasantly attentive. Soup is excellent and well priced. Comes with bread. Ang and I split the "Croûte au fromage Valaisanne" or Cheese on toast Valaisanne style. Excellent!
Zermatt seems to shut down pretty early and our legs were feeling yesterdays adventure so we took advantage of our private (only occupants in a 8 person room) accommodations.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Also take advantage of the tasty breakfast provided at the hostel: two types of fresh bakery bread, butter, individual packets of Nutella, jam, orange juice, milk, cereal, hot drinks. They make a great coffee with steamed milk. It's all you can eat.
Train to Lauterbrunnen. Bus to Stechelberg. Wander a little around Stechelberg. Small path leading over the river and up the hill a ways.
Start the gondola trip up to Schilthorn from Stechelberg. Several changes, but they are nicely timed so you don't have to wait in between rides. Just hop off and hop on.
Take in the breathtaking views on top of the Schilthorn. Plaques around the structure point out different mountain peaks that you are looking at like the Jungfrau.
Eat lunch at the Piz Gloria, a rotating restaurant on top of the Schilthorn. In honor of 007 ("On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was filmed on the Schilthorn), I had Spaghetti a la James Bond. Very good.
Take the Nordic Walking Trail from Murren through Gimmelwald to Schleg. Be prepared for some hefty down-hill walking. Catch the bus anywhere along the road or continue walking from Schleg to Lauterbrunnen.
Train back to Interlaken and collapse after a long day of walking - well worth the sore knees!
Friday, November 9, 2007
- We got in for free but tickets are reasonable and they offer a student concession.
Two hour self-guided tour of the Chateau. You get a pamphlet with explanations corresponding to numbers sprinkled about the property. They follow a logical order and end in the tallest tower of the Castle (where the photo was taken). Breathtaking views despite the perilous climb.
Take-away lunch and chocolate from Lucien Moutarlier, a patisserie on Rue 44. My baguette dur fromage was excellent (soft French bread with butter and thick slices of a nutty cheese) as were the "Noir" truffles.
Golden Pass train from Montreux to Interlaken Ost.
Five minute walk from the station to our hostel - Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof.
- Really clean, friendly staff, breakfast included. Rooms are small. Day lockers for bags on the day you checkout.
Interlaken, as with most Switzerland towns, shuts down early. Walk around a little as the sun goes down. Listen to the cowbells ring.
The receptionist recommended Des Alpes Restaurant for traditional Swiss food in a relaxed environment. Ang and I had cheese fondue. Our waiter delivered a bubbling pot of melted cheese (prepared with garlic, white wine, and kirsch) and a basket of baguette chunks. He demonstrated the proper way to eat fondue: spear a piece of bread with the small pronged fork, completely submerge in cheese, and swirl to coat. Let it cool on your plate briefly and heave ho.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Open seating, but a generally nice airline. Plane was clean and has a large overhead compartment that was able to hold my large (and stuffed) backpack.
Train from Geneva airport to Montreux. Trains leave regularly.
- I highly recommend purchasing a "half-fare" card (50% off all train/funicular/gondola tickets). They cost 99 CHF which seems a bit steep, but I recouped my money and started saving on day 3.
Met Ang at the Grand Suisse Hotel, right across from the train station. Her work conference was held at the hotel so we were able to spend Friday night in her room. Probably a bit pricey for budget travel, but if you have a cushy accommodation allowance, this has great views and location in the city.
Walk around Lake Geneva. Paved path right across from hotel. Beautifully landscaped and the water just glows in the evening light.
Dinner at La Rouvenaz.
- Excellent Italian restaurant just a bit off the main street running along the Lake. Get reservations if you want to eat any later than 6pm (when it opens). We snagged a table before they started turning people away. Funny, efficient, and authentic wait staff. The owner circulates throughout the dining area.
Montreux is part of the French speaking area in Switzerland. Most people speak English as well, but be polite and at least say Bonjour and Merci instead of the English equivalent.