Switzerland   6 comments

Switzerland

Mar. 28 – Apr. 1, 2011

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As part of the “Romance of the Rhine & Mosel” river cruise with Grand Circle Travel we did this 5-day extension to Switzerland.  We stayed in Lucerne, and each day headed out to a different area to experience as much of this beautiful country as possible in a short period of time.

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Our Rhine & Mosel river cruise ended in Basel Switzerland.  After touring Basel and spending the night there on the river boat we drove by coach to Lucerne.  While in Lucerne we did day trips to Mt. Riggi by boat and then cable car, a countryside visit to Giswill on a horse and wagon, and then to Kleine Scheidegg by cogwheel railway.   We found Switzerland to be expensive, but what a wonder of beauty to behold!

Save Money: If you decide you’d like to go on this or any Grand Circle Travel or Overseas Adventure Travel trip, and you are a first time traveler with them, they will give you $100 off any trip if you mention the name of my travel blog and my customer #561413. New travelers instantly receive $100 off the cost of the trip, and I will receive $100 when you depart on your trip.


Basel marked the beginning of our Switzerland experience.  Basel comprises Switzerland’s second-largest urban area, but we concentrated on the old Marklplatz area, and saw the 12th century red sandstone Munster Cathedral, the Munster Platz area, and the 16th century colorful town hall,  among other highlights.  We were given all-day tram tickets so Jim & I took advantage of that and rode the whole tram-circuit and got to see a lot including the residential neighborhoods. 

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Lucerne Switzerland is located near the foothills of the Alps along the shores of Lake Lucerne.  Our hotel was located within a block of the famous Chapel Bridge, so we were within walking distance of all the sights of old-town Lucerne.  It is a city full of historic buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, spires, turrets, covered bridges and fountains.  Lucerne was voted the 5th most popular tourist destination in the world in 2010 by TripAdvisor. 

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The Chapel Bridge (kapellbrucke) constructed in 1333, is the oldest covered bridge in Europe.  Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century, depicting events from the history of Lucerne.  In 1993 a fire destroyed some of the bridge but it was quickly rebuilt.  Some of the blackened structure still remains. 

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The famous carving of the dying lion (Lion Monument), commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 in the French revolution.

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Construction began on the Jesuit Church in 1667.  The interior is in the baroque style and the pastel colors make it like a breath of springtime.   

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There are many historic buildings in the picturesque town squares of Lucerne, and many are decorated with frescoes. 

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Another landmark of Lucerne is the Museggmauer Wall which was built in 1386 and is almost totally intact in its well-fortified state. 

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So what do you think of when you think of Switzerland?  Mountains of course.  So…to Mt. Riggi we did go.  We started our tour with a boat trip to Vitnau.  From there we went by cog-rail train about half-way (4850 ft.) up Mt. Riggi.  As we traveled up we enjoyed fantastic sights looking out at mountains, meadows, cows, and alpine homes.  We got off the train at the little village of Rigi-Kaltbad, and had a chance to look over the area and gaze at the fascinating views before we had a typical Swiss dinner complete with cheese fondue and entertainment. 

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The boat ride heading towards Mt. Riggi.  Beautiful sites all along the way. 

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The cog-rail train ride is supposed to be one of the world’s steepest.…….All Aboard!

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Scenes as we ascended Mt. Riggi by cog-rail train

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In the village of Rigi-Kaltbad

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Next on our itinerary was an excursion to the Swiss Countryside.  We boarded a local train and rode along the shoreline of Lake Lucerne, passed Mt. Pilatus and Lake Sarnen and disembarked in the little Village of Giswill.  At the train station we were met by a local farmer who took us by horse and wagon to his farm.  It was fun seeing the countryside at a leisurely pace in a wagon as we went on the back roads and even through a covered bridge.   

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The train ride from Lucerne to Giswill

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Horse & Wagon Ride was lots of fun. 

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Rita, our great program director may help drive the wagon.

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After a ride through the countryside we arrived at the farm and enjoyed a snack of wine, apple cider and home-made cheese.  They graze their cattle up in the mountains in the summer and they have a cheese making facility up there. 

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Our next adventure was the Kleine Scheidegg excursion to visit the Swiss Alps.  We drove from Lucerne and across the Bruenig Pass to Lauterbrunnen.  At Lauterbrunnen, we boarded the cogwheel Jungfrau Line Railway and rode up the mountain to the Kleine Scheidegg Railway Station which is located at an altitude of 6,682 ft.  We strolled around and absorbed the beautiful views, then had traditional Swiss fare for lunch.  We later boarded the train and headed down the opposite side of the mountain to Grindelwald, where our coach awaited us to take us back to Lucerne.  It was a day of majestic scenery to be remembered forever.

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Beautiful drive from Lucerne across the Bruenig Pass to Lauterbrunnen.

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 Riding the cogwheel Jungfrau Line Railway up the mountain to the Kleine Scheidegg Railway Station which is located at an altitude of 6,682 ft.  Awesome sights along the way!

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Here we are at Kleine Scheidegg elevation 6,762 ft.

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Back on the cogwheel train, going down the opposite side of the mountain to Grindelwald. 

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Thus ends what we thought to be a breathtakingly picturesque visit to Switzerland.   

Posted April 29, 2011 by marilynfarmer in Travel

6 responses to “Switzerland

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  1. Thank you for this great website! We leave for the R of the R&M cruise with the Lucerne pretrip in June so your reviews were a big help to us.

  2. The pictures are beautiful. Looks like there was a lot of snow.

  3. It,s just as I rembered it! Great pix.

  4. Just reviewed your Rhine and Mosel tripand Switzerland. Loved your photos and commentary. We are going this month.

    Are there any optional tours that you would recommend not taking? For example the tour to Baden Baden.

  5. Loved reading and seeing your beautiful Rhine/Mosel and Switzerland photos. We will be going on this river cruise in Aug. 2012 and I know your blog has helped me to see that part of the world in a new and different way. Thank You so much for sharing! Urs

    • Thank you. You are in for an absolute treat with this fantastic trip. It is indeed a wonderful world that we live in, isn’t it? Enjoy every minute of your trip, but of course you will. Don’t miss any opportunity to stroll around and enjoy this beautiful area.

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