A Travellerspoint blog

Switzerland

Zurich to Paris

Fast train trip

sunny 25 °C

We lugged our luggage, including one large cow bell to the Central train station only a 5 minute walk away. I wanted to buy a figurine I had spied the night before so headed down to the shops below dragging our cases, it was like a large shopping mall. Geoff manged to find what he was looking for and I got my figurine. Will probably find the same thing when I get home but it is a good memory of Switzerland, just another bulky thing to deal with. Had been very controlled in the buying untill Switzerland. We checked with the information Centre to find yes our ticket we printed off was all correct. We are quite proud of ourselves so far as booked this whole trip ourselves on line, we did make sure to leave plenty of time to catch flights, trains etc. So far haven't had a hitch. Our rental cars have all been quite new as well. We managed to make a coffee last a long time as it was really the only place to sit. They only put the platform number up 1/2 hour before you leave. No passport checks leaving and none when we arrived in Paris. We enjoyed our trip the world flashes past at speed Geoff said the highest he saw while we were in the dining car was 312 kms. We got a very nice panini here. We passed a lot of farm land. There was a noticeable difference in the farm houses as soon as we got to the French side smaller houses in this area with small shuttered windows. We passed close to where we stayed in Obergosgen spotted the nuclear cooling tower and station. We gave a wave to Anja Raphael and family. How lucky were we to come and experience Switzerland with Love Home Swap. When we initially started planning this trip had no big set plans but it couldn't have turned out better with all the approaches we got. We came to Switzerland at this time to work in with the school holidays. Goodbye Switzerland hello France. We arrived at the Paris station. We could remember it well from the time we took the train from England to Paris about 10 years ago, when the daughters were living in England. This time didn't get gypsies in our face, not so many there. Finding the toilet was a problem and the cash machine, plenty of machines selling tickets. Finally found the cash machines in the side building. Toilet solved by buying espressos. Paris still has lots of sub standard toilets even in their restaurants, they don't seem to maintain them very well. We went to a huge Starbucks one shared toilet for men and ladies, no paper, I always carry tissues, it was in a shocking state. Shouldn't complain weren't buying anything there. Finally caught our taxi to the hotel we got out then the driver hopped back into taxi with our bags still in boot we had already paid. Managed to thump on taxi out he hopped again. He then charged another $1 per bag and Geoff mainly got them out. It was okay as we thought the fare quite cheap. Another large clean fresh room. I looked out the window and see an interesting shop as well as cafes. It soon became clear to us that we were in the red light district of Paris most shops related to this. It made for interesting walks around our area there was an eiffle tower like you have never seen before!!! When you book your motel near Moulin Rouge you will expect to be in the red light district. We found a little roadside eating place for dinner. Had air conditioning, the first time for awhile in a hotel so slept well till the air conditioning had to be turned off due to a big noise coming from it.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 14:50 Archived in Switzerland Tagged siteseeing Comments (0)

Scenic Route from Saint Nicholas to Zurich

Via Andermatt Altdorf, and Pfaffikau.

all seasons in one day 24 °C

After a cleaning house session we packed up and headed on our journey. Raphael had written the names of towns to feed into Garmin along the way. First stop was near Andermatt. What a beautiful spot we found for lunch in a country valley. We were just wanting a snack but found we had landed in a fine dining restaurant. At least we weren't too casually dressed. The prices were pretty steep so chose some soup. Wow what delicious tomato soup I had. It was beautifully presented. We were able to full up on the basket of bread they served with the meal. As we went to leave found ourselves lined up with a couple of other lots of people trying to work out how to pay as the credit card machine had stopped working. Ummm we had used up all our Swiss Franks. We were just starting to think we would have to stay and do the dishes when Geoff realised that he had some Euro tucked away so he retrieved that and we went on our merry way. Soon we could hear the odd bit of thunder along with lightning. We headed to Andermatt. We soon realised we were headed for a mountain range with hairpin bends all the way up. By now it was raining. One corner at a time said Geoff and up we went the first time we have traveled over that many hairpins in one day. Stopped briefly at the top for a couple of photos then back down the other side. Geoff reasoned that was the scariest as concrete pole barriers instead of the modern ones like on the other side. We were pleased that we had experienced the pass as the mountains are a big part of Switzerland. We drove through some beautiful places enjoyed the driving past the farms along the way. It was interesting that a lot of the farm houses didn't have fences around them like we would. Most didn't have a lot of gardens but had beautiful flowers hanging from the balconies. Loved driving through all the villages. We certainly saw a lot more of Switzerland this day. We were eventually in Zurich which wasn't far from Pfaffikau our last stop. We then headed to Zurich and the airport to drop off our car I decided it was better to do right then. We got a little lost and ended up where the buses were they didn't seem too concerned, wouldn't be the first one to do that lots of room to turn around I found the correct place on Garmin and off we headed off to drop off the new car that had only 13 Ks when we started out. We managed to add to that milage. Great no scratches!!!! Not an easy task with some of the narrow roads we had ended up on. We caught the train to central Zurich, our hotel about 5 minute walk away. Followed the route on my cell phone at least we knew then we were headed the correct direction. Lovely large room very clean and fresh. We walked back down around Zurich city. This is a very attractive place at night with the lights reflecting in the water. We had some food at the railway station before heading back to our hotel. Hotel Mantra I think it was called.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 14:12 Archived in Switzerland Tagged siteseeing Comments (0)

Train trip from Zermatt to Gornergrat, Switzerland

A big highlight of our trip to Switzerland

30 °C

On our last day in Saint Nicholas we decided to do the train trip to Gornergrat. We thought we might catch the train from Saint Nicholas to Zermatt. We soon changed a our minds as they were going to charge a huge price. So once again drove up to Tasch parked in the free taxi place and got a taxi to Zermatt. It was a beautiful fine day. We walked up and got straight on the train. This trip is very expensive, but if you are here it is something you must do. Sometimes I have a problem with heights and wasn't sure how this would go. This day was no problem. The train track is quite steep a in places. It stopped along the way at different places to drop off and pick up trampers and cyclists. We were soon at the top and had glorious views, so lucky it was such a clear fine day. We took endless photos, some people were dressing up in mountain clothes for a photo that looked like they were climbing the Matterhorn. We had a nice meal on the terrace facing the mountains, there was a huge selection of food it was self help including make your own coffee, we were rather hungry so had a good sized meal. There was a more expensive restaurant up here as well. There is even a chapel up on the mountain. The train track has been on the mountains for many years, in winter it would be transporting skiers. We spent a long time on the mountain then finally made our way back down stopped half way down for a coffee and caught the next train back. There were skiing chairlifts here. We then wandered around Zermatt for the last time. We had dinner at our favourite restaurant in Zermatt looking towards the mountain. We liked the lady that was serving here, she was very nice. Zermatt in the high summer season is very busy. There were lots of people arriving and heading for their hotels. On leaving Zermatt we stopped at a funny little souvenir shop, the lady was very interesting we had been chatting to her earlier. We decided to buy a cow bell. I don't know where we left our brains that day but instead of buying something small and manageable we ended up with this big huge cow bell!!!!!!! How we are going to get it all the way home I am not sure!!!!! Our flight from Guernsey is Ryan Air with the weight restrictions. This was a great finish to our stay in Saint Nicholas. Many thanks to Raphael and Anja for the use of their lovely mountain flat. How lucky were we to have two homes in Switzerland to stay in using Love Home Swap.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:37 Archived in Switzerland Tagged siteseeing Comments (0)

Mountain Village of Saas-Fee

Another quaint mountain village

sunny 30 °C

On Monday we set off for the village of Saas-Fee. We forgot the information Raffael had written so hoped we were headed to the right place. We passed several small villages along the way, just kept driving up in the mountains until finding lots of parking. But which way to head not much time for a decision. Ended up in a parking building only one other car there. I think it was a drop off area. It did say you could park while finding accommodation so decided to stay put. This was a much quieter village than Zermatt. With it being a Monday very quiet and most shops closed. We enjoyed wandering around and had a very nice lunch at a restaurant over looking the mountains. The lady in the restaurant dressed in traditional costume could speak good English. This was a pretty little village and we enjoyed wandering the narrow Car less streets. We found a very interesting museum we spent a lot of time in. Very interesting alpine village history. Walking out took a wrong turn and then had to find our way out of the maze. Finally found our car, no ticket, only 5 Frank's charge. Off back down to Saint Nicholas.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 02:10 Archived in Switzerland Tagged siteseeing Comments (0)

Pontebrolla to Saint Nicholas

Heading to the mountain flat

sunny 26 °C

Breakfast was included in out Accomodation in Pontebrolla so we partook of that before heading on our merry way. Great view of the gorge from the breakfast room. The night before we saw where the young ones camp for free, It was way down the bottom of the gorge. There were lots of them down there. Wow driving out of Pontebrolla interesting, back to kilometers of driving through narrow alley ways fit for one car, followed by narrow winding roads before finally getting onto a motor way. Lots of tunnels in Switzerland with it being so hilly in places. It was an enjoyable drive with beautiful scenery and we went over a major pass. A popular spot to stop with restaurants on both sides of the road. During this drive we drove through Italy, there was a marked deterioration in the road on the Italian side. We started seeing Italian names, just getting used to the Swiss German signs. There was no border stop going into Italy on this road or when we re-entered Switzerland. There was a border control for people coming into Italy where we went back into Switzerland. But non going back into the Swiss side. We stopped at a restaurant where very little English spoken, spotted poulet or something like that and pomme new pomme must be something to do with potatoes, it was chips. It was a very nice lunch which ended up being chicken wings and chips. The chicken wings were delicious, the staff were nice as well. Finally we made it to Saint Nicholas. First we went past our turn and ended up going in a different way on a narrow street. Finally we end up in the street called Feld, but the next problem was finding the right number, ended up backing out of a tricky place. We then asked a couple with very little English where it was. The nice lady then walked in front of the car and pointed to where we were headed, which w as a little side street. Raffael, Anja and some of the family were here to show us how everything works etc. They also made a little map of all the places we should visit while staying here, which was very useful. They then headed back to Obergosgen, the quick way. Geoff had a sleep, I caught up on some blog and then we went down to get some groceries. We got enough for at least two days as the store wasn't open on a Sunday. This is a great flat very central to lots of places of interest.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:42 Archived in Switzerland Tagged travelling Comments (0)

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