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My Experience
Thursday, 10 May 2012
Zurich City Tour
Mood:  happy
Topic: Switzerland Holidays

Today our destination is Zurich. We checked out at 7:00 hrs from hotel and boarded train to Zurich. Trains take one hour to reach Zurich HB. Zurich HB is a very big railway station and I wasted some time here finding out tourist information center. All facilities like tourist information center, ticket counter, information center, MaClean toilets, baggage/locker room etc are located   near to each other at the end of platforms.


I purchased tram pass which is valid for 24 hrs from the time of first use. The pass must be validated before boarding first tram. It can be validated at ticket dispensing machine located on almost all tram stops. We reached hotel and immediately proceeded for Zurich classic trolley tour deferring check-in. The classic trolley tour starts from Shihlaqui bus station barely 200m away from Zurich HB. After reaching Shihlaqi bus station, we realized that Zurich classic trolley tour is actually a bus tour. The bus is an old style wooden seat bus called trolley J The tour took us through important buildings through the city. It offers commentary in several languages including English. We found the city tour just average. If someone running short of budget and time, Zurich city tour can be excluded from the itinerary.


We returned from the tour at 13:00 hrs and then checked-in to hotel. Soon we went out in search of an Indian restaurant. We found a restaurant Kings & Curries in vicinity. This restaurant did not offer variety but food was good and cost 25 CHF for both of us.


Zurich was our last destination in Switzerland. Our flight to London was next day afternoon. We spent evening in the hotel and checked-out from hotel next day 11:00 hrs. Our tram pass was still valid but the pass is valid only for zone 10 which covers Zurich city limit only. Therefore I had to buy a supplement ticket at Zurich HB. There are trains to Zurich airport (Flughafen) at regular interval and takes some 20 minutes to reach there.


Zurich airport is a big airport. I converted remaining Swiss franks to UK pounds. It has three check-in zones. Zone 3 is for Swiss airline at ground floor while all other airlines check-in counters are at Zone 1 & 2 located upstairs. British airways check-in counter is at Zone 2.

Posted by mljangir at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2012 11:03 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Mount Titlis
Mood:  happy
Topic: Switzerland Holidays

Mount Titlis was our destination today. Cable tours to Mt. Titlis start from Engelberg which is one hour travel away from Luzern. After breakfast, we reached to Luzern railway station. Trains for Engelberg are available every hour from Luzern. We boarded 9:06 hrs train and reached to Engelberg at 10:00 hrs. A bus takes from Engelberg railway station to Mt. titlis cable station. The cable car journey starts from here which elevates to higher altitudes quickly offering spectacular views of Engelberg town, mountains and sooner of snow. The journey consists of three parts first involving 4-6 seater cable car followed by a bigger cable car. The last one involves a big and rotating cable car called rotating gondola. The rotating gondola has credit of being first one of its kind.


After reaching to Mt. Titlis top station we moved out to open areas. The surroundings were completely snow covered and it was snowing too. We played in snow and took pictures. Indian people are visiting this place a lot which is palpable by Indian tourist around and also by directions/instructions in Hindi. There is also a life-sized cut-out of Shahrukh Khan and Kajol from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge Jayenge :)


We had fun and games in snow, but my son was not very keen, and soon he felt asleep. We moved a little further over snow. The visibility was very less and snow flakes were falling over cloths. The next fun item was Ice Flyer. This is an open cable over snow depths. I and my wife took Ice flyer journey separately as our son was sleeping. Ice flyer is a wonderful and adventurous experience. Cold waves are very strong in return path.


We then returned to Mt. Titlis station and took coffee. This station has several facilities like restaurant, open space, shopping malls, photo studio etc. Then we started downhill journey by gondola and cable car. We reached back to Engelberg railway station can reached Luzern at 16:00 hrs.

This evening we took a cruise in Luzern lake. The two hours cruise tour takes through different corners of the lake and offers views to beautiful Luzern town. Then we reached back to hotel.


Today our Swiss pass validity ended. This means now onwards I should purchase tickets for local transports and trains.

Posted by mljangir at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2012 11:04 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Interlaken to Luzern
Mood:  happy
Topic: Switzerland Holidays

After breakfast we checked-out from the hotel. Today we have a golden pass panoramic train from Interlaken Ost to Luzern. This train requires separate reservation in addition to usual ticket/pass. The train departed at 10:00 hrs and passed by scenic routes between Interlaken and Luzern. Of course we had already been though this route while coming to Interlaken. Although the golden pass panoramic train seems to be operated specially for sight seeing purpose, it is more or less like other usual trains in terms of facilities, stoppage etc. I wish if this train stop somewhere in between the route/hamlets rather than on usual train stations. I would recommend this route by any usual train to save reservation fee.


We reached Luzern around 12:00 hrs. My travel agent originally told me hotel Waldstatterhof which is just 50m from Luzern railway station. After reaching to this hotel I checked my voucher and realized that my reservation has been changed to hotel Seeburg. I returned to Luzern bus stand (opposite to Luzern railway station), and asked for directions and found bus number 24 from Luzern railway station which dropped us to hotel Seeburg in 10min. Hotel seeburg is a little far from main town and is located in front of beautiful lake and mountains. I asked for a room with lake view, and the receptionist happily upgraded my room at free of charge. The room was neat and view from balcony was amazing. I would recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Luzern. We prepared coffee in the room and enjoyed coffee. The hotel provides free WiFi also.


After taking some rest, we roamed out in the evening towards old Luzern. I had learned about an Indian restaurant Gauram India in old Luzern. I found out from maps and information displays about bus no 12. To make sure I confirmed with bus driver and boarded the bus. Luzern is a small town, and the bus stop for Gauram India arrived very early while I was still busy locating it in maps. The bus driver upon realizing we haven’t got down made announcement about Gauram India restaurant.  My fellow passenger nudged me about announcement and then we got down.


It was still early for dinner. We decided to take some stroll in this old part of Luzern. We roam around and took some pictures. After some time it started drizzling, therefore we returned towards restaurant. Gauram India has several restaurants across Switzerland, and has been operating there for more than 10 years. The Luzern restaurant offers buffet in 25 CHF per person, but we made individual order of a palak-panneer and four tandoori-rotis. The food was testy and cost 36 CHF. After dinner we returned to hotel.

Posted by mljangir at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2012 11:05 AM EDT
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Monday, 7 May 2012
Jungfraujoch -top of Europe
Mood:  happy
Topic: Switzerland Holidays

Jungfraujoch -top of Europe, was our destination today. Jungfraujoch is highest railway station in Europe at an altitude of 3,454m (Mount Everest altitude is 8,848m).  Temperatures can easily fall below 0°C even in summers, and therefore advised to carry appropriate clothing for the tour.


We had breakfast at hotel and left hotel at 9:30 hrs. Tours for Jungfraujoch start from Interlaken Ost, and therefore we took the shuttle to reach there. At Interlaken Ost, we exchanged the voucher for tickets. The tickets allow taking different uphill and downhill routes. The uphill path is Interlaken Ost – Lauterbrunnen - Kleine Scheidegg – Jungfraujoch. The downhill path is Jungfraujoch - Kleine Scheidegg – Grindelwald – Interlaken Ost. Therefore trains must be changed at Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg and Grindelwald.


The standard gauge and narrow gauge cog wheel trains pass by; and later over to the snow covered mountains offering breathtaking views to the Alps. The white snow in surroundings forces you to reset white balance to digital camera. Even though it was a cloudy day and sun remained behind clouds for whole journey, the white snow dazzled eyes whenever train exited from dark tunnels. Thanks to Jungfraujoch railway, the trains are comfortable even at such low temperatures.


Overall it takes two and half hours to reach the peak station. The station door opens to restaurants offering variety of foods and drinks including masala tea. We enjoyed masala tea here and took some photographs before we begun the tour. The tour starts with passing by some tunnels displaying laser effects. It then takes you to an elevator which takes you still higher to reach Sphinx, the peak point. Here you get a chance to go open, feel snow and cold waves, and look towards France and German borders. Other interests here include Eispalast (Ice palace) and Snow-Fun (like skiing etc). We chose to skip both because both were extremely cold and didn’t suit to my son. Even then we spent close to three hours here which included lunch of Indian snacks.


We returned to Interlaken Ost and then to hotel by 18:30 hrs. While roaming around hotel streets, we spotted an Indian restaurant “Spice India” in a street just beside the hotel. We took dinner in this restaurant. A chana-masala and 5 tandoori-rotis were good enough to quench our hunger. The food is testy and cost 40 CHF (approx Rs 2250).  It was still sunlight and we continue roaming to the streets, took some photographs, and then returned to hotel.

Posted by mljangir at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2012 11:05 AM EDT
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Sunday, 6 May 2012
Zurich to Interlaken
Mood:  happy
Topic: Switzerland Holidays

The tour started with flight from Bangalore to Doha (State of Qatar). Qatar airways flight to Doha; transit and flight to Zurich were easy and comfortable. We reached at Zurich at approx 14:00 hrs. We were transferred to immigration terminal through an underground train. After getting through immigration formalities, we reached to Zurich Flughafen, a railway station located within airport terminal. Here I purchased Swiss francs (CHF) and got our Swiss Pass validated. The Swiss Pass, I asked my travel agent to purchase, was valid for any 4 days from the day of validation. The Swiss Pass holder is eligible for unlimited travel in Switzerland in trains, buses, boats/cruises and is also eligible for good discounts on mountain excursions and other attractions.


Our first destination in Switzerland was Interlaken. In Switzerland, trains to each destination are available within/less than an hour via different routes. The train enquiry operator suggested us to take the train to Interlaken via Luzern which pass through very scenic route between Luzern and Interlaken. Although this route takes one hour more than other routes; we preferred to take this to enjoy scenic shots.


We boarded a train to Luzern. The train passed though Zurich HB (most important train station in Zurich), and reached to Luzern in an hour. We changed train at Luzern destined to Interlaken Ost (most important train station in Interlaken). In Switzerland, 5 minutes are usually enough to change trains but you must keep 10 minutes gap for busy stations like Zurich, Luzern etc. We had 6 minutes to change the train at Luzern, and we managed it within 5 minutes although in a little hurry.


This train passed by snow covered mountains, beautiful & neat lakes, green plains and small hamlets. The scenes are pleasure to eyes and dreams to mind. The peace and calmness as if present in atmosphere make you feel in heaven. It was intermittently raining making scenes picturesque The train reached to Interlaken Ost at around18:30 hrs. It was still good sunlight, a welcome change for tourists. My hotel, City Hotel Oberland, was located close to Interlaken West, and therefore we boarded a shuttle and alighted at Interlaken West. We walked down 200m to hotel and checked-in. The room was good with views towards snow covered mountains. Hotel offered free pass to be used in any of buses within Interlaken. Although useless for me (I already had Swiss Pass), this was a good service from hotel for their customers.


We used some of snacks items for dinner which we brought from India, and went to sleep.

Posted by mljangir at 12:01 AM EDT
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