The Arrival

Day1

Date: 27th May 2017
(Venice -> Milan -> Tirano -> Chur -> Zurich)
"Freccia rossa" means "Red arrow" in English, was the train we were taking from Venice to Milan. Frecciarossa is a fast speed train run by Italian national train operator, Trenitalia.

It was 6:00 AM and we were rushing towards the coach number 8. The train was scheduled to depart at 6:20 AM for a 265 kms journey which takes 2 hours 25 mins. We took our seats and the train started to move. It was our first of the 4 train journeys for the day to our final destination, Zurich. Soon it was racing at a speed reaching 200 kmph. The cost for 3 persons for a journey from Venice to Milan was €50. Most of the seats were empty. At 8:45 AM we were at Milan Central.


We had a connecting train from Milan to Tirano. Tirano is a town in Valtellina, located in the province of Sondrio in northern Italy. Beside the Catholic shrine of the Madonna di Tirano, it is famous for one more thing, it is the place from where the famous Bernina express starts one of the most spectacular train journeys on this planet. The train from Milan was a reagional train. We had anyway reserved the seats, though it was not required as the train was almost empty. The cost per head was €11. It started on time and was racing towards Tirano.

We reached Tirano on time, at 12:05 PM. We had 2 and half hours before the red Bernina Express took off. We used the time to grab a quick lunch. There are many good resturants just outside the train stations. It costs €64 per person for the journey from Tirano(Italy) to Chur (Switzerland). There are two types of cars, one is simple car and the other is Panoramic view car. The seats in panoramic cars come at an extra cost of €16 per person. We opted for panoramic cars as we did not wanted to miss any thing. The train journey is just mind blowing. There were 10 stops and 4 hours of breath taking views.


This is a must go for anyone visiting Switzerland. You can get more details here. It crossed frozen lake, snow coevered mountains, bridges, valleys and what not. What we felt cannot be described here, you can only experience it.

Chur is approximately 95 kms from Zurich. We got down at chur at around 6:20PM and changed platforms for our last train journey to Zurich. We took a train run by Swiss Federal Railways which run trains across Switzerland. The cost of ticket for this 1 hour 30 mins journey was €41. The trains in Europe run amaizingly on time.

We rached Zurich and took a cab to the Ibis Budget hotel for a one night stay.



Drive to Arth

Day2

Date: 28th May 2017
(Zurich -> Arth, Lucerne lake)
Next day, we got up early morning, had a fulfilling breakfast and went to Airport to pick our car. We had booked the car from EuropCar. We had booked the car for 7 days at a cost of CHF 409. It was pretty decent deal. When we went to the airport, we had a nice chat with the lady over the counter. She offered us free addon driver and also gave us tip regarding the additional kids car seat. Our daughter is 9 years and we were told that the kids seat is not required which helped us save some money.


We got a Volkswagon Polo, fully automatic with hill hold control, which i needed for long drives in the Alps. It was a new car with all the latest features. We got the car with tank full of fuel and had to return the same way.

In couple of hours, we were cruising down the A4 / E41 route to Arth. It was about 40 mins drive.

Arth is small village and a municipality in Schwyz District in the canton of Schwyz in Switzerland. Situated along side the lake Zugersee, it is quite place. We had rented a farm house near the lake. The house is more than 200 years old and is a made of wood. Though it does not look appealing, but when you enter the house, it gives a devine feeling. You can check the house at Airbnb. We made ourselves comfortable and by that time we were hungry like hogs. We went out for a drive to Lucerne with a hope that we will find something to cook and eat. It's Sunday and shops and markets are usually closed. We found a Pizza outlet and feasted on one. On our way back we staopped at the lake Lucerne. Its a beautiful lake with magnificient view.


Mount Titlis

Day3

Date: 29th May 2017
Titlis is a mountain of the Uri Alps, located on the border between the cantons of Obwalden and Bern. At 3,238 metres above sea level, it is the highest summit of the range north of the Susten Pass, between the Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland.

We were living in Swiss as locals. Had a house, a car, used to shop from local markets, mostly from Coop or Lidl and some time from flea markets.


Had prepared brunch at home and had a hearty one and also packed some when we left for Mount Titlis. In order to go to Mount Titlis, you need to drive down or take a train to Engelberg. Engelberg is a small town at the foot of the mountain. The town is just beautiful with a river flowing along side mountai ranges covered with snow. Just picture perfect. We took a cable car, locally called "gondelbahn", to mount Titlis. The first ride is in a small car, one for each family. You need to change the car and board a bigger one which rotates as it goes up, giving you a 360 degree view. In 20-25 minutes, you are at the top.

It was covered in snow, however it was not cold. We had to take off our jackets and were comfortable in T-Shirts. Took a walk in the snow, played with the kids, went for trip on hanging bridge, took a photo with the life size image of Shahrukh and Kajol from DDLJ movie. Then we had a quick lunch and took the cable car back to the town.

The per head cost was around €110 and the total time is approximately 3-4 hours.



Swiss Museum of Transport

Day4

Date: 30th May 2017
(Lucerne)
The Swiss Transport Museum or Verkehrshaus der Schweiz (literally "Transportation House of Switzerland") in Lucerne opened in July 1959 and exhibits all forms of transport, including locomotive, automobiles, ships, and aircraft) as well as communication technology. It is Switzerland's most popular museum. The museum also maintains a large collection of work by Hans Erni, a local painter and sculptor.


We got up in the morning and went to the local shop at Chilestägli GmbH to get something for breakfast. After having a good breakfast, we left our house in Arth for an hours drive to the Transport Museum, which is located near the Lucerne lake. A day pas costs CHF 56 per person and it covers entry into the Museum and all major attractions like Music Theatre, Planetarium, Media World and Chocolate Adventure. The movie theatre is equiped with a large IMAX screen which is the largest one in Switzerland.

The museum has large number of simulators. There are simulators for almost all modes of trnsport from trains, cars, helicopter, Fighter jets, passenger aircraft, trucks, boat, ship etc.

The complete tour will require around 4-5 hours.

After completing our museum trip, we went back to the lake and relaxed there for couple of hours before heading back to Arth.


Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen

Day5

Date: 31st May 2017
(Arth -> Interlaken -> Lauterbrunnen -> Bern)

31st May was the day when we had to move from Arth to Toffen. Toffen is another small town near the capital of Switzerland, Bern. We decided that we would drive down to Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen on the way to Toffen.

The drive to Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen is one of the most beautiful drives on earth.


Interlaken is around 107 KMs from Arth and took nearly 1.5 hours to reach. Interlaken is the transport gateway to the mountains and lakes of that region. Its surrounded by lakes, rivers and beautiful mountain ranges of Alps. Its advisible to stay in Interaken as you can easily take rides to the mountain, for eg. to the Jungfraujoch. The Jungfraubahn cog railway now goes to the Jungfrau railway station at 3,454 m (11,332 ft), the highest in Europe. Also there are number of lakes and rivers nearby. You can also take a Golden Pass line for a beautiful scenic train ride from Lucerne via the Bernese Oberland lakes to Montreux. We just drove across the beautiful landscape of Interlaken, took a small break and headed towards Lauterbrunnen.

Lauterbrunnen is situated in one of the most impressive trough valleys in the Alps, between gigantic rock faces and mountain peaks. With its 72 thundering waterfalls, secluded valleys, colourful alpine meadows and lonely mountain inns, the Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the biggest nature conservation areas in Switzerland. Driving though these valleys is just awesome, it cannot be described in words. This drive should be in your bucket list.

We took a breake near the Staubbach Waterfall, parked our car and relaxed near a stream of fresh water flowing down the valley. There is a small church next to the waterfall. We had lunch over there. After sinking into the picturesque landscape and absorbing the delight the place had, we started our slow and steady drive further into the valley. It was so beautiful, that we just drove till the end of the road. Clicked few snaps and were on our way back. We were heading towards our new house at Toffen.

We arrived at Toffen at around 5 PM and were welcomed by our host. A cute family with 2 small girls. In no time, my daughter was busy playeing with her new friends. It was a small house with all modern amenities. Link to the propoerty on Airbnb. Owned by a young couple with small kids. They were very welcoming and instantly we felt like we were at home.

After having dinner, we were in deep slumber. A day well spent :)



Oeschinensee

Day6

Date: 1st June 2017
Oeschinensee is a spectacular location to get your Alpine fix. In fact, the region is a UNESCO World Heritage destination – noted for its unique landscapes and easy access. I believe that no matter what kind of traveler you are, you are sure to find this special slice of Swissness unforgettable.

We got up late on 1st June. It was already 8AM. Prepared a good brunch and also had some, at around 11:30 AM we left for a drive to Oeschinensee.


What was exciting us was not the lake, but the Rodelbahn. Rodelbahn, is a toboggan, or a mountain slide with a small open car with wheels and slide to guide the car.

After reaching Oeschinensee, we went to the cable car and took a gondola to the mountain top. The cable car cost CHF 20 per person. Rodelbahn is just to the left of the gondola station, and it’s open from May to October (as long as it’s not raining). Thankfully, it’s not just for kids; plenty of adults get in on the fun, too! The cost for a single ride is CHF 5 for adults and CHF 4 for kids. Its an super experience. There is a bus service to the lake or you can aslo walk down the trail.

We left Oeschinensee and went for a drive to Zweisimmen and Reidenbach. On the way we stopped at a resurant at Zweisimmen for snacks and went to a souvenier shop. After that we headed back to Toffen.


Gstaad, Bern

Day7

Date: 2nd June 2017
(on DDLJ Trail)

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ) is a very popular Bollywood movie. Released in 1995, the movie was mostly shot in Swtzerland and took the Indian audience on an exotic tour which is mostly out of reach for average Indians. We decided to go on DDLJ trail. Most of the scenes were shot around the town of Gstaad.


We got up, went for grocerry shopping to the local coop. Came back a prepared our brunch. We had decided for a picnic at Gstaad. We got ready and were soon driving down the alps. Gstaad is around 70 Kms from Toffen and around 1 hour 15 mins. We stopped at the Zweisimmen railway station were Kajol missed her train. The station was under renovation. After clicking few pics, we drove ahead towards Gstaad.

At Gstaad, we went to the Church and the Early Beck Cafe. The famous song "Zara sa jhoom loon main" was shot the area. We drove down to the small stream flowing though the town and had our lunch at the banks of the stream. After relaxing we went for a walk to the local market. It is a beautiful little town. After that we left for Bern.

Bern is the capital city of Switzerland. The country is famous for watches. In Bern there is a famous watch tower called "Zytglogge". The street on which the Zytglogge is located and surrounding area ia also worth visting. A small walk will be sufficient. From Bern we left back to Toffen



Back to Zurich

Day8

Date: 3rd June 2017
On our way back to Zurich, we decided to again take a small halt at Bern and then went ahead to Zurich. It was almost 2 hours drive on route A1 for 130 KMs. We had booked an over night stay at a hotel near the Airport. Ibis was a budet hotel and just ok for a night stay. We reached Zurich, checked in the hotel and went to the Airport to return the car, The enchanting trip was almost over.


Back to Mumbai

Day9

Date: 4th June 2017
(Zurich -> Mumbai)

We had our flight back to Mumbai. The Swiss Airlines operates one of the finest flights to and from Zurich. The flights are very comfortable, staffs are extremly good, great food, the inflight entertainment system helped us and after 4 latest movies, we were almost near Mumbai.

Wir sehen uns wieder in der Schweiz.