Switzerland Review

Switzerland the Home of Alps Mountain is one of the very popular tourist destination in the world and the home of every Bollywood Dream song. This time when I went to India I wanted to stop by and visit a new place. I selected Switzerland and Dubai. Every time I go to India I always used to select the fastest route to reach USA because we are always in hurry to go and return back. But this time I had my mind set that I am going to explore new
place and culture. I used to fly British to accumulate miles. But this time I decided that I am going to do something new. I flew in Emirates Airlines so that I can visit Dubai too. I planned my trip in such a way that I start a week early from India so that I can stop over in Dubai for couple of days and four days in Switzerland. I flew from India on July 4th 2006 to Dubai. I wanted to stop over there just to check out the city. Dubai is a beautiful city filled with high raise buildings and hotels and there is lots of fun stuff to do. Except for the very high temperatures every thing In the city was fine. I will cover my travel review about Dubai separately. I flew from Dubai to Switzerland on the 6th and reached Zurich on the same day. It was a 6 and half hour flight. Even before one lands in Zurich if you are assigned a window Seat you will have a very good view of the ALPS Mountain 1/2 hour before you land Zurich. God has blessed this part of the world with all the natural beauty one can expect. As soon as I came out of the flight I felt very fresh. From a 45 Degree temperature to a mild 22 Degree temperature. It was pleasant. I came out of the airport and waited for my airport shuttle. The best part about Zurich is you don’t need to carry your suitcase. I had about 6 Suitcase and they have a facility to put your luggage in the airport. It’s not all that expensive considering the fact that you have to carry it all over the place if you don’t Put it in the locker. The cost to put a suitcase is 12 Franks per day and each additional day they charge 7 Franks.

JULY 7th : (ZURICH, SWITZERLAND)

We checked into our hotel, which was located very near to Zurich airport. When you book hotels in Switzerland you got to shop around. The hotels in center of the city cost you anywhere around 200 to 250 USD. If you don’t want to pay that much for a hotel stays you can stay near the airport, which are pretty cheap. We paid 90 USD for a day. The commute from the airport to the city is really easy and fast. The Railway system in Switzerland is unbelievable. Almost all the airport hotels have a Shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel every 1/2-hour and the airport and the railways are connected. The railway station is just 5 minutes walk from the airport and it’s well connected With the city. So to avoid paying that extra 100 or 150 $ a day one can stay near the airport and then commute to the city. On 7th of July we spend the whole day in Zurich downtown. There are no words to explain how beautiful the city of Zurich is. It’s very clean and laid back. The city is filled with huge churches and castles. The main attraction in the city is the Zurich Lake. The center of the city revolves around The “City Center railway station”. From the City center railway station one can take a Tram to go to Zurich Lake. It’s very easy to navigate within the city. The Trains, Trams and the Boats are all interconnected. One can take a One-day commuter pass or 4-Day Swiss Rail pass or a 15-Day Eurail pass and can travel around. We took a One-day ZURICH rail Pass that costs 15 Franks. What that allows you to do is travel in any Railway that connects to ZURICH including the TRAM and any Government of Swiss Operated Boats.

As soon as we got out of the city center as usual we were a little bit scared. Keep in mind that in Switzerland people speak German and French. We went out of the railway station and we saw the beautiful OLD TOWN and we forgot about everything. We saw the beautiful trams going all over and we decided to take a tram to explore the city and fortunately the trams last stop was Zurich’s Lake. Remember to take a Day pass And don’t try to buy tickets if you are exploring the city, as it is a hassle and it expensive to pay for each and every train you take. We used the same pass to get into a One swiss2and half hour Boat cruise that takes you around the lake. Once you get into the boat you will forget the whole world. It was 6 PM in the evening and a very pleasant climate. The boat cruise will make you fell even better. The City of Zurich is located around the lake And what this boat does is take the people from one part of the city to other. It’s basically a commuter boat but one can’t believe how neat and clean it is for a normal commuter boat. The view from Boat is mind blowing and one can take 1000’s of pictures. The boat takes you near Castles and beautiful Swiss mountains surrounded by European architectural buildings. The cruise has a full-fledged bar and a coffee shop. There is no Words to explain how you will feel to see the whole city in that boat. The Cruise ride is the best way to see the city. After One and half hours in the boat we landed in the same place where we started. We took a walk around the Lake to see the beauty of the Castles. Believe me they are pretty. Then we took a Tram to explore our next place. We happened to see lots and lots of people and we got out at the next railway Station. We asked some one whets going on. They said the World Cup Soccer Semi Finals. We just couldn’t resist and went there and it happens to be the very famous OLD TOWN. Zurich’s Old Town is filled with action. There are lots and lots of restaurants. German food and French restaurants fill the place followed by Italian food. If you are looking for any traditional Indian food or Mc Donald’s to buy fries “It’s definitely Not the place”. The people party here in this street all day. I have never seen such a party crowd in my life anywhere, not even in the Las Vegas Strip. The place is really beautiful and very European. Great restaurants. Keep in mind that a Dinner plate will cost you anywhere between 25 to 35 Franks (20 – 30 US Dollars). The restaurants are expensive in Switzerland. If you are looking for Samosa, Chat, Idly or Dosa it’s not the place. If you are a party person it’s the place to be. Zurich’s old town does not sleep.

By the time we had a walk in the old town my Wife and my little one (2 years) old were really tired. After the Flight travel from Dubai to Zurich and a Train ride and a 1 and Half Hour cruise and a walk for almost 1 and Half hours naturally everyone will be tired. We then explored if
We can have some Indian food and my little one wanted some Rice and Yogurt. I am telling you finding the food you want is very tough and we made the mistake of doing it. Someone said that there is some Indian restaurant out somewhere. It took us about One hour to find it and it was not at all good. So keep in mind that if you are traveling with a small Kid or if you are very particular about Indian food the best thing to do is to carry an electrical rice cooker and some “PULI Rice” powder. One more thing is everything cost money out there in Swiss. We are so used to get Ketchup for free in MC Donald’s here. But out there is 20 Cents. The Cost of Coke and Water is very expensive. It’s about 3.50 Franks for a Coke bottle. So things become expensive if you are very particular. There are Mc Donald’s and Burger King, which you can manage. But they are expensive too. That night we went back to our Hotel. A 10 Minute comfortable train ride will take you from the City center railway station to the airport.

July 8th : (LUZERN, MOUNT TITLIS)

We boarded the train from the airport to Zurich main station. While we were in the airport railway station we found a Swiss government tourist information center. We went there and asked them few questions. We found out that they have lots and lots of information with them. I strongly advice who ever visiting Swiss to go to one of those information center to get the information you need. They plan the trip for you. We said that we have two full days and what is the best place to visit in those two days. All that you have to say to them is the number of days you are going to be there and what is your interest and they will work out various itenary for you. They worked out a good itenary for me to visit Mount Titlis. They will say what time you have to start from Airport and what time you have to change trains and what time you have to come back Etc. It’s just amazing how they plan for you.
The total trip to visit Mt Titlis was 115 Franks per person. The cost includes the Train journey from Zurich airport to the City and to Luzerne and then the train ride to the Alps Mountains and the Cable Car ride to the top of the mountain. We changed the train in Zurich to Luzerne. Luzerne is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland. Downtown Luzerne is located right next to the beautiful Lake and has beautiful Church and Castles. We Came out of the Luzerne main railway station and it was very pretty. It was a sunny day and there were lots and lots of tourist all around the world walking in the city. Trams were all around and one can spend a good 4 to 5 hours in the city center and the lake. There are various Cruise ships that take you around the lake. We spend a good Two hours in the city before we boarded another train that takes you to the bottom of Mount Titlis. It’s a good 2 hours drive from Luzerne. The scenery from Luzerne To the bottom of Mount Titlis is mind blowing and one cannot see a beautiful view of Mount Alps anywhere. All alone the way there are huge snow filled mountains and rivers, boats etc. One can see those huge cows with the famous Swiss Bell on their neck and all of them walking and making those bell sounds. We got out of the train and you have to take a cable car to reach the top of the mountain. The peak of mount Titlis is 10,000 Feet about the Sea level And the Train takes you only up to 5000 Feet above the sea level. Here comes the exciting trip everyone wants when you go to Switzerland. The rest 5000 feet is by a Cable car that goes through the mountain and the beautiful scenery. One has to change three Cable cars to reach mount Titlis. The last one is a revolving one on top of the mountain. The final 2000 Feet is really breath taking as you will be on top of a Snow filled mountain and the cable car is revolving. It’s just too good to explain in words.
Once you reach the top of the mountain you are all alone with bunch of tourist. You are basically in middle of a Glacier and you can play and throw snow on each other. The whole ride from Luzerne to Mount Titlis reminds me of all the beautiful dream songs. After seeing this place I am totally convinced that the only place to take dream songs in movies is Switzerland. You have everything for a dream song. Beautiful Mountain, River, Snow filled mountains, snow etc so that our hero’s can throw snowballs on our heroines ha ha ha!!!! One movie that no one can forget is Dilwale Dhulaniya Le Jayenge. The movie was taken in Luzerne and Interlaken. It’s a good example of the connection between Swiss Alps and Indian movie industry. No one can forget “Thuje Deka to ye Janna Sanam” song, which was shot in Interlaken and Luzerne.

As soon as we got of the cable car you are standing at 10,000 Feet about the Sea level and in middle of the wonderful Glaciers. Myself and my little one (2 years old Sneha) got really excited. The best part is we were not wearing any winter cloths. One would not expect to wear winter cloths in middle of July right. We were throwing Snow on everyone, as we got over excited. Seeing us every person started to throw snow and it was all fun. Then comes the exciting ride that is unique to Switzerland. The Open Snow rides. Basically it’s really scary and
If you are not into rides and stuff I strongly recommend you not to take the ride. You will sit in a hanging lift and it will take you down at an angle of 70 degrees in the glacier. My god it was scary and I was screaming to glory. I really felt that I must have taken my camera and video camera up there. The scenery was mind-blowing from the top and it was just too good to explain in words. My wife Priya and Sneha didn’t come with me for the ride and I really don’t recommend unless you are a big adventurous person. We then stayed in the top of the mountain for 2 hours. There is a coffee shop and a proper sit out restaurant and a carry out place too. But food is really expensive. The Sit out restaurant will cost you about 30 Franks for a meal and Indian food is by weight. 100 Grams for 4 Franks. By the time you have some rice and some Side dish on the plate it will be 20 Franks. So better eat before or carry some food. At the bottom of the mountain there is an Indian chat place where you can eat Chats and Samosa and it’s pretty cheap. They sell Masala Vada and Masala Tea too. After 3 hours of stay in the mountain we then came down. Coming down from the mountain is even better than going up. You can see those beautiful Swiss villages from top and the Cows making sound with the Swiss bell. In one word it was a mind blowing and lifetime experience in Mount Titlis. We then
Catched another train to Luzerne. We walked out of the railway station and enjoyed the beauty of Lake Luzerne again. Then we came back to our hotel in Zurich and had a good night sleep.

JULY 9th : (Interlaken, Greendelward, Jugenforogh)

As I said earlier one can stop in any of the tourist information center in the airport or in the railway station and they will work out an action plan and itenary for you.We contacted a tourist information center out there and we said that we want to plan some trip for one day. We had Interlaken in mind as its one of the most Popular DESI Switzerland Destination. Any trip to Switzerland without going to Interlaken for a Desi is not a complete trip. The rule of thumb is if you are a desi You need to visit Interlaken. The Total cost for the trip was 260 Franks per person. So we decided to stick on with a tourist bus, which will take you from Zurich Central Railway station to Interlaken, Grendelward and to Top of Europe. The total cost for a person for this trip is 195 Franks. Since it worked out cheaper and he will take care of everything we opted to go in a tourist bus. The tourist buses in Switzerland are ultra fancy with good Push back seat and panoramic windows. It’s a good 2-hour Drive from Zurich to Interlaken. The Bus takes you in the middle of Alps and one can sit and enjoy the beautiful views of the Alps. Once the bus reaches Interlaken the place looks very familiar to you. Most of the dream songs in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu movies are shot here in this beautiful city. The city is filled with Beautiful Grass and old style hotels. One can spend a good 4 hours in Interlaken enjoying the laid back environment. There are beautiful gift shops all over the city where you can buy watches and stuff. But keep in mind that its one of the most visited place in the world and everything is expensive. From Interlaken we went to Grendelwald, which is 5000 Feet above the sea level. Some mind-blowing scenery will take your breath. The view from the mountains is just too good and when you are there please recharge your batteries and stuff. Once you reach Grendelwald you can either take a train up to Jugenfrogh which is the top most peak in Europe of do various other activity like Sky diving, Para sailing etc. You can even go to another peak in a Cable train that takes you to another beautiful viewpoint. We went to Top of Europe trip. A Train ride takes you from Grendelwald to Jugenfrogh, which is almost a good 2, and half hour ride. The train is really small and cute. One could really feel the beauty Of the ride only when you experience it. You will be riding the train in between beautiful mountains. The left hand side will be filled with Glaciers and the right hand side will be lush green grass and Cows and Goats are everywhere making the noise with the world famous Swiss bell. After a good One-hour train rides you reach the world tallest Railway station. You get down there is lots and lots of excitement waiting for you.

Jugenforogh is an exciting because it offers everything for everyone. There is an ice Castle with lots of fancy ice structures year around. If you are into Skiing and stuff Jugenforogh offers you with one of the worlds best Ski Mountains. Also there is an Alaskan Dog ride where you can sit and ride on the dog. There is an Indian restaurant called Bollywood Restaurant. But the Lunch out there is really expensive. It’s about 30 Franks or 25 USD. Man that is expensive for a buffet of that nature. But it’s located at top of Europe and you are eating in the middle of the Glacier. So I think it’s worth it. Everything in Switzerland is expensive and so is the Bollywood Buffet. Make sure that if you are going with a little one you take proper winter clothing’s because it is going to be expensive out there. From the top of the mountain the view is really great. Everything in Switzerland is fun and the view is nothing less. After a 2 1/2 hour play in the glacier myself and my little one came down. There is a beautiful gift shop out there and its just too good and too expensive. From there we came down to Grendelwald and we were very tired. Then we got into the bus and came back another 2 hour to reach the beautiful Zurich and then back to the Hotel. We were very sad to leave Switzerland on the 10th of July. I had no mood to board my flight to Atlanta. I had a wonderful opportunity not to take the flight as it was overbooked and Delta airlines was ready to give me 600$ in travel voucher. So it was 1800 for 3 People. But after 3 days in Switzerland one will be really tired and that too with a little one. So we decided not to take the voucher and we came back to USA saying our Bye to the wonderful ALPS Mountain. It’s a tour, which we will not forget in our life.

What to do and what not to do:

Now that I have explained about the trip here is what I found about Switzerland

1. When you go to Switzerland plan for nothing less than 4 days. Especially when you are traveling with a little one.
2. Never travel with the luggage anywhere in Switzerland. The country offers you one of the best Luggage lockers all over the country. Its not expensive and they charge 7 Franks per day. (Its better than carrying anywhere)
3. The first thing you have to do after landing in Switzerland is take a 4-day Swiss Railway pass. It saves you lots and lots of money. If you are not taking the railway pass you will be spending a lot on Rail and Bus.
4. I would strongly recommend exploring the place by you and not through a travel agent. In this way you can spend more time in place where you want.
5. Food is very expensive in this country and if possible go everywhere with packet food as much as you can. Even Mc Donald’s and fast food chains are expensive.
6. Go with proper winter cloths even in summer as its very cold in the ALPS.
7. As much as you can take the trains and they are really fun to travel.

Switzerland a dream place to go for everyone. It’s definitely a place for everyone and you will not feel bad. It’s expensive for sure.
Plan in such a way that you make a stop over when you are going to India. In that way you can save the airfare. From India there Emirates airways is really good and cheap. You can stop over in Dubai and then fly to Swiss. For me it was just too good as it was 44 Degrees in Dubai and as soon I got out of the flight in Zurich it was too good. Plan properly. Don’t make the mistake of staying in Zurich and going around to place. Book hotels in small villages and that will be fun. For example instead of coming back to Zurich everyday I must have stayed one day in Interlaken. That would avoid travel and at the same time I would have enjoyed the village environment of the Swiss Alps. The Trip for 2 People will for sure cost at least 1200 Dollars apart from the airfare. Its a easy 300 to 400 $ a day. But I am sure you will enjoy it. It’s a beautiful place and one has to visit Switzerland for sure in life. Great place and it gets 100/100 from LolluExpress.

PRABHU

AUTHOR LOLLU EXPRESS, COLUMBUS, OH

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