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Old 02-09-2018, 03:18 PM   #1
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10-days Switzerland (& France) Travel Video!

Hi everyone,

Just want to share our travel video, 1½ weeks in Switzerland (and a bit of France) -- Summer 2018.

Basic itinerary:
✓ 3 nights Geneva
- Geneva
- DayTrip to France: Annecy
- DayTrip to France: Chamonix
✓ 1 night Zermatt
- Gornergrat and Zermatt
✓ 4 nights Wengen
- Jungfraujoch
- DayTrip to Bern
- Maanlichen and Grindelwald
✓ 1 night Rigi Kaltbad
- Rigi Kaltbad
- Few hours in Zurich before flying home



We are not regular Europe travelers (only this single trip in the last 5 years) and we are not professional video editors or bloggers or anything but anyway hope it helps!

Will follow up in this thread with detailed itinerary breakdown, costs, hotels, more photos, etc, but if you're travelling like ASAP then the slightly-more-detailed-itinerary is on blog (blogwh0re alert!!!)
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:29 PM   #2
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Day 0: Qatar Airways flight

I chose Qatar cos it was the cheapest for the dates I wanted to fly (s$1,050/person). And also sort of cos both the outgoing and return flights were overnights.

In Changi airport the outgoing flight was delayed by around an hour but nothing really too bad.



Flight was ... "OK." I mean to be frank there isn't THAT much difference between the various 4-star / 5-star airlines' economy class. I mean sure, the Qatar FA's weren't that chio or friendly or anything but then again neither are SQ's (in economy anyway).

Paper towel to wipe face



Legroom more than enough for my 6'0" frame.



Nice and large screen, with a good selection of pretty up to date movies and tv shows. One annoyance is that there didn't seem to be any way to adjust brightness, so watching TV "at night" was a bit glaring. There is 1 USB port per seat for charging.



Food was "OK." One meal + one snack (sandwich) for each of the legs (transit Doha).



What I like about Qatar's A350 (not sure if it's aircraft-specific or airline-specific) are the 3 live-feed video cameras so those of us with no window seat can see what's going on outside.



Doha airport



The main thing I disliked about Qatar is that even though the Doha airport seems new, they seem to like to use buses a lot. Of my 4 flights arriving / departing Doha, 3 of them were climb down / up stairs then take the bus to the terminal, this feels damn cheap and annoying and I don't like it at all.

(Some more on our return flight, the buses were mixed up or something so we had to wait in the plane for more than 30mins before we could deplane).
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:15 PM   #3
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3 out of 4 isn't too bad. Mine was all 4.

Just came back today and for the doh-sin flight, somehow the plane wasn't ready for boarding when the bus arrived and we had to stand in the bus for 15-20 mins. Also, soon after boarding the bus, it moved for a while before waiting for 5-10 mins before moving on.

Subsequent buses seem to have this delay too as the other buses of passengers only arrived a while after the other. Of course, plane departed late and arrive late in sg. Same thing for my sin-doh flight too, bus stopped mid-way after picking passengers. Traffic management issue?

And they call themselves a 5-star airport lol. Anyway, i thought the food was decent but IFE wise, sq still has more latest movies and other language selections.
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for sharing!

I took SQ cos it is direct to Zurich.
It was a wonderful flight and trip.
Very memorable esp Mt Rigi and Mt Titlis.

Mine was 9D 8N free and easy.

From Zurich I went to Bern, then Interlaken then to Lucerne and back to Zurich again.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:22 AM   #5
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Just came back today and for the doh-sin flight, somehow the plane wasn't ready for boarding when the bus arrived and we had to stand in the bus for 15-20 mins. Also, soon after boarding the bus, it moved for a while before waiting for 5-10 mins before moving on.
Hanor. Mine was the other way around, plane landed but buses weren't ready. Then all just standing around in the aisles like idiot for more than half an hour. Heng there was that tail camera thing playing on the screens so we could see that there were no buses ...

I took SQ cos it is direct to Zurich.
Very memorable esp Mt Rigi and Mt Titlis.
I also want direct but the SQ flights were too expensive for my dates

Mt Rigi was so-so for me cos of the weather (80-90% cloudy so I could barely see any part of the lake below, much less any of the mountain peaks lol). But at least relaxing in the spa was nice after a week+ of lots of walking and hiking.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:44 PM   #6
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Generally, A350 economy is fine. The 787 Dreamliner (or Sh*tliner as I like to call it) is hellish. I go out of my way to ensure I don't ever get a long-haul flight on that aircraft. Even though both are 3-3-3, the 787's narrower width means you're bound to be shoulder to shoulder. Just as bad as a 777 in 3-4-3.

I agree the usage of buses at Doha weirds it out as a 5* star airline, but hey, for $400 less than SQ and spacious A350 seats, it's acceptable. Personally don't really care about IFE. Normally, Qatar, Thai, Finn or Turkish would have the cheapest flights to Switzerland. Lufthansa sometimes drops under $900, and that is the best value imo. A380 and long overnight flight with fast transit at Frankfurt.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:52 PM   #7
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Generally, A350 economy is fine. The 787 Dreamliner (or Sh*tliner as I like to call it) is hellish. I go out of my way to ensure I don't ever get a long-haul flight on that aircraft. Even though both are 3-3-3, the 787's narrower width means you're bound to be shoulder to shoulder. Just as bad as a 777 in 3-4-3.
I agree!! I had a350's for 3 legs but my Doha - Gatwick leg was Dreamliner, geez, 3-3-3- in that aircraft sucks so bad.

Anyway onwards!!!

Day 1 Geneva

You probably knew I was going there ... You saw my plane's wing in the air



Hotel in Geneva: Suisse Hotel, around s$200/night.



Hotel was "so-so" I guess, located sort of right next to the Geneva train station



Of course the advantage of staying in a hotel in Geneva is that you get a free transport card to use on the boats, trams, and buses within the city.



Random sightseeing on Day 1

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Old 04-09-2018, 02:20 PM   #8
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Day 1 Continued - Geneva

In the morning we basically just walked around the right bank (the north-western part of the city from the lake) a little bit before then going to the left bank (south-eastern part).

The left bank has perhaps Geneva's most visible attraction - the Jet d'Eau (pronounced "jeh-dough") which is uhhhh ... just a huge water fountain i guess lol.



You can also see it from the (free with public transport card) yellow boat ferries that take you to/from a few points on the left and right banks across the lake.



From left bank there is a pier that lets you walk (almost) right up to the fountain.



Around left bank there is the Jardin Anglais (English garden?) where - in summertime at least - lots of people sunbathe and enjoy the summer heat.



There's also the L'horloge fleurie (Flower Clock) which frankly isn't all that impressive in person *shrug*

The clock was created in 1955 as a symbol of the city's watchmakers, and a dedication to nature.

Its second hand is the longest in the world, at 2.5 metres (8.2 ft). It was the largest flower clock in the world, with a diameter of 5 metres (16 ft), until the 2005 installation of a 15 metres (49 ft) one in Tehran, Iran.


Lunch was at Cafe Du Centre - sparkling water, 1 appetizer and 2 main courses cost CHF102 (s$144)

Smoked salmon appetizer was quite nice,
Fisherman's Seafood stew also very good,
Lobster risotto also very good,
Among the better meals that I ate in CH.

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Old 04-09-2018, 03:30 PM   #9
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Is that smoked salmon or sashimi?
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Old 04-09-2018, 11:11 PM   #10
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Day 1

Now that's a perfect summer's day. And what do the Swiss do on a clear day? Hike and/or do touristy things

About the food, iirc, it's a general consensus that their mainstream food is terrible compared to FR/IT as it's mostly either bland or all "taste the same" due to it being seasoned with Aromat.
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Old 05-09-2018, 03:01 PM   #11
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Day 1 continued

After lunch we went to the Patek Philippe Museum (entry chf10/sgd14/person) to ogle mechanical timepieces!

Unfortunately no photos or videos allowed inside sadface

If you're a fan of mechanical watches then this museum is a must-visit IMO. Expect to spend 2-3hr there.



After that we went walking randomly at the main shopping area and also exploring the old city.



Finally, dinner was at Auberge de Savièse for some Savoyard fare (Savoy is the historical name of this Swiss-French/French region). Cheese fondue and assorted dried/cured meats platter and drinks: chf79 (sgd112) for two.

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Old 05-09-2018, 03:03 PM   #12
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Is that smoked salmon or sashimi?
Smoked ... or maybe cured? I suddenly can't remember liao but anyway it's that salty smoked/cured flavour (definitely not raw).

About the food, iirc, it's a general consensus that their mainstream food is terrible compared to FR/IT as it's mostly either bland or all "taste the same" due to it being seasoned with Aromat.
Haha I don't know if Swiss people would agree with you but I definitely agree. Generally the dozens of 'everyday' cafe / restaurants that I've been to, the taste is either just so-so, or excessively salty It's so surprising that just take a 45min bus across the border to FR and the cuisine quality suddenly jumps so high (and prices also come down ...)
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:47 PM   #13
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Day 1 - Chocolate Shopping in Geneva

So anyway uh ... Switzerland is really famous for chocolate, so we went all round the town buying bits and pieces from different shops. Didn't really take that much photos (sorry!) but here was the list of places we shopped at:

Auer Chocolatier which is famous for their chocolate-coated almonds
Spruengli for assorted truffles
Du Rhone which makes my favorite chocolate ever - the Mocca Glacé (it's like those nama choco at Royce, only coffee flavored and way better).
We also visited Teuscher (famous for its champagne truffles) and Laderach but didn't buy any as we already bought way too much from the previous shops (total damage chf173 i.e. sgd245)



If you wanna see photos of chocolates themselves from one of our previous trips then can check out blog (warning blogwh0re alert)

Day 2 - DayTrip to Chamonix

So anyway 2nd day of the trip: Day Trip to Chamonix!

I don't know if this is the best way to get to Chamonix, but anyway I went with AlpyBus' shared transfer service. I don't know why this time it was so expensive at 53eur (sgd85) return (maybe cos we booked literally like the day before) per pax but oh well.

One downside of AlpyBus is that their shuttles depart from the airport, but since we stay next to train station which is 10mins away, and since the train is free, well ... it's ok.



The village of Chamonix is around 1hr15min away, and has a nice traditional alpine village "feel" (if you know what I mean), while yet being very modern. In the winter, the Chamonix area is one of the more popular ski areas in Europe.



Of course, our main purpose coming here in summer is to take the cable car up to Aiguille du Midi, which brings you from ~1,000m height to 3,800m height in like half an hour or even less for a reasonable (?) price of eur51.50 (sgd82)

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Old 06-09-2018, 09:25 PM   #14
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Day 2 Chamonix continued

Unfortunately, mother nature didn't cooperate and it ended up being a really cloudy day. Still managed to get some nice, dreamy shots though, but I think I probably would have preferred bright clear skies.



btw going up to 3800m from 1000m within half an hour meant that the wife and I were both short of breath and a little headache-y and mildly dizzy (at 3800m, the oxygen levels are almost 40% less than at sea level cos the air is thinner). Thankfully we didn't experience any worse symptoms as we were careful to drink lots of water and avoid physical exertion.

Anyway after that we took the montenvers cogwheel train (eur32.50/s$52)* to go see the mer de glace (the largest glacier in France). The angle in the photo below isn't that great, but the white sheets covering the glacier around the middle of the photo are directly above the hole drilled into the glacier.



Said "hole" looks like this:



In terms of polish and effort, I have to say, sadly, that this mer de glace is nowhere near that of the ice palace carved out in the Jungfrau region. So if you're planning to go Jungfraujoch, this one could perhaps be optional.

* Unfortunately I threw away the booklet so I don't have exact rates, but you can buy combination aiguille du midi + "1 other major ride in the chamonix area" (incl. the montenvers train) for a decent discount over buying separately, so do ask at the information counter when you're there.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:27 AM   #15
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Day 2 Chamonix continued

Unfortunately, mother nature didn't cooperate and it ended up being a really cloudy day. Still managed to get some nice, dreamy shots though, but I think I probably would have preferred bright clear skies.

[img]https://i.imgur.com/3OzyDCY.jpg[img] [img]https://i.imgur.com/rsG7zcS.jpg[img] [img]https://i.imgur.com/BDRhrtn.jpg[img] [img]https://i.imgur.com/8xRIG1t.jpg[img]



btw going up to 3800m from 1000m within half an hour meant that the wife and I were both short of breath and a little headache-y and mildly dizzy (at 3800m, the oxygen levels are almost 40% less than at sea level cos the air is thinner). Thankfully we didn't experience any worse symptoms as we were careful to drink lots of water and avoid physical exertion.

Anyway after that we took the montenvers cogwheel train (eur32.50/s$52)* to go see the mer de glace (the largest glacier in France). The angle in the photo below isn't that great, but the white sheets covering the glacier around the middle of the photo are directly above the hole drilled into the glacier.

[img]https://i.imgur.com/1svVIiW.jpg[img]

Said "hole" looks like this:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/GPRFhvL.jpg[img] [img]https://i.imgur.com/grlSmef.jpg[img]

In terms of polish and effort, I have to say, sadly, that this mer de glace is nowhere near that of the ice palace carved out in the Jungfrau region. So if you're planning to go Jungfraujoch, this one could perhaps be optional.

* Unfortunately I threw away the booklet so I don't have exact rates, but you can buy combination aiguille du midi + "1 other major ride in the chamonix area" (incl. the montenvers train) for a decent discount over buying separately, so do ask at the information counter when you're there.
I’m surprised no one was abseiling off. The South Face (at the back) is a classic and there were 5 parties climbing it when I was there in Jul.

Last edited by Din0saurus; 07-09-2018 at 07:31 AM..
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