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Lost in choice of new Alpine destination + something else

Lost in choice of new Alpine destination + something else

Old Apr 10th, 2017, 07:10 PM
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Lost in choice of new Alpine destination + something else

I'm going to get my alpine nature fix the first week of July this year with my husband--tacking it onto a business trip to Amsterdam after which he will join me.
Last year I went to Garmisch-Partenkirchen to hike and go up the Zugspitz (still my screensaver). Couple of years before you helped me find Samedan with the Bernina train from which I walked down toward Italy and the train east to small towns in the valley.
I've been to the Berner Oberland twice to hit the trails and rails, once with my husband.
One weekend in Mittenwald years ago and similar outside of Salzburg in the Sound of Music country.

My husband would prefer if we could add + something else for a couple of days after the mountains hiking/viewing. He also would like to go somewhere other than the BO where he has been before. But he has not responded positively to any of my suggested + something else (CERN in Geneva; Montreaux Jazz Festival), so I am looking for suggestions. It might be history, a festival, art, even industry that sparks his interest. I have to bite the bullet and book tickets. I've already waited until prices are high (we were waiting for a relative to decide if she was going too). We can use any of the major airports.

I am looking at Chamonix-Mont Blanc as a different mountain destination for a few days of hiking, gondolas for views, etc. Good choice? Still trying to tie in with something else.We have been to Vevey and other towns along the lake before after the stay in the BO.

I have seen Kandersteg mentioned as a quiet hiking destination close to the BO, but I haven't come up with the + something else.

I could take him to the St Moritz area and explore more, but for some reason that doesn't appeal to me as much.

Am I missing someplace obvious?
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Old Apr 10th, 2017, 09:30 PM
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The Engadine? I adored the Lower Engadine, thoroughly enjoyed the upper Engadine, and was delighted by my day in the Val Bregaglia. I skipped St. Moritz (except to change from a train to bus), and would never have considered the area if my image of it had been my image of St. Moritz (which isn't really fair, since I didn't go there).

If you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...any-thanks.cfm
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Old Apr 10th, 2017, 10:05 PM
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Hi Kay2,

Yes, though you've already found Samedan, other places in the Engadin/Graubünden might be interesting for you: Scuol, Guarda, or Chur, for instance.

Kandersteg + Brig might work. I spent 4 nights in Brig once; it's a lovely little over-looked town on its own, with interesting buildings and a lovely, central, flower-bedecked square. Brig is also a good spot for excursions into the mountains (Bettmeralp, Riederalp) and to see Zermatt.

If you're classical music lovers, you may want to try Gstaad, at the far western edge of the BO, at the Rösti border with French Switzerland. There is a Menuhin Festival there every July/August, and it's a wonderful time. This year, it's from 13 July - 2 Sep. You can spend the days hiking the (low-ish) mountains (Eggli, Wispile) or walking between towns (to/from Lauenen and Lauenen Lake, Saanen, Schönried), or making nearby excursions (Gruyeres, Rougemont, Chateau d'Oex or even to Montreux). And spend your nights listening to world-class classical music -- they use churches that are hundreds of years old as the venue for chamber music -- it's an otherworld experience.

If you want to search about Montreux, be careful about spelling -- there's no "a."

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Apr 10th, 2017, 11:45 PM
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If you are thinking about Chamonix; also look at Megeve. Also very close to Mont Blanc with great views - but a much nicer place to stay. I haven't been there in summer, so can't comment on actual hiking there.
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Old Apr 11th, 2017, 06:16 AM
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Thanks for the great suggestions. I will explore them all.

He did a little searching last night (finally contributing ;-) and found some smaller jazz festivals, but in places we have visited before. The Gstaad sounds perfect, but it must be the first week of July to attach to my trip.
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Old Apr 11th, 2017, 06:18 AM
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I'm also dipping down into Italy for ideas. We have only ridden train from Milan to Switzerland, so didn't stop at Stresa and visit the lake, villas, etc.
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Old Apr 11th, 2017, 10:59 AM
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Chamonix is fine for hiking. There is no need to stay at Chamonix itself as there are trains and shuttle buses along the whole valley.
Courmayeur, just at the other (Italian) side of Mont Blanc (about 20 min by bus from Chamonix) would be a very good base too.
Other alpine places that might interest you:

Verbier (Festival from July 21st until August 6th)https://www.verbierfestival.com/en/
Ernen (Aletsch Glacier area; concerts from June 30th until August 27th) https://www.musikdorf.ch/de/home
Saas Fee/Saas Grund (gondolas to glaciers, hiking trails, popular with Swiss families) http://www.saas-fee.ch/en/wandern/sommersport/
Riederalp/Betttmeralp (idem)
Leukerbad (thermal spa in the heart of the Alps; popular with Swiss people)
Gressoney (hiking trails and gondolas to glaciers; popular with Italian families)
Scuol-Tarasp (Swiss thermal spa in the mountains, close to the Austrian glaciers of Pitztal, the Italian glaciers of Ortles and Senales, the Swiss glaciers of Bernina)
Pontresina - Sils Maria (concerts from July 29th until August 12th) https://www.engadinfestival.ch//home
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Old Apr 11th, 2017, 12:11 PM
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You are leaving the Dolomites out of this? Why?
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Old Apr 11th, 2017, 05:08 PM
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IMO, the Ticino is well worth considering.
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 05:21 AM
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Engelberg + Lucerne

Kandersteg + Bern

Scoul + Chur
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 05:26 AM
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Lenk im Simmental + Gstaad (or a town outside of Gstaad, which would be my personal preference)

Or Lenk im Simmental + Gruyeres
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 06:23 AM
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History, festival, art, history and you have to "book tickets" and "hiking" keeps popping up.

I'd forget Sresa...been there, done that but unless you want to stay in one of those wonderful hotel piles along the lake, and some of them are wonderful, and "hike" back and forth to the ferry dock or along the promenade I wouldn't do that one somehow.

He doesn't want to be in the BO; would he settle for the Bernina Express into Italy and then somewhere along Lake Como?

Art? In ITALY???? I can think of a couple of places: Florence for one. Just book it and tell "Mr. I'm not sure but you'd better get it right or elset" that he can "hike" up to the top of the Duomo.

Oh, and do enjoy YOUR planning, too, and remind him how lucky he is.
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 09:34 AM
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What about the Do,omits followed by Lake Garda or Verona?
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 06:46 PM
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You guys are great, as always.

My husband does appreciate my planning. Otherwise he would never go on vacation. It's just that I'm happier when he is happy, so I do consider his interests too. (30 year anniversary this August)

I would like to go to the Dolomites. I wanted to put them in our trip to Italy last year, but we were too early to hike plus just ran out of time--so close in Venice and Treviso. I'm taking the Italian Lakes off the table this year--just complicated the plan. Save for another trip. We've had lovely times on past trips stretching from Rome up through Florence, Venice, overnighted once in Lugano coming through from Switzerland. Thanks for the advice about Stresa.

I did visit Scoul and other towns when I stayed in Samedan and train/walk over the Bernina while in the Engadine.

I had a little time this evening to look at my books and check online train schedules. I'm seriously looking at the Mt Blanc area for the mountain "wow" and some hikes in the valley area. I'm going to explore all these other places you have suggested for the +. Even the Gruyeres for the cheese, chocolate kja describes could be fun.

If I stick with Switzerland than I can just book into ZRH and out of GVA and with decent train trips with break enroute to Mt Blanc. But I'll check the suggested towns first.

Now if I can just get my work out of the way of my trip planning.
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 01:48 AM
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Trains from ZRH to Chamonix every hr. Tons of itineraries (with more or less train changes):
1. ZRH - Brig (change) - Martigny (change) - Chamonix
2. ZRH - Lausanne (change) - Martigny (change) - Chamonix
3. ZRH - Spiez (change) - Zweisimmen (change) - Golden Pass - Montreux (change) - Martigny (change) - Chamonix
4. ZRH - Lucerne (change) Interlaken (change) - Zweisimmen (change) - Golden Pass - Montreux (change) - Martigny (change) - Chamonix
etc. etc.
Chamonix - GVA: frequent buses
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 07:26 AM
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Just looked at a review of "Summer in the Mountains" on the myswitzerland.com web site. May be able to get hiking ideas from that site if you prefer to stay in Switzerland.
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 07:35 AM
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just tagging on here with a view to our possible trip in the Summer.
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 09:27 AM
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Yes, the myswitzerland website is very helpful and I've been checking it.

Saw earlier post here or on Tripadvisor about the many shared van services from Mt Blanc area to/from GVA, which makes it more reasonable to include in plans if time becomes tight. I'll check if the summer schedules are as frequent as during ski season. Quite a difference 90 minutes in minivan versus 4 hours on scenic trains. So options depending on time available.

It does take time to check train schedules on the Swiss and French sites to ensure seeing everything rather than using bahn.de, which is my default site. I love maps, but realize I can't rely on them totally for choosing reasonable routes because the tunnels aren't always evident.

My husband has looked at my ideas and sees that I've included some possible small diversions, but it is mostly a mountain and hiking trip. He is OK with that as long as his expectations are accurate.

We also had to discuss his flight schedule. It isn't working smoothly for me to me/join him immediately, so one of us will arrive first (and he prefers it to be me since I am the organizer and he is mostly going to me with me). But I think we have agreed and I will book the flights today and work out the specifics later.

Considering hiking near Mt Blanc and up to look at views. Annecy optional as a nice town on lake.
Also looking at the Brig/Visp area as suggested due to multiple resorts in area. Not sure if will try to visit both Mt Blanc and Brig/Visp area due to time.
Perhaps a stop in Sion along the train route in between.
If some problem arises (lack of hotels, for example), then I will regroup and look at Kandersteg or similar for hiking and trade Mt Blanc for one of the mountains near Lucurne or drag my husband back to the BO. No bad choices except for the crowds of tourists like me.
Other area might be Appenzell for crafts, cheese making etc. touristy stuff at lower elevation near ZRH.

My final decision is whether I want to weave in visits with acquaintances who live in Laussane and Lucerne. Always nice to see the new baby and maintain contact, but they are my work contacts; not too much fun for my husband who hasn't met them. If convenient....
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 11:47 AM
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Don't worry. Every train stop between Brig and Chamonix (Visp, Leuk, Sierre/Siders, Sion, Martigny) is the starting point of trains and buses to marvelous alpine hiking areas, like Aletsch Glacier, Saas Valley, Zermatt, Loetschental, Leukerbad, Crans-Montana, Val d'Anniviers, Val d'Herens, Haute Nendaz, Verbier-Val de Bagnes, Val d'Entremont, Val Ferret....

Accommodation shouldn't be a problem if you are somewhat flexible: almost all villages between Brig and Martigny have at least 1 hotel or b&b and never all of them are fully booked.

Public buses between Chamonix and Geneva airport (1-2 hrs journey) about every 2 hrs. Often more reliable than private shuttles.
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Old Apr 15th, 2017, 07:25 AM
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You will enjoy Chamonix. On a clear day going up the Aiguille du Midi on multiple gondolas/cable cars was just magical!!! Head down the other side of the mountain on the new Courmayeur9?) giant Gondolas to the Aosta valley. We also enjoyed Annecy. Have fun!
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