Feedback from the trip leader
Swiss-Italy Trip 2021
Our trip began on September 5th as planned (or as replanned several times). It was the first Adventure trip undertaken in over two years. All members had to be vaccinated and complete additional forms for entry into Switzerland and Italy. But as daunting as it may have seemed at the time given the current pandemic, the trip was one of the more enjoyable trips the club has undertaken during my tenure as Trip Director.
Our journey began with two nights at the Birkenstock Palace hotel. A recent $500 million renovation made this 5-star resort located high over Lake Lucerne something to behold. It was a superb kickoff to the trip. I describe this trip as experiences in two different realms—from the snows of the Jung Frau summit and the Matterhorn in Switzerland to the lakes and boating on Lake Como, Italy. We rode Scenic trains, Cogwheel trains and Vernaculars. We hiked across a glacier at 11,000 feet at the Jung Frau, toured the ice cave, and dined at a mountain-side restaurant with stunning views of the Alps. Then we hiked down to Zermatt. We also e-biked along lake Interlaken with exciting view of the Alps in the background.
At Lake Como we toured by boat with views of centuries-old homes and palaces enjoying the warmth of Lake Como, some looking for George Clooney’s home. We stopped for lunch at Bellagio, one of the most famous towns on the Lake. The extremes in temperature from the 20’s and 30’s in Switzerland to 80 degrees at lake Como were certainly challenging for packing. But I don’t think any of us complained.
We did have one unplanned change to our plans. Italy decided, during our trip, we needed a negative COVID test prior to entry. Our travel Agent Pete Kovacevic simply rearranged our testing a day earlier in Zermatt rather than Lake Como as originally planned, which satisfied both the US and Italian requirements. Thanks Pete.
Our return to the states from Milan was uneventful except I think most of us slept on the plane, or certainly on the bus back to Roanoke. I certainly would like to thank all our members on this trip. Your patience as we worked through the details of the planning certainly made it easier on me and Shireen.
Day 1 – Burgenstock Resort ~ Welcome Dinner in Glasi Restaurant in Hergiswil
DAY 2-3: Walking tour of Lucerne ~ Mt. Rigi, Queen of the Mountains ~ Sightseeing Train ride on Interlaken Express ~ E-biking tour of Interlaken and Unterseen ~ Picnic by the lake Thun ~ Chocolate Tasting ~ Wengen
DAY 4: Wengen ~ Little Scheidegg ~ Jungfraujoch ~ Alpine Sensation ~ Ice Palace ~ Aletsch Glacier ~ Monchsjoch Hat ~ Wengen
DAY 5-6: Walking Tour of Zermatt ~ Matterhorn Museum ~ Gornergrat Gourmet Tour ~ Zooom the Matterhorn ~ Monte Rosa Glacier ~ Matterhorn ~ Lunch at the restaurant Dave-Tanja Alphitta ~ Hike through the forest
DAY 7-8: Zermatt ~ Stresa ~ Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s island) ~ Isola Bella ~ Palazzo Borromeo ~ Como ~ Cernobbio ~ Laglio ~ Villa Oleandra/George Cloney ~ Nesso ~ Isola Comacina Lenno ~ Villa Balbianello/James Bond 007/Star Wars ~ Tremezzo ~ Bellagio ~ Varenna
9 days / 8 nights
8 Swiss lakes
Pretty picture-book chalets
Charming Swiss cities
Breath-taking mountain ranges
“Bienvenue” in Switzerland – your cycling adventure in pure nature and along beautiful lakes starts at the shore of Lake Geneva.The town of Montreux nestles in a sheltered Lake Geneva bay, surrounded by vineyards and against the breathtaking backdrop of snow-covered Alps.
Because of the exceptionally mild climate Montreux is called the capital of the Vaud Riviera. Plants associated with the Mediterranean, such as pines, cypresses and palm trees grow here.
Charlie Chaplin, Freddie Mercury and several other famous people of world-renown lived and continue to live on the Vaud Riviera.
Check-in at the hotel. Meet your tour guide. Briefing and welcome dinner.
Your tour guide will meet you at your hotel reception. Short Briefing and short introduction ride on your e-Bike.
Leaving sparkling Lake Geneva behind your ride takes the old Cheese Route to Gruyères. This pretty village perched on its hill attracts thousands of tourists every year who all fall prey to its medieval charms.
Tip: Start this stretch taking the funicular from Vevey to Mount Pelerin followed by the panoramic trail to Chatel St. Denis.
B, D, Hotel Le Sapin or Des Chevaliers
The clanking of cow bells will be your constant companion on this stretch.
This is dairying country at its best.
B, D, Hotel Simmental
Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are framed by the snowy peaks of the Bernese Aps – a panorama that doesn’t get better than this.
B, D, Hotel Du Lac
The Brünig Pass is an exciting challenge for some, a steep obstacle for others. Just as long as you know that the cable car at Meiringen can whisk you up to Hasliberg and from there it is pretty much a downhill ride all the way – along Lake Lunern and Lake Sarnen to the shores of Lake Lucerne.
Lucerne, the gateway to central Switzerland, sited on Lake Lucerne, is embedded within an impressive mountainous panorama. Thanks to its attractions, its souvenir and watch shops, the beautiful lakeside setting and the nearby excursion mountains of the Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn, the town is a destination for many travellers on their journey through central Switzerland.
B, L, hotel Ambassador/De la paix oder Des Alpes oder Drei Könige in Lucerne
Enjoy yourself in the morning. You surely want to stroll through Lucerne, enjoy the panoramic view from Mt. Rigi or Mt. Pilatus or take a boat ride and discover the beauties of the lake.
After lunch we start our todays tour. Lake Zug awaits with cherries in every variety and the Lake Aegeri lies embedded in a hilly morainal landscape.
B, D, Seminarhotel Am Aegerisee
The Rothenthurm high moorland is a precious tract of open countryside. After the busy world of pilgrims in Einsiedeln is the most important place of pilgrimage dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Switzerland.
The high valley of Einsiedeln located in the heart of Central Switzerland is characterised by moors and Lake Sihl, the biggest reservoir in Switzerland in terms of area.
From Lake Sihl it’s down valley to the shores of Lake Zurich where we get to Pfäffikon from where we travel to Zurich – our final destination of our trip.
Our guide will say goodbye to you.
B, L, Hotel Rütli or Adler in Zurich
Enjoy your Zurich day. Have a stroll around the city of Zurich: visit the Old Town
- the world famous shopping street Bahnhofstrasse
- the Augustinergasse – one of the most beautiful old, narrow streets with many colourfully painted oriel windows
- the Grossmünster
- the St. Peter church with the largest clock face of Europe
- the Lindenhof which provides a glorious view of the Old Town
If you feel for hiking and having an surprising views, visit Zurich’s local mountain, the Uetliberg. Europe’s largest yew tree forest is located on the Northern slopes. Narrow tracks facilitate close contact with nature.
B, Hotel Rütli or Adler in Zurich
Breakfast and Checkout
The Swiss are a friendly and hospitable people who have always maintained and nurtured their own local customs, and because of this, Switzerland is a country with an enormous wealth of cultural activity and living tradition.
«La suisse n’existe pas» (Switzerland does not exist) – in this one key sentence Switzerland introduced itself at the World Exposition in Seville in 1992. This was because it is not uniformity, but a variety in a small space that defines Switzerland. In little Switzerland, four national languages are spoken in addition to numerous dialects.
Switzerland is home to a host of fascinating and famous legends like the story of William Tell.
Costa Rica is a very diverse country with many things to see. It is important to observe the recommendations of your guide to maximize your chances to observe wildlife. The environment in some areas is very fragile, please take extreme care and obey all postings and suggestions. Rafting provides some wonderful memories; we suggest the purchase of a disposable waterproof camera to use on these days. Extra clothing and gear can be left with the Rios Tropicales staff during rafting trip on the river. It is imperative that you remove all of your luggage from Best Western Irazu Hotel in San Jose. The Rios Tropicales Lodge in the jungle offers all of the linens you will need with the exception of towels, so please plan on bringing a towel during the rafting portion.
Suggested gratuities: for the guide and staff $40 per participant, which should be given to the head guide for distribution at the end of the tour. It is customary to leave a gratuity for the housekeeping staff at the hotels, typically $1-2 per person each night. For the guides leading the canopy tours and other activities it is nice to leave a gratuity of $5-$10. Wait Staff $1 per meal. Van Drivers $1 per day, they keep our luggage safe while we are away. Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Alpine Adventures with requests. Current airport taxes are approximately $26 for international flights. You need to pay them at the San Jose airport at the day of return departure. The cash and credit cards are accepted.
This tour requires clothing suitable for a variety of environments. Evenings may have cool temperatures. It is important to dress in layers and be willing to wear appropriate clothing. Be aware that this trip moves almost every night, you are responsible for keeping your luggage with you and making sure it gets from lodge to lodge. Laundry service is not available on many parts of this tour so pack enough additional clothing for the entire tour.
- Air tickets
- Contact Information
- Small Pack for overnight in jungle
- 1-2 Outfits to wear in the city (casual, 70-80°)
- Hiking shoes
- Sandals or tennis shoes (rubber soles for rafting)
- Sun hat
- Rain Jacket Sweater or fleece pullover
- Long sleeve shirts
- Short sleeve shirts
- Long trousers (quick drying material is best, not cotton)
- Warm sleeping attire
- Socks (some should be a quick drying material)
- Personal medication
- Sunglasses with strap
- Sun cream
- Insect repellant
- Lip balm
- Reading Material
- Small Flashlight
- Camera and film
- Disposable waterproof camera
- Additional passport photos
- Copy of passport
- $26 for Departure Tax
- Meet & greet at your hotel in Montreux
- accommodation and meals as noted (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
- English-speaking bike guide (8 days)
- E-Bike rental (8 days)
- tips to porters and drivers
- luggage transport and Service bus (8 days)
- International airfare
- train transfer from Zurich city to airport (very easy and inexpensive)
- meals not noted on itinerary
- all drinks
- travel insurance
- optional tipping to tour guide
- Pre-/Post-Accommodation in selected hotels for special rates.