Frontiers Senior Destination Specialist, Jill Jergel, writes from Switzerland. She is spending the next two weeks scoping out day trips, hotels and experiences before heading to the French Alps for the low down on their ski scene.
The tiny country of Switzerland has an impressive network of public transport scooting all about their countryside – some conveyances considered engineering marvels and some are unusually scenic journeys and many are actually both. Available only to residents of other countries, the handy dandy Swiss Pass is an amazing Carte Blanche that permits free travel on trains, boats, funiculars, metros and regular buses. One of the experiences we like to recommend for our travelers to Switzerland is taking at least one of the bright red SBB trains which wiggle through the mountains and valleys, however, it’s not ONLY the trains that provide a magical Swiss tour.
Yesterday I wanted to visit a hotel I had long known of, that was located on Mont Pelerin, under an hour from my base in Lausanne. With the help of the very user-friendly SBB website and my friendly concierge (who taught me how to recognize a funicular station!), I began the day by walking 3 minutes from the hotel, along breathtaking Lake Geneva (which is completely lined in vineyards, Alps and delightful Swiss towns) to the Metro. Unlike the metro of Paris or London, which tunnels horizontally underneath the towns, the Metro of Lausanne – LIKE THE CITY – rises from the lakeside up the mountainside to various neighborhoods. I rode up 3 stops to the rail station – walked across the street to the station and took a train to Vevey. Allowing myself a little time to stroll in the Old Town and pay respects to one of my brothers’ icons – Charlie Chaplin (who lived and is buried in Vevey) – I then took a clean and well-marked bus for a 6 minute ride to a funicular station. As this was a Sunday, my fellow passengers on the funicular were mostly Swiss families out for their hike with the children. The funicular had no driver and after a gentle incline upwards, stopping at neighborhoods along the mountainside, the last 10 minutes were nearly straight vertical, until we were above the clouds. At the summit of the Mont Pelerin funicular, I had a 5 minute walk to the hotel. After my visit and a good look around, I retraced my steps – as easily as I had arrived. All conveyances – as one would expect in Switzerland – were spotlessly clean.
As I write this, I’m gliding silently along the Geneva Lakeside whooshing to the Geneva airport to meet fellow agents. The Geneva Airport train station is very well marked for easy access and has a huge selection of convenient train times for most destinations.
In Switzerland – the journey really is as much fun as the destination!