Senior Travel to Switzerland

Oct 13th, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors… if you have never traveled to Switzerland or it has been some time since your last visit, here is a good site to get you started with some general facts on this fascinating country.  You are in for a special treat. It is unlike any other country in the world.

The My Switzerland site is the most popular visitor site on the web and is the “Offical Website of the Swiss National Tourist Office.” It is wise to have a good handle on what you are going to experience and see before you travel.  Knowing something about the history and geography can help you enjoy Switzerland even more.  Switzerland at a glance is one of those websites.  Check out the planning site on this link.  I loved the photo of the yellow bus high above a very curvy road down the mountain.

Viator has 36 suggested things to take in and do while you visit.  Most are five star.  They provide information and the cost of each suggestion.  Trip Advisor provides the major Top_Rated musts for your visit.  Most probably you will arrive by air, train, bus or car in Geneva.  It is a busy and flashy city with plenty to see and do. 

My most vivid memories of Geneva involve watching a huge black limo drive up in front of a bank.  Out came three well dressed women in arab garb and a man who must have been a sheik.  I followed them into the bank as I wanted to cash a traveler’s check.  I watched as he piled up a large pile of swiss bills on the counter.  The man behind the counter planted down gold about the size of a stick of gum.  I had never seen gold like this before.  The sheik put it in his pocket and out the door he went with the three women behind. 

Another fond memory is the Jet D’Eau which is a huge water fountain in the lake that spurts 140 meters = 459.317585 feet into the air… and that’s high folks.  I have often wondered how they measured the .317585 feet.  Of course there are some pretty smart people in Geneva.

Here are some additional suggestions for things to do.  The five major cities are not to be missed.  I loved Lucerne and the covered bridge that crosses the river; strolling across this bridge will etch memories into your mind for a long long time.

I once had friends return from a trip to Switzerland.  I asked them how they enjoyed their trip.  Their response, “It was okay, but you couldn’t see anything for the mountains!”   Well, that is true.  They surround the country.  The Swiss Alps are awesome.  My first trip there was on a motor scooter with a friend.  I recall coming out of a youth hostel early in the morning.  I took out my camera to take a picture of the mountains. I turned, turned and turned again.  I was unable to take a picture as I was not capable of a 360 degree photo.  One needed a  movie camera.  My friend would not even carry a camera for the same reason.

The Matterhorn is Switzerland’s most famous mountain; the German name is from the words Matte meaning “meadow” and horn meaning “peak.” The Matterhorn is the tenth highest mountain in Switzerland, and one of 48 Swiss peaks above 4,000 meters in height. As you drive along, but sure to note on your map where the Matterhorn is located as it dominates the terrain.

I also remember driving by the famous music camp called Interlochen (Interlaken) in Leysin.  It was situated along the lake and it was a very impressive setting.  I had heard about  this famous camp and now I know what it is so impressive. The setting along makes it world class.

At the end of my academic year in Paris working on my MA at the Sorbonne, my family and I took a trip through Switzerland on our way back to Brussels and our flight home.  While in the Swiss mountains, we ran into a heavy hail storm.  A tourist parked in a garage along the road motioned for us to pull our little Vauxhall rental car along side his.  I asked, “Vous parlez français?”  No response.  “Sprichst du Englisch?”  No response.  “Habla español?”  No response.  “Parla inglese?” Still no response; turns out he was an architect from Chicago.  Small world.  He and his wife said that we must visit the Château de Chillon on our way down toward Lac Leman (also called Lake Geneva) as they had just come from there.  We did and it was totally awesome. I took slides and later my mother-in-law did a painting of Chillon and we have it hanging in our bedroom to this day and the memories are still aglow. jeb



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