Our travel planner did a fine job of identifying places to stay and explore in Switzerland. She also arranged for premium Swiss rail passes which were very beneficial for train travel but also beneficial for entering museums, riding ferries, and taking buses. She also introduced us to AXUS, an app that held our itinerary, rail pass, hotel information, schedules, and much more. In addition, all the drivers drove clean comfortable vehicles and were exceptionally courteous, and friendly.
Our first stay was in the small town of Thun which we got to by private, prearranged car. We stayed in a castle on a hill. There was a nice gift of local artisan chocolates waiting for us. Devaki arranged a dinner for our first night which was good but the main course, meat, was stringy and not very tasty which made it a less than enjoyable meal. We felt bad that we spoke no German, as the waitstaff spoke no English. I wouldn't stay there again. The castle is good to visit but the rooms, which are hyper-modern, lacked the expected charm and ambiance. The other big drawback to the hotel was the lack of decent wi-fi and as a result, we couldn't access any of the AXUS information.
Actually, we had counted on referring to the Lonely Planet Tour Guide book included in AXUS throughout the trip, but without portable wifi access such as that which was provided with the tour of Portugal you arranged for us in 2018, the online book was useless as we attempted to locate and learn about various sites. We didn't print the material she recommended so couldn't read that either. Next time, we'll either get portable wifi included somehow or just buy a book!
While in Thun we visited Lauterbrunnen and Bern. Both were outstanding. We wondered why we didn't stay in large, fascinating Bern instead of Thun, reversing the day trip itinerary. In Lauterbrunnen, which would have been easily accessed by Bern, Devaki told us to see the waterfall in the center of town. But we discovered the Trummelbach Falls and the funicular & train to the Eiger Hotel and the highest spot (James Bond & Eiger Sanction) in Switzerland on our own. They were probably in the book we couldn't access. Back in Thun, we had a tour guide the next day, Corrine, whom we liked very much, and she did a wonderful job of showing us historic Thun and making such and dinner reservations.
From Thun, we took the train to Lucerne where we stayed at a fine hotel with a view of the lake. We had a guide, Luis, who was scheduled for a two-and-a-half-hour guided tour. He walked us uphill to the historic wall of Lucerne, through some odd places to a hotel at the top of a hill. The tour did not cover the center of Lucerne or the historic bridges. We were very disappointed and he cut it short by almost thirty minutes. It was a very strange tour and I wouldn't recommend that guide to anyone. We wonder if he's licensed since we saw so many professional tour guides taking people to the Medieval places we had to see on our own after the exhausting hike to a hotel from the 1800s. All very strange. From what we discovered on our own, we loved Lucerne. Thanks to Devaki's arrangements, we worked with the hotel to make an appointment for a COVID test for our travel back to the U.S.
From Lucerne, we took the train to Geneva where we were met by a driver to take us to our elegant hotel, which we loved, for our last night in Switzerland. We had tea around 4:30 which was really, really good. After tea, we walked along the lake. The next morning we were met by an arranged driver who took us to the airport. He actually went the extra mile and took our bags to the check-in desk for KLM.
Overall we had a great Switzerland experience and Devaki made some fine arrangements that made our travels easy.
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