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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Mile High and Peace of Mind - Page 2

Written by Scott Haas
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      Switzerland has a reputation for being exorbitantly expensive, and while it’s true that eating in many restaurants with decent food can be at luxury prices with entrees often between $35 and $45 dollars and its city hotels are pricey, there are numerous ways to avoid the sting.  

      Although the Swiss are, in general, extremely affluent, they are not typically profligate in how they spend money on food and lodging.  I’ve had friends in Switzerland for many years and they have been kind enough to show me the ropes.

      The first thing I did, back in May, was try to find a good rental.  Compared to the United States, getting a vacation apartment is quite reasonable.  It was only a month from my departure date, but I found a three-bedroom flat for $2,500 for three weeks that would accommodate four of us in my family.  Do the math: That’s about $120 a night and about $30 per person per night.

      The biggest costs, of course, were the flights over and Swiss rail passes.  The passes, which are first or second class, are a necessary expense because paying for each ride adds up exorbitantly.  The passes cover nearly everything except for some of the cable cars, cog railways, and the Jungfraujoch train that are semi-private.

      The big question for those new to the Swiss way of doing things is: What could you possibly get for $2,500 for three weeks?

      But having done this sort of thing before I knew that the baseline for Swiss rentals is much higher and more reliable than nearly any place I’ve ever been.

      We arrived in a marvelous and torrential mountain rain and trudged down the “street” to our flat on the third floor of a lovely, old wooden building at the end of the village.  The owner met us and her husband greeted us at the house.  A retired fire chief of Muerren, he operated a little, electric pulley system that lifted our suitcases up.

      No surprise: The apartment was perfect, spotlessly clean, with a kitchen filled with all the modern appliances needed.  It also had, as most Swiss rentals do, a fondue set and an electric raclette set.  

      And the next morning, when the skies cleared and were cerulean again, we had, from our balcony, an astonishing, spectacular view of three of the most beautiful and famous mountains on earth: Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.  

      The mountains were directly across the Lauterbrunnen valley, and from our one mile height and due to their majesty, it was as if the snow and glacial covered phenomena were close enough to reach by foot.  

(Page 2 of 4)
Last modified on Friday, 01 November 2013

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