ROMANTIC RHINE TRIP
May 1 – May 3
Zurich Pictures Previous Next Top
In Zurich we checked into the Movenpick hotel (complete with yellow rubber ducky in the bathroom) and returned our rental car. For dinner, we treated ourselves to an elegant meal in the hotel dining room. Tony and I ordered asparagus. We had seen it for sale all over Bavaria, and we were eager to try it. The large, thick spears were absolutely delicious.
We had planned to take an early-morning train from the hotel to the pickup point for our scheduled Jungfrau, Top of Europe tour, but we were unable to decipher the lines, fares, and schedule. We ordered a taxi instead and easily arrived early for the tour. The 11-hour excursion that followed was phenomenal. Our bus drove past Lake Lucerne to an Alpine village where we boarded a cog train bound for the high Alps. Our tour guide was a young Swiss of Asian descent, and he was one of the most empathetic tour guides ever. He was very good at reading people, and he tried to sort us into train compartments with compatible people. On the way up the mountain, he moved from car to car, opening the train windows and alerting us to upcoming photo ops. He also used our cameras to take photos of us periodically during the train ride and on the mountain. The day was foggy, so we did not have great views when we reached the top, and it was quite cold. Inside the visitors center we first toured the ice palace that is carved into a glacier. Of course the ice was quite slippery, and we sort of skated along the tunnels. We had lunch in the cafeteria, and then visited the gift shop. I bought some socks decorated with a Swiss motif. We had all of our postcards stamped with the Jungfrau stamp. The fog lifted as we rode the train back down the mountain, and we had some fabulous views of the north face of the famous Eiger peak as we descended. Back in Zurich we had an excellent Swiss dinner at a café in the enormous train station, and then we figured out how to purchase train tickets for a swift ride back to our hotel.
We slept in, had brunch at the hotel, and packed up our bags. Since our transfer to the riverboat was not until 3:30, we took the opportunity to ride the hotel shuttle to the airport to shop earlier in the day. We bought lots of Swiss chocolate to eat during our river cruise and to take home to people. Back at the hotel, we waited in the hospitality lounge until departure time and met some of our fellow travelers. When our tour group was ready to depart, we boarded the bus with a local tour guide. As we drove along, she told us about Switzerland and then played a recording of traditional Swiss music.