Fines in Switzerland are horrendous. Travelling without a valid train or bus ticket currently costs around 100 USD (only if you can pay instantly). A speed ticket can easily eat up your entire holiday budget. On the main routes and especially inside Zurich city there are countless speed cameras. This is not a tourist rip off, as fines are the same also for locals. Just remember that when hitting the road.
On our journey around Europe by Car, one of the countries we went to was Switzerland. I had previously read up on driving there, so I knew it was compulsory in Switzerland to buy a vignette for our car. You need one for all motor vehicles and trailers up to and including 3.5 t.
It was very easy to get. We stopped at the first Service Station over the border in Switzerland, bought one, put it on our front windscreen straight away, then we were off exploring Switzerland without a worry!
Other places you can buy them are
Post offices, garages and touring club offices.
The Vignettes are compulsory on all national class 1 and 2 roads, can only be bought for a year. Check the website "other" which shows a map of these roads.
The vignette price does not include driving through the Grand St. Bernhard Tunnel and Munt la Schera. A special toll must be paid here.
Price in 2013.... Is 40swiss francs
at our first night in basel .we were sleeping in hotel very close to a church.(the room was invited in advance)each 15 minuts the bell was ringing and of course.during day and night.since that we ask in every hotel or B&B if there is close church around.
Neither a true danger, nor a "hazard warning". But just be prepared to be overwhelmed with the costs. When we were in Switzerland the dollar and swiss Franc were essentially equal. But food and trinkets were amazingly expensive. Lunch for two in a sidewalk cafe-$60.00 in Bern or Montreaux. Prices in more touristy areas like Zermatt and St, Moritz were even higher. Be advised. Bring plenty of money!
When you listen to the radio you will hear about traficjams and waitingtimes of up to 2 or 3 hours almost every day for the Gotthard Tunnel. That was the same when I came to Airolo and I am really glad that I decided to drive over the old passroad instead of using the tunnel. I saved about 2 hours of stop-and-go trafic and saw a great landscape instead. I certainly needed some more Diesel because of the steep road but it would have been a pity to miss the interesting museum on top and the mountain-fortress of the swiss army. You can see it in my extra-pics: the is an old road, quite narrow and with cobbled stones and the modern passroad in my last 2 pics. There was not a single truck on the passroad and only a few cars.
b.t.w. the Gotthard-tunnel is 16,9km long
it is the 3rd longest streetunnel on earth
and it is free of charge (except the vignette for the highway) !
There is just 1 single tube for both directions
and 80km/h is the max. speed
Trucks have to keep a distance of 150m to the next car and that is the main reason for the waitingtimes.
A CAR is an AUTOBUS / BUS / COACH in Switzerland. Bus is the word for the local public buses as well in Switzerland, BUT when it comes to Buses that are chartered by tourists to go sightseeing, they are called CAR in Switzerland !!
Take a look at my photo : I simply can imagine that english tourists might get the idea, they could place their cars there, BUT in fact they would come into real trouble !!
Roesti is one of my favorite dishes when I am in Switzerland and in most cases it is simply delicious. In summer 2009 I was not lucky at all when ordering a dish with Rösti in Hotel Heidihof in Maienfeld. The dish was called "Heidihof Roesti" and looked fine on the first view. There was raw ham and Buendnerfleisch on top, that was delicious, but the Roesti underneath obviously were not housemade but taken out of a packet, they looked strange like lentils that were pressed out of a machine and they also had a strange taste.
Foehn is a (relatively) warm wind that is typical for alpine areas, and it could even happen in wintertime.Some people - including myself - will feel a Foehn by their head aching all day.( foehn in engl.? )
The precious old wooden buildings obviously catch fire very fast and easily and it would really be a pity for them ! In Brienz and many other places with lots of wooden buildings Smoking is therefor absolutely forbidden in the streets.
In my photos : mainly wooden houses of Brienz, the last one is in Brienz / Ballenberg with one of the most beautiful openair-museums in Switzerland.
This funny trafic-sign can be found on top of the Schilthorn, when you walk towards the north from the restaurant and of course it has a serious background !
For a vacation in the swiss alps you need at least a minimum of extra equipment:
1) Leave your Manolo Blahniks at home and take good hiking-shoes instead, when walking in the mountains and especially at the Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn : Many of the paths are quite slippery sometimes, you will have to step through alpine pastures, solid rocks and loose gravel - all of that is not really a good place to show your latest fashion-shoes...
2)Be careful, when hiking at glaciers in wintertime : For some people it is not always easy to understand, why you would not be allowed to leave the marked paths on top of Jungfraujoch. You may see great crevasses there nearby and plenty of foot-prints of other tourists leading there as well...
I made my pics in a large distance !
Please keep in my mind, that any rescue-activities have to be payed by the incautious tourists, and most of the insurances will not pay anything, when you had left the ordinary mountain-paths !!
3)Some chocolate and an extra bottle of water makes always sense, because when hiking you never know how long you will have to wait for help in case of an emergency or when you are forced to get shelter in an empty mountain-hut because it is that foggy or raining outside that you cannot see, where you are going.
Bottles of the light PET-material are the best - you will not feel them, when they are empty, and you may re-fill them at many natural fountains on your way - the quality of the mountain-water is always excellent in Switzerland and the cheapest mineral water you may buy in a vending-machine is 2 sfr., mostly it is even more expensive.
Always stay on the hiking-path, even when a shorter way is obviously possible. Especially when you get to the end of your hike and see the cablecar-station in a distance already you might get the idea to take a walk through the meadows in order to save some time and catch the cablecar in the last minute...
This could be really dangerous, because parts of these meadows are muddy, slippery and really dangerous and what might seem to be a shorter path might as well end at a gorge that you could not see from your hikingpath etc.
The safest and fastes paths are always those that were constructed for the hikers !
In many mountain-maps you will find the places of various shelter-huts, but once that you are there you will see they are good only for a short time and for an emergency like a tunderstorm, hail, snow-storms etc., BUT as a place to spend the night cheaply and easily they will mostly be totally out of question :
1) the interior is made in a way that makes sleeping there almost impossible : narrow, rough and simple benches will make it impossible to spend the night there.
2)Most of these huts will also be used as toilets by sheep and cows and there is a terrible smell inside
3)You never know, how many hikers had the same idea to rest inside the hut that you are heading to
I saw various such shelter-huts and only close to Bachalpsee there were a few that had a door-system and a small fence, that would no animals enable to walk inside of them - see my 5th picture !
The hut on my main picture had a perfect view, BUT it was totally open at the other side and used as toilet not only by cows...
I remember having a real Bad headache when we reached the top of Jungfraujoch, I thought my head was going to split. It's because the oxygen concentration up on top is less. I would suggest bringing Tylenol just in case. And also regarding older travelers. I would not recommend older travelers with medical problems to travel up on top. You will ascend slowly, and you'll feel the need to breath deeper as you move up, your heart starts to pump faster to compensate the need of oxygen. Plus the cold weather does not help. But if you do, bring a thick jacket with you and take frequent stops in between.
if traveling to sea levels that are more than 3000 feet higher than yours in warm or cold weather can cause a noise bleed problem in children under 16. the younger the children the greater the probabillity of this problem. ask your doctor on how to handle nose bleeds.
there may be something on the net on how to handle noise bleeds for child under one year.
also if travel by plane make a mickey cup for the child. take two plastic or paper cups and place a damp warm towel in each one. hold the cups over the childs ears during take offs and landings. the cups help with the quick change in pressure and with the engine noise as well.
one airline use to ask the children to sing the mickey mouse song during take offs.
SINCE SWITZERLAND HAS GREAT SNOW A LOT OF THE TIME IN WINTER!!!!SNOWBOARDING CAN BE SO MUCH FUN THAT ONE MIGHT NOT GO HOME AND EAT DINNER WHEN THEY WERE ASKED TO.....SO PLEASE WATCH THE TIME AND STILL GET HOME SO THE WIFE AND KIDS WON'T DISOWN YOU !!! : )
People like to smoke in Switzerland. A lot. Everywhere. The good news is, they don't throw their rubbish all over the place. The bad news is, you stink when you go to any public restaurant, etc. So, get a seat outside or be prepared to get smokey.
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