From July 1 through July 15, 2002, we began a hiking adventure through the Swiss Alps in the Berner Oberland and Zermatt regions.  We have put together some highlights/lowlights of our trek, including extensive daily notes of our journey.

1.  The most amazing things about Switzerland:

The Sheer Size of the Alps:  The Alps are similar in size to the Rockies, however, the mountains have a more dramatic appearance because the faces have steeper inclines/rise.

Restaurants, Inns and Family Hotels:  Located at extraordinarily high elevations in the most out of the way spots.  Food is sent in by helicopter, cable tram, train, and in some cases, on foot.

The Public Transportation System:  The trains and cable cars wind around steep mountains and through extensive tunnels and exceptionally high elevations. This rail system allows people of any age to experience the great outdoors.  The only way these types of areas would be accessible in the United States is by hiking on foot.

The Waterfalls: The length/drop of the waterfalls is staggering.  Some waterfalls fall thousands of feet from top to bottom.

2.  Most disappointing things about Switzerland:

The Prices: We found Switzerland to be very expensive.  Itís not uncommon to pay $5 for a Coke at one of hundreds of mountaintop hotels. Train prices are steep even with discount passes. Camping out is virtually non existent.  Consequently, many backpackers do not come to the country as it is unaffordable.

The Food: Expensive and lacking variety.  Fondue and goulash are only appetizing once in a blue moon.

The Beds: Even the most expensive five star hotels cram two twin beds together to make a "king."   Rolling over into a big crack in the middle of the night is not ideal for extended periods of time, especially when your back is sore from hiking!


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           copyright © chris & hugh hempel 2004                                                      last modified on Monday, 12. January 2004