Travel and Leisure Planning

Although it is so much easier to get to places in Europe once you are here, the problem arises of what to see next. It’s difficult to prioritize, and when some of your destinations require good weather (at least no rain) and the forecast can and will change daily, it makes for many hours on the internet checking out options.

Enter the SBB – the Swiss Bundesbahn – the Swiss Railroad System. We have discovered their website link which shows special deals which seem to be good for a few months. A week ago we were trying to figure out what to do in November (I know I want to go to some Christmas markets, but they don’t start until Advent.), and we decided to see what the SBB had to offer. On the Excursion Ideas under Leisure and Holidays, we noticed the very first offer to the Gornergrat. It had the magic Up to 50% Discount sign on it, and underneath it, for those of us who were not chomping at the bit to see the Gornergrat (whatever that was) it said, “Magnificent Views of the Matterhorn.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 9.24.32 AM

Here is a map to show you the relative locations of Zürich and Zermatt (the town just below the Matterhorn). The white arrows point to the north where we live, and the south, near the Italian border.

map_of_switzerland

Also, the weather map kept saying, for at least 3-4 days in a row that Zermatt would be completely sunny on Saturday and around 40 degrees. We waited until Thursday to buy our tickets, but seemed clear that the weather would cooperate.

The train ride takes 3.5 hours, and we decided to start extra early to make it a day trip. The days are getting shorter, and the sun sets before 17:30 which would leave plenty of time to get home.

Here is why we knew the ticket price was such a great deal. The RailAway-Combi Ticket from Zürich ran $108 per person and included train ride to and from Zermatt, the ride on the cogwheel train up and down to the Gornergrat (a lovely place at 10,000 feet where you get striking views of not only the Matterhorn, but also the amazing glaciers and other snow-capped mountains), but also a Tagesteller (plate of the day) and a softgetränke (3 dl). (One disclaimer, this price is good for those with a Half-Tax Card which costs about $200 a year, and which we bought on our second day here.)

If we had bought everything separately, the train ride would have been $123, the cogwheel train was $44, and the meal was $27. Total: $194. Per person. So, glampers, there are even deals to be had in Switzerland.

Tomorrow, after I sift and sort through all of my photos, I’ll write about the actual adventure.

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