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SWITZERLAND / ITALY / FRANCE

Walking Below and Beyond Mont Blanc: Switzerland, Italy and France

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Switzerland

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Walking/Hiking

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$3500 - $5000

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Road Scholar
Program #15870RJ
13 Days | 12 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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Christine Brown Jul 18, 2014 at 06:53 PM

Is anyone else flying out of JFK on September 10 on Swiss Air flight 23? If so, I would like to hear from you. Maybe we could meet prior to the flight.


Aila Long Jul 17, 2014 at 09:12 AM

Gary, I called the RS while back to find out where the meeting place was at the airport and was told that RS will notify the participants closer to the start of the trip. So no worries!
Gary Garton Jul 17, 2014 at 09:25 AM

Aila, My concern with RS establishing a meeting place at the airport stems from the fact that we're all coming in as independent arrivals meaning we're arriving many different times. I believe my flight is scheduled to arrive Genena at 11:05 a.m. their time on Sept. 25th. How about you?
Aila Long Jul 17, 2014 at 02:15 PM

Ok, I just called the RS and asked about the group transfer. They evidently offer only one group transfer from and to the airport. The from transfer supposedly meets at 11:00 somewhere in the airport but that will be confirmed in the final package about 5 weeks before the start of the trip. I mentioned your situation that you plane doesn't arrive until 11:05am. So I was told that you need to call them and explain your situation and they will advise you. The number is 800-454-5768. Hope this helps. I actually arrive 7:40am. So the 11:00am group transfer will work for me ok.
Gary Garton Jul 17, 2014 at 03:35 PM

Thanks for the update, Aila. I would like to think that they could delay the group transfer but I suppose by the time I get my luggage and thru customs, or whatever, it will be noon. I was hoping I could just meet with someone at the airport rather than find my way around a strange city or area. I let RS set up my flight, but I suppose that was the best available out of Minneapolis and perhaps no choice of something earlier. I'll call the number you suggest. Thanks again. Gary
Aila Long Jul 17, 2014 at 04:59 PM

If you booked your flight with RS you have no worries - they will make sure to get you to the hotel/back to the airport now matter what time you arrive/leave. I booked the flight my self so I have a bit of a concern but looks like the group transfer which is included in the program only price will work just fine for me.
Gary Garton Jul 17, 2014 at 06:23 PM

Yes, I booked my flight with them as I found they could do better than I when it came to the price. I was hoping that by booking with them that they would take care of all the transfers so that I wouldn't have to mess around with that on my own. I hope you're right with your assessment of the situation. I'll wait until I hear from them, about 5 weeks out, and see what they have to say. If they won't pick me up at the airport in Geneva then I'll get on the phone and see what's going on. I look forward to meeting you and I know we'll have a great trek through the Alps. Gary


Kathleen Cavanaugh Jul 16, 2014 at 09:42 PM

Gary: I'm on the Sept. 10th trip and also leave from Mpls. I leave Mpls at 2:55 pm on KLM dutch. KL 60458.; I'll be driving in from near Willmar . Maybe we can catch each other at the airport. I've only made a couple of trips with RS, but have never had a problem connection once in Geneva. We'll be on our own in Amsterdam, but as i remember, things are will marked and easy to get around. Looking forward to the trip!
See you in Mpls:)
Gary Garton Jul 17, 2014 at 09:31 AM

Kathleen: I'm with the Sept. 24th group so won't have a chance to travel with you out of MSP. I'll be flying Delta nonstop to Amsterdam and then connect to Geneva via KLM. It sounds like I, too, will be on my own in Amsterdam but I understand now that RS should have a place to meet at the airport in Geneva. As I understand from others, most signage at the European airports will be in English as well as their home language so that certainly will help. I've always traveled with my wife so when I lost her a couple years ago it hasn't been near as much fun for me. I'm not nuts about traveling alone as you might gather. Safe travels to you! Gary


Gary Garton Jul 16, 2014 at 06:07 PM

Did you have any problems catching up with the RS group once you landed at Geneva? I think my only concern is just meeting up with the rest of the bunch in a timely manner. This is my first time traveling alone without that second pair of eyes and ears so am abit apprehensive. I would hope we'll be given very detailed instructions before departure. Anyhow, any information would be helpful. Always take a raincoat when hiking the mountains as weather at altitude is much different than in the valleys. Am glad they give us plenty of time to acclimate to the altitude although I'm used to these elevations and higher so that's the least of my worries. Gary
Lori Nitchals Jul 16, 2014 at 07:14 PM

I went two days early to recover from jet lag before the trip began. I stayed at the Starling Hotel because they had a restaurant on site and free shuttle to and from the airport. Being widowed, I understand completely how traveling alone can be a bit nerve wracking. This was my second European trip, so I am not an experienced international traveler!


Dianne Jul 09, 2014 at 09:56 AM

I had wondered whether I REALLY should take a raincoat with hoodie and lightweight fleece and a second pair of shoes (suitable for hiking) and a hat. Glad I did. The altitude was less of a problem than I expected, probably because the tour's designed to spend several days at altitudes around a mile high before actually going up to the 11,000 + foot level. So: the altitude was less challenging on this trip that our hiking trips in Yosemite and Peru.
Gary Garton Jul 10, 2014 at 07:52 PM

What you experienced and what you were glad you had brought with you is exactly what I have planned to bring in September. I have hiked mountains in the western U.S. for many years and know the vagrancies of the mountains. Especially lightweight raincoats and certainly an extra pair of hiking boots are both a must. Thanks much for sharing your thoughts. I want to hike the Alps in the cool of the fall. Fact is, if there's some new snow I would be very happy as the cooler the better. You can figure from my tone that I'm a resident of a far northern state and love it!


Beth Bachmann Jun 20, 2014 at 07:49 AM

Hi...I am getting very excited for we are leaving next week!!! One new question that I have is whether or not trekking poles need to be packed in checked baggage vs. carry-on. My poles have blunted metal tips. Any feedback would be appreciated. I know that Lori said that she is checking hers but is it required?
Lori Nitchals Jun 20, 2014 at 10:13 AM

According to the airlines site, yes it is required. They could be used as weapons.


Gary Garton Jun 19, 2014 at 09:53 AM

I'm signed up for the 9/24 trip and am wondering just when I will get the final billing statement for the full amount owed from RS? I could call RS but am just wondering if anyone out there might have an idea. I'll pay by check to save RS the credit card fees. Is there anyone else out there heading out with the 9/24 tour? I haven't seen many mention that date on this discussion board so far. I'm traveling as a single, which I would rather not have to do, but I have no choice. As the time gets closer I might be jumping in here asking for travel tips from all you international savvy travelers as I'm new to the European scene.
Gary Garton Jun 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Thanks for your messages and tips, Aila. I must make more use of this website and my account information more than I do. I'm glad to hear that you're with our tour group and I'll be looking forward to meeting you. Where are you flying out of? I'm flying out of Minneapolis non-stop to Amsterdam and then to Geneva.
Gary Garton Jul 01, 2014 at 08:20 PM

Hi Aila,
Gary Garton Jul 01, 2014 at 08:25 PM

I don't live in Minneapolis but my daughter lives in one of the upscale suburbs of there so I go over often and visit. She's bringing my buns up to the airport the day Ieave as I won't park my car at the airport for two weeks. No, I live 250 miles from the airport in the wilderness of northern Wisconsin. I travel alot throughout North American but don't know a darn thing about European travel so am just alittle apprehensive about it all. I walk, hike, cross country ski and run alot so the physical end of it should be a breeze. I'm climbing a 11,000 foot mountain in Wyoming next month and that, too, should be a snap. Anyhow, I'm alittle dismayed that we haven't heard of more leaving on the date that we're leaving. I hope they have enough to fill the trip or, otherwise, our anticipation will be for nothing. I'd still rather be hiking in the fall than the summer any day!!! Gary
Aila Long Jul 02, 2014 at 07:47 AM

I have noticed that not all the people use this discussion board so hopefully the trip will go on.


Lori Nitchals Jun 18, 2014 at 01:09 PM

I am using the "Packing Pro" app to create my list of what to bring. I used this for my trip to Ireland last year and it helped tremendously! I did not forget a thing! It makes suggestions and I can add my specific things. I transferred that list for this trip and made the necessary adjustments. And I can print it out! Love technology!


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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
11 nights of accommodations
28 meals: 11 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 10 dinners
12 Expert-led lectures
18 Field trips
3 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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