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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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Gary Garton Sep 08, 2014 at 09:28 AM

I'm about to exchange some U.S. dollars for foreign currency, at my local bank, that I might need on this trip. Does anyone out there know if merchants in Switzerland will accept Euros? If so, that would make things much less complicated rather than having to mess with Swiss Francs, too. It looks like most of our time will be spent in France and Italy anyhow. Again, thanks for your advice in advance.
Gary Garton Sep 10, 2014 at 09:40 PM

Thanks, Harry, I'd feel alot better having a few Swiss Francs in hand upon arrival just in case I need something before the tour begins. I suspect, overall, that we'll need more Euros than Francs seeing we'll be in France and Italy more than Switzerland. I sort of complicates the picture having to use two different currencies.


Gary Garton Sep 07, 2014 at 05:09 PM

I have a couple of questions of you experienced European travelers. Is it necessary to purchase an electric outlet adapter for the European outlets or do you suppose the hotels might supply those? I doubt if my cell phone will work over there but I do need to charge camera batteries. Also, is it advisable to purchase some Euros and Swiss Francs from my local bank or wait until in Europe? Most all our expenses are covered by the cost of our trip but one should have some cash for an occasional beer or whatever. Just wondering what's best. Thanks in advance!
Lori Nitchals Sep 07, 2014 at 05:29 PM

Hi Gary, I did this trip recently. I bought the chargers recommended by Road Scholar- all three countries used different ones. I do not know if every place we stayed offered them. I purchased my euros and Swiss francs through my bank. Bring an ATM card for extra cash. I did not need any, but other folks used them. I brought my iPhone, turned off the cellular/phone part and used it as my camera and hooked up to the hotel's wi fi to email home. You will have a fabulous time! Lori
Gary Garton Sep 12, 2014 at 05:03 PM

Thanks for the advice, Lori. I'm trying to follow Road Scholar's suggestions to the letter. I'm just not sure of how many Francs and Euros to buy before leaving the states. I don't have an iPhone so will have to rely on public computers to communicate back home via email. It sounds like you enjoyed your trip.
Lori Nitchals Sep 13, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Indeed I did enjoy this trip! I prefer to use my credit card when possible. I brought €200 and 100 Swiss Francs. I also tip the guide in cash.
Gary Garton Sep 13, 2014 at 05:31 PM

Thanks for the information, I think I'll do the same. After all, my bank will buy back the currency I don't spend at a cost, of course. Do you remember of any in your group buying telephone calling cards to call home? I understand that calling cards are readily available in Switzerland and at a reasonable cost. Just wondering if you remember of anyone actually going that route. Thanks for your advice.
Lori Nitchals Sep 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

I do not recall anyone using calling cards. Email is how I connected to folks at home. Any emergency, the guide will handle. Have fun!


Dennis Dahlin Sep 01, 2014 at 11:24 PM

Karen and I will be arriving 9/24 by train from Paris and meeting you all at the airport on the 25th.

Marta--do you monitor this discussion board? How many feet of vertical will we be doing. I'm trying to decide if we will need trekking poles. All the pictures of the trails look pretty flat. Looking forward to meeting everyone!

Dennis Dahlin
Lori Nitchals Sep 07, 2014 at 05:31 PM

Bring hiking poles in your check in. One couple did not and were sorry! They ended up buying them there- not cheap! The trails are not flat. Some folks on my recent trip thought it was harder than they expected. Lori


Betsy Vokac Sep 01, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Looking forward to meeting you all at the start of the Sept 24 trip! John and I arrive in Geneva from Dulles on flights we booked with Road Scholar.
Aila Long Sep 06, 2014 at 06:10 PM

I will be on the same flight, assuming United?
Aila Long Sep 08, 2014 at 01:44 PM

Harry, I know that!! After an 8 hour flight it will feel good to walk around and have a hot cup of tea.


Laurie Broberg Aug 19, 2014 at 11:13 AM

I am flying on British Airways out of Logan in Boston and arrive in Geneva at 10:55 for the late September trip. It looks like I might see some of you in customs or at the pick-up point.I was assured that RS would wait for those of us who made their travel arrangements with RS. They did wait for some of us in Paris last year so I am not concerned. There will be phone numbers in your final packet that you can call if your flight(s) are delayed. I got my final packet by email this morning.
Gary Garton Aug 19, 2014 at 01:45 PM

Hi Laurie,
Gary Garton Aug 19, 2014 at 01:51 PM

I'll be arriving Geneva via KLM Airlines at 11:05 a.m. that day so will be slightly later than you if all is on time. I understand there's a couple also flying in at 10:55 a.m perhaps on the same flight as you but I don't know who they are. I called RS yesterday and you're right. If we booked the entire trip, including the travel, that RS will definitely be waiting for us at the airport and will not leave without us. So, I guess that's one advantage of having booked it all thru RS. I'm sure we'll probably see each other at customs, but simply won't recognize just who we are. I haven't received my final packet as yet but hope to soon. I'll be in Yellowstone for a couple weeks starting this weekend so it will probably come then while I'm gone. I look forward to trekking the Alps with you.
Laurie Broberg Aug 19, 2014 at 02:30 PM

We will have badges by then so will be able to find fellow RS travelers
Gary Garton Aug 19, 2014 at 02:49 PM

That will be great to have badges right off the bat. I'm assuming most of us will be landing in Amsterdam, initially, on the way to Geneva. It seems as though every flight from the states to Europe has to make that required stop in Amsterdam. I know that's where I'll make first landfall.


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.


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!


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

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4.8
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