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Walking Gentle Paths of the Swiss Countryside

Program Number: 13401RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/20/2013 - 6/2/2013; 9/8/2014 - 9/21/2014;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Switzerland
Price starting at: $4,696.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking
Meals: 33; 12 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat    

Verdant alpine meadows, rolling green hills, charming villages, fresh air and spectacular mountain views combine to make Switzerland one of the best places in the world to indulge in the simple pleasure of walking. Explore the sublime Swiss countryside on foot with local experts who teach you about the culture, history and folklore of the cantons of Appenzell and Obwalden.




Highlights

• Discover beautiful Werdenberg including its medieval castle and the oldest timber-frame settlement in Switzerland.
• Take a field trip to beautiful Engelberg Abbey, a Benedictine monastery founded in A.D. 1120.
• Take the world’s first revolving cable car to the peak of Titlis, the highest mountain in central Switzerland.



Activity Particulars

Walking 3-5 miles per day over the course of 2-4 hours; relaxed pace with frequent stops; well-marked trails and dirt roads; terrain is typically undulating with few significant ascents or descents. Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required (ankle-high shoes are not required, but highly recommended).



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Zurich; coach to Appenzell, 5 nights; coach to Engelberg, 6 nights; coach to Zurich, 1 night; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Zurich
Coach to Appenzell
5 nights

Appenzell lies amid lovely green hills and farmhouses backed by the alpine massif. Here, experts detail the local economy, school system and natural environment. Discover the traditions of primitive painting and hand embroidery and the importance of music in Swiss culture. Other excursions include St. Gallen and its old town, cathedral and Abbey library, and Einsiedeln, notable for its Baroque architecture. Explore the medieval castle and timber-frame village in Werdenberg.



Coach to Engelberg
6 nights
Coach to Zurich
1 night
Departure

Beneath the soaring peak of Mount Titlis, Engelberg in the canton of Obwalden is a place of rich traditions and invigorating mountain air. Participate in lively discussions with experts on the history and culture that have shaped this alpine town. Discover a Benedictine monastery founded in 1120. Take the world’s only revolving cable car up Titlis then walk to the mountain hut of a cheese maker for a special lunch. Meet the residents of a 340-year-old farm. Join a botany expert to learn about the flowers and other plants of Brunni Mountain as you follow the contour of the mountain along the attractive Walenpfad trail. Enjoy a boating excursion on Lake Lucerne and take an expert-led city walk in Lucerne. Spend an evening exploring Zurich independently.




Switzerland

Switzerland is synonymous with one geographical entity: the Alps. Glaciers and rock formations abound throughout the country, along with pristine alpine lakes and pastoral meadows. What is more often overlooked, however, is Switzerland’s unique blending of cultures and moods. Mediterranean-style piazzas, bustling cities, Romanesque churches, cafes reminiscent of Paris, and small villages are all well represented.



Accommodations
Appenzell: Centrally located hotel in a charming historic building. Engelberg: Landmark hotel with 360-degree mountain views. Zurich: Hotel near the airport.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Cafe Adler
  Appenzell, Switzerland 5 nights
   Hotel Schweizerhof
  Engelberg, Switzerland 6 nights
   Hotel Best Western
  Zurich, Switzerland 1 night
 Hotel Cafe Adler
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Contact info: Hauptgasse 1
Appenzell,  CH-9050 Switzerland
phone: +41 71-7871389
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404

 Hotel Schweizerhof
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Situated in the center of town, family run, totally renovated in 2004 and after a active day culinary delights await you.
  Contact info: Dorfstr 42
Engelberg,  CH 6390 Switzerland
phone: +41 41-6371105
web: www.schweizerhof-engelberg.ch
  Room amenities: TV, telephone, radio and hairdryer at reception.
  Facility amenities: Laundry facilities, wellness center and sauna.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Best Western
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Close to the airport with scheduled shuttle service to/from the airport.
  Contact info: Oberhauserstrasse 30
Zurich-Glattbrugg,  CH-8152 Switzerland
phone: +41448094747
web: www.bestwestern.ch/airport
  Room amenities: TV, telephone, radio, private bath, minibar, AC.
  Facility amenities: 2 restaurants, bar and grill room, buffet breakfast, all major credit cards accepted. Internet "Hotspot is available in the entire hotel for a cost of CHF 24 per hour.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Zurich Airport. Meet your group at 9:15 AM for the group transfer to Appenzell. (Hotel check-in is at 2:00 PM.) You will be staying at Hotel Cafe Adler that night.
  End of Program:
Zurich, Switzerland. After breakfast on the last day. (Hotel check-out is at 11:00 AM.) You will be staying at Hotel Best Western the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the return date to the U.S.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Train.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Appenzell
  Nearest airport:  Zurich
  Transportation to site: From the airport in Zurich, it is possible to travel via two trains to Appenzell. The train rides will take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes total. Inquire at the airport information desk for timetables and best connections.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Zurich
  Transportation from site: The Hotel Best Western has a hotel shuttle service that runs from 6:00 AM to 10:20 AM and 5:00 PM to 11:30 PM. Taxis are also available.
Elevation Note: Highest elevation is 8900, most of the walking will be in the elevation range of 4000-6000 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required (ankle-high shoes are not required, but highly recommended).
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A. to Europe.
(Monday, May 20)
   
 In Transit: Depart US for an overnight flight.

Day 2: Zurich Arrival - Transfer to Appenzell (approximately 1.5 hours transfer). Lecture: "Then and Now of Appenzell"
(Tuesday, May 21)

Note: Orientation stroll through the Appenzell village - one hour.



   
 Arrive To: Arrive Zurich airport - private coach transfer with Group Leader to Appenzell.
 Lunch: Participants, depending on arrival, may wish to eat a light lunch or snack.
 Afternoon: At the hotel, learn to bake your own "Appenzeller Biber" (a traditional gingerbread with almond filling) and taste the final product. Then take a short orientation walk through the village. Prior to dinner, enjoy a welcome drink and orientation in the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cafe Adler
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: MOUNT KRONBERG WALK; Jakobsbad, Kronberg Mountain and the Alpstein range and Mount Saentis. Lecture: "Mountains Surrounding Appenzell"
(Wednesday, May 22)

Note: 3.5 hours of walking on trails through meadows and on mountain trails.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Short train ride to Gontenbad (2940 feet/890 meters). Walk on a high plateau through meadows and along a high moor on easy trails to Jakobsbad (2850 feet/870 meters). Continue by cable car up to Kronberg Mountain (5450 feet/1660 meters) with its magnificent views of the first Alpstein range and its highest peak, Mount Saentis (8300 feet/2500 meters).
 Lunch: Selected lunch menu on the top of Mount Kronberg.
 Afternoon: Cable car and train back to Appenzell following lunch or leave the train at Gontenbad and walk the rest of the distance back to Appenzell. In the early evening, enjoy a concert at Hotel Hofweissbad. Become familiar with the unique sound of music for stringed instruments and learn about the famous musical tradition of the Appenzellerland.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cafe Adler
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: HOHER KASTEN WALK; Boehli bakery and pastry shop, Weissbad, Mount Hoher Kasten, lunch at a mountain guest house. Lectures: "Boehli Bakery" and "Alpstein, Rhine Valley and Austria Alps (flora and fauna)"
(Thursday, May 23)

Note: 2.5 hours of walking mountain trails, through meadows and valleys.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Today begins with an excursion to the local bakery and pastry shop “Boehli”, a five generation bakery – aromas and possible tasting included. Start walking from the hotel along the Sitter River to Weissbad (2700 feet) or (optional) on a moderate uphill trail to Bruelisau (3000 feet), then ride the cable car up to Mount Hoher Kasten (6000 feet). Luxuriate in the magnificent views of the Alpstein, Rhine Valley and the Austrian Alps.
 Lunch: At the mountain guesthouse.
 Afternoon: After lunch, continue walking, then take a cable car and train back to Appenzell. Back in Appenzell, enjoy some free time. You may wish to explore the museum of Appenzell. Field lecturing.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cafe Adler
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: ST. GALLEN'S OLD TOWN & ABBEY LIBRARY Lecture: "History of the Abbey Library and Cathedral of St. Gallen"
(Friday, May 24)

Note: One hour guided walking in the village of St. Gallen.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Train transfer to St. Gallen. Field trip and lecture in the Cathedral of the late Baroque period and the Abbey Library, containing manuscripts dating back to the 8th century. The library is housed in Switzerland's most beautiful Rococo secular hall with stucco work by the Gigi brothers and ceiling painting by Josef Wannenmacher.
 Lunch: Independent lunch - voucher or local currency will be given to each participant.
 Afternoon: Independent afternoon, return to Appenzell by train at your leisure. Train ride is approximately 45 minutes and trains depart every 30 minutes between St. Gallen and Appenzell.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cafe Adler
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: EBENALP-SCHAEFLER WALK; Wasserauen, Ebenalp to the prehistoric cave of Wildkirchli, special guesthouse of the Alpstein - the Aescher. Lecture: "Prehistoric Cave of Wildkirchli"
(Saturday, May 25)

Note: 3.5 hours of walking on asphalt roads, gravel paths, and mountain trails.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Walk begins by train to Wasserauen, then cable car to Ebenalp (5000feet/1524 meters). Descend through the prehistoric cave of Wildkirchli and stop at the most thrilling guesthouse of the Alpstein, the “Aescher”. Continue the walking field-trip up to Mount Schaefler offering unforgettable scenery of Mt. Santis. Field lecture: "Prehistoric Cave of Wildkirchli and Mt. Schaefler".
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the trail or at a mountain hut.
 Afternoon: Continue the field trip to the Chlus saddle at the foot of Mt. Schaefler with magnificent views of the Appenzeller Mountains, then return to Appenzell by cable car and train.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cafe Adler
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: TRANSFER TO ENGELBERG Lecture: "Monastery of Einsiedeln"
(Sunday, May 26)

Note: 2 hours walking on paved roads.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer by private coach with a stop in the medieval village of Werdenberg (1706 feet/520 meters), founded in 1230, take a walk around the lake or enjoy a cup coffee. Continue by coach along the Walensee Lake, with a stop in Einsiedeln, known for its splendid church, constructed between 1674 and 1770, considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Switzerland.
 Lunch: Independent lunch during the stop in Einsiedeln.
 Afternoon: Continue by coach arriving mid-afternoon in Engelberg (3444 feet/1050 meters). Orientation stroll through Engelberg.
 Dinner: Prior to dinner there will be an orientation briefing at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: BENEDICTINE MONASTERY / WATERFALL VALLEY WALK; Monastery known for the wainscoted wall panels and furniture, Furenalp, Dellenstein (one of Engelberg's oldest farm homes). Lectures: "Benedictine Monastery","Waterfall Valley", and "How the Natives Live"
(Monday, May 27)

Note: 3 hours of walking through meadows, mountain trails and paved roads.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Walk from the hotel to the Benedictine Monastery, founded in 1120, for an excursion by the curator introducing the participants to the wainscoted wall panels and furniture. Afterwards walk to the waterfall (3555 feet) and take a cable car to Furenalp.
 Lunch: Lunch at the "Hutte" on Furenalp.
 Afternoon: Continue down by cablecar or take a circular walk on the Grotzliweg. Excursion to one of Engelberg's oldest farm homes - Dellenstein. You are welcomed by the owners and served tea and Apfelkuchen (apple pie). Continue the walk back to Engelberg.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: LOCAL FLORA & FAUNA AT RISTIS-BRUNNI ALP; Rigidal Stafel, a majestic ridge on Brunni. Lecture: "Geology, Wildlife and Flora of the Region"
(Tuesday, May 28)

Note: 3 hours of walking on mountain trails and through meadows.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Walk from the hotel accompanied by a local flower and plant expert, to the cable car to Ristis (5300 feet), then continue to Brunni Mountain by chair lift (6103 feet/1982 meters). Depending on the time of year you will be able to view some of the region’s wildlife and flora while walking along this majestic ridge.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the trail.
 Afternoon: Walk on to Rigidal Stafel, then back to Ristis and return to Engelberg by cable car.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: MT. TITLIS - THE GLACIER & THE MOUNTAIN LAKE; Rotair (revolving) cable car, Glacier Grotto, Trubsee and the Gerschnialp. Lecture: "Mt. Titlis and the Glacier Grotto"
(Wednesday, May 29)

Note: 2.5 hours of walking on mountain trails and through meadows and farmland.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Walk from the hotel to the Mt. Titlis (10,627 feet/3239 meters) cable car and ascend Mt. Titlis, traveling part of the way in the world’s first revolving cable car, "Rotair". At the top of the highest mountain in Central Switzerland you will witness breathtaking scenery and walk through the Glacier Grotto. From Mt. Titlis walk over beautiful snowfields before taking the funicular via Trubsee (5890 feet/1780 meters) down to Gerschnialp (4180 feet).
 Lunch: Special lunch at the mountain hut of a local cheesemaker.
 Afternoon: Walk down to Engelberg via the ski trail or return by cable car.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: HERRENHAUS GRAFENORT; Hydroelectric station, 17th century Grafenort Home. Lecture: "Herrenhaus (stately home) from the 17th Century"
(Thursday, May 30)

Note: 2.5 hours of walking along the ravine of the river "Engelbergeraa" down to the valley.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Walk from the hotel first following the railway track to Gruenenwald and on through forested area on a nice trail zigzagging down to the Hydroelectric station and a reservoir. Continue on following the Engelberg river to Grafenort (1866 feet) for the field trip through the stately home from the 17th century belonging to the monastery of Engelberg.
 Lunch: Enjoy a light lunch prepared by the local farmers' wives at the Herrenhaus.
 Afternoon: Return to Engelberg by train and the remainder of the afternoon is independent.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: CRADLE OF SWITZERLAND; Seelisberg to Rutli-Meadows "Cradle of Switzerland". Lecture: "William Tell and the History of the Everlasting League"
(Friday, May 31)

Note: 1.5 hours of walking on mountain trail and through a meadow.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This Switzerland adventure will end in spectacular fashion. The final walk will begin with a 30-minute train ride and continue on by postal-bus to Seelisberg (2627 feet/801 meters). Walking field-trip down through the forest to Rutli-Meadows (1670 feet/510 meters) -- the "Cradle of Switzerland" above Lake Lucerne Uri, where the Confederates convened to confirm the Everlasting League of 1291.
 Lunch: Typical Swiss lunch at the Ruetli Guesthouse.
 Afternoon: Board a boat and cross Lake Lucerne to Beckenried, return to Engelberg by local transportation.
 Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a special farewell dinner followed by a departure briefing.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Transfer Day ENGELBERG VIA LUCERNE. Lecture: "City of Lights"
(Saturday, June 1)

Note: 2 hours on paved roads.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Depart the hotel by private coach transfer to the Zurich airport hotel. En route, a 3-hour stop will be made in Lucerne for a walking field trip.
 Lunch: Money or voucher will be available for lunch on your own in Lucerne.
 Afternoon: Continue on to the Zurich airport hotel. The remainder of the day and dinner is independent. The Group Leader can provide suggestions for independent activities or sightseeing suggestions in Zurich.
 Dinner: On your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Best Western
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Depart Zurich For USA
(Sunday, June 2)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Hotel shuttle to the airport - program ends. "AUF WIEDERSEHEN"!
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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