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Walking Gentle Paths of the Swiss Countryside

Program Number: 13401RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/8/2014 - 9/21/2014;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Switzerland
Price starting at: $4,682.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking
Meals: 31; 12 Breakfasts, 8 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
   Best Western Hotel Airport
  Zurich, Switzerland 1 night
 Hotel Cafe Adler
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Cafe Adler is located in the center of Appenzell at the entrance of the famous street, Hauptgasse. Each room of this cozy and unique hotel has been individually furnished with great care, ensuring a comfortable stay to all who visit the charming Appenzell.
  Contact info: Weissbadstrasse 2
Appenzell,  CH-9050 Switzerland
phone: +41 71 787 13 89
web: www.adlerhotel.ch
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, wireless Internet access (for a fee) and a hair dryer at reception.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a terrace and garden restaurant, bakery and pastry shop with homemade ice cream, and wireless Internet access (for a fee).
  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: The Hotel Schweizerhof is a local landmark and a beautiful spot to appreciate the 360-degrees of alpine vistas. Established over 100 years ago, this family-run hotel has recently been renovated to meet the needs of its modern guests. It is located in the center of Engelberg, and is within walking distance of the local shops and the train station.
  Contact info: Dorfstrasse 42
Engelberg,  CH 6390 Switzerland
phone: +41 41 637 11 05
web: www.schweizerhof-engelberg.ch
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, radio, safe, mini bar, free wireless Internet access, hair dryer and a beautiful mountain view.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, sauna, fitness center, garden area, laundry facilities and free wireless Internet access throughout the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western Hotel Airport
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Best Western Hotel Airport is a comfortable hotel conveniently located near the airport. It offers shuttle service to and from the airport, allowing guests to travel with ease.
  Contact info: Oberhauserstrasse 30
Zurich-Glattbrugg,  CH-8152 Switzerland
phone: +41 44 809 47 47
web: www.bestwestern.ch/airport
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, radio, mini bar, air conditioning and wireless Internet access (for a fee).
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers two restaurants, a bar, grill room and wireless Internet access (for a fee).
  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
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Zurich Airport. Meet your group at 10:30 AM for the group transfer to Appenzell (approx. 1.5 hours). (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 Best Western Hotel Airport the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
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, take two trains to get to the Hotel Cafe Adler in Appenzell. The train rides will take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes total. Example of Train Schedule (all train schedules are subject to change): Depart Zurich Airport 10:52 AM Arrive Gossau SG 11:43 AM Depart Gossau SG 11:47 AM Arrive Appenzell 12:27 PM Please note that there are earlier and later train schedules. The trains run about every hour beginning at 5:30 AM, and the last one leaves the Zurich Airport around 10:00 PM. Please note that in Switzerland all the trains wait for each other. The cost is approximately CHF 35 (2nd class one-way).
  From End of Program
  Location:  Zurich
  Transportation from site: The Hotel Best Western has a hotel shuttle service that runs every 30 minutes. Taxis are also available.
Elevation Note: Highest elevation Day 10: Mount Titlis (10,627 feet). 2nd highest Day 3: Mount Saentis (8300 feet).

Equipment Requirements: Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required (ankle-high shoes are not required, but highly recommended). Please see the "Walking Boots" note for additional information on proper footgear.
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: In Transit
(Monday, September 8)
   
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada for an overnight flight.

Day 2: Arrivals
(Tuesday, September 9)

Note: 1 hour orientation stroll through the Appenzell village.



   
 Arrive To: Meet your group at 10:30 AM for the group transfer to Appenzell (approx. 1.5 hours).
 Afternoon: Check in at the hotel. Start your program off by baking your own "Appenzeller Biber," a traditional gingerbread with almond filling. You will get to taste it later on! If time permits, the group will take a short orientation walk through the village. Enjoy a welcome drink and orientation before dinner. This afternoon's lecture is called "Then and Now of Appenzell."
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cafe Adler
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Mount Kronberg
(Wednesday, September 10)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Short train ride to Gontenbad (2940 feet). Walk on a high plateau through meadows and along a high moor on easy trails to Jakobsbad (2850 feet). Continue by cable car up to Kronberg Mountain (5450 feet) with its magnificent views of the first Alpstein range and its highest peak, Mount Saentis (8300 feet). Today's field lecture is called "Mountains Surrounding Appenzell."
 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. Later in the afternoon, attend a concert at Hotel Hofweissbad. Become familiar with traditional stringed instruments and the famous musical tradition of the Appenzellerland.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cafe Adler
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Hoher Kasten Walk
(Thursday, September 11)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Today begins with an excursion to the local bakery and pastry shop Boehli, a five-generation bakery. Enjoy the aromas and even a possible tasting! Start walking from the hotel along the Sitter River to Weissbad (2700 feet) or (optional) on a moderate uphill trail to Bruelisau (3000 feet). Ride the cable car up to Mount Hoher Kasten (6000 feet). Revel in the magnificent views of the Alpstein, Rhine Valley and the Austrian Alps.
 Lunch: Lunch at a mountain guesthouse.
 Afternoon: After lunch continue walking then take a cable car and train back to Appenzell. Optional excursion to the museum of Appenzell. Today's field lectures are called "Boehli Bakery" and "Alpstein, Rhine Valley and Austria Alps (flora and fauna)."
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cafe Adler
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: St. Gallen's Old Town / Abbey Library
(Friday, September 12)

Note: 1 hour of guided walking in the village of St. Gallen.



   
 Breakfast: 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. Take in a field lecture entitled "History of the Abbey Library and Cathedral of St. Gallen."
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time this 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: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cafe Adler
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Ebenalp-Mount Schaeffler Walk / Wildkirchli Prehistoric Cave
(Saturday, September 13)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Take the train to Wasserauen, then a cable car to Ebenalp (5000 feet) where you will start the walking field trip. Descend through the prehistoric cave of Wildkirchli and stop at the most thrilling guesthouse of the Alpstein, the Aescher. Continue up to Mount Schaefler and marvel at the unforgettable scenery of Mt. Santis. Today you will hear a lecture called "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. Return to Appenzell by cable car and train.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Cafe Adler
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Einsiedeln / Transfer to Engelberg
(Sunday, September 14)

Note: 2 hours of walking on paved roads.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Engelberg by private coach. On the way, stop in the medieval village of Werdenberg (1706 feet), founded in 1230. Take a walk around the lake or enjoy a cup of coffee. Continue by coach along the Walensee Lake, with a stop in Einsiedeln, known for its splendid church constructed between 1674 and 1770. This church is considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Switzerland. Take in a field lecture about the Einsiedeln monastery.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own in Einsiedeln.
 Afternoon: Continue by coach to Engelberg (3444 feet) and arrive in the mid-afternoon. Prior to dinner there will be an orientation stroll through Engelberg and a briefing at the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Benedictine Monastery / Waterfall Valley Walk
(Monday, September 15)

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



   
 Breakfast: 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. Hear two field lectures on the Benedictine Monastery and the Waterfall Valley.
 Lunch: Lunch at the "Hutte" on Furenalp.
 Afternoon: Continue down by cable car 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. This afternoon's field lecture is called "How the Natives Live."
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Local Flora and Fauna at Ristis / Brunni Mountain
(Tuesday, September 16)

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



   
 Breakfast: 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). 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. Hear a field lecture on "Geology, Wildlife and Flora of the Region."
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the trail.
 Afternoon: Walk on to Rigidal Stafel, then back to Ristis. Descend back to Engelberg by cable car.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Mount Titlis / Glacier Grotto
(Wednesday, September 17)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Walk from the hotel to Mount Titlis (10,627 feet). Part of this journey will be by way of 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 Mount Titlis walk over beautiful snowfields before taking the funicular via Trubsee (5890 feet) down to Gerschnialp (4180 feet). Learn about Mount Titlis and Glacier Grotto during a field lecture.
 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: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Herrenhaus Grafenort
(Thursday, September 18)

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



   
 Breakfast: 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 to a reservoir. Continue on following the Engelberg river to Grafenort (1866 feet) for a field trip through the Herrenhaus Grafenort, a 17th-century stately home belonging to the monastery of Engelberg. Take in a field lecture about the Grafenort home.
 Lunch: Enjoy a light lunch prepared by the local farmers' wives at the Herrenhaus.
 Afternoon: Return to Engelberg by train. The remainder of the afternoon is to be enjoyed at your leisure.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Cradle of Switzerland
(Friday, September 19)

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



   
 Breakfast: 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). Walking field trip down through the forest to Rutli-Meadows (1670 feet), the "Cradle of Switzerland," above Lake Lucerne Uri, where the Confederates convened to confirm the Everlasting League of 1291. Take in a field lecture called "William Tell and the History of the Everlasting League."
 Lunch: Typical Swiss lunch at the Rutli guesthouse, where the Confederates convened to confirm the Everlasting League of 1291.
 Afternoon: Board a boat and cross Lake Lucerne to Beckenried. Return to Engelberg by local transportation.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Schweizerhof
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Lucerne / Transfer to Zurich
(Saturday, September 20)

Note: 3 hours of walking on paved roads.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart the hotel by private coach transfer to the Zurich airport hotel. On the way, stop in Lucerne for a 3-hour stop and a walking field trip. Hear a lecture called "City of Lights."
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Continue on to the Zurich airport hotel. Enjoy some free time for the remainder of the afternoon. Your program staff will give you additional ideas for activities and what to see and do in Zurich.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Hotel Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 14: Departures
(Sunday, September 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Hotel shuttle to the airport. "AUF WIEDERSEHEN!"
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Appenzell Vogel Museum and Visitor's Center
The Vogel Museum and Visitor's Center is a testament to Alfred Vogel, a herbalist who moved to Appenzell in 1932 and purchased what is now the museum and garden in 1937. Take in the stunning garden and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
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.

Suggested Reading List


A Farewell to Arms


Author: Ernest Hemingway


Description: Set in snowy Switzerland and the rainy Italian Lake Country during World War I, this semi-autobiographical novel chronicles the romance between a British nurse and an American ambulance driver.



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Hotel du Lac


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Insight Guide Switzerland


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Killing Dragons, The Conquest of the Alps


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Description: Fleming spins lively tales of man against nature in this entertaining history of the eccentrics, adventurers and publicity-hounds who sought to conquer the Alps, including Whymper and his first ascent of the Matterhorn (where four of the seven-man team perished).



La Place de la Concorde Suisse


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Description: In the company of a Swiss patrol leader on a training mission, McPhee deploys his usual insight and wonderful prose on the phenomenon of the army of Switzerland.



Scrambles Amongst the Alps: In the Years 1860-69


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Switzerland Map


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Description: A colorful, shaded relief map of Switzerland at a scale of 1:400,000.



The Walk


Author: Susan Bernofsky (Translator), Robert Walser


Description: In this classic novella by the Swiss modernist, freshly translated, Walser writes that "it is on walks that the lore of nature and the lore of the country are revealed, charming and graceful, to the sense and eyes of the observant walker."



Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe


Author: Andrew Cleave


Description: Featuring color photographs of commonly encountered species in the field and garden.



Xenophobe's Guide to the Swiss


Author: Paul Bilton


Description: This irreverent pocket guide to cultural awareness is both insightful -- and entertaining.





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