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June 28, 2014

#SwitzerlandVacations Friends Travel JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Switzerland

ABOUT

Switzerland is a world capital of one of humanity’s great indulgences: chocolate. At the same time it epitomizes discipline and punctuality with its watches and trains. You can battle nature’s elements to ascend some of the most challenging mountains in the world; or simply ride a train to get a great view of it. It’s a land of flower-filled mountain meadows and sophisticated cities, world economic and science summits and the art of blowing the ludicrously long alpenhorn used to call cows.

The beauty of its Alps define Switzerland. It’s not just their snow-capped peaks, it’s also their tumbling waterfalls, lush, green valleys and awe-inspiring vistas. But there’s a softer side–picturesque Alpine villages with little cottages adorned with flower boxes and the tinkling of cowbells in mountain pastures. It is packed with famous peaks; the Bernese Oberland is home to three major mountains, the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, alone. But it’s not all mountains–there are palm trees in some parts of Switzerland and it’s as famed for its beautiful lakes as for its mountains.

Switzerland is made up of 26 regions, or cantons, some of which speak German, some French, some both and one that speaks Italian. In general, the west of Switzerland is Francophone, while north and center are Germanic, and include the capital of Bern, and Lucerne and Zurich. The south speaks Italian.

It’s a year round destination–a mecca for hiking, biking, boating, hang-gliding, you name it, the sport is here — for summer. Winter there’s skiing, both downhill and cross country, climbing, glaciers to walk on and cities to enjoy. Flowers start blossoming in early spring; fall colors are mellow. Its resort towns are icons like St. Moritz, Grindelwald, Zermatt, Verbier and Davos–and have long been the getaway for the the rich and famous. Its major cities are destinations in and of themselves. Geneva has quaint old town, beautiful lake (you can catch and fish and have a chef prepare it for you that night) and great shopping. Zurich, too, has a beautiful old town as well as a much more urbane and sophisticated side.

There’s more to dining out in Switzerland than chocolate and fondue–although both are great. Swiss cuisine incorporates much of its neighbors and its multiple heritage-French, Italian and German. One thing about the Swiss, however, is that they are passionate about their food, so you should try regional specialities, recognizing that they’ll feature the best of local produce, be it fish, sausage, meat, pastries, cheeses, tarts or other foods.

Switzerland is easy to get to; both Zurich and Geneva are major air gateways and the airports are integrated into the much vaunted Swiss rail system. Both cities are also linked by high-speed rail to nearly a dozen countries. But what you really must do in Switzerland is enjoy its great transportation system. Traveling by train in Switzerland is very picturesque. You can take the famed Glacier Express, a vineyard express and even a chocolate train. Trains connect you to major cities and to remote villages easily and conveniently. There’s also its postal bus system and lake ferries to travel about on.

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March 30, 2014

#SwitzerlandVacationsFriendsTravel #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365

Filed under: Alps Hiking,Alps Skiing,SKI Swiss Alps,Swiss Rail,SWITZERLAND — switzerlandwithfriendstravel @ 9:35 pm

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World’s Most Amazing Views!

The Matterhorn

Why It’s Amazing: Five hundred mountain climbers have died attempting to reach the rocky 14,692-foot summit of Switzerland’s majestic Matterhorn. The snow-covered, sawtoothed peak has a pyramidal summit that has become the textbook illustration of alpinism’s golden age and all its triumphs.

Secret Viewing Spot: Ascend Gornergrat by railway and exit at quiet Rotenboden station. Walk down the three-kilometer path to Lake Riffelsee, which on clear days offers majestic reflections of the mountain.

When to Go: The trail to Lake Riffelsee is open from July to October; the later you go, the less crowded it will be.

One of many choices for Group or Individual Travel.

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December 19, 2010

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JESS Kalinowsky

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August 11, 2008

THE ENGADINE TREK, Switzerland with JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365

THE ENGADINE TREK

This week long inn-to-inn hiking tour covers the length of the Inn River Valley from near the Austrian border to that of Italy. Staying in the most charming villages and quaint inns, you will pass from the gentler terrain of the lower Engadine with its quaint old villages, through the upper Engadine with its majestic, glaciated peaks and into the wild and dramatic Val Bregaglia with the soaring granite spires of the Sciora range.The villages along the way range from the tiny antique villages of Guarda and Soglio, both preserved as national treasures, to the pristine Sils Maria and the pleasant resort town of Pontresina. The hiking follows ancient footpaths linking tiny villages, ruins and lively towns, climbs to passes and summits, and traverses the valley above sparkling lakes before plunging into the Val Bregaglia and finishing in the medieval hill town of Soglio.Comfort, Effort and Terrain of Guided European TripITINERARY
Day 1 Arrive Zurich. Transfer by train to Scuol. Meet group for dinner. Overnight in a charming inn in two converted 17th C. patrician homes.

Day 2 We ride the Motta Naluns cable car and enjoy a level walk to Prui, and walk deep into the Val Tasna. After a picnic we continue to Ardez and the ancient hill town turned artist colony, Guarda. Overnight in a quaint inn in a restored 16th C. home.

Day 3 We ascend a remote valley linking tiny hamlets to a beautiful vantage point over the snowy Bernina range and the broad upper Engadine valley. Overnight in a welcoming first class inn in the preserved village of Zuoz.

Day 4 We ascend the remote Val Champagna to Muottas Muragl. A lovely traverse above the Val Bernina offers the finest views of the Engadine, Piz Palu and Bernina. Overnight in a small historic inn.

Day 5 A moderately strenuous day through larch forests and high meadows provides a sensational opportunity to view the sparkling lakes of the Engadine. Lunch at the fabulous Hahnensee is followed by a lakeside walk to Sils Maria. Overnight in a gracious, old world hotel.

Day 6 The most strenuous day of the trek is to the Piz Lunghin (summit optional). The lake below the summit is one of finest viewpoints of the stunning, steep terrain of the Bregaglia. We return to Sils and our elegant, old world hotel.

Day 7
Following a descent of the Maloja Pass, we strike out on a fabulous rough-hewn Roman road, an ancient path connecting long-deserted farming hamlets of the Val Bregaglia. The magnificent granite spires of the Bregaglia tower all around us as we wind our way into the antique, circular village, Soglio. Overnight in a charming country inn.

Day 8
Depart. Typically, same day flights can not be met in Zurich.

Please let us know if you would prefer to fly First Class, Business Class, or Coach from your hometown to Switzerland. FriendsTravel offers the best available rates possible!

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THE ENGADINE

Perhaps the greatest touristic region of Switzerland is that of the Engadine. Canton Graubunden in the southeastern portion of Switzerland is an intriguing corner to explore, not only for the hiking but for the culture, architecture and ambiance. The broad valley of the En or Inn River is home to a number of villages and towns that are perfect hiking bases. The southern, or upper Engadine is better known and offers a highly developed trail and transportation system. Mountain restaurants and berghauses and huts dot the mountains and provide sustenance and shelter for the long distance hiker and daytripper.
We recommend avoiding overdeveloped and overpriced St. Moritz to enjoy one or more of the smaller resorts. Pontresina offers access to fabulous trails of all difficulties and a well developed lift system. Tiny, sleepy Sils Maria is a jewel of a village located on a plain between two sparkling lakes studded with brilliant wind-surfers. Samedan is a larger town, bustling with contemporary life, free from tourists and filled with intact examples of Engadine architecture. From any of these locations you can enjoy fabulous hiking with views of the snowy Bernina massif, glacier clad peaks, and the lakes along the valley floor.
Further south and below the tortuous Maloja Pass (and beyond the headwaters of the Inn or En River, so not technically a part of the Engadine) is the Bergell or Bregaglia region which offers remote and beautiful hiking with views of the granite spires of the Sciora Range. Here lies the wonderful village of Soglio, clinging to the side of the valley like an Italian hilltown. Its cobbled streets, stone construction, circular plan and church complete with campanile have qualified it as a national treasure, protected against development. Though a somewhat inconvenient base for day hikes, it merits at least a visit from anyone visiting the region and an overnight visit for those with the time to spare.At the northern end of the Inn River valley, the lower Engadine is ringed by the Silvretta range and the Lischana group. Home to numerous, tiny, antique villages, the region is traversed by a long distance panoramic trail. There is excellent moderate walking and some strenuous, longer forays into the higher peaks, but do not expect the lifts, mountain restaurants, or other touristic conveniences of the upper Engadine. Here you will get a chance to see the unique Romansch culture still intact: you will hear and see the language written, observe the architecture unspoiled, meet the people who will greet you with their joyous “allegra!” and walk through villages almost unchanged from the 18th Century.

The regional center of Scuol is a good base and an authentic town with both antique and modern culture and a fabulous new, futuristic spa. The old town has intact examples of regional architecture, a charming covered bridge and a large church where visitors can hear a mass conducted in Romansch. The new town is a fine example of contemporary Swiss life and offers a full range of shops and the ancient “waters”and modern baths– whirlpools, hot tubs and swimming pools– of the spa. Anyone staying overnight in Scuol should visit the baths!

Throughout the region are sprinkled number of sybaritic, first class hotels, and charming and authentic small inns. Tarasp, Ftan, and Guarda give visitors the opportunity to stay in a small village and allow access to some of the region’s hikes. Guarda, in particular, is a gem. It’s 17th Century homes, cobbled streets, communal fountains, and pristine architecture have merited it a spot on the register of national treasures, and on overnight stay will leave you with a sense of having traveled back in time to a simpler era.
To the south is the Swiss National Park which offers longer forays into unspoiled terrain excellent for spotting wildlife and seeing Switzerland as it was before tourism brought alpine club huts, mountain restaurants, lifts, and other amenities into the wilderness. The villages of Zernez, Bever and Zuoz provide convenient access and also have a range of inns from simple to simply fantastic.

#SwitzerlandVacations always neutral, always natural! JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

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SWISSSwitzerland in general
The diversity of the landlocked, mountainous country is the essence of Switzerland and gives the country its unique identity. Still, it is best known for its financial institutions, fine cheeses and chocolate, watch making industry, for its scenery and an excellent network of public transportation.
Capital City: Berne
Major Cities: Baden, Basel, Bellinzona, Bern, Biel, Brig, Chur, Fribourg, Genève, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Lausanne, Locarno, Lugano, Luzern, Martigny, Montreux-Vevey, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Sierre, Sion, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thun, Winterthur, Zug, Zürich
Bordering Countries: Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein
Inhabitants: 7’261’200
Flag: flag
Languages: German, French, Italian, Romansch
Climate: Because of its central position, the weather is influenced by the four main European air currents – from the Atlantic, the eastern continent, the northern subpolar region and the Mediterranen south. The climate is temperate on the Central Plateau, otherwise it differs considerably from region to region.
Landforms: Alps and Pre-Alps cover 60%, Central Plateau 30% and Jura 10% of the country.
Land Area: 41,284 km2
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