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Old 16.07.2015, 02:40
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Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

Hi everyone, My parents, in the mid-70s, are coming to stay with me in Neuhatel for about 3 weeks this September. One of them has a health condition which limits their ability to walk long distances, and particularly walking uphill.

I plan to take them to Lucerne and go for a long boat ride on a nice day. I'm also thinking of the Glacier Express or similar. I would love to take them to Gimmelwald, but as I recall there's a fair amount of up-hill hiking to get from the cable car station to the village - but I really want them to see that part of CH.

So any suggestions for low-impact sight-seeing in CH in September are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
S
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Old 16.07.2015, 08:58
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Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

Ok, I'm probably spelling places all wrong but here are some things we did with my FIL.

Take the train or drive to Lauterbrunnen and then train to Kleine Scheidegge at the base of the Jungfrau.

The Aareschlucht near Meirringen is flat - we took my fil there (he was in his 80's) and also the Reichenbach falls.

Montreaux is a nice flat walk if you stay along the lake.

We drove along some of the passes, but my FIL had trouble with the altitude (this was later when he wasn't as well).

If you have a car, you can take drives and stop for coffee, etc. When we lived near Bern, we drove all around the Gornegrat, into Fribourg and all around the Jura. Not all in the same day.
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Old 16.07.2015, 09:23
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

Thanks Edot, these are all great suggestions. We might rent a car for part of their stay. I thought of Montreaux as well, particularly as there's an escalator connecting the SBB station to the lakefront, and I think Chillon is doable if we grab the bus from there.
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Old 16.07.2015, 10:12
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

If you're going to use public transport, look into a half tax card for them. I believe i got my sister one when she visited - chf 100 for 4 weeks - it was worth it! (This was a few years ago).

Have fun!
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Old 16.07.2015, 11:17
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

Do consider renting a car if your travel would mean multiple connections.

While MIL and FIL enjoyed sightseeing on the boats and the panorma trains, we found that public transportation in general was too strenuous for them. They were in poor health and unused to taking public transportation. The stress of making connections alone took away from their enjoyment of any outing.

MIL couldn't make the high step on the older trains, crowds pushing them out of the way frightened them, the connection times were too tight for their slower pace, etc. Every connection meant waiting for the next train, sometimes an extra hour, which in itself was tiring.

MIL and FIL enjoyed their sight seeing far more if we drove to an embarkment point so that they only had to make the one connection per trip.

That said, boat trips were a huge hit. Once on the boat, coffee and conversation amidst glorious scenery (and easy photo opportunities!) at a leisurely pace were their favorite 'nature' outings.

One regret - I wish I had insisted on renting a wheel chair or electric cart. MIL was adamant that she would not use one, but it would have made their trip so much easier. Coming from pancake-flat Indiana they had not understood how tiring our hilly landscape could be - even short walks were at times too much for MIL. There are many wheel chair accessible trails that we could have taken if MIL had agreed.

Here's a list of some accessible trails:
http://www.mis-ch.ch/en/travel-info/...e-free-routes/


Hope your parents enjoy their holiday!
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Old 16.07.2015, 12:14
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

Been there, done that.
Even stretches which I thought were as flat as a pancake were uphill to my mother with her breathing problems (coming from 10m above sea level maybe didn't help either).
If you hire a wheelchair and are not used to pushing one, have a good look at how best to lift the front wheels at tiny steps to avoid tipping the poor parent out and try to watch the surface ahead. The 'sitter' gets shaken about quite a bit on 'wheel-chair suitable' gravel paths which can be quite unpleasant and watch that you don't whack their feet when turning sharply. Folk used to their independance don't like being in a wheel-chair at the best of times and being bashed and shaken is not fun. And if you are chatting to them, try to get down a bit - necks ache from looking up and seeing a 'behind' view of everyone isn't nice either. If the path was really smooth I used to push one handed and walk beside the chair to chat. Didn't work with MIL who was 100kg but worked with my Mother who was only about 70kg.
I agree totally about ship journeys. Especially folk who come from no-lake non-mountain areas really appreciate the scenery.

P.S. And if they are not coming until September try to look at places yourself beforehand if you can. There is a LOT of difference between 'ok for wheelchairs' when the folk who decide don't push one. And 12% is not my idea of wheelchair friendly!

Even if you are not normally a helpless female, it is sometimes useful to look like one. At least when I've been there, on chairlifts and the like, the attendants can be quite helpful if you make it clear that you need assistance. I'm prepared to use elbows (gently, mine are fortunately quite boney!) to make a path for folk who are not as steady on their feet as I am.

Hope you have a good time - and more power to your elbow!
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Old 16.07.2015, 13:58
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

We've always found that a long round-trip by boat on Lake Zurich is a total hit with visitors


https://www.zsg.ch/en/long-round-trips-from-zurich.html


Embark at Bürkliplatz with a sensational panorama and enjoy the ride to Rapperswil. Have lunch on the lakeside in Rapperswil, then take the boat back. Great day trip!


Trains from Neuchatel to Zurich and back: http://fahrplan.sbb.ch/bin/query.exe...AI=JS!ajax=yes!&
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Old 16.07.2015, 15:54
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

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... I think Chillon is doable if we grab the bus from there.
The castle? Sorry but I would not recommend it for someone that has problems walking uphill. The stairs are narrow and steep in places. My mom generally doesn't have any problems with walking, but her joints were not feeling too great after going up and down all those stairs (and she's younger than your parents). +1 for the shores of Montreux. Very pretty and flat.
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Old 16.07.2015, 16:44
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

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I thought of Montreaux as well, particularly as there's an escalator connecting the SBB station to the lakefront, and I think Chillon is doable if we grab the bus from there.
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The castle? Sorry but I would not recommend it for someone that has problems walking uphill. The stairs are narrow and steep in places.
That's exactly what I meant about casing the joint beforehand. Check out the site of the places you want to go to. Email them or phone them if you have specific questions.
Chillon Castle
And check out this too: "entry refused to anyone who arrives topless, in bathing suits and/or bare feet" so watch it!
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Old 16.07.2015, 17:32
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

We have had three sets of guests who were in their 70's. The boat trip from Lausanne to Evian is great. They loved it. The waterfronts in Ouchy (Lausanne) and in Evian are both lovely and flat. Be advised, the shopping street in Evian is one block up the hill, so they may not be able to do it.

I don't recommend the boat trip from Nyon to Yvoire because there is a very, very steep hill once you arrive in Yvoire.

They liked the chocolate factory in Broc and the cheese factory in Gruyere. The walk from the public parking in Gruyere was impossible for them, so I explained to the parking patrol that I had elderly guests and he let my husband drive all the way up top and drop them off. They loved Gruyere but couldn't make it all the way up to the chateau, but it didn't matter because they were tired by then anyway.

They all liked Montreux even though they had no idea who Freddie Mercury was.

My aunt (76) requested a short trip to Italy because she had never been. Nightmare. She literally passed out in the back seat of the car at around 1700 meters, (I thought she was sleeping), completely missed the dogs at Grand Saint Bernard and didn't come to until we got to Aoste. She was sick for two days.

They all loved Lyon. They all said, "this is just like Paris!" (None of them had ever been to Paris). The main place in Lyon and all of the little side streets surrounding it were just enough for one day's adventure.

I have more ideas but this post is getting a little long. The key is PATIENCE. A "hill" that you or I might not even notice can be daunting to them.

P.S. My husband and I have a motto regarding guests: "We shall send no one home in a pine box." This is our overarching goal for planning activities whether the guest is 7, 37 or 77. If the activity looks like it might end up involving a pine box, we nix it.
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Old 16.07.2015, 18:10
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

Which reminds me.... The first or second time my FIL visited, he had a hard time with the altitude - we lived at 550meters, he lived in the Netherlands so was possibly used to less than sea level. He had an episode of congestive heart failure and had to be hospitalized. It was just a day or two, he required an adjustment of his meds. He was very impressed with Swiss health care - and he was in a tiny hospital in Muensingen.

Anyway, you might be prepared for this anyway, but make sure your visitors have all their meds and info where you can find it.

In the U.S., my elderly aunts have a handicapped car tag. My Dad had one too and would bring it with him when he came to visit so we could park easily for him (in the U.S.) I don't know if a temporary one is available here for visitors.

I know we took my FIL to Gruyere and like The Spouse, the parking attendant let us drop him off and go back down to park.
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Old 16.07.2015, 18:45
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

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We have had three sets of guests who were in their 70's.

I don't recommend the boat trip from Nyon to Yvoire because there is a very, very steep hill once you arrive in Yvoire.

...that I had elderly guests and he let my husband drive all the way up top and drop them off.

My aunt (76) requested a short trip to Italy because she had never been. Nightmare.
You guys are getting me seriously worried you know.
My daughter's idea of a day out with me recently was biking over the Ächerli Pass. Of course I have an e-bike and she got hold of a second akku for me, but all the same, it is 1000m uphill in the 14 kms to the top and the ebike only helps you along, you still have to pedal all the way. And Mr.L's idea of fun with me was to go to Basel by train and cycle the 73 kms back to Koblenz. I'm getting really concerned about my next birthday...
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Old 16.07.2015, 19:11
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

Dear Longbyt! Not you! Never! I'm talking about groups of elderly Americans. A whole 'nother animal!

I am 53 and I told my mother that our summer vacation this year was driving through the Norwegian fjords and hiking every day for 10 days. She thinks I am like a triathlete. (I promise you, I am not.) But the hikes to the tops of the "mountains" above the fjords to get the good photos are like 600-700 meters. Jeez, I climb that just to get from the Coop to my house.

It's very sad to say, but the average exercise that elderly Americans get is walking down the driveway to the mailbox every day. Everything, literally, is done in a car.
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Old 16.07.2015, 19:25
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

Whew. Thanks. I can breathe again.
Back on topic - I appreciate that a load of folks, through no fault of their own, have a lot of health problems and I have every sympathy with them. Switzerland really isn't an ideal country for those with heart or lung problems.

Slowly things are getting more 'disabled friendly' but it will take a long, long time before basic things get changed. As I said on here before, one of the reasons the Swiss Wheelchair athletes are so good over longer distances, is that they get lots of practice getting from one Disabled WC to the next.
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Old 16.07.2015, 19:33
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

How about a Post Bus Tour? The Alpine Passes one is a great trip with several stops along the way

http://www.postbus.ch/pag-startseite...ssefahrten.htm
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Old 16.07.2015, 22:41
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

Thanks to all for the great suggestions. Much appreciated.
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Old 16.07.2015, 22:50
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

You don't have to go far- trake the train to Champ du Moulin and walk a bit up along the Gorges de l'Areuse and have lunch at the lovely La Truite restaurant. Then go to Môtiers and visit the really interesting Maison de l'Absinthe Museum, and wal the lovey streets- only minutes from the train station. Go up to Chaumont on the funicular for great views of the lake and Alps and have lunch at the restaurant. Go to Bern for the day- all mainly on the flat- and take the boat to lovely meadieval Morat(Murten) a for a stroll up the main street.
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Old 16.07.2015, 23:15
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

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ally want them to see that part of CH.

So any suggestions for low-impact sight-seeing in CH in September are greatly appreciated.

I plan to take them to Lucerne and go for a long boat ride on a nice day.
What we did in a similar situation was take the cable car up Pilatus (via bus from Luzern), then the cog railway down and the boat lazily around the lake with a cup of tea or two and back to Luzern for dinner.

Maximal experience with really no walking.
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Old 17.07.2015, 02:56
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

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What we did in a similar situation was take the cable car up Pilatus (via bus from Luzern), then the cog railway down and the boat lazily around the lake with a cup of tea or two and back to Luzern for dinner.
Maximal experience with really no walking.
Sounds amazing. Was this a full-day (morning and afternoon) excursion, starting and ending in Luzern?
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Old 17.07.2015, 10:07
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Re: Good trips for retired couple (health problem)

Not for Swissward, who knows what the problem with the parents is, but 'I cannot walk very far' can mean anything. Heart trouble, lung trouble, hip pain, knee problems, or just lack of training.
The Spouse mentions a problem with the altitide which may have to limit Alpine trips, even in a cable-car or a post bus. A friend of mine had a stroke while still young and can walk up gentle hills with a stick quite well, IF the surface is smooth. Downhill however is a problem whether it is smooth or not.
And don't forget, even if heart and lungs are fine, from the age of about sixty upwards it takes longer to 'get going'. Pulse rate is down and the blood circulation in the leg muscles is still in 'watching TV mode' and hasn't increased yet. The first ten minutes or so can give the impression one is totally incapable of managing a longer walk or a bike-ride. Take it really easy to start with. Give yourself time to enjoy the wonderful countryside.
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