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Old 22.02.2008, 16:36
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Le Grand St. Bernard

This might seem very early to plan out but I would just like to get an idea if I am on the right track with things....

Alrightty, So here it is:

I want to visit the grand st. Bernard pass in late August (I am in love with the place after I saw several photos of it, the quiet and tranquil atmosphere is just amazing).

At the moment, I have the following in mind;

Friday morning (5am?): depart Basel ---> Montreux-Vevey (night @youth hostel)

Saturday Morning (5am?): Montreux--->St. Bernard
St. Bernard--->Martigny (night @YH)
Sunday Morning: Martigny--->Aigle
Aigle--->Delemont
Delemont-->Basel (by 11:30pm)

So, how feasible you guys think this is?
Whats the best way to go about ticket-wise? pass?
Please do suggest any changes to this plan that might benefit moi

And finally, Would anyone be willing to tag along w/ me

Thanks so much for any comment/critiques

*Samie*
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Old 22.02.2008, 18:58
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

Your plan is definitely feasible. After all, Switzerland is not very big.

For ticket options, see the thread: Travel Passes for Visitors.

Here's one suggestion regarding your route. You could make it an even more fantastic and memorable trip by not coming back the same way. Go all the way over the Gd St Bernard pass to Aosta, then head up the Aosta valley and travel via several cable cars from there over the Mont Blanc massif and down into Charmonix, France! From Chamonix, there is great train ride to Martigny. It's a route that my wife and I would like to try to do some time this summer.
This site has info on some on the cable cars, and if you click on the "Aiguille du Midi" link half-way down the right-hand side of that page, you'll see a graphic containing the route over the massif.

This would probably take an extra day, be quite a lot more expensive, and figuring out all of the transport in 3 different countries would be a bit complex, but that is all part of the fun! Anyway, it's just a suggestion because it was something that I was thinking about recently. Unfortunately, the cable car over the top doesn't open until the Spring.

Be warned that there is not too much to see in Martigny or Aigle, they are mainly just useful transport hubs for accessing the mountains. If you're interested in wine, then the chateau in Aigle has a wine museum with lots of artifacts and a little info about the local wine region, plus you get to wander around the pretty castle while seeing the exhibits. I believe Martigny has some Roman stuff, but I haven't explored it much.

Do you realize that you can also stay the night in the hospice (basic mountain hotel) that is at the top of the Gd St Bernard pass? Here is the website of the hospice, and their price list. The hospice has played a very important in the history of the Wikipedia reference-linkGreat_St._Bernard_Pass.
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Old 22.02.2008, 20:10
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

Thanks for writing, Chris.

Suggestion are much appreciated

I shall mention that I will be working as an intern from May-Sept and therefore, I have to get back to Basel by Sunday night so to resume work on Monday.

Hmmm....now that I think about it, I might skip Martigny (assuming there is not much to photograph, which is my primary reason for the trip )

Fri: depart Basel ---> Montreux-Vevey (night @youth hostel)
Saturday: Montreux--->Aigle--->St. Bernard (night @ the Hospice)
Sunday: St. Bernard---> ______ ----> Basel

Help me fill in the blank, someplace which I can see on the way to Basel.


As for Chamonix, I will plan a separate trip just for that! want to hike on the glacier as I did last summer at jungfrau. The same goes for Italy, a sole trip to Milan-Rome is on my to-visit list

Thanks again.

Last edited by Samie; 22.02.2008 at 20:12. Reason: grammer mistake
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Old 22.02.2008, 20:33
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

As usual, ChrisW gives excellent advice

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Go all the way over the Gd St Bernard pass to Aosta, then head up the Aosta valley and travel via several cable cars from there over the Mont Blanc massif and down into Charmonix, France! ...
This would probably take an extra day, be quite a lot more expensive, and figuring out all of the transport in 3 different countries would be a bit complex, but that is all part of the fun!
My guess is that "quite a lot more expensive" is putting it mildly ... so much so that I am not even researching this option for a Courmayeur to Chamonix leg by public transport (interrupting a planned Tour du Mont Blanc).
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I believe Martigny has some Roman stuff, but I haven't explored it much.
There is the well known (thanks to someone here for pointing it out to me!) Fondation Pierre Gianadda, link is to English version of the site.
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Old 22.02.2008, 20:41
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

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Sunday: St. Bernard---> ______ ----> Basel

Help me fill in the blank, someplace which I can see on the way to Basel.
Depends which train you catch, I would suggest spending a couple/few hours in either Fribourg or Neuchatel. However, Neuchatel you could also do on a separate trip combined with a boat trip on the lake there.
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Old 22.02.2008, 20:56
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

Thanks for swift replies! much appreciated.

So, last summer I was a research intern in Heidelberg and thus, had chance to visit Suisse as well. I have been to: Trip I [Zurich, Sargans, Vaduz, St. Margrethen, St. Gallen], Trip II [Neuchatel, Geneva, Bern, Lucern and Grindelwald-Junfraujoch]

And all that with a 4 day flexi pass.

Can Les-diablerets make a good 'day trip' i.e. 4-6 hrs? as I am thinking, moi leave st. Bernard in the morning and thus, have almost all day to go around.

Vielen Vielen Danke! (one of the few phrases I managed to learn while in Heidelberg )
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Old 22.02.2008, 21:12
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

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Sunday: St. Bernard---> ______ ----> Basel

Help me fill in the blank, someplace which I can see on the way to Basel.
The first bus of the day leaves Grand St. Bernard at 10:40, reaching Orsières at 11:30. That limits your ability to do very much that day.

Sightseeing in Sion or Brig might well be an option. In Sion a vineyard tour would be another option, I have no information to share, but the Sion Tourist Office should be happy to help.

More ambitious, and still doable, would be to take a bus from Sion at 14:00 and arrive in Derborance at 15:00, spend an hour and a half there, and take the 16:30 bus which would get you back to Sion at 17:30. Both the bus ride up the valley and the lake at Derborance are well worth the journey.
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Old 23.02.2008, 01:10
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

Les Diablerets is mainly just a winter ski town. In the summer it is pretty dead, but there are some hiking trails heading out from there. The train ride up from Aigle is nice, but nothing spectacular. If you want to do a mountain train from Aigle, the one to Leysin is probably the nicest. Another option would be to change at Montreux onto the train to Montbovon (fantastic climb up above Lake Geneva), then change in Montbovon to Bulle (a pretty scenic ride down the valley), then get a train to Romont to get back onto the main line to head back to Basel.

I assume you'll have a half-fare card while here, so the best thing for tickets would be to buy regular half-fare tickets on Fri' and Sat', then probably a day-pass to get back to Basel on Sunday and take any route that you like.
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Old 23.02.2008, 17:10
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

Hi Chris,

Thanks again for the much informative reply.

I will need to ask you more as the time comes close

so, I was browsing the SBB timetable and it boggles me as to why the train has to travel to Zurich from the southwest (say, Zermatt or Montreux) in order to get to the south west i.e. Tarasp ( I was trying to see if it was feasible to see the schloss there while I was in Montreux but, it seems not :S) thus, making the journey 5-6 hrs long

On the other hand, a trip from Basel-->Tarasp only takes half as much, 3 hrs


Samie
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Old 23.02.2008, 17:22
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

I'm very confused. Are you talking about the castle of Tarasp in the Engadin (Graubunden)? Do you mean the Chateau de Chillon near Montreux ???
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Old 23.02.2008, 17:40
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

Yup, meant the Tarasp castle in the Engadin valley.
Say if I wanted to travel there from Montreux as a day trip...which seems unlikely due to the train going there via Zurich :S
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Old 23.02.2008, 18:57
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

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so, I was browsing the SBB timetable and it boggles me as to why the train has to travel to Zurich from the southwest (say, Zermatt or Montreux) in order to get to the south west i.e. Tarasp. ( I was trying to see if it was feasible to see the schloss there while I was in Montreux but, it seems not :S) thus, making the journey 5-6 hrs long )

On the other hand, a trip from Basel-->Tarasp only takes half as much, 3 hrs
If you're familiar with Swiss geography you'll understand that Montreux and Tarasp are almost at opposite ends of the country and separated (in a straight line) by a few hundred kilometres of Alps. (see aerial view) The few trains that do run through the Alps are very slow. Whether by car or by train, it's much faster to go around.
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Old 23.02.2008, 19:45
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

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Hi Chris,

Thanks again for the much informative reply.

I will need to ask you more as the time comes close

so, I was browsing the SBB timetable and it boggles me as to why the train has to travel to Zurich from the southwest (say, Zermatt or Montreux) in order to get to the south west i.e. Tarasp ( I was trying to see if it was feasible to see the schloss there while I was in Montreux but, it seems not :S) thus, making the journey 5-6 hrs long

On the other hand, a trip from Basel-->Tarasp only takes half as much, 3 hrs


Samie

Oops....just realized a typo...i meant to say, from the southwest of the country i.e. Montreux and the southEAST of the country, that is, Tarasp.

So I wondered, why was it quicker to travel from the northwest corner i.e. Basel to Tarasp then to travel from Montreux to Tarasp which takes longer, according to SSB.

But now it makes sense , as Heather said, perhaps the Kms of alps add to the over area that needs to be covered from Montreux to Tarasp.

Thanks Heather!

Last edited by Samie; 01.03.2008 at 15:10.
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Old 24.02.2008, 20:24
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

Just a quick question;

I will mostly be travelling over the weekends from May-August and since I plan to visit a lot of places all over the country, I was thinking that I might get a general Abonnement card.

However, in that case, i will be in loss as I will only use it (most likely) 8 times a month. I read about having your card suspended/deposited for a duration is one will not be using it...

I didn't get how exactly it works?

Would someone kindly clarify?

Thanks a bunch
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Old 25.02.2008, 09:18
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

You are correct, you can buy the GA for a minimum of four months if you are living here, so you will need to submit a copy of your B-permit to the SBB when you apply, and possibly some other documents. Regarding depositing your GA at the train station, I believe you can do this for a minimum of 7 days at a time, for a maximum of 4 weeks (maybe one month, I'm not sure) during the year. When you collect the card again, you get a money voucher that can be used for future SBB tickets. Since you have an AG you don't need to buy tickets very often, but presumably the voucher can be used for a trip on a mountain railway that is not included in the AG or a trip into another country. Your local train station will be able to fill in any more details or answer other questions you have.

Regarding your other question, you won't be able to visit Tarasp in the same weekend that you visit the Gd. St. Bernard pass. Spend a different weekend exploring the Engadine valley and visit it then.
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Old 01.03.2008, 15:19
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

Many thanks, Chris!
I will bump this forum when the time comes close

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You are correct, you can buy the GA for a minimum of four months if you are living here, so you will need to submit a copy of your B-permit to the SBB when you apply, and possibly some other documents. Regarding depositing your GA at the train station, I believe you can do this for a minimum of 7 days at a time, for a maximum of 4 weeks (maybe one month, I'm not sure) during the year. When you collect the card again, you get a money voucher that can be used for future SBB tickets. Since you have an AG you don't need to buy tickets very often, but presumably the voucher can be used for a trip on a mountain railway that is not included in the AG or a trip into another country. Your local train station will be able to fill in any more details or answer other questions you have.

Regarding your other question, you won't be able to visit Tarasp in the same weekend that you visit the Gd. St. Bernard pass. Spend a different weekend exploring the Engadine valley and visit it then.
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Old 11.05.2008, 17:57
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard

Having spent 7th straight day at work, I want to go out-of-city tomorrow.
Would Laufen be a good country/mountains place to visit as a day trip?
Kindly comment...
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Old 12.05.2008, 08:25
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Re: Le Grand St. Bernard



Hi.

Grellingen in Laufen district would be a good choice, if you like rocks, caves and beautiful vegetation. I find it a nice place to go hiking. There is a rock with emblem of different cantons painted on it. Check this link (thanks again to an EF member, Nathu who sent me this last year). Some caves in there, you can go in ...

http://www.grellingen.ch/portrait/baudenkmaeler.html

If you like hot sunshine and roman ruins, museum ...
Try Augusta Raurica (http://www.augustaraurica.ch/e/menu/index.php). Bus 70 goes from Basel city, I guess. I never however used the bus myself.

Ashish
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