The Expensive Alps of Switzerland - Day 24

Andermatt Travel Blog

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The morning of August 15, friday, we arrived sleepily to Zurich, Switzerland. From here we caught a train to Luzerne, figuring we'd try to get into the mountains a little bit. Finding this to be another big city, we sat down at a computer and searched for small towns in the alps. We found an online map and picked a random town called Andermatt, which has a population of 1200 (perfect, right?).

This day was particularly rainy and foggy, and our hopes of a majestic train ride through the mountains were not realized. It was still fun in a more ethereal way, as you could barely catch glimpses of nearby mountains and other features through the thick fog. And when we arrived in Andermatt, we hardly were treated to a grand view of the surrounding mountains, due to the crappy weather. But we needed to find a place to stay, so who has time for scenery anyways?

We quickly discovered that our perfect little town that was randomly selected is a SUPER expensive little ski resort/summer hiking spot. We stopped into many a hotel and inn, only to be stupefied by the prices. At the first couple of spots we figured the language barrier was in effect, and we couldn't quite understand their accents. But alas, our ears didn't lie to us. Eventually we found a cute little hotel that was relatively (and I use this word with much emphasis) inexpensive. The room was absolutely tiny, and the bathroom and shower were down the hall. Dinner that night was equally pricey, but we couldn't find anything reasonable at all. So we ate light.

The next day, luckily, was much better visibility. It was cloudy again, but we were able to at last see some truly glorious mountains. Our town was snugly nestled between picturesque peaks, complete with snow and everything. Maybe the view has a little bit to do with the prices here. After stuffing ourselves silly at the complementary continental breakfast (and stuffing our pockets with extra crackers), we set out on a hike. It didn't take us long to realize this was going to be difficult going, as the altitude as well as the incline were kicking our butts. But we made it to a scenic little waterfall, took some pictures, and promptly turned around. Going down is easier.

After walking around the town a little bit, we decided we had a nice time but were ready to go to another place where real people can afford to visit. We took the train back out of the mountains (and this time we definitely were treated to some spectacular scenery) to the city of Basel, Switzerland. This city is situated exactly at the trifecta border of Switzerland, Germany and France. Here we ate dinner, walked around a bit, and made our way eventually back to the train station. We had made reservations to take the overnight train to Amsterdam. This time we reserved a private cabin for just the two of us, which was a bit expensive, but we slept really well.

Overall, we were in Switzerland for only two days. It was quite nice, and the mountains were spectacular, but be prepared to spend some serious money in this country. We learned in Basel that everywhere in Switzerland seemed to be quite pricey, not just our little touristy mountain town. But the town definitely took the cake: a small side of fries was 9.50 Swiss Francs. One Swiss Franc is essentially worth the same as a dollar! 

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photo by: joesu