Untours Cafe

You may think things at the Cafe are calm, but back in the kitchen we are cooking up some new stuff!

Wouldn't it would be great if everything about one Untour destination could be reached via one page on the CAFE? We are working on a Destination Tab that links to a page where all the photos, blog posts, discussions etc. about a particular Untour destination -- starting with Switzerland. (other destinations soon afterwards)

On the Switzerland Destination page, we want to somehow put the experience of Switzerland in bottle, and use the picture and the words of Cafe members to create a big WHIFF -- that is the essence about what people love about Switzerland. To that end, we would like your opinion on the following

What is the ESSENCE of the joy of a Swiss Untour?
Here is what our Swiss staff came up with as their ideas . Please post your response by telling us which of these are your favorites, and what other favorites have they missed?

  • boat rides
  • color of the water that changes through the day
  • sunsets on the peaks of the alps
  • bus rides (griesalp?)
  • Feeling of being in a cablecarThe singing at the dinner
  • Picnics by the lake
  • Picniks on the top of the mountains
  • Traditional cheesemaking
  • The "Top of Europe"
  • Alps & Palm trees (side-by side in Ticino)
  • The open markets of Ticino
  • Arriving in Gandria on a boat
  • Hiking along the river in Verzascatal The singing at the dinner
  • Picnics by the lake
  • Picniks on the top of the mountains
  • Traditional cheesemaking
  • The "Top of Europe"

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Wow - I could go on and on with this assignment!!! When I remember Switzerland, I visualize:

. Chalet windowboxes tumbling with colorful flowers

. Walks through tiny mountain villages high in the Haslital where almost no hint of tourism intrudes

. The sound of cowbells on the chairlift ride up near Magisalp

. Hiking along the river in Verzascatal (really agree with this one!!!)

. Picnics on mountaintops (absolutely!)

. An evening walk along the lake in Locarno with all the twinkling lights

. Walking through fields of wildflowers high in the alps

. Finding a perfect mountain top cafe with a view for lunch - for that unusual picnic-less day

. Rustic old mountain huts along the trails

. Yellow wanderweg signs against a blue Swiss sky

. Ridge line walks with views in every direction

. The unique and wonderful sound of Swiss bus horns as they round yet another mountain vista

. Swiss festivals with yodeling and alpenhorns - and flag tossing

. Sunny day views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau from the Grandmother's Walk

. A grotto lunch in the southern alps - with a special roesti

. Picnics of Swiss cheese, local sausages, and dark bread high on a mountaintop

. The incredible mountain beauty of Almendhubel above Murren and the walk back down
A feeling of tranquility as you approach your village. It is wonderful to be "coming home".

The sight of your smiling host family when they meet you at the rail station.

The smell of freshly baked bread when you visit the bakery early in the morning.

Picnics beside the lake shore, or on a scenic boat ride to Spiez.

Watering the geraniums daily and watching them grown abundantly.

Meeting our "old friends" at Orientation and making new ones.

Just mingling with the Swiss people and adjusting to their way of life
it is so smple and unassuming--- their friendliness towards us has
always made us want to come back to Switzerland again and again, we can't wait!

Everyday is a new adventure-- if you get lost you meet someone who can help you
now you have made another friend.

Bus rides through the Furka Pass; with the bus horn sounding tu ta tut!

Supermarkets always surprise us, what a wonderful array of food, breads,
and delicious dessert.

The majestic mountains reaching up into the clouds, a gentle rain as we walk back
to our chalet--- and
the friendly cows who greet us daily as we walk to the train station.

Our neighbor cutting and storing his wood for the winter season; his wife nearby helping him.
Doris covered it all so well. Even if I just stay 'home' for the day I've always enjoyed all the Swiss villages I've stayed in and can enjoy the friendliness in all the shops and the ambience of my own village. However, if there are no cows and cowbells in my village I couldn't stay put too long!
We agree with Shirley, the cows are out enjoying the sunshine; they greet us every morning
on our way to the train station. Riding up on the lifts, looking down on a meadow; you see
more and more cows grazing on the grass--- quite a sight!!
Before my first visit, Switzerland was just snow and skiing to me. Now when I think of Switzerland, many good memories come to mind:

The tinkling of bells as the neighbor's sheep come running to greet you as you return home form a long day.

Picnic's with the birds in front of a million dollar view.

Feeling perfectly comfortable eating outside on our patio when the thermometer reads 47 degrees Fahrenheit.

Having a local ask you for directions.

Having a local request your signature on a petition, which forces you to admit you're not a local.

A perfectly beautiful dessert sitting there in front of you demanding to either be photographed, eaten or both.

Trying to make a decision on what pastries to buy each day.

Flowers glowing in the bright sunshine framing a distant waterfall.

Arriving in Zermatt with 6 inches of snow on the ground, and getting up the next day to bright sunshine and a gold mountain called The Matterhorn.

Having a picnic on the train, knowing that you are off on a new grand adventure you will never forget.

I'll never forget that bathroom in Murren with a door that opens to a majestic view of the Monch, Eiger and Jungfrau.

Homemade bread from your host sharing a spot on our kitchen table with a simple vase filled with just-picked tulips and forsythia twigs.

Telling a local merchant in German "I spreche Deutsch nicht gut!" and having her disagree with me.

This is why it was such a difficult decision to go to Paris this year instead of returning to Switzerland. We yearn to return to our Swiss home and the friendly faces of the locals who have come to know us. There is something magical about Switzerland.....and now it's in our blood.
You are on the right track and posters have added some important notes - here are some of my favorites:

walking a trail with a constantly changing view of the mountains
listening to cowbells as one ascends a lift
walking inside a mountain and feeling the full force of a waterfall
vistas vistas vistas
ease of travel
a coffee creamer made of real chocolate
the refrain of the Swiss bus horn as you wind your way up the mountain pass
an alpine horn concert
going back in history strolling through the Swiss Open Air Museum
experiencing the sights and sounds of a thunderstorm rolling through the Lungern valley
finding picture perfect settings around each bend in the trail
swiss made rosti

The efficiency of being.
The preciseness of time.
The utilization of resources on a micro scale with the
Utmost respect for the environment

The cleanliness of the paths.
The precision of the train system.
The verticalness of the country makes it more intimate and engaging for detailed exploration.
The passion for nature.

The cities, towns and villages decorated for festivities with orderliness and cleverness.
The shop keeper’s windows smartly dressed to keep you walking for days.

The anonymity of the Swiss, their diversity and their barriers all in a little nutshell
The friends I have made.
Each visit leaves me with desire for many returns and I have always at home!
What is the essence of a Swiss Untour? I have to think about that for a while, since it has been well over a decade since my last Swiss Untour. It is hard to separate those things inherent in an Untour here and living here, and there are those things that overlap. First for me, there has to come the mountains. Seeing the alpine range from the plane window can be an awesome sight, and walking among them is almost magical. Then as a close second comes the synchronized and superb mass transient system in every nook and cranny of the country. On a more practical level, I like the rustic coziness of your own Swiss home? Having a place to call home with a native family nearby is a nice experience. It is pleasant to find out that the Swiss people are warm and open, if you seem interested in them and their country. I have always been impressed by how such a diverse country in culture and language could come together in a happy fusion. The solidarity of the whole population when some region is in trouble cannot be matched. The hiking trails are impressive and populated by far more Swiss than tourists. A restaurant on almost every summit is a nice touch too. The absolute freedom to do what and when you choose, no matter if it is an overnight on a mountain top one night or another day spent in a famous Swiss city cannot compare with any other travel. Finally, when you leave, you find that you may well have friends at the train station to wave goodbye. In between arrival and departure, one has gained a wealth of new experiences.
Here are a few things that I think of when I think Swiss tour:

§ The flowers on display on houses and almost everywhere else

§ Cows decorated with flowers coming down from the Alps

§ Train rides to almost anywhere

§ Hiking in the Alps

§ Vermicelles

§ Rivella
After looking at the previous responses it seems like everything is pretty well covered but we will summarize what comes to mind for us as the essence of the joy of a Swiss Untour.

- Meeting new and old friends at the train station and seeing on trains, at restaurants, etc during our stay.
- The welcoming hosts at the train station.
- Having a "home again" feeling after seven trips to Switzerland
- Hearing the cow bells on the alps.
- The over whelming feeling of the Eiger.
- Wonderful hikes and the beauty of the mountains, particularly the Grandmother's walk and the Eiger Trail.
- Wonderful dependable transportation system
- Returning to our apartment each evening to a comfortable environment.
- Looking forward to planning the next days activity
- Learning another culture.
Bob & Barbara Eslinger
So I took a little trip back to 2004 and our trip to Switzerland via my photos and here is what I found in my memory:

Experiencing the best first trip to Europe that you could ever have!

Being surrounded by natural beauty of the Swiss Alps, of Swiss Lakes, of Swiss towns and of the Swiss people.

Viewing a bit of Heaven on the Jungfrau as you stand at the Top of the World.

Disbelief that you are actually hiking through the Swiss Alps instead of viewing a magnificent painting.

Feeling like you stepped into a scene from Heidi and Sound of Music at the same time.

Hopping off a bus to catch a train to take a cable car up a mountain and then down again to take a train to a boat for a ride on a lake and never have to wait very long in between. Yes, experiencing the best transportation system in the World!

Being a photographer in a place that calls to have its picture taken in every direction.

A most unforgettable cog wheel train ride up up up to the Brienzer Rothorn.

Hearing the roar of Trummelbach Falls as you view it inside the mountain.

Standing by a church in Zermatt and watching the unveiling of the Matterhorn before your very eyes on a cloudy day.

Staying in an adorable Swiss Chalet apartment with views of the Alps and the kindest hosts you could have.

Feeling like you have come home even though you have never been here before.

Mountains and Alps!!!!

Kid and family friendly

Hiking and Biking everywhere.

No driving needed! Set your watch by the trains.

Bread, cheese and chocolate.

Gipfeli (croissants) mmmmmm!

Home of my ancestors



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