Greetings from Switzerland
We flew from Toronto to Zurich with Air Canada on a 787, the same type of aircraft that I recently flew to Kenya on. It’s really is an exceptional aircraft. The seating configuration is a comfortable 3-3-3.
Most of my group left their cars at the Hilton Toronto Airport as they will stay there for one night stay on the return – all included!
After I made sure everyone was checked in I joined the gang at the Plaza Premium Lounge for beverages and a variety of food items. I especially enjoyed the fresh pasta bar.
We departed at 6:30pm – the flight was full. Service was very good on the flight. I sat next to an interesting chap from Ottawa who is a professor at Ottawa University. It was hard to sleep because our conversation was so intriguing.
Our flight was a relatively short 7.5 hours and was very smooth. Passport control was quick and so was luggage collection.
My favourite Switzerland guide, Heidi was waiting with open arms to greet us. Heidi has become a wonderful friend. She has even come to Canada to visit.
Heidi added some surprise stops on our journey to Lucerne. First to a beautiful Zurich lookout and even though we were in the middle of the city, there were sheep grazing. We also made stops in small rural towns so we could visit two unique churches – one was a smaller chapel built next to a scenic lake and the other one was built using marble walls – stark but stunning.
Our journey to the top of Mount Pilatus was so much fun. We traveled on the steepest cogwheel railway in the World to the top. It was commissioned in 1889 and has a gradient of up to 48%.
When we arrived at the top of the World, Heidi arranged for special performances just for us – yodeling and an alphorn demo – this horn is still used by mountain dwellers.
Our welcome luncheon was served in the fine-dining restaurant on the top of this special mountain. The highlight was definitely the delicious chocolate cake because Heidi arranged for a special, “Travel With Bradley” topping.
When we returned to Lucerne we visited the exceptional, Lion Monument, which is the most photographed in the country.
We enjoyed a little rest at the Radisson Blu Hotel which is perfectly located. I always house my groups at this 4 star hotel. The beds are so comfy and the bathrooms and showers are oversize. Like all Radisson Blu properties it has a modern vibe to it and the breakfast spread is superb.
Dinner was in the hotel restaurant – of course Europeans dine late but we were tired after a day of traveling so I made sure we had an early dinner time. What an excellent 3 course dinner and our servers all worked hard to make the evening perfect.
Yesterday was a great day – the weather was perfect – shorts and t-shirts were the ideal dress – very summer like.
After breakfast Heidi met us and we started a city tour. Of course we especially enjoyed our stroll over the towns famous wooden bridge. The towns cheese festival was going on and the complimentary cheese fondue samples were outstanding.
We finished our walking tour at Pier One where we boarded a beautiful boat that holds 700 for our afternoon cruise of Lake Lucerne. We had reservations in the 1st class dining room for our luncheon and enjoyed choice of menu. My passengers remarked how expensive the choices are but we are in Switzerland where everything is pricey. This is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. Our 3 course lunch ran over $100.00 per person without beverages. The cruise rate was on top of this – $45.00 but of course this was all included. The lunch was delicious and was served at a leisurely pace as we admired the stunning scenery – beautiful alpine farms along with the greenest grass.
After lunch there was time to shop for souvenirs. I have a number of shoppers on this tour and they were quick to grab as much Swiss chocolate as their suitcases could handle.
The streets were packed with Saturday shoppers. I have been here many times but it was my first time in the Globus Store and already I can’t wait to return…..
Dinner was a fun event at a local family run entertainment establishment which is a must visit while in Lucerne. My guests always love this cultural experience. The band was entertaining. Their show very authentic. I haven’t danced as much in years. The food delicious especially the rosti potatoes!
It was a refreshing 10 minute stroll back to our hotel. It was interesting seeing all the young people partying next to the large orchestra hall with bottles of alcohol surrounding them – this is allowed.
You know this is a very safe destination as we saw hundreds of bicycles and next to nobody locks them.
After breakfast we met our driver for our transfer to the river cruise port in Basel, Switzerland. He drove us around this, his home city which is known for its pharmaceutical industries. The pedestrian-only old town is charming but since its Sunday no stores are open.
Lunch was served when we arrived on the UniWorld Antionette. We enjoyed a leisurely meal – the vegetable soup hit the spot and my group is already addicted to the homemade ice cream!
This ship is very elegant. The massive blue chandelier that hangs as you enter the vessel sets the atmosphere. The public areas are decorated using shades of green – plenty of velvet.
Our staterooms are also very elegant – you can’t sleep on a more comfortable mattresses – I hear the UniWorld mattresses are a whopping $50,000 USD!
UniWorld is consistently rated the travel industries best River Cruise Company.
At initial glance there is a wide variety of age groups on board – even a few children. I think most are from the US.
Enjoying tea time while listening to the young, talented piano player in the main lounge. The Grand Piano is beautiful sounding.
The large pool on-board looks inviting.
My passengers are SO excited to be onboard – really to start our Rhine Cruise! You should be with us!