Switzerland: Leaving Europe, The Journey Back

Travel Period: 16-20 July 2013

Location: Wengen, Switzerland to Zurich Airport

{Previous Post: Short Exploration of Grindelwald}

[ Morning ]

This is it — Our final day in Europe. The past seven weeks had been a very long, eye-opening and memorable journey for us but well, all good things have to come to an end.

Day5_WengenAlpFromWindow
The Last Day’s Morning View From Our Room

Our itinerary for today:

(1) Check-out from Hotel Edelweiss and walk around Wengen Town for a while

(2) Complete our 3-hour train ride: Wengen –>Lauterbrennun –> Interlaken –> Bern –> Zurich Airport (Zürich Flughafen)

(3) Be on board flight leaving Zurich Airport (departs at 7:05pm) to Frankfurt, then transfer to another flight bound for Singapore

Sounds simple? It seems to be, except that…

– We had to make 4 train transfers along the way (i.e. take 5 different train rides involving Regional and InterCity trains)

– We had to make these transfers while carrying our 7 weeks’ worth of luggage including souvenirs (which is really A LOT!)

– We had to complete all these without any delay (we couldn’t afford to wave our plane goodbye when watching it leave without us)

So… Does our day ahead sound more challenging now? ^^|
(Note to self: Never will I want to attempt something like this again!).

[ Check out and Exploring Wengen Town ]

Although our flight from Zurich Airport would only depart in the evening, we had to start making our way there from Wengen in the late morning since the train journey there would take more than 3 hours.

The night before, we stayed up late to finish packing and sorting out all our luggage (4 luggage bags, 1 hand carry bag, 2 backpacks and 2 laptop bags!) so that no single bag was more than 23 kg in weight. Any excess weight would be penalised with a hefty price. It was like playing Mastermind where we had to find out the correct combination of items to be placed in each luggage after trial and error. We had to borrow a weighing scale from the hotel staff to constantly check the weight after each try.

The check-out process from the hotel in the late morning was smooth, though we were upset that there was no free/cheap ‘transfer’ service provided to bring our luggage to Wengen Train Station (note: There is an upward, long steep slope from the hotel to the station). They could help us transport by buggy but they required a fee which was very expensive (CHF18).

In the end, we decided to make two trips to the station, the first trip consisted of bringing two of the bags there and depositing them in the large lockers at the station. When that was done, we returned to the hotel to bring the remaining bags there.

It was do-able but we ended up with much sweat (despite the cold climate) and aching legs. Not sure if it’s worth all these and saving the money…? I guess we were just indignant about paying so much for a short 7-min drive up the slope.

We wanted to get some last-minute souvenirs from Wengen as we had not stepped foot in town since the first day but we realised that the gift shops are mostly closed on Saturday morning! They would only open in the afternoon. What a disappointment! We regretted not buying more souvenir at Grindelwald the day before! -_-

As we still had time, we walked about and looked at some ponies gazing on the grass.

Day5_WengenTownHorses

When it was time, we headed to the train station, having no idea what awaited us ahead.

Our train arrived and piece by piece, we quickly lifted our luggage up onto the train, attracting attention from our travellers. They must be wondering why we needed so much luggage for the three of us over a short Wengen getaway? Little did they know that these consisted of all our stuff in our 7-week stay in Europe!

We were really happy to get a compartment for cyclists all to ourselves so we could place the luggage without obstruction. The seats are normally folded up and when you need to sit on one, you just pull down the seat.

Day5_DepartureLuggage
…plus two laptops and two backpacks!

Before we came to Switzerland, we did consider sending some of our stuff by mail to home at Burghausen. However, the largest box they allowed was far too small and the postage (even for that small size) was very expensive. In the end, we bought another luggage bag to spread out our luggage at the town instead, which was cheaper than the postage fees.

[ Rush, Rush, Rush ]

Every train transfer was a challenge for us, as transfer times were usually around 15 minutes. This would be sufficient for other times but with so many luggage to carry along with us, this time period became hardly enough! There was once where the train was supposed to be leaving but the kind usher at the platform waited for us to board first after she spotted us heading over. Phew!

Though slopes were present between platforms, the luggage were too many and heavy for us, especially when we didn’t have the luxury of pushing/pulling them slowly. We did try using the trolleys present at some platforms but somehow, both the Euro and Swiss coins just didn’t fit in and we just gave up on using them after some tries. These were really nightmarish times when time wasn’t on our sides and fate-changing decisions had to be made within short periods.

Things got so stressful at some stages when our opinions differed, resulting in some unhappy moments. Fortunately, we didn’t let them hinder our journey in the end and most parts of the journey were still peaceful and smooth.

Taking the InterCity (IC) trains provided more comfort and luxury, where we had ample space for our luggage, tables to use and even power sockets for charging our electronic devices!

Day5_ChargingonSwissTrain
After what seemed like days, we finally arrived at our destination — Zurich Airport Station! We were overjoyed to have reached the station in time and safely!

[ Zurich Airport ]

Day5_ZurichAirportMacDonalds
After checking in our luggage (with a few bags weighing just below the allowable weight limit), we could finally catch a breather and move around at ease without the cumbersome baggage!

We spotted a food court with one of its stalls as MacDonald’s, and rewarded ourselves with a delicious and fulfilling meal (fast food had never tasted so good!) after our long, toiling journey.

We then made our way to the gates and fortunately, the rest of the journey was smooth sailing. The transfer at our transit Frankfurt Airport was also quick and without issues, unlike when we first arrived here. Looks like things did turn to the better in the end and we could finally and safely return to our home after our 7-week absence (I was starting to miss home)!

Day5_ZurichAirportSwissAir

And that sums up our 5 days in Switzerland!

  1. Marie March 13, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    hi guys!

    really thank very much for the detailed blog on the Swiss trip…. it really did great help on my Swiss trip this May for our honeymoon holidays!!!!

    Marie

    1. Vin March 14, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Hi Marie,

      Great to hear from you that our experiences and sharing help!

      Have a great honeymoon ahead!

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