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Old 11-17-2011, 02:28 AM   #16
aussietravellers
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Originally Posted by shushh View Post
Aussietravellers, thank you for sharing so much detail and for the photos. They are so spectacular! I looked it up straight away! Unfortunately, the hotel has a minimum of 10 day stay over Christmas, not sure if we want to stay that long, but will look into it. I really like the sound of Christmas Eve and Christmas day at Zermatt.
You're Welcome. If you need any more info I'm happy to help anytime (and on DLP, we did 8 nights there last trip).

It should be a minimum 5 night stay, that's what it used to be (we'd stay 7). I just checked at http://www.seilerhotels.ch/en/schweizerhof/ (then went to reservation at the top left). The 25th is in blue. If you run your curser over the 25th, it says 5 night minimum. Unless they are upping it for next year They often won't release the following year too early. When you are there over Christmas, many rebook straight away (that's what we always did). A lot of families go back year after year. We used to store things there too, like my Grandmother didn't need her big winter snow boots, so she would leave them there year after year and when we would arrive, they would bring her boots up with her luggage or they would be in the room already. My DS actually walked in Zermatt to for the first time, such great memories there. Such a gorgeous place. Lapland would be amazing though, I would love to spend Christmas there, it would feel like the most real Christmas ever I think.

Decisions Decisions, but the planning is so much fun I think.
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Old 11-17-2011, 03:39 AM   #17
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Oh your trip sounds amazing! woo hoo

We have done lots of Europe trips for Christmas, I just love the feel of Europe at Christmas time.

My favourite places are Vienna, love the Christmas markets and the horse drawn carriages everywhere. The place we had spent Christmas day most often is in Zermatt in Switzerland. Oh I absolutely LOVE it there. You get to it by train as there are not any cars there, they have these funny little electrical cars and horse drawn carriages. It is just magnificant!

We loved DLP too around Christmas time, but boy oh boy was it cold. We were in -15 in Zermatt and it didn't feel as cold as DLP. OMG, one night, we went to a Mickey's Christmas Party and it was so cold, sleeting sideways and just burnt our faces. But they have the best hot chocolate at DLP. I"m not sure if it's because it's so cold, but it's lovely to go into one of the arcades on the side of main street and halfway down there is a window that sells hot chocolate. We spent a lot of time there We didn't walk past without grabbing a hot choc

But it was just beautiful. You will have such a wonderful time. I love Europe in spring and summer, but I think Christmas time is my favourite time to go.
coldest place of our trip hands down DLP.
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Old 11-17-2011, 03:43 AM   #18
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Well...now that I have an audience. I will have no choice but to reveal my plans or lack thereof! Ms shuttergirl, you may have just started my PTR for me...

Leaving early December, last chance to take children out of school early before I shuffle them off to private school (need to get my money's worth if I'm going to pay all that much for their education...)

Depending on days of week etc, will spend a few days sightseeing Paris and surrounds as well as 3-4 days at DLP. Followed by 1 week of skiing somewhere, the plan is club med ski at Valmorel, France. I know their standard of kids clubs and I'm comfortable letting them do their own thing while I do mine! This is followed by my "hole" between France and the 11 day Holy Land cruise visiting Cyprus, ISrael and Egypt.

OK dilemmas (how do you spell that word!??!!)

Where to spend Christmas?
Options:
French Riviera - Nice and Cannes appear to be great year round towns with a lovely atmosphere around Christmas. Great base to explore the rest of the French Riviera that I haven't been to.
Lapland - Santa, reindeer, huskys, nuf said
Family and Friends - so many of them spread out!!!! My dearest uncle and cousins in Holland would be choice number 1 but been there so many times. Children though have never been. 2nd would be Germany, would LOVE to show the children the christmas markets but once again, we've done Germany (mal and I) thoroughly already. Would get free accomodation everywhere though!

How to fit in Carcassonne?
On our to do list, a mecca for boardgamers. The classic game Carcassonne was based on this medieval UNESCO heritage listed city.

What about my Italian dreams?!?!?
I YEARN to visit Lake Como, and southern Italy but this may have to wait as it appears to just not be the right season for it.

Should I bother with a Asian stop on the way home?
Once again, family a plenty. Good food. Wouldn't mind visiting the new UNiversal studios in Singapore. Does help with jetlag. BUT do I allocate my precious time here or to Europe. Sigh...

PROBLEMS
This is becoming very expensive! To make things worse:
1) We are likely to start building our new home in Feb 2012
2) I am about to lose my job on Dec 16
3) The children are starting private schools in 2013

Ok so fire away with your thoughts, comments, suggestions!
Christmas in Lapland, New Year in Holland??
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:16 AM   #19
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I am just in heaven reading each of the replies.

Aussietravellers, I adore those photos. It's picture postcard perfect and the barrel around the St. Bernard's neck, I swooned. Do they truly still wear them. I would adore to see some more pics of your time here. Care to start a new thread and share some more. I am fascinated and want to add some new destinations to my dream list too.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:18 AM   #20
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Shushh, it sounds like you are spoiled for choice. What an exciting dilemma. I can't wait to stand on the sidelines and watch the process of elimination. I don't know much about Lapland. I'm off to research.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:26 AM   #21
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As for staying in the are and doing it properly, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Hence the indecision, which region to go to? Initially I wanted to explore the towns around Carcassone and the Canal du midi. But upon research, discovered that the canal was closed in winter and most of the towns/attractions are closed or have limited visiting hours. This seemed to be the norm for much of Southern France with the exception of the Riviera region. I am quite happy to be proven wrong! But you are right, there are plenty of areas around France that we can visit to maximise our time and experience. Praque is also on the list! Too many places on the list!!!

As for a job, I just received a few phone calls today of job offers. Woohoo! Need to work out what will work with the family. But very happy about it.
Congratulations for the job offers! Hope that you get the one that works best for the family.

Just remember that whilst the tourist attractions might be closed for winter, the locals still go about with day to day life.

Prague is spectacular!


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Oh and the parents are interested in Lapland. Mum probably wants to take the opportunity to visit her eldest brother who lives in Holland.

That might just be the determining factor! Think of the places DH and I could go to in the evening if there is free babysitting available...
Are you talking about Lapland or Amsterdam? Because if you're thinking Amsterdam, I'm sitting here imagining you and DH in all those legal 'smoke' shops, a certain coloured district etc

But then that's just me and my gutter.....(and you know I can't resist an opening like that!!)
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:57 PM   #22
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Shushh, that is wonderful news about the job offers. It will be easy to choose - pick the one that pays the most but also allows you lots of time off to travel
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Old 11-17-2011, 02:29 PM   #23
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Aussietravellers, I adore those photos. It's picture postcard perfect and the barrel around the St. Bernard's neck, I swooned. Do they truly still wear them. I would adore to see some more pics of your time here. Care to start a new thread and share some more. I am fascinated and want to add some new destinations to my dream list too.
Thanks Ms. Shuttergirl. Yes, the dogs do still wear the barrels around their necks and they are filled with brandy. We asked that guy if there was anything in the barrel. It's gorgeous seeing the dogs around. But what is even more divine about Zermatt, is... animals are kept under the homes, when you go walking around the village, like you see in the Heidi movie. Once we were there in the summer and every morning and every afternoon they would be herding goats up the main street to take them to pastures to graze and they are all wearing their bells, so you look out of your hotel window and see herds of goats walking up the main street! Haven't seen that in winter though, probably too cold for them
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:13 PM   #24
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Ms ShutterGirlYou'll have to tell me what you think of Lapland. Maybe we can have a dismeet there next year? Anychance of convincing to do your EUrope trip in Dec 2012?

Princess
Ah...words of wisdom. I shall be careful to utilise the parental help wisely whilst in Amsterdam. Can't you just see me, the girl who gets drunk on one margarita, being in the news paradinh herself in one of those "window shops"?!?!? Better start practising some Dita VonTeese moves so I can at least look good doing it...

Aussietravellers
So glad to have someone around who's been to that area of Europe many times with family. Will definitely be asking more questions I'm sure! Unfortunately for now, the planning has to stop temporarily. Need to get house stuff done before Christmas, and then actually get this Christmas out of the way, then Bali in January, and THEN let the serious planning begin!

Areweindisneyyet
You're not the first whose mentioned that they've frozen their behinds off at DLP! Might just be the excuse that I need to upgrade my down jacket....

And thanks for the mention of New Year at Holland. I hadn't even thought of that! I guess its because we don't really celebrate New years too much anymore as DH usually has to choose to work on either Christmas or NYE, and we go for NYE as Christmas is alot more important to us. But it will be nice to spend New Years day with family.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:09 AM   #25
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Ok I'm going to be a little pest and take over this thread temporarily

I'm looking at going to Zermatt for a week but was wondering other than Christmas which time of year you thought was best aussietravellers???

The hotel I'm looking at is closed May/June so would it be better looking at July or holding off until Sept/Oct?

I have a golfer who might eye off the course (even though it looks $$$)

I don't need accom or meal info really...

Just STUFF TO DO!

I assume the train from Zurich would be the best and quickest for a direct visit from Oz?

Thanks
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:09 PM   #26
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Ok I'm going to be a little pest and take over this thread temporarily

I'm looking at going to Zermatt for a week but was wondering other than Christmas which time of year you thought was best aussietravellers???

The hotel I'm looking at is closed May/June so would it be better looking at July or holding off until Sept/Oct?

I have a golfer who might eye off the course (even though it looks $$$)

I don't need accom or meal info really...

Just STUFF TO DO!

I assume the train from Zurich would be the best and quickest for a direct visit from Oz?

For a direct visit from OZ, the best and quickest way would be to take a plane rather than a train

But I guess getting the flight out of the way. We have always taken the train from Geneva airport (or Lausanne once after taking the TGV from Paris, but it's the same train as Geneva). That train goes to Visp (which they all do actually, from Zurich too). Whereever you come from, you will go to Visp, then take the train from Visp, up the mountain to Zermatt. We always go the Geneva route for some reason, we fly into Vienna and have some time there, but last trip we flew to London, stayed there, train to Paris stayed there, train to Lausanne, train to Visp, train to Zermatt. But it is 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, Geneva or Zurich (or Bern). I went to school near Lausanne, so I'm most familiar with that route maybe. Not sure.


Thanks
Just typed a big reply and the page shut down

So reply take two.

I have only been once to Zermatt in the Summer and it was 22 years ago (gosh I feel old saying that ), so I can't remember a lot about it. We were only there for a couple of days before getting on the train to Cannes.

I do remember that it was the week they reopened after being closed for the summer and I remember the goats walking up and down the street. I can't even remember what we did then. In the last 10 years we have been about 6 times but all over Christmas (so in winter). I know they have some summer skiing, but also it would be just beautiful going up the mountains for some walks, lunch etc. Wandering around the village and seeing the animals sticking their heads out from under the houses, where they live is so cute! I wish I could remember it better in the Summer as it would be so pretty up there.

I would think that July may be a little quieter, with everything having been closed, but it's possible that some shops, restaurants and services may not be all up and running then, not sure. So maybe Sept may be a better time to go, not sure. Yes, I'm not really being much help. Restaurants.... yes, can help with that, if they are open. I know the swiss restaurant in the hotel we stay at is closed for the summer, so it's possible that July there won't be a lot open.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:51 PM   #27
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Hi,

That has been of some help.
I'll get into more specific questions I think I understand not remembering too much of a visit that long ago. I feel old saying I've been flying to WDW for over 20 years

I'l do a proper reply when I get home but until then I think I guess a list of the main things to do generally
Then things that may be MORE open when it's not winter. And anything that might be a 'better'? Or more enjoyable experience when it's not winter? If that makes sense.

You mainly talked about Christmas specific before so I guess I'm just wondering the main "normal" things you did and enjoy.
Are there specific shops that demonstrate chocolate making?

Ta
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Old 02-28-2012, 02:51 AM   #28
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Zermatt is nice enough but the main attraction is the Matterhorn and the outdoors. Depending on which city you fly in to, you might want to consider catching the Glacial Express to get to Zermatt. We picked it up from a little town called Chur.

A lot of tourist come in on the Glacial Express because it is one of the top 10 railway journeys in the world to do...then look at the mountain and then go. If you decide to do this, you should book a ticket early and get a window seat.

The surrounding locals use the cog railway to get to Zermatt. There is glacial skiing that you can do pretty much year round and lots of pretty walks.

I like September as a time of year to visit Switzerland if you aren't going skiing. There is still snow on the mountains but it is not cold and there is plenty of green grass. Really picture postcard perfect scenery.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:25 AM   #29
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Thanks for referring to the Glacier Express. I knew about the main trains and that ANY train is pretty picturesque. But I'll research this one as an option for part of the itinerary perhaps at one end of the trip?

Basically I have 7 nights IN Zermatt. Gourmet Breakfast and Dinners are included for each night. Why and how are irrelevant

So...based on that core itinerary I'm looking at activities for the days.
I might add London on the way back depending on the airfare I get but it is a "short" trip. I can't get excess leave (unless something bad happens ) so it is 'short' holidays every few months

Why Zurich? Lufthansa gives me United miles (need I say more...) But I'll go for value for money and versatile itineraries. The Glacier Express complicates things...



So..
Daily activities?
That's basically what I'm wondering.
If you've been there multiple times there's obviously favourite things to do. Beyond the Matterhorn (which I thought was in California )
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:27 AM   #30
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Depending on which city you fly in to, you might want to consider catching the Glacial Express to get to Zermatt. We picked it up from a little town called Chur.

A lot of tourist come in on the Glacial Express because it is one of the top 10 railway journeys in the world to do...then look at the mountain and then go. If you decide to do this, you should book a ticket early and get a window seat.
Glacier Express is the only way to Zermatt (unless you fly or ski in), you can drive part of the way, which we have done once when we had a driver, but you stop at a town called Tasch, then get on the train (glacier express). If coming from Geneva/Lausanne/Vevey/Montreux, the westerly direction, you catch it at Visp, coming from Zurich you will catch it at Brig. There are pictures of it that I posted on the previous page of the Glacier Express. Spectacular view. As are most train journeys in Switzerland. I lived right on Lake Geneva and the views over the lake to Evian (France) were jaw dropping. Switzerland is my favourite country. It would be the country I would live in again if I were not in Australia.

Oh, Queenie, if you are leaving Zermatt back to the airport, you can check your luggage in at the train station early, you just give them your plane ticket and and they take your bags and check them in. We would often check in for our flight (it does cost, I think about 10-15 chf and we wouldn't see our bags until we got to Vienna. The swiss rail system is amazing. They do have the checked baggage service to Zermatt too, so you could do it from Zurich or Geneva, where ever you fly into (and other areas of the country too), if you are changing a few trains, have lots of luggage and don't want to lug it on and off trains
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