London to Paris to Bern legs booked

March 2, 2010

Have now booked the London to Paris and Paris to Bern legs of our trip.  In both cases, I relied heavily on advice from The Man in Seat 61 [www.seat61.com].  I’ve said before and I’ll have no hesitation repeating myself that this site is an excellent resource for anyone contemplating train travel through Europe.

London to Paris

We are travelling on Eurostar for this leg.  The trip will take us about 2 and a half hours.  Leaving London’s St Pancras station around midday and arriving Paris Nord at around 3:30 PM.  I was quite impressed by the Eurostar.com online booking site which even gave me the option of choosing which seats I wanted in which carriage.  By booking this trip 120 days in advance we managed to get 2 adult seats for less than 90 Euro.

And no, we didn’t choose seat 61.

Paris to Bern

We are travelling via Lausanne for our trip to Bern from Paris.  We leave Paris at around 8:00 AM on the TGV Sud-Est, change trains in Lausanne around midday to a Swiss rail intercity train and arrive in Bern around 1:30 PM.   We booked the tickets using the French site [The Man in Seat 61 helped again here with excellent instruction here].  By booking direct and 90 days in advance we were able to get 2 adult tickets for less than 100 Euro.

Now that those two trips are booked the only rail booking left to do is our Swiss rail pass and any Swiss rail trips that require reservations.

Note: the fares mentioned here are based on non-refundable tickets.  Given we know exactly which days we are travelling, this was the cheapest option for us.

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More Accommodation

February 27, 2010

Some time ago I outlined details of our Irish accommodation so thought I’d better outline details of the remainder of the accommodation we have booked.

The list  falls into four main parts : London, Paris, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

London

108 StreathbourneFor London, we have chosen 108 Streathbourne, a B&B a little way out of central London.  This B&B has been recommended by Trip Advisor as the 2nd best B&B in London.  Its run by an English/Australian couple and is close by the underground [Tooting Bec on the Northern line is the closest station], yet far enough out of central London to be relaxing.  We are looking forward to staying there.

Paris

10 rue Fontaine ParisOur Paris accommodation will be at 10 rue Fontaine.  Located in the heart of one of Paris’ liveliest neighborhoods, this one-bedroom 4th floor apartment is just steps away from the Moulin Rouge, Montmartre and Sacré Coeur.  We are renting this apartment from Frenchy Rentals, a small property management group who rent out apartments for the owners.  We found this apartment via vrbo.com [Vacation Rentals by Owner] but booked it directly through Frenchy Rentals.

Switzerland

We are staying in five different locations in Switzerland ranging from the capital city to a mountain resort.  Accommodation in Switzerland is quite expensive despite the very good Australian dollar to Swiss Franc exchange rate, so we have had to economise a little.

Bern

For our two nights in Berne, we are staying at the Bern Backpackers [Hotel Glocke], booked through hostels.com, in a Twin Private room with a shared bathroom.  Located in an historic building which is part of the city’s UNESCO world heritage area, the hostel is centrally located and close to the train station.

Wengen

For our two nights in Wengen, a Swiss ski resort, we are staying at the Hotel Belvedere.  Wengen is a no-car zone, so we chose the Belvedere because it is within walking distance of the Wengen station and because it was the best looking hotel in Wengen.  The hotel is a traditional art nouveau-style chalet hotel overlooking the Alps.  We’ve chosen a double room plus breakfast.

Zermatt

For our two nights in Zermatt, a small village close to the Matterhorn, we are staying in Le Petit Hôtel, a fairly modern hotel.  Being a very popular tourist destination, and at one end of the famous Glacier Express train trip [more on that in a future post], accommodation in Zermatt was hard to come by and I think we were lucky to get a place to stay, despite booking 6 months in advance.

Luzern

For our two nights in Luzern, we have chosen a budget hotel imaginatively named the Tourist Hotel.  This hotel is located on the Reuss River and is close by the main railway station and is just a couple of minutes walk from the streets of the old town of Luzern.  Despite being classified as a two-star hotel and being closer to a hostel than a hotel, it  received fairly good reviews from TripAdvisor.com.

Zurich

For our three nights in Zurich, we have splurged a little [within our budget, at least] and have booked into the Hotel Continental. Built in the 1960s, the Hotel features Swiss chalet-style interiors and is centrally situated, 500 metres from the downtown area and the main train station.  It also received very good reviews on TripAdvisor.com.  The exterior of the hotel, in the photos I’ve seen, looks to be your typical bland 60’s architecture, but the interior photos belie the drab exterior.

Hong Kong

We are staying in Hong Kong for 3 nights on our way back to Australia.  We have chosen a harbour view room at The Salisbury – YMCA in the Tsim Sha Tsui part of the city.  Reasonably central, this hotel came recommended by a couple of friends which was good enough for us.