Winter Wonderland Mystery Markets Tour - Days 4-7
Winter Wonderland Mystery Markets Tour - Days 4-7
Day 4: 7 December | GSTAAD
A leisurely start this morning, and after a 90 minute drive we spent the rest of the of the morning and lunchtime in Switzerland’s capital, Berne. A beautiful city with and ornate clock tower at the head of the long arcaded, cobbled stone main street. In the afternoon we also enjoyed a stop in Gruyères. Famous for its cheese this pretty little medieval town is perched high on a hill complete with a dramatic castle.
Next the mountains are calling! But where will we stay the next 3 nights? Gstaad! Home to the super rich when they come for the winter season, their most famous resident is that wonderful lady and actress, Julie Andrews! How do you pronounce the name Gstaad? 2 ways… the ‘G’ is either non-existent or pronounced softly like a gentle ‘k’. But if you use the ‘k’ you must put a slight pause after it before saying the rest. As for the double ‘a’ it almost sounds like it has an ‘r ’in it. Confused? It is simple… It is either ‘stard’ or ‘k-stard’. But then again, I can easily add more confusion as some people start the name with and ‘sh’. So, it also can be either ‘shtard’ or ‘k-shtard’.
Our hotel for the next 3 nights is located smack in the middle of the old town full of chalets and a broad pedestrian mall. Gstaad is not like so many chic ski resorts, it doesn’t have the big hotels and the main street has exclusive designer wear shops and oozes a classy atmosphere. Dinner tonight was in our hotel… and really tasty of course!
Day 5: 8 December | GSTAAD
We woke to clear blue skies surrounded by glorious snow laden mountain peaks. We originally had a huge event scheduled for this morning. We were to travel to the nearby village of Chateau d’Oex, where the actor David Niven once had a winter chalet, and we had arranged for 3 large Hot Air Balloons to whisk us up high up into the mighty Alps. But sadly, whilst the day had perfect visibility, up there the winds were erratic and blowing hard. So, we could not do this amazing experience. So what to do? Gilberto took us on a really pretty winter walk along the river bank, through the snow laden trees and farmers’ fields. It was beautiful.
Then we drove to the regional capital, Sarnen, another town of century old wooden chalets, where we enjoyed lunch in a delightful restaurant.
Mid-afternoon we enjoyed something very special. Passing Gstaad, we drove down deep into the valley to Lauenen. Outside the Hotel Alpenland we were met by 4 horse drawn carriages for a romantic ride through the forest to Lauenensee – Lauenen lake.
At the foot of the Rohr-Lauenensee nature reserve we stopped at the 300-year-old Alpine wood chalet called the Bochtehus Beizli. Time to enjoy a mulled wine cooked outside in a cauldron over a log fire. The backdrop of mountains was stunning, and the mulled wine and ginger biscuits were warming and yummy.
At dusk, we clip-clopped back along the peaceful valley to the start point. What a wonderful afternoon and what an incredible day.
Day 6: 9 December | GSTAAD
The weather unfortunately closed in around us and the winds picked up. So whist we lose out on the views and sunshine we do get to experience snow falling and that winter wonderland feeling. Driving into the mountains we stopped at the top of a mountain pass called the Col du Pillon, and had a bit of fun jumping on huskie rides. Then we caught a large cable car up to Glacier 3000. Called 3,000 because it is 3,000 metres high, the 360-degree views across the Alps are stupendous. Or rather they should be, however the clouds had rolled in, and the wind started howling. Up here is the Peak Walk by Tissot. It is the only suspension bridge in the world that connects 2 separate mountain peaks. 107 metres long and just 80 cms wide it was subject to wind and snow. It was a huge experience walking across to the other mountain peak.
After some souvenir shopping in the Peak shop, we caught the cable car down to enjoy an included lunch in the Col du Pillon Alpine chalet style restaurant. Returning to Gstaad mid-afternoon, the rest of the day and evening was at leisure. If you can’t have clear skies then what could be better than exploring the pedestrian street of central Gstaad, surrounded by Christmas decorations on wooden chalets whilst buckets of snow gently falling around you. And this was good snow, huge fluffy snowflakes gently landing. A winter wonderland.
Day 7: 10 December | Leukerbad
Time to leave for our next destination, which is Leukerbad. First stop will be beside Lake Geneva where we will enjoy a guided tour through the remarkable Château de Chillon. Lunchtime will be enjoyed in beautiful Montreux. Here Christmas Markets line the foreshore and surround the large statue of Freddy Mercury (who made his farewell home here) punching the sky. In the afternoon we continue to …. But more on that later.
Read about the other experiences on the amazing Winter Wonderland Mystery Markets tours here: Days 1-4 | Days 7-9 | Days 10-15
Feeling inspired to organise your own Festive holiday? Click here to find out more about Albatross Tours European Christmas, New Year and Northern Lights small group tours or contact us, your European Tour Specialists for more details.
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