TOUR TRANSPORTATION

All of the information about flying is on the FLIGHT DAYS page.

The things you need to know about our motorcoaches is on the MOTORCOACH PROCEDURES page.


TRAINS

(This will sound dumb, but it's easy to stay in the mindset of aircraft.  We'll be on the ground all the time.  We don't have to worry about where stuff goes, other than to keep it out of the aisle while folks are boarding.)


SWISS ALPINE TRAIN

When we arrive in Täsch from Crans-Montana, we'll catch a train into Zermatt.  (Zermatt doesn't allow gas engines.)  You'll be given a ticket prior to going inside to catch the train.  You'll need this ticket TWICE (one for the ride back!), so put it with your passport when you've used it the first time.  (When you've used it the second time, you'll have a neat souvenir.)


FUNICULAR TRAIN

Funiculars are cog-trains.  Rather than ride a rail, they are attached to a system that pulls the train UP inside the mountain.  You'll get a ticket for it, as well, probably just before you need it.  Use it to get through the turnstile, and then follow the path to the train.  Notice how much colder it's getting as you walk farther!  You won't need it for the train, so you'll have put it back with your passport.  You'll need it one more time to come down.

The funicular will take you to the Sunnegga, which is the observation area for that behemoth you're facing - the Matterhorn!  Details for the time frame at this point are a little unsettled, so we'll update you well in advance.  Most folks will want their photo with the Matterhorn in the background with it's snowy top.  IF it's available (this is the part we're unsure of), there will be a professional photographer up there.  If so, we want group pictures of each coach group.  If we do that, you can purchase one back down in Zermatt later.  If this is going on, the photographers usually offer to take professional photos of smaller groups or individuals.  (Folks from the same school, all the clarinets, groups with your new (and old) friends, whatever).  You can purchase those back down in town later, as well.  

From the Sunnegga, you have options.  There are lots of hiking trails and small lakes up there.  You can take a path to the neighboring tiny town of Findeln, which is home to some of the best food in the area.  You can wander around and explore - there are often mountain goats or sheep finding their lunch.  You can eat lunch at the pricey restaurant that's right there and eat on the outside deck viewing the Matterhorn, or you can go back down the funicular and explore Zermatt, and find some lunch there.  Zermatt has some of the best Swiss souvenir shopping on the trip.

** Again, some details are still sketchy about our time frame.  We'll correct this before we meet in West Memphis.

You'll need your funicular ticket to get back through the turnstile to get back on the train.  (But first - there's a spot right there where you can stamp a Matterhorn stamp in your passport if you want.)  Once you're past the turnstile, you're through with the funicular ticket - great souvenir.

At the appointed time, we'll meet in front of the train station to take the train back to Täsch.  You'll need that first train ticket.  From Täsch, we'll board the coaches and head back to Crans-Montana.

Incidentally, Zermatt is in the German-speaking section of Switzerland and Crans-Montana is in the French-speaking section.  Switzerland has four official languages.  Italian is spoken in the area of the border near Italy (which isn't far from the Matterhorn).  The other language is Romansch. It's an ancient Swiss language that has all but died out now.


LONDON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

During our London family time, we can use public transportation to zip across London and give us time to do more.

THE TUBE

The tube, which is officially called the London Underground, is a very well designed train system underneath London.  Look at the tube map below - it's won awards for it's simplicity and artistic style.  All the different colors represent different lines of the tube system.  All of the names are the names of the tube stations.  You'll notice there are places where dots connect - these are stations where you can change trains to get off of one line and on to another.  This is easy, and usual.  Your staff will tell you where to get off the train.   

*Practically any place you'll want to visit is in "Zone 1."  That's the map beneath the big one.  It's a handy resource for planning how to get where you want to be.  

The announcements and signs on board clearly tell you what station is approaching.  Plus each station has its name in HUGE letters that you can see from the train.  But on the tube, which many Londoners use as their primary source of transportation, you've got to MOVE when the doors open to get your whole group on or off the train in time before the doors slam shut and off the train goes.  People getting off the train have the right of way, but it's very chaotic, and fast.  That's why you have to know where you're getting off - you won't have time to think about it!  

Big hint for survival! - As said, you've got to move quickly on and off the train.  Once you start moving, so has everyone else around you.  If you for some reason stop, piles of people will crash into you.  They'll also be vocal about it.  You'll learn quickly how to make it work!


The city coordinators suggest paying your fare with "tap & go."  This means that if you have a debit/credit card with a chip, you can tap it at the turnstile and keep going.   If you don't have a chip card, OR if your chip card doesn't work correctly, you can simply purchase a ticket (called an Oyster card) from a machine in the station and use it instead.   

It might sound confusing, but it's really not.  If you get an Oyster card, you buy it once.  If you "tap & go," it charges you as you go along.

Most Oyster cards are also valid on buses.