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Bern to Thun May 2005

california
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Bern to Thun May 2005

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide us. We will be traveling from California, to Paris then on to Switzerland towards end of May 05....any suggestions on train travel from Paris, I suppose into Bern. We have reservation in Thun at Hotel Freienhof/Best Western(any comments regarding hotel -

4 nights) so would have to get there from train station in Bern. I am interested in doing some genealogy work in the Thun area. It looks like a beautiful little city...what is the population? We are thinking about renting a car if we come into train station in Bern as there are some smaller towns in the area we would like to visit....any suggestions? How far is the drive from Thun to Bern? If we do not rent a car what transportation could we expect? Any suggestions on activities, eating suggestions and sights in the area would be greatly appreciated.

Feel free to contacat me at maingel@aol.com if you would like.

Since we don't speak any german do you think we will manage OK? Can't wait for those chocolates and cheeses!

Thanks again for any recommendations you can provide....

Sacramento,Ca.
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1. Re: Bern to Thun May 2005

I haven't traveled from Paris to Switzerland on the train and I don't know the population of Thun. It's not small, but still called a village. There are taxi's at the train station in Bern and trains go everywhere in Switzerland so you should not have any problem getting from Bern to Thun. It's only about 25 miles. I would definitely rent a car. Check the rates in Bern and Thun. Auto Europe usually has the best rates, but they can be quite different from one town to town. Having a car is very convenient for getting around the area and the roads are very good.

Don't miss Interlaken, which is nearby, and the Lauterbrunnen Valley 10 miles from Interlaken. You might also consider the Jungfrau train trip. It's expensive, but quite an experience on a clear day. This entire area is absolutely beautiful and we visit there often. We will also be there the end of May.

Not everyone speaks English, but some do and you'll be able to manage. Menu's in German are not easy, but hopefully you can find someone to help you out. The Swiss people are quite friendly. We try to locate cafeterias, as it's easier if you can see what you're getting!

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Bern to Thun May 2005

Hi

Thun has about 42,000 people howver these numbers can be misleading as they are usually commune based an often understate the size of larger towns e.g I live in Lausanne which they say has a couple of hundred thousand people. In reality it is much bigger as it has merged with surrounding communes to form a larger urban area...but the swiss loves their communes.

Thun and Bern are close regional centres, you will have good and frequent public transport options. Public transport is very good and very reliable here. Having said that driving is very simple here and provides much more flexibility.

Bern is a nice town and worth a look around if you have the time. Cant recommend to much in that area as my knowledge is limited. I live further south

enjoy

Steve

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Bern to Thun May 2005

forgot to say

english is pretty widespread amongst the young (and many old folks as well, but sometimes they are less confident try try)

If you are really lost try stopping a young [erson first.

Also make the effort to use a tiny bit of german excuse me, thank you, please, basic numbers (say there are 4 people in your group, at least know how to say number 1 thru 4 for ordering) its not hard and all this helps break the ice. Its amazing how many people will exercise their english when they see you at least try a little of their language

L.A., CA
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4. Re: Bern to Thun May 2005

My family of five just went to both Paris and Bern in December 2004. We had a France - Swiss railpass that was good for 4 days (which did not have to be consecutive) of travel. We flew into Paris(trains from Paris to Bern go out of Gare de Lyon-which you can get to on the Metro system from anywhere in Paris) and took the train to Bern. It takes between 5 and 6 hours. On the way to Bern we stopped in Geneva, but on the way back we went directly to Paris. I don't recommend getting reservations for individual train trips before getting there as plans may change and you might actually pay more at home. Reservations are very easy to get at the stations there and May is not considered high season. We were there during the holidays and were able to get reservations from Paris on Dec. 21 for travel that day and we got reservations from Bern to Paris on Dec. 23 for travel the next day (Christmas Eve) which was a very busy travel day in Europe.

As for Thun, we have never been there, but I'm pretty sure you could take the train from the station in Bern. If you had a railpass and went on to Thun the same day, you could get there w/out using any more days from your pass. I believe you can also purchase more days for your pass if you wanted more train travel (if you didn't want to drive). Bern is a great city and worth checking out for a day or so if you have time. We were married there 12 years ago and love it even more after returning this winter. Celina's in Bern has great pizzas made in wood burning stoves and tasty pastas and salads.

germany
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5. Re: Bern to Thun May 2005

Hi there,

I'm an American living in Germany and have traveled quite extensively in Europe so hopefully my comments will help. To add to the previous comments:

Language: a majority of people in Switzerland will speak English. As a previous person wrote-if you know a few basics in German it will help break the ice and at least people will know you are trying.

Train travel from Paris to Bern. Check out France's railway website at: http://www.sncf.com/

You should be able to check out times and costs of trains.

Car rental: The only time I have rented a car in Europe is when I moved from Berlin to southern Germany. The train and bus system in Europe are phenomenal. It is typically quite easy to get from town to town via train or bus. I don't know of any bus websites but the Swiss Bahn (train) site is:

www.sbb.ch

I would recommend taking a train rather than renting a car. Gas is expensive and for the most part you can get where you need to go via train. If you do want to rent a car check out Europcar: http://www.europcar.com/ (supposedly one of the lease expensive car rental agencies in Europe).

BIKING!!! If you are interested in the outdoors and are even just somewhat fit you can rent a bike to explore the various villages. Bike rental in Switzerland can often be done at the train station, plus some places 'rent' bikes for free. In Thun go to Thun Rollt at Waisenhausplatz to get a free bike for touring the city.

Other activities: You can bike from Thun to Interlaken. Bike along the lake and to the foot of the Alps. I agree with the person who said to take the train into the Alps. You can take a train to Grindelwald and hike along the base of the Eiger Mountain or take a train to Lauterbrunnen and also hike. Both trains head out from Interlaken Ost train station.

Finally, I would suggest purchasing Lonely Planet Switzerland. It really is a very useful book regarding activities, basic phrases in German and eating suggestions.

Hope this helps and have a great trip!!!!!

Norwich, United...
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6. Re: Bern to Thun May 2005

As someone who used to live in Bern (3 years 1969 - 1971) I can assure you that you will get by with English but a smattering of German or French will make you doubly welcomed in what is a very friendly place. Trains go from Bern to Thun (a 20 to 30 minute ride) very frequently and are efficient, reliable and clean. When in Thun why not visit Spiez which is nearby - a lakeside village with magnificent views and delightful places to eat. Interlaken is great too but a bit more commercialised. Slightly further afield Brienz is a wonderful spot to visit. Mind you, I would spend a week in Bern alone as it is truly wonderful.

vancouver
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7. Re: Bern to Thun May 2005

I've been to Both Bern and Thun (stayed in Thun) about 5 years ago. I see you've already received a lot of information above on trains and other stuff, so I won't go repeating all. I think Switzerland is amazing.

Thun is a small and safe area to visit...not too much to see, but this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Most people we spoke to knew a hint of English.

We visited Bern twice (from thun by train)...I loved it so much, that I'm returning on my honeymoon in 3 months. This time staying in Bern.

Calgary, Canada
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8. Re: Bern to Thun May 2005

how far is Thun to Luzern? Did anyone stay in any quaint BnB's for their time in Thun, we are a family of 4 wanting to experience Thun and area for a few days ......

Calgary, Canada
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9. Re: Bern to Thun May 2005

Is the bike from Thun to interlaken and the hiking your talking about suitable for and 11 and 13 year old?

Norwich, United...
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10. Re: Bern to Thun May 2005

Thun to Luzern is about 50 miles which may be a little long to do in one day if you are cycling unless you are fit! An overnighter could be made at a number of various villages en route. I can recommend "Die Golderner Schlussel" in Bern if you were looking for B&B there. We used to put up our overspill guests there and they were always happy with it.