|Subject: Switzerland trip/2002|
A wonderful country for visitors. Signage is excellent using standard
universal symbols. Most everything of importance is marked in at least
two, usually 3, and quite often more, languages, of which French will
be sure to appear, and usually English. Swiss spend several years in school
learning English, though many will be shy about speaking it. Admittedly,
much of the tourist industry staffing is not Swiss and English may be
a little more limited with many of them. Overall, though, I can't think
of an easier country to get around in. (Even compared to England, with
>>almost<< the same language ... just step of the curb without looking to your right and you'll know what I mean ... if you survive!)
The tourism infrastructure is well-developed in Switzerland, arguably better than any other country. And public transport, including most certainly the trains, is the best in the world, and quite easy to use. The SwissPass is excellent. You may want to tie the length of your trip to the pass duration, which runs for 4, 8 15 days or one month. Details at http://www.twenj.com/swpasses.htm
You'll love Switzerland for the way they've worked at making their country easy for visitors to enjoy. And you'll love the sights and experiences you have there.
As in most other places B&Bs or their equivalents are plentiful, but not easily found on the net. Your best is to identify the villages/cities in which you want to base yourself and write or e-mail to their tourist offices for brochures on B&Bs and Holiday Apartments. Most, or all, in the places most often visited by tourists will have these brochures. There are a few websites for Swiss B&Bs but they are very limited in scope and I would suggest ignoring them as they include not even as much as the tip of the iceberg.
You'll have a lot of choices for places to visit, and many suggestions from this board. We enjoy the Swiss cities very much. That said, they don't compare with Paris or Rome or London. On the other hand the mountains (and lakes) are quite special indeed, arguably the best in Europe. There are several choices you can make without serious error here, though we feel strongly that the area south of Interlaken around the Jungfrau is by far the best. We've enjoyed many stays of up to two weeks in Mrren, perched on a shelf overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley with an in-your-face view of the Jungfrau and Eiger. Wengen is a good second choice. You can learn a bit about this area beginning at http://www.twenj.com/bovisit.htm
Our first suggestion for Swiss city would be Luzern. It's relatively small, but beautifully situated and looking much as most North Americans would expect a Swiss city to look. The city is interesting and there are a number of worthwhile nearby excursions.
Bern is quite nice, with much evidence of its medieval character remaining, as well as much new. Zrich is by far our favorite major city. Though your only second language is French, we, ourselves, aren't too wild about the French part of the country, including Geneva, Montreux, Lausanne, etc. By and the large the more interesting portions, for us, are in the German-speaking area. And again, despite German not being one of your skills, you'll have no problems getting around.