Altitude

I am concerned about the altitude in Switzerland. Did the altitude bother any of you previous travelers? Does anyone have any ideas on what to take to make breathing easier when taking the cog train up to 10,000 feet? Thank you.
LL

Comments

  • edited July 2016
    We took the UA&D in June 2014. The only time we were at high altitude was when we rode the gondola (cog train was broken) to the Zugspitze (highest mountain in Germany) but its elevation is only 9718 ft.. We just experienced a little windedness climbing the stairs from the gondola station to the summit house, but nothing bad and no headaches. The next highest was Eagle's Nest (Hitler's mountain retreat) at 6017 ft. then crossing the Alps via the Grossglockner High Alpine Road (Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße) and the Hochtor Pass which is only 8,215 ft. We had no troubles with that. The highest location in Switzerland was the Brewery in the little town of Monstein at 5314 ft. in the hills just outside Davos (Davos is at 5120 ft.). Also, the bus (with you on it) boards a train that goes through a tunnel not over the mountains to get to Davos.

    If you are affected by high altitudes see your regular or travel doctor to have your health evaluated and for his recommendation. Though it is generally only prescribed if you will be above 10,000' for some time, it is possible he will prescribe DIAMOX (acetazolamide). To prevent altitude sickness, you will start taking acetazolamide 1 to 2 days before you start to climb and continue taking it while you are climbing and for at least 48 hours after you have reached your final altitude. But again, let me stress, that you should see a doctor.

    It really was a "Yellow Roads" journey, especially through the Dolomites, and a really fabulous trip!!!

    Zugspitze.jpg IMG_0725r.jpg IMG_07221.JPG

    New Gothic church of St. Vinzenz built between 1460-1491 in Heiligenblut am Großglockner on the south side of the pass. It is believed to be the burial place of Briccus who carried a vial of the blood of Christ to the town, hence Heiligenblut (or holy blood.) Grossglockrner Summit in the background. I took this photo, but I have seen similar ones in travel magazines! Google it.

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  • Thanks, AlanS, for your comments re Ultimate Alps & Dolomites tour; I will be on that one in June 2016. I was on the Switzerland Crown Jewel tour last year and loved it.
  • I agree absolutely with Alan.
    We did this excellent tour last September and thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife usually notices altitudes but had no problem at all this time. In fact you are at those highest points for such a short time that you hardly notice anyway. As for the Grossglochner pass, you are on the coach which is air conditioned although you do get a short photo opportunity for a few minutes at the top. Weather closed in when we went up the Zugspitze, so apart from a short snowball game at the halfway change point we were inside the buildings before descent in the cable car.
    That all said, if you are at all worried you should consult your physician before departure, but nobody on our tour even noticed the height - except for the snowline.
    A wonderful tour - enjoy.
    Richard
  • Fantastic pictures Alan. How do you include pictures in your posts?

    Re altitude, we live at 7,000 feet in NM and of course are used to the altitude. My husband, being a flat lander, had some issues with headaches when he first came here. That is the same problems some of our visitors have had. In part that's due to dehydration which is doubly a problem in our arid climate. Keep hydrated and if you are prone to sinus congestion/headaches make sure you take whatever measures work for you - medication, saline spray, etc.

    Enjoy!
  • Fantastic pictures Alan. How do you include pictures in your posts?

    Re altitude, we live at 7,000 feet in NM and of course are used to the altitude. My husband, being a flat lander, had some issues with headaches when he first came here. That is the same problems some of our visitors have had. In part that's due to dehydration which is doubly a problem in our arid climate. Keep hydrated and if you are prone to sinus congestion/headaches make sure you take whatever measures work for you - medication, saline spray, etc.

    Enjoy!

    Thanks!

    To include photos of any type (personal and those from any website, Tauck, Amazon, etc.) in your posts, first they need to be already hosted somewhere on the web that doesn't require password access. I believe there are still a couple of websites where you can upload personal pics for free. (I upload them to a woodworking forum I belong to that provides free image hosting).

    Once the pics have been uploaded, then go to your pics and (on a Windows computer) right click on the photo and select "copy image location." Go to the Tauck website, type your text, and when/where you want to insert that image, click on the "insert image" button in the tool bar at the top of the message window (it is mountain with a little orange sun and if you pause the cursor over it it will say "insert image"). Place your cursor between the pair of "img" HTML code (enclosed in brackets) created in the text, right click and select "paste" to insert the URL of your image. It is easier to do than explain!

    Note, unlike the software on most forums, Tauck's software will not resize your photos. If the photos are larger than approx 640 px X 480 px, they will cause the message window to overrun the screen. This will affect the whole thread- all posts in that thread! It is really annoying because everyone who reads the thread will need to use the scroll bar at the very bottom of the page to see the text on the right of the screen. My first three pics were "thumbnails" so I didn't need to resize them, but they are a bit small. Resizing is a lesson for another day :~).

    Altitude sickness- eating or drinking (alcohol) too much can worsen the effects. There are posts about it on the Peru & Galapagos, Empire of the Incas, etc. threads. Everyone is affected differently, but the symptoms often disappear quickly once you descend.
  • Thanx Alan.

    Re Alcohol, they used to think you got drunk quicker (cheaper) at high altitude but I guess the FAA has done tests and proven that was wrong. It does contribute to the dehydration issue though.
  • We are on the Switzerland Crown Jewel tour and live in Miami. Would anyone who did this tour recommend taking the pills to prevent altitute sickness
  • edited June 2016
    skyboy wrote:
    We are on the Switzerland Crown Jewel tour and live in Miami. Would anyone who did this tour recommend taking the pills to prevent altitude sickness

    No, absolutely not needed unless you are susceptible. See a travel Doc. Peru&Galapagos and Empire of the Incas- yes
  • We were on the first run of this tour. I assume you refer to the trip up to the Zugspitze on Day 3? No one in our tour grup of 39 experienced any problems that I am aware of. It is less than 10,000 feet elevation at the top (9,718 ft.). We never got to experience the Grossglockner Pass, due to the road being closed because of snow -- we just took the "low road" through the tunnel to arrive in Italy. We also never got to see the view from the Eagle's Nest because it was in a cloud.

    Of course, by now your probably have heard that you won't get to go to Neuschwanstein, but will go to s churck in a meadow instead.

  • Of course, by now your probably have heard that you won't get to go to Neuschwanstein, but will go to s churck in a meadow instead.

    So how was the church tour? We leave on this tour next week.
  • edited June 2016
    So how was the church tour? We leave on this tour next week.

    The tour (Ultimate Alps & Dolomites) debuted a few years ago, so it has been awhile since Placerville travelled. We'll need to wait for Tomh to report.

    As to not going to Neuschwanstein on the Ultimate Alps & Dolmites tour, it is definitely not listed in the 2016 (or 2017) itinerary. Tauck usually adds a footnote on their website if there are lodging changes that affect certain departures, so I doubt they would make a major change to the itinerary once it has been posted without a note. Tauck usually gives you two weeks to cancel with no penalty once they finalize and publish prices and the itinerary. If you book before they are published you should always verify both price and itinerary.

    What initially confused me was that Gander stated in his post, https://www.tauck.com/yaf/default.aspx?g=posts&m=32447#post32447 that he received a letter from Tauck informing him that they would not be going to Neuschwanstein. The problem is, he posted on the "Alpine Adventure" forum. "Alpine Adventure" is a Bridges (family) tour and Neuschwanstein is not on the itinerary for 2016 or 2017 (Linderhof, one of Ludwig's other residences is). So, I wasn't sure what tour Gander was taking, or if he posted in the correct forum, or when Neuschwanstein was dropped. (Note, according to a non-Tauck website, Neuschwanstein was on both 2015 "Alpine Adventure" and "Ultimate Alps & Dolomites" itineraries).


  • AlanS - Can't wait to see/visit that "church in the meadow." LOL. :-) Seriously speaking, I know that some are disappointed by not being able to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, but when I visited it a number of years ago on Tauck's Germany tour, I was not all that impressed with it. Also, it was quite a strenuous walk to get up to the entrance even after being dropped off in those carriages and even more strenuous walking/climbing within the castle. At least it was for me as I recall. Unfortunately, I guess that there is nothing else really to see or do in the area, which is why Tauck has chosen this "church in the meadow" as an alternative. One thing I have learned after taking 28 tours to date with Tauck, "flexibility" is the byword. Even weather is no longer really predictable when choosing a date in advance to travel. :-)
  • Tomh- Are you on the UA&D tour now?

    Do you remember if Neuschanstein was ever listed in the 2016 itinerary when it was first published last year? I can't imagine Tauck would drop it once the itinerary was published.

    FYI, I Googled the "little church in the meadow," Wieskirche, built in the mid-1700's- not much there. As far as I could tell there is not much around Bad Wörishofen, either. When we went on the UA&D in 2013, neither the Kneipp Treatment nor hay bath at the Steigenberger Hotel sounded enticing. If designing the tour were up to me and Neuschwanstein was definitiely not an option, I would see about including the nearby Hohenschwangau, the castle where Ludwig grew up which is just down the hill from Neuschwanstein (though that may have the same issues), and then, after lunch, go to the nearby Tegelbergbahn, a summer bobsled/luge ride, like the one on the "Alpine Adventure" ! :)

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcReL6Tdq7g8fuc3GSSXL-HzDzw5cu7mAnfUZBC9PV0uScs5B3WT

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    Even a few hours in the nearby Bavarian town of Füssen which dates from Roman times and is regarded as the southern terminus of the Romantic Road would probably be better. You pass by/through it on the way to Schwangau.

    It might not be a pilgrimage site, but Füssen has an interesting church too!

    fussen-germany-spitalkirche.jpg

    fussen-germany-spitalkirche-interior.jpg

  • AlanS - I just returned from the June 23rd small group UA & D tour. I enjoyed it. True, Neuschwanstein was not included but the "church in the meadow" (Wies church) referenced above was nice. Apparently, there was a major battle between Tauck and the travel/govt officials in Bavaria re changes being made by the travel/Bavarian govt re visits by Tauck to Neuschwanstein. Although Tauck had been doing this stop for years unchanged, the travel/Bavarian people wanted to drop certain things associated with Tauck's previous visit/itinerary there and Tauck lost out in the struggle. So, the visit to Wies was substituted. Nevertheless, we did visit one of Ludwig's other castles, Linderhof Castle, which was gorgeous and where Ludwig spent most of his time and many of his personal things were located. BTW, this sudden decision by the travel/Bavarian govt people to drop a number of things re the Tauck previous visits to Neuschwanstein happened at the last minute after the Tauck brochures were on the street. Apparently it all caught Tauck off guard at the last minute. Bottomline, I loved the entire UA & D tour, especially the grossglochnerhoch alpine strasse (alpine highway) drive, visit to the Dolomites WW I museum, zugspitze, etc. Next up for me is Tauck's Canadian Maritimes tour in August (it will mark my 30th Tauck tour and I still have 2 more Tauck tours planned for later this year. LOL. :-) ).
  • edited July 2016
    tomh wrote:
    AlanS - I just returned from the June 23rd small group UA & D tour. I enjoyed it. True, Neuschwanstein was not included but the "church in the meadow" (Wies church) referenced above was nice. Apparently, there was a major battle between Tauck and the travel/govt officials in Bavaria re changes being made by the travel/Bavarian govt re visits by Tauck to Neuschwanstein. Although Tauck had been doing this stop for years unchanged, the travel/Bavarian people wanted to drop certain things associated with Tauck's previous visit/itinerary there and Tauck lost out in the struggle. So, the visit to Wies was substituted. Nevertheless, we did visit one of Ludwig's other castles, Linderhof Castle, which was gorgeous and where Ludwig spent most of his time and many of his personal things were located. BTW, this sudden decision by the travel/Bavarian govt people to drop a number of things re the Tauck previous visits to Neuschwanstein happened at the last minute after the Tauck brochures were on the street. Apparently it all caught Tauck off guard at the last minute. Bottomline, I loved the entire UA & D tour, especially the grossglochnerhoch alpine strasse (alpine highway) drive, visit to the Dolomites WW I museum, zugspitze, etc. Next up for me is Tauck's Canadian Maritimes tour in August (it will mark my 30th Tauck tour and I still have 2 more Tauck tours planned for later this year. LOL. :-) ).

    We just finished classic Italy, and I think it will get worse before it gets better with regards to visiting some of the very popular sites. There are just too many people traveling these days! At least cruise ships can't reach the Alps!

    Too bad Crazy Ludwig didn't last a few more years- he had another fairy tale castle in the works even more impressive and fanciful than Neuschwanstein! As you may or may not not know, Neuschwanstein, though executed by an architect, was designed for Ludwig by scenic painter and set designer, Christian Jank, who designed scenery for Wagner operas (Wagner was an idol of Ludwig). Though Neuschwanstein was far from done and he was heavily in debt from his other palace projects, Ludwig had already purchased the land and had a road and utilities run to the site of his new endeavor. It was to be called "Falkenstein" and was to be built on top of the ruin's of Burg Falkenstein ("Castle Falcon Stone"). At 4,160 ft above sea level, it is Germany's highest castle. Here is Jank's drawing of what it was supposed to look like:

    Schloss_Falkenstein_Planung_Gem%C3%A4lde_Historismus_Ludwig.jpg

    The mountaintop promontory and the ruins of Burg Falkenstein (and an alpine hotel) are visible here. Imagine what it would look like with the King Ludwig/Jank castle on top!!!:

    Burg_Falkenstein_Pfronten.jpg



  • AlanS - Quite a beautiful drawing. Too bad it was never built. I agree with you re the crowds of people traveling these days. I did the Classic Italy/Small Groups tour two years ago and it was crowded some places but not everywhere; Venice was the worse, I think due to all of those cruise ships stopping there. That said, last year I went on Tauck's "Belissima Italy/Small Group" tour of northern Italy. Except for when we finally ended up in Venice of the tour, it was quite peaceful, i.e fewer people, more time to really sightsee the area, etc.,etc., etc. I really believe without all of those cruise ships, exploring northern Italy was terrific. LOL. :-)
  • Everyone I know seems to be in Italy, just come back from, or just about to go to ITALY
  • British wrote:
    Everyone I know seems to be in Italy, just come back from, or just about to go to ITALY

    I want to go again! Maybe Tuscany & Cinque Terre (Culturious), this time. We never made it to Cinque Terre on Classic Italy, SG (seas too choppy) and it would be nice to spend a few more days in Florence.
  • edited July 2016
    AlanS -- The same thing happened to me when I took the Classic Italy/Small Groups tour two years ago, i.e. could not to go to Cinque Terre as the seas were too choppy. We did get on the boat in the harbor and the boat driver attempted to get out of the harbor but we had to turn back as it was like a roller coaster ride just outside of the harbor area. I am glad that we did turn back, but it was a disappointment. Getting to Cinque Terre always a challenge it seems.
  • edited July 2016
    British wrote:
    Everyone I know seems to be in Italy, just come back from, or just about to go to ITALY
    No …. all the cool people have been in the Baltics this mid-summer. And no murders, either! (An in joke for those who know these things ……;))) )
  • tomh wrote:
    AlanS -- The same thing happened to me when I took the Classic Italy/Small Groups tour two years ago, i.e. could not to go to Cinque Terre as the seas were too choppy. We did get on the boat in the harbor and the boat driver attempted to get out of the harbor but we had to turn back as it was like a roller coaster ride just outside of the harbor area. I am glad that we did turn back, but it was a disappointment. Getting to Cinque Terre always a challenge it seems.

    Did you go to Porto Venere instead, like we did?

    Located just inside the Bay of La Spezia, Porto Venere is quite picturesque and a UNESCO site just like Cinque Terre. There is a neat little church on a rocky point at one end of the town and a castle/fortress above. There are only a few restaurants and shops, but on the plus side there were very few tourists when we visited. Here are photos I shot from the boat before we docked.

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