Untourist of the Week: Bill and Marj HIll

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Our Bear friend is in the short hallway between the Woodcarvers school and Jobin’s in Brienz

Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour.

We stayed four weeks in our favorite place, Chalet Berit in Sachseln in the Swiss Heartland Untour region. We became so close to the Greuterts and Omlins during our first trip in 1998 that it is more like visiting the family home than going on vacation. So we have never wanted to stay anywhere else. But that is all right because Sachseln is a lovely village and with the great Swiss train service it is convenient to everywhere we want to go.

The best way to see the parts of Switzerland we love is to look at our page on Untours Cafe. While the notes, blogs, and pictures tell a lot, the video slide shows provide the best insight into our experiences. I think all are enjoyable but you may get a special kick out of the one about the family of coots in Brienz and the two videos about eating.

Before our trip this year we vowed to go places that we had never gone before. We still did our favorites, The Grandfather’s Walk from Grütschalp to Mürren, Brienz, Wengen, Männlichen, and a couple of others. But we are happy to report that we finally visited the Giessbach Hotel and Falls, the remarkable Woodcarvers Trail, going from Engelberg to Meiringen via the Jochpass, hiking from Schwarzwaldalp to the Rosenlau Hotel, and going to Aelggialp plus a picnic with Elisabeth and Guido. All are documented in our video slideshows.

With this trip like all of the past ones, our very favorite activity is sitting on the front porch of Chalet Berit for our combination Happy Hour, dinner snack, and most important passing the time with Albert, Elisabeth, Guido, Vance, and Barbara, some or all of whom come up for the time together. It is rare we stay away from home very late in the day for fear of missing out on our time with them. Here’s a few pictures to give you an idea why “staying home” and “getting home” are wonderful options for us anyday.

What is your favorite Untours memory?

 

Our favorite Untours memory  is our first glimpse of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau when we got out of the funicular (now a lift) at Grütschalp and their continued presence with us as we walked to Mürren the first time in 1998. That image (pictured below) is what we use to this day when we want to get relaxed to go to sleep (or when a nurse tests our blood pressure!). We feel it is very important to walk in the direction from Grütschalp to Mürren rather than the other way as some have recommended. Our way keeps us facing our Mountain Friends and is slightly uphill which is easier on the knees. The restaurant halfway at Winteregg makes a wonderful stop.

I have to add a second favorite memory. On the third day of our first visit in 1998 we were sitting on the patio having a beer and conversation with Albert and Berit Greutert when a little four year old boy covered in University of Tennessee orange clothes came riding around on his tricycle. What a shock to see my Alma Mater vividly displayed in Sachseln. That is when we learned that Vance Roy, a retired neurosurgeon and fellow alumnus was living in the “penthouse” above Chalet Berit. That added another member to our “Sachseln Family.”
 

How is taking an Untour different from other ways of traveling?

I think the short explanation given by Untours says it best. It is “Independent travel with support if needed.” First and foremost is being able to get into an apartment, unpack, feel at home, get all the good tips of what is available to do, go where you want when you want, pick good weather for seeing places like Mt Pilatus and the Matterhorn instead of being on a bus and going when scheduled (gives views like those below) and maybe most important, making new friends with the Untours staff here and abroad.

If you could describe an Untour in just 3 words, what would they be?

For us that would be “Going Back Home.”

Bill and Marj’s home away from home, Chalet Berit, qualifies for special for arrivals on 5/9, 5/23, 9/12, 9/26. Please call us for details. 1-888-868-6871

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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