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Romance of the Rhine & Mosel 2014

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Pre-trip: Lucerne, Switzerland

Discover the beauty of Lucerne, Switzerland, set on the shore of Lake Lucerne with stunning views of the Alps. Spend four nights in this center of Swiss culture and wander the narrow cobblestone streets to admire the spires, turrets, covered bridges, and fountains for which the city is famous.

It's Included:
Accommodations: for 4 nights at the Superior Tourist-Class Ameron Hotel Flora or similar
4 meals: 4 breakfasts
Included tour: Lucerne
Exclusive services of a resident Grand Circle Program Director
All transfers
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    Leave the U.S. today on your flight to Switzerland.

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    A Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel in Lucerne. (Depending on your arrival time and hotel check-in policy, you may not be able to check into your hotel room immediately upon arrival at your hotel. Your Program Director will advise you of our check-in status and activity schedule for the day when you arrive.)

    The balance of the day is at leisure to relax after your overseas flight. You can also do some exploring on your own, or join an orientation walk to get acquainted with the vicinity around your hotel.

    This evening, join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Drink.

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    This morning, enjoy breakfast before setting out for a walking tour of this important and lovely city. Set on the shores of sparkling Lake Lucerne and with a backdrop of dramatic mountains, Lucerne is marked by medieval circular walls, watchtowers, and ancient covered bridges. We stop first at the famous Lowendenkmal (Lion Monument), which commemorates the historic defense of the doomed French King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette, by 786 members of the Swiss Guard. All members of the Guard died trying to protect them during the 1792 assault on the Tuileries. We also see the Town Hall, built from 1602 to 1606, its ornate style influenced by Florentine Renaissance designs, and we pass by Lucerne’s 17th-century cathedral.

    After lunch on your own, you can relax at a cafe near your hotel and watch the city life go by, or set out to explore more of Lucerne. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight.

    Or, travel to the resort town of Rigi Kaltbad high in the Alps for our optional Best of Switzerland optional tour. Start your tour with a boat trip to Weggis, then transfer by bus to the aerial cableway station, and travel to Rigi Kaltbad, a car-free resort that you can reach only by boat or cable car. The views across the nearby lake are spectacular. Later, enjoy dinner and a folk performance.

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    Your morning and afternoon are at leisure to explore on your own, and pick your own spot for lunch. You may want to stroll across Lucerne’s trademark Chapel Bridge (where the Reuss River leaves Lake Lucerne) and admire its paintings of old battles. Or wander through the adjacent quaint quarters with their maze of narrow, winding streets.

    Or, join our full-day optional Kleine Scheidegg excursion to visit the Swiss Alps. First, visit the town of Interlaken, which was built up around a twelfth-century convent and set between the lakes of Brienz and Thun in the heart of the Bernese Oberland. You’ll enjoy a panoramic 40-minute train ride on the Jungfrau Line Railway to Kleine Scheidegg at an altitude of almost 7,000 feet. Admire the Alpine scenery with dramatic views of the Wetterhorn and the Eiger North Face, successfully climbed for the first time in 1938. You’ll savor traditional Swiss fare for lunch and have time to take some great pictures.

    No other area of Switzerland offers so much—majestic mountains, waterfalls and lakes, plus scores of charming villages. Long before skiing and hiking became popular pursuits, the aristocrats of France and England flocked here to view the imposing triple peaks of the Jungfrau, Monch, and Eiger in comfort. You then descend to the resort town of Grindelwald before returning to your hotel.

    Dinner is on your own tonight.

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    You have the morning at leisure, and after lunch, you can join our half-day optional Swiss Idyll tour. You’ll venture to the glorious mountainside and experience the country’s rural lifestyle. You'll travel by train, following the shoreline of Lake Lucerne, passing Pilatus Mountain and Lake Sarnen, to the little village of Giswil. Here local farmers will take you on a horse-and-wagon ride on back roads, through thick forests and lush fields. Along the way, delight in a covered bridge, contented cows, and other icons of the Swiss countryside. At a small farming community, sample homemade wine, apple cider, and cheese, and visit the tiny Giswil Museum. Return by train to Lucerne.

    Or, spend today as you please.

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    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, you have the morning free to explore on your own. This afternoon, transfer to Basel to board the Romance of the Rhine & Mosel river cruise.