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Thread: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    In a few weeks, I'll be in Venice for about a week followed by the Grindelwald/Lauterbrunnen region of Switzerland for several days. I've been to both places once or twice during other times of year, but never before in mid-winter. Does anyone here have any suggestions for winter photography in either place? (Or any other generally useful suggestions?)

    Thanks,
    Lisa

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    Lauterbrunnen valley is roughly north-south, with steep sides. There is only sunlight for a few hours around mid day in winter.

    Grindelwald valley is roughly east-west, but the high alps shade the town and much of the lower valley during winter.

    The best sunshine is therefore higher up, for instance go up to the First from where you can walk across to the Grosse Scheidegg, and there should be a bus to take you down. Alternatively, from First it is a fairly simple walk to Waldspitz - for refreshment - and then either down to the town, or accross to Bort for the cable car. From the town you can get a bus to Bussalp - though only every hour or so - and walk back down.

    Also, take the train to Kleine Scheidegg and walk to Wengen in Lauterbrunnen valley.

    Not all of the trails are open in winter. From Maennlichen [cable car from Grindelwald or from Wengen] you can walk to Kleine Scheidegg, but at a rather lower level than in summer - and it's easier and better in this direction.

    The trail along the foot of the Eiger north face is closed in winter.

    A trip to Jungfraujoch is only worthwhile - because it isn't cheap - if the weather is perfectly clear - there is a webcam, do a Google.

    There's been quite a lot of snow this year, and it has been colder recently than normal; and there has been much low cloud - you need to get above about 900 metres to get the sun and see anything.

    The tourist centre in Grindelwald is usually helpful, and they have bus and train timetables etc.

    Never been to Venice.

    Have a good trip.
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Member Clawery's Avatar
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    Re: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    Lisa,

    I traveled to Venice a few years ago in the middle of winter and it was under 2 ft. of water. We had to walk on planks and cinder blocks to cross certain areas. St. Marks Square was completely submerged. Take a look at this link I found on Google:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle5266829.ece

    I was still able to come away with some great imagery and happy I went. I would try to find out what the current conditions are or possibly look at going to Rome or Florence.

    Chris Lawery
    Capture Integration

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    Venice was certainly flooded recently.
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    Thanks for the comments, all. Regarding Venice, they had some unusual flooding in early December according to the news media, but I haven't heard anything about it since so it must have been temporary. I've read that the more usual flooding only occurs during high tide, for a couple of hours. We can deal. (Besides, think of the cool photographs you could get with reflections in the water!)

    Bertie, thanks very much for the suggestions for Switzerland. Just one thing I want to clarify: You make it sound as if, even though some trails are closed in the winter, a significant fraction of them are still *open*. Is that only for those with skis or snowshoes, or do they really keep many of them in condition for hiking??? That would be truly cool if they did! Like I said, we've only been there in summer before, and I really don't yet know what to expect in winter.

    In summer, we've done several of the things you've suggested, but not all of them. It sounds like we'll have plenty to do.

    Thanks!
    Lisa

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    Lisa

    AFAIK, snow shoes can be hired from Burri Sport -- they are just up from the train station in Grindelwald. There are a few trails, see for locations:

    http://images.gadmin.ch/15818/picbas...ndern_1200.jpg

    If you want to go 'off piste' you should have a guide.

    Some of the hiking trails aren't open - more from difficulty of keeping them prepared --but there are miles and miles of fully prepared ones -- far more than for snow shoes -- you do need good boots

    http://www.grindelwald.travel/en/welcome.cfm
    http://www.switzerland.isyours.com/e...erbrunnen.html

    for further info.
    Last edited by Robert Campbell; 11th January 2009 at 21:45. Reason: typo
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    Thanks for the info, Bertie. Our idea of snowshoeing was in case there weren't many regular hiking trails open; in our experience, you get about half as far in showshoes as you do with regular hiking because of the extra effort, so hiking is preferred if it's possible. I'm quite surprised at all the hiking trails open in the winter - you wouldn't see anything like that here in the U.S.; but then, our mountains are far closer to true wilderness than the mountains of Switzerland are.

    But we'll take a closer look at the map tonight (and compare it with our topographic maps) and see if any of those snowshoe trails are places we really want to go. We own snowshoes (which we occasionally use in the Sierras, which we can drive to), but it seems too awkward and difficult to transport them on airplanes all over the world and on trains all over Europe, so we'll rent them locally if we decide we'd like to go snowshoeing.

    I'll check out those web sites tonight.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Lisa

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    One more question, Bertie -
    When we were there in summer, we bought the Jungfraubahnen rail pass that gave us access to almost all the trains & lifts in the area. Does it work the same way in winter? I've also seen references on some web sites to ski passes - is that something different?

    Lisa

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    Lisa

    I've returned to Ireland to find the broadband has become very narrow in the meantime, so my surfing is now very limited.

    The ski pass is for the lifts up to the skiing areas, and the ski lifts up beyond this -- not something that a walker would need.

    AFAIK and remember, the rail pass gives access to all 'pedestrian' cable cars, trains etc, and is the same in winter as in summer. You can get them for a few days.
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    Thanks for the info, Bertie. We'll get the Jungfraubahnen rail pass like last time. It's a great deal.

    Lisa

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: Venice & Switzerland in winter?

    Well, we're back, and had a great time. There was even a little snow one day in Venice, which is very rare. The only problem was *too* much snow for a couple of days in Switzerland, but we had a couple of fine days too (including one where we met Robert [who posted above] and his wife for an excellent walk - thanks!).

    I've barely started going through my photos, but here's my favorite so far:


    Lisa

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