Intro Trip Report: Visiting Postcard Locations (Switzerland, France, Germany)

I haven’t done a trip report in a long time because quite frankly I don’t know when I will be able to write down the next part to the sequence. Rather than shying away from another one of these, I thought I would give it a go once again. I never thought I would be this short on time when I started drafting these posts.

Anyway, last year I went to Europe in March using an off peak season saver ticket on American Airlines for 22.5k miles. Unfortunately by the time I was set to leave Europe, I found myself in the midst of some last minute heavy winter storms, no award availability, and flight prices which were through the roof. So I had to get really creative with my exit strategy. If you ever end up in the same predicament it is a very good idea to play with multi city pricing on Google Flights. After a good hour or so playing around with the tool, I discovered that the cheapest flights back to the U.S involved my booking a multi city business class ticket on Oneworld as follows: LIS-MAD-JFK and then MAF-DFW-FRA.

I ended up having to use 8k Southwest points per person for PHL-DAL + $1500 RT (essentially $1675 RT if you value SWA points at 2 cents per point). This seemed like a steal of a deal considering that economy cost well over $1500 or 60k miles one way.

So this turned out quite well for me because I had already booked myself using a KLM business class deal earlier that year on OSL-AMS-ORD-AMS-BGO for $1300 for our usual summer trip. And these ended up being my positioning flights for that trip.

So all in all, it worked out for me in the end by sheer chance. Otherwise, it would’ve certainly been a pain to spawn a trip to Europe for the sake of not wasting a segment.

The advantage of flying into Frankfurt or Munich is that they are pretty much in the center of Europe and have plenty of flights to destinations across the globe. Our number one priority on this trip was to do some hiking in the Alps and there is no better place to do this than the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland. As you can see Frankfurt is actually the closest large airport to the Swiss Canton of Bern where Wengen is located. Everything else just fell into place once I decided that our final destination would be Wengen, Switzerland.

Since we were flying into Frankfurt, a one way rental car from Frankfurt to Zurich ended up being cheaper for the 4 of us than taking a train from Frankfurt to Wengen followed by a train from Wengen to Zurich Airport. Having a car also allowed us to visit Baden-Baden and Colmar, France along the way to the Jungfrau Region. Before you start thinking about why I have random pictures of rental cars, I’ll give you a tip. Always take pictures of your rental cars when you are picking up in Europe because you never know when someone will try to pull a fast one on you.

Baden-Baden is this quaint spa town nestled in Germany’s legendary Black Forest which dates back to 200 AD. My cousin and I visited the town back in 2014 on our first around the world trip and we have since then been enamored by the beauty of this town which often times seems far removed from the tourist traps in other German towns.

While the town is quite pretty, I wasn’t actually planning on revisiting until I realized that the town had a Marriott Category 4 property where I could use my annual free night. I honestly think the Roomers Hotel is one of the best kept secrets in the chain: the hotel is modern, classy, and elegant. And best of all it is cheap on points!

My cousin and I had visited Strasbourg on our last visit to Alsace and heard some amazing stories about a town called Colmar which is a bit further down south. Colmar is one of the few towns that was spared from destruction during the Napoleonic Wars and World Wars. Hence, the town just continues to ooze old world charm:

While my parents and sister had been to Switzerland twice before, they never really got a chance to appreciate the Jungfrau region because we were rained out the last time we were here.This was also an opportunity for me to start off my Vlog. What better place is there to start a vlog than my favorite place on Earth?

 

The Jungfrau Region of Switzerland is one of the best places on Earth for hiking because if you ever get tired, you can just take the train back. My parents and sister aren’t quite as used to hiking in the mountains as I am so it was the ideal place to start them off. What am I saying? Even I struggle up those slopes and probably wouldn’t do it unless it was for these jaw dropping views:

We ended up spending a total of 5 nights in an AirBnB in the car free village of Wengen. Hotels are very expensive in the region so there is no better place to stay than an AirBNB. 

There is no shortage of hikes and views to take in while you are visiting Wengen. Each day we would venture out to a different location or hike. There are also an assortment of towns to visit in the area: Murren, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen to just name a few places.

On our way back from our time in Switzerland I got a chance to check out the newly renovated Swiss Business Class Lounge at Zurich Airport. Zurich Airport and the lounges there are perhaps my favorite anywhere. They have such awesome food and ice cream!

Because our flights back to the U.S left from Oslo, we stayed a night at the Radisson Blu Oslo Airport which is adjacent to the beautiful air terminal at Oslo Gardermoen.

And of course on the final part of this adventure, I finally got a chance to try out KLM’s Business Class and visit Amsterdam Airport after a very long time (I absolutely love that airport).


 

American Airlines Premium Lounge Terminal D DFW (Temporary)
American Airlines 777 Business Class DFW-FRA
Roomers Hotel Baden-Baden
Focal Point Baden-Baden: 10 Pictures of this Sleepy Spa Town
Sunday Stroll in Colmar(FR)
My Favorite Place on Earth
Things to do in the Jungfrau Region
Swiss Business Class Lounge Zurich A Gates
Swiss Business Class Zurich – Oslo
Radisson Blu Airport Hotel, Oslo Gardermoen
KLM Business Class OSL-AMS-ORD