Majestic Mountains & Crazy Cable Cars!!!

On Friday morning the mountains were looking far too moody to even be approached, they were enveloped within a thick fog, so we decided to check out the small town of Engleberg instead, we took a 30 minute woodland stroll to get there, you could certainly feel the chill when in the shade of the trees, but we soon found the small town nestled in amongst all the other surrounding mountains, on the outskirts of town is a huge ski jump slope along with what in the winter would obviously be ski slopes nestled in amongst the hills and mountainsides, the actual town consists of a huge Monastery, a hospital, a few bars, restaurants, some small shops, cafes and hotels which are dotted along its attractive clean streets… We were thinking of stopping at a cafe for coffee until Toffi decided she didn’t like the look of a dog sat at a nearby table and wanted to pick an argument, so on we stumbled hastily and embarrassingly dragging the troublesome Toffi away with us…

 

 

The fog had lifted by the time we made it back to camp and the day had turned into a warm sunny and pleasant afternoon… On the Saturday morning we awoke to full sunshine with only one or two small fluffy clouds in the sky… It was the day I had been dreading… the day of the mountain cable car ride and to face my fears… and it would seem I just couldn’t put it off or find any excuse to get out of this today!!!

We walked the 30 minute hike to the cable car ride and purchased our return ride tickets… before I knew it the next cable car was arriving and we were boarding along with 4 other passengers… we boarded and I was scared… I have got to acknowledge I was not a great passenger to be onboard with… I was nervous the whole way, I managed to take a couple of pictures right up until the opposite cable car whizzed past us and I then realised we were just half way up!!! from then on I was sat starring anywhere but out of the windows… chattering away to myself literally like some mad woman possessed with regard to what the hell did I think I was doing and just what was I thinking getting on one of these things???!!!  I was genuinely scared out of my wits and just couldn’t wait to get solid ground under my feet!!! Toffi however behaved impeccably and even laid down when she was told too, I think she could sense my fear, I was petrified she would get over excited when one of the other passengers started to pet and fuss her and in turn cause this thing to start rocking around like crazy and freak me out even more!!!

 

 

Once at the top and again on solid ground I gave myself a few minutes to get my act together stop myself shaking and become acclimatized to the surroundings, while Toffi and Pete went on a bit of a wander… My fear of heights is really not as bad so long as my feet are on solid high ground, but even if I am on a bridge, I become nervous… in a vehicle going over a bridge a little more nervous… but in that cable car I was well and truly freaked!!! I think it has something to do with the lack of control and trust in the structures more than the height itself!!! But well I made it up, whether I could make it back down in the same fashion was a different matter altogether!!!

With myself calmed and sorted, feeling good that my feet were now back on solid ground it was time for a drink and some food, we had a fabulous lunch at the restaurant on the mountainside which has some fantastic panoramic views…

 

 

With lunch over and us refueled it was now time to explore, take in the beauty of the mountains and enjoy the views from up so high, also to decide just how we were getting down!!! After a brief discussion it was concluded there was just no way on earth I was willing to take one step back onto that cable car, I really didn’t mind walking down off this mountain alone either, we had each come prepared for a long hike back down anyway… I gave Pete the cable car tickets and the option to take the ride back down if he wanted too… but he was told me he was also fine with the hike down the mountain on foot and that the motion of the cable car wasn’t a pleasant feeling for himself either and he had started to feel a little motion sick on the way up (besides he knows my sense of direction is also pretty lousy and that I would most likely get lost on the way back down my own anyway!!!) so after a brief stint on the mountain, admiring the magical views and then watching closely as the clouds started to roll back in, off we set for a marathon hike down off the side of a mountain…

 

 

here’s the video taken at the top of the mountain which is linked via my facebook account… so here goes let me know if it works…. Enjoy…

The hike down wasn’t easy going on the feet, knees or legs, although it wasn’t overly hard either for the average fit and able bodied person as there were no direct rock faces to be climbed down etc, it’s classed as a medium hardness hike as no ropes are needed no hard direct climbing involved… so to be fair it was pretty much like hiking down through a steep stoney wooded area, we didn’t rush ourselves, but it took us a good 3 hours to hike back down just to the reach the bottom of the mountain, the loose shingle underfoot on the pathways was the main bugbear as it made the footing surface unstable and slippery even in sturdy walking shoes, it was also sometimes a steep descent which meant it would be easy to lose your footing on the surface if you weren’t careful, and looking over the edge it might have been just a bit of a fall in some places!!!

 

 

But by midway down both our legs felt like jelly caused mainly from the continued steep descent angles we were walking at and we still had half the journey to complete, we could see the tiny town we needed to get back too far down in the distance below us, it took on the appearance of a toy town with the buildings looking so small and tiny…

The next day were we both paying for it… my lower back refused to bend, with my knees and upper legs pretty stiff along with many sore tender muscles that just hadn’t worked that hard in months… It was funny on our way down Pete seemed to be suffering the worst and I would photograph him, when he realised I was onto him starting to flag, we would laugh and joke, and I would be offering him a helping hand along with some sweet sugary coffee from the flask… even the dog flagged badly at one point and it seemed I was the last one standing and still raring to go…. but the next day it would seem Pete and the dog had the last laugh… watching as I was now the one hobbling around like some mad demented looking old woman who just wasn’t able to even stand upright, no wonder they have trained physios and masseuses available here at camp, I was pretty tempted to book us all in!!!…

 

 

So, would we do it again??? oh boy, yes of course in a blink of an eye… the mountains are such amazingly addictive places to take adventures and explore on, both idyllic and at the same time wonderfully scary places with ever changing weather systems but on those clear days the views from the tops of them are just breathtaking (even if the cable car did seem like a ride into some sort of hell, well for me personally anyway!!!)

There are a lot of wayside shrines scattered around on the mountains and at the base of the mountains with protective Saintly religious figures inside… I guess to help protect the wayward, weary or lost traveller along on their journeys…

 

 

Now I must admit I really like this campsite, it’s amazing with great views, spotlessly clean, attractive, plenty to do in the area, good wifi, shop, restaurant, great showers (although you have to pay 1 franc for 4 minutes hot water and pay extra for use of the swimming pool and saunas etc) plus all the other other great facilities nearby…

 

 

But last week I had allowed Pete to search for our next stop (which was this site) as it’s usually me doing the search for the next stops and to be fair I wasn’t sure how far into Switzerland we wanted to go… plus as in Pete’s words “we don’t always have to stick with ACSI sites for discounts, other campsites have great offers and the prices aren’t all that different”, (I often use the ACSI app when choosing stops as it is pretty clear exactly what you will be paying and you can also check out reviews etc from other previous campers, Pete doesn’t he just searches on the internet for campsites, and I didn’t double check it for its ACSI membership just in case… also the campsite didn’t mention ACSI membership on its website either, but I now really regret not checking!!!)

It wasn’t until we were chatting to another British couple on site yesterday who mentioned this was actually an ACSI member site at €19 a night, so fair enough I went to check that out on the app and yes, it sure is… but Pete had failed to show, ask or even mention the ACSI card when booking or on arrival… so I went up today to pre-pay and hopefully get it at the discounted ACSI price…

Nope disappointingly we were billed at full price and it has made it very costly… I mean really costly… when travelling full time on a budget!!!  but they did mention they had charged us on their own deal of 7 for the price of 6 nights… take my advice if you plan to come to this site outside of the peak season of July/August make sure you use and mention upon booking or at arrival that you are booking via an ACSI card as there are only 26 pitches available on site at that discounted rate looking at it, so if you pitch on an undiscounted pitch it doubles the final price you will pay… even though the actual price difference for pitches is 2 francs!!!

What’s more the pitches are all practically the same, I seriously do not see the differences in many of them… they have a 5 class pitch method Standard CHF12/Superior CHF14/Comfort CHF16/Prestige CHF16/Caravan pitches CHF20 the only ones that are really different that I can see are the Comfort and prestige pitches where you have your own water pipe/waste outlet on pitch… so it makes you wonder why exactly are you paying different prices for standard and superior… we are on what they class a Superior pitch corner plot (there is no on pitch water/drainage access here etc) we like others have a great view of the mountains but the pitch beside us looks just like a standard pitch also and again nothing ultra special but is also classed as superior and it cant be for the view as they are looking the side of our motorhome so the price difference should have been CHF14… it’s strange… at a guess it’s just a good money earner for the campsite!!!

But here’s the shocker… with regard to actual pricing differences… had we used our ACSI upon arrival the total cost would have been just €19 a night for the 7 nights…

With ACSI card            total           €133 / CHF153.38 = £116.96

Without ACSI card      total           €248/CHF286.60    = £218.09

total price difference we paid was £101.13 instead of having us pay the extra CHF14 francs which has left me a little upset…

To put it into context that’s almost a weeks camp fees for us full time travellers that we are now paying extra!!! Now we don’t leave Camping Eienwaldi until the morning of 27th so I guess if the campsites owners were decent about it and did care about us showing our feelings of being a little ripped off in reviews… they could always approach us we are on pitch 38 and offer us a further discount as a good will gesture or even give us a free pint, burger and chips each in the restaurant… that would help take the sour taste from of my mouth, plus we are actually starving right now and skint!!! I am trying my hardest to remain unbiased in my opinion on the campsite overall as it is really awesome and I really don’t want to have to give it a bad review for this mishap, plus Pete is currently getting an ear ache after my nagging to him of the importance of the constant showing of the ACSI/ADAC/CCC cards on arrival which I didn’t realise at the time he hadn’t done in this case!!!

I have contacted ASCI today, reported the issue spoken to them on the telephone and hope they can clarify what happens in situations as such, I guess the camp have 2 days now where they could at least approach me and make it right!!! after all I have spent the last 10 months travelling campsites and reviewing each campsite for the travelling public, I don’t mind paying the extra 2 francs per night for the cost difference of the pitches but that certainly doesn’t come close to the £100 we have currently been in my view overcharged by… Never in that 10 months have we been charged full price upon showing the ACSI card at payment!!! so while the football season is ongoing I am currently stewing over this matter and showing the red card of foul play here!!!

Well I will be sure to update you all in the next blog post… perhaps as an episode of the Tintenttravellers tales of woe, expensive mistakes & misfortunes!!! but for now we must rest our aching limbs and refuel our bodies with food before any more adventures!!!

Take care… and have fun on your adventures!!!

Donna x

Camping Eienwaldi  N46°48’36” E8°25’21”  ACSI rate €19 per night, without ACSI our final bill came to £218.09     £36.34 = €41,29 per night (ouchies for our budget, make sure you use your discount cards people… don’t be left feeling ripped off!!!)