The Swiss Alps are one of Mother Nature's most impressive shows, even viewed from afar. Getting in among these craggy peaks — some of which soar more than 13,000 feet into the sky — is even more special. Alpenwild offers a 10-day/nine-night tour that scales those peaks compliments of Switzerland's amazing network of trains, trams, and funiculars. Among the classic lines ridden are the Gotthard Express, Bernina Express and Glacier Express whose cars allow panoramic views of the scenery. On the first day of the itinerary, riders are apt to be gasping aboard the Mount Pilatus Railway, the steepest cogwheel railway in the world, with a gradient of up to 48 percent. As the tour progresses, there will be exposure to the varied cultures of Switzerland reflecting their German, French and Italian neighbors. On a day's layover in Zermatt, you can ride the Gornergrat cogwheel train to 10,000 feet where you're at eye level with the famous Matterhorn. On the Glacier Express, a route that dates to the 1930s, the train crosses 291 bridges and passes through 91 tunnels. Another day the Jungfraujoch Cogwheel train claws its way to the top of 13,371-foot Jungfraujoch, which is the highest railway station in Europe. Cost of this adventure is $4,995 per person double, occupancy. Though it's totally sold out for this year, reservations are already being taken for 2019. Info: 801-226-9026, http://tinyurl.com/y8btmdww
THE STATE OF ROAD TRIPPING
If you're ready to hit the road, the folks at WalletHub have another list out, this one ranking the 50 states on how road-trip friendly they are. The 31 criteria used by the financial services web site were divided among the broad areas of cost, safety and attractions. Based on that, Wyoming was declared the most road-trip friendly state, while Rhode Island occupied the bottom spot. Southern states were found to have the lowest gas prices, with Mississippi the best, while Hawaii has the highest prices to fill up. All of the info is at http://tinyurl.com/shcza47.
THAT NEW SHIP SMELL
If you like the idea of being on a new ship's maiden cruise, the Online Vacation Center has a good package for Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Encore. In early November 2019, the ship will make its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to Miami where it will be berthed for Caribbean cruising. The package is priced from $2,999 per person, double occupancy for a balcony cabin and includes round-trip air from Miami, three pre-cruise hotel nights in Prague and two nights in London followed by the 11-night trans-Atlantic cruise. Air add-on is available from other destinations, including $200 from Chicago. This itinerary has even more at-sea days than the typical trans-Atlantic route, with just one port day in the Azores. Info on the package is at http://tinyurl.com/y956bput, and info on the new ship is at http://tinyurl.com/yc7pa7tp.
(Deals and websites listed here have been checked for availability as of press time. Listings are not endorsements.)
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