A little introduction about St. Gallen (pronounced “Sankt Gallen”) and why we were here:
- It’s a German speaking canton in eastern Switzerland, near the border of Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein. So you can basically travel to all four countries in one day, or less than a day.
- I (Maiko) lived here in 2013 together with my mother.
- The closest airport will be Zurich, which is 1 hour away by train.
- I could write more about St. Gallen, but I’ll probably write that as a separate article as this is just about our weekend stay there.
- The whole purpose of making this St. Gallen weekend possible was to meet my stepdad, who just finished his book called Be Successful. You can click on the link to see what it’s about, and you can also purchase it there.
So, to begin with the travel plan, I must start with the first step, being a Filipino… SCHENGEN VISA! I have attached the copy of the requirements for Filipino tourists below:
If you need a different kind of visa or some more information, please click on this link. And if you’re from the EU, you wouldn’t need one.
So let’s begin with the itinerary:
Day 1 (London – Zurich):
- Departed at 12am (midnight) as it takes 5 hours to get to the airport.
- Arrived in London Gatwick at 5am, parked the car which cost 40GBP for the whole weekend.
- Departed London for Zurich at around 7am and arrived in Zurich just before 10am (Zurich time). Remember that there is 1 hour difference.
- The train was pre-booked for 11:22am at 14CHF/person, but we have completely forgotten about the time difference, so we just realised this 10 minutes before the train departed.
- Arranged to stay with a friend Tobi that I had made 2 years ago when I was living here, so this has also cut the cost for us.
- Arrived in St Gallen at 12:20pm but I had forgotten how to buy bus tickets. So we asked random people to help us, but no one could speak English, but our third try was a success anyway and figured it out. So here are a few tips I can give you for “Swiss German or German names for bus tickets:”
- Tageskarte – All day ticket (around 6CHF)
- Einbillet (not sure how it’s spelled– around 3CHF) – One way ticket
- After I figured out how to buy the ticket and got the “tageskarte,” went straight to my friend’s house and dropped our bags off. This cost around 12CHF in total.
- Went back to the town centre to meet my stepdad at a restaurant called Restaurant Marktplatz and of course, we had the famous Olma Bratwurst! This cost around 60chf in total, as we also had some “panasch” or “shandy,” which is half lemonade and half beer.
- After lunch, headed to two supermarkets which are called “Denner” and “Migros” to see which one has the best deal for chocolates. And they’re right across from each other.
- After this, headed back to my friend’s house and ended the day. Tobi, being the best host ever constantly fed us with all the good stuff in Switzerland and food and drinks from different parts of the world. (I wasn’t able to take a photo of all the food that we ate.LOL)
- TOTAL SPENT: Around 140CHF total for two people or 70CHF/person (includes lunch, bus and train ticket, and snacks)
TIPS & OBSERVATION:
1. Pre-book your train tickets if you’ve got a plan, or if you know the time you want to go as they are almost half price.
2. Public transportation (cable car, train, ferry, bus, tram, etc) in Switzerland has been monopolised by SBB, so traveling is quite expensive.
3. Take a German phrase book with you as not many people speak English.
4. You can also buy your bus tickets inside the bus.
5. And lastly, know the time difference.
Day 2 (St. Gallen – Brülisau – Hoher Kasten):
- Met up with my stepdad at 8am across the train station, and took the Appenzeller Bahn which costs 23.60CHF/person (which is actually a combination of train and bus ticket so we didn’t really need to buy a “tageskarte” for the day), this is from “St. Gallen” – “Appenzell” and from here transfer to another train to “Weissbad” and from here there will be a bus waiting for the people to bring to “Brülisau.” Here you’ll take a cable car which costs 24chf/person for a one way ride to “Hoher Kasten” where they have the famous revolving restaurant. You can also hike your way up, which we didn’t do, as the weather was horrible, so we just decided to hike down, saves you 24CHF too. LOL.
- As soon as we were at Hoher Kasten, we just went out for a little bit but didn’t see much as it was too foggy, so decided to proceed with our lunch. My stepdad had a “Wurst – käsesalat” (Cheese and sausage salad), Chris had a “Hackbraten mit Butterspätzli” (Meatloaf and some kind of Swiss pasta) and I had a “Chääshornli” (Basically mac & cheese). So Chris and I spent 26chf + 18.80chf for our order. We also tried “Kaffee Luz or Kaffee Fertig” which literally translates to finished coffee. It is coffee and alcohol mix.
- After a couple of hours, we decided to begin our hike down the mountain. It took about 2 and a half hours to do this.
- TOTAL SPENT: 141.60CHF or 70.80CHF/person
TIPS & OBSERVATION:
1. You can hike up or hike down Hoher Kasten, or hike both ways depending on what you feel like.
2. Best to bring your own snack if you’re going to be hiking both ways, as the only place you can get food is the restaurant.
3. There’s a milk stop wherein they produce fresh milk, and it’s 80rappen/cup.
4. There’s also a bicycle/scooter kind of thing hire, so if you get tired more than a halfway through you can rent this for 15CHF.
Day 3 (St. Gallen – Zurich – London):
- Last day, so we had breakfast at Hotel Walhalla which was in front of the train station. It was 30CHF/person.
- Book signing of my stepdad and got my copy of the book!
- Journey back…
- TOTAL SPENT: 60CHF + 16CHF/person for the train.
Until next time St. Gallen!