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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Phoenix to San Francisco to Zürich to Unterseen

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Phoenix, Arizona to San Francisco, California to Zürich, Switzerland to the Adventure Guest House in Unterseen


We are staying in the Garden House.


Michael and I are off on our yearly trip to Switzerland. Again this year we are staying at the Adventure Guest House in Unterseen. We usually stay in room 9 in the main chalet but this year we are staying in what I call the “Garden House". I will miss seeing the magnificent Jungfrau every morning and evening from the window in room 9 but I definitely won’t miss climbing up to the third floor while schlepping very heavy bags.


The plane from Phoenix to San Francisco was delayed by 45 minutes but lucky for us we had plenty of time before the flight to Zürich. I feel bad for the people who have very tight connections in San Francisco. As the person whom I sat next to said, “flying is no fun anymore.”


We flew United out of John McCain terminal 3 to San Francisco and then switched to Swiss to Zürich. United and Swiss are Star Alliance partners. Michael and I would love to have Swiss fly to Phoenix instead of Los Angeles or San Francisco. Oh, well, it is better than going through Chicago.


I enjoyed reading the Future First: Sky Harbor Sustainability posters. It’s funny but I even got other people to stop and read the posters as I took pictures. People are curious to see what you are photographing.


This is a picture of Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona.






Did they actually count?


It was a beautiful day for flying out of Phoenix.


Waiting our turn in line.


Camelback Mountain


Papago Park


Salt River Pima- Maricopa Indian Community fields- Scottsdale- McDowell Mountains.


It was a quick one hour 25 minute flight to San Francisco.


There is quite a bit of agriculture in Arizona and lots of dry desolate areas.


Farming along the Colorado River.


The Salton Sea off in the distance and huge solar farms.



California’s Central Valley


Could that be ski runs?


The marine layer off in the distance. It reminds me of Carl Sandburg’s poem Fog.

"The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on."


The Pacific Ocean


On final approach to San Francisco International Airport


Not sure what this land is but it is located at the end of the bay. Maybe a dried salt marsh? Pretty colors.



Expensive real estate


I wonder what a slip goes for here.


Expensive real estate.


Interesting control tower design


What is the cost difference between hiring a person and or having a robot?




We waited for our flight at the United Polaris Lounge. It is quite fancy as compared to other lounges/clubs I have gone to. They even have a sit down restaurant inside the lounge. There is a sign stating you need a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes to eat. There is a section by the dine in restaurant that has a salad section, cold cuts, cheeses, sandwiches, hot entrees, soups, fruit, desserts, etc. I didn't take too many pictures.



Summer salad of pesto with mozzarella balls and heirloom tomatoes was delicious!!!! Strawberry lemonade was placed at the entrance to the club. So refreshing!!!!!!!!! The broccolini was a perfect al dente.


Additional favorites were the pesto shells with shrimp and bay scallops. I did have seconds even though I know I will have a delicious meal on our flight.


Again this year we are flying Swiss first class. The eight of us have our own boarding door. There are two flight attendants for the eight people in first class. After sitting in our seats, the next person to greet us was the captain. With his IPad he explained the route we would be taking to Zürich. What a perfect smooth flight with no turbulence at all. When we fly back to Phoenix I would love to take the route he took to get to San Francisco as the plane went over Thule, Greenland, Seattle, and Mt. Rainier in Washington because of headwinds.


The purser was the next to come talk with us. He came by a few times during the flight asking how we were and if there was anything else they could do or get for us.



After a short while, next came the dinner service.


Instead of the usual warm nuts, we enjoyed a shrimp appetizer with Sprüngli bread sticks.





Choices, choices, choices…

For the first course, I had the seasonal salad with marinated mozzarella, red and yellow sun-blushed tomatoes, while Michael had the fillet of Balik salmon and the selection of cold meat specialties.


For the main course I had the beef tenderloin which was a perfect medium rare. Michael had the sea bass.


We both skipped the cheese course.


Michael had the ice cream with fruit for dessert. I had two Sprüngli chocolates for dessert instead.

Pretty sunset


Then, it was time for bed. It is so nice to be able to lie flat and stretch out especially on a 10 hour flight. A thick pad was put down along with a comforter and pillow. Had a wonderful restful sleep.


Michael sleeping in his pod.



For breakfast, I chose the bakery basket with croissant, roll, and bread. I also had orange juice and the artisanal yoghurt. Loved the yoghurt as it had a tangy taste. Bring on the Swiss yoghurt! There were three choices of jam: quince, strawberry or apricot along with honey. I don’t have quince jelly that often. My grandmother used to make quince jelly so it brought back some happy memories. It seemed I had the never ending English breakfast tea, though.


Our flight arrived 20 minutes earlier than scheduled.


Some pictures as we descend on our final approach to the airport.






No flowers or bells on those cows.


A field of sunflowers.


Of course, you need some chocolate to take with you.


The best perk flying Swiss first class is when you arrive in Zürich. The eight of us have our own exit where we are met by our driver who has a nine person van. The driver took us to our private immigration agent. There is no standing in the long immigration lines. It didn’t take longer than a minute or two before we were in the van again to get to the main terminal. Then, we were let off by baggage claim. Our bags were even the first ones to come out.


The train station is across the street from the airport. It is so convenient! We checked our bags to be delivered to the Interlaken West train station on Saturday morning. This way we don’t have to schlep our bags on the train. This year, they changed some of the train routes. We now don’t have to switch trains in Bern; we can go direct to Interlaken to and from Zürich.


The station is so clean



If you are wondering what the weather is, well it is a very hot and extremely humid 95 degrees. We were told tomorrow will be the same as today but there will be a huge cool down on Saturday. Michael and I are so very thankful the trains are air conditioned.


It is a 2 hour and 6 minute train ride from the Zürich airport to Interlaken West.


Passed by Spreitenbach. When Michael worked in Switzerland in 1977- 78, he lived on the 13th floor of the red high rise you see in the back. I always tease Michael one day I want to visit that IKEA. He isn’t an IKEA lover so it is our standing joke.


Those little dots in the Aare River in Bern are actually people floating down the river. Some people have their dry bag floating behind. Is the Aare cold? Yes, it's cold! It's a river in Switzerland! However, it must be refreshing on this hot and humid day. Our friend Fränzi , who lives in Bern, loves to do this.



It is only a 45 minute train ride from Bern to Interlaken West. The train will stop briefly in Thun and then Spiez.



The reception is only open until 7 PM but Sylvia waited a little longer to greet us.


Our home away from home. Instead of being in room 9 in the main chalet under the roof, we are staying in the Garden House.






A beautiful welcome basket.


Jen even left some drinks.


Dining area - kitchen area - living room


There is a fondue pot, too.







Two bedrooms and two bathrooms



I can still see the Mönch and the Jungfrau


The church bells which ring every night at 8pm have rung an hour and a half ago, so I will say good night.




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