one of christian's great-aunts gave us day passes for this last sunday--a day pass allows you to take all public transportation in the country: boats, trains, subway, bus. we planned out some food stops, but we knew it would be sketchy because places are rarely open on sunday. i was clever and got my tour guide books off the bookshelf. then i was double super smart and left them on the couch.
before we reached bern, my random castle count was up to 3. the rule was, i could not actively seek the castles, but if i happened to notice one, i made a tally mark. in total, i saw 5 random castles. christian teased me that i should keep a tally of church spires and chalets as well. i maturely stuck my tongue out at him.
prochain arret: bern
in bern we didnt do anything save get yummy pretzels and switch trains. what i like about train travel in switzerland is the shifting of languages on the train. announcements are in french, german, and english only at the beginning and ending of the train's route. throughout the trip, announcements are in the language of the region. here in romandie, the announcements of each stop are in french. it's possible to know when you cross-over to a different part of switzerland simply by how the station is announced.
nächste halt: interlaken
i have been to the interlaken region before. it was 1992. i remember the region being just gorgeous. i remember the mountain air and just how amazingly clean everything was. during that trip, we didnt stay in interlaken but took a cog rail up the mountain to a small place called wengen. some day i want to go back there.
i noticed two other places i want to visit. one is Brienz, and the other is Thun. the castle in thun, built in 1190, is so disneyland-esque. my little nose was pressed up against the glass as we rolled into town. thun is also where the military court is. i learned this because christian was explaining the only time he had been to thun was when he had his trial after he refused the mandatory military service.
we passed through Brienz and the lake was just magnificent. it's where we should have stopped to get amazing views of the lake instead of interlaken.
we wandered around interlaken feeling a bit let down. you see, although interlaken was beautiful, we both assumed one could easily get to the two lakes it was in between. not on an hour stopover, we couldnt. we walked along the river and were disappointed that there were no boat rides.
the water of the streams, rivers, and lakes in the alps is such an incredibly beautiful colour. it makes me annoy the person i'm with by saying "would you look at that water colour!? can you believe that? look at the water!" over and over againthe closer to a glacier one gets, the milkier it is.
sometimes the water is like a labordorite gemstone, and sometimes it resembles a nice copper patina. in interlaken, the river was a deep peacock green.
here's the best photo i got of the lake from the train
all aboard! next stop: lucern
this train was my favourite, with its wooden seats and happy ticket takers. rather than rolling the drink cart in the aisle, they went seat to seat asking for drink orders. it was a regional train, and one got the sense they all knew each other. the ticket taker was sharing a sandwich with the guy behind us.
the more the train crawled up the mountain, the more snow there was to admire. well, i was admiring the snow. someone took a little nappynap
at the top of the mountain, i noticed some passengers switching seats. it was like a dance. christian offered to switch with me, as i like to sit facing the direction the train is moving, and i realised it was because the train was simply going to go back down the mountain. we swapped places and i continued to watch the landscape.
we passed a reservoir
once we reached lucern, we decided to make a stop for lunch. while eating our picnic lakeside, we watched the swans.
swans, as i think i've discussed before, are such territorial assholes. they fascinate me.
christian bought some postcards for the family at the station, and we settled into our seats. the language switched again, and we heard some italian via the train announcement. our next destination was schwyz, which, christian told me "is
switzerland." the original three cantons formed an alliance in 1291 to thumb their noses at the austrians (well, there were battles fought too) and declare independence. all the important founding documents are in schwyz. switzerland gets its name from schwyz as well--once the alliance was formed, the three cantons were known as schwyzers, and the place became known as schwyzerland.
this is also the place where swiss army knives came from. we didnt see any founding documents or penknives. but we did see a lot of fancy sports cars driving way too fast on twisty cobblestone streets.
the town itself is a few kilometers from the train station, so we took the bus up the hill to see what we could find. this is what we saw first:
we wandered around but heard no romansh and saw no folks wearing traditional mountain clothes. dang!
we did see a pretty awesome mansion.
i liked the door of one of the outside buidings connected with the mansion
and we watched some children play hide-and-seek around this building dating from 1287
we sent the postcards on our way out of town
then we took the bus, packed with folks in ski-gear. the floor of the bus was slippery because of the snow melting off the snowboards and skis. i was entertained watching the people walk with ski boots on.
the mountains, viewed from the schwyz station, were gorgeous
we took the train to zurich and i soaked in all the deliciousness knowing that soon it would be dark and i wouldnt be able to see the landscape fly by.
in zurich, while we waited for the train home, we had drinks in the awesomely painted station restaurant
i love the ceiling
suddenly, we realised we had to run to catch our train! the waiter yelled at me for using the wrong door. christian had made it through the door without a tongue lashing. well HUMPH.
we boarded the train and the sunlight was gone. even though it was a double decker train, it was difficult to find a seat. it's not so much that there were folks in every seat, but more that people had stacked their bags on the empty seats and were not keen on moving them. i swear we walked the whole length of the train looking for a place to sit. we finally decided to just sit separately because we werent going to find two seats together. i sat down and the couple i flopped next to said, oh, wait, are you two together? and i said yes as i watched the swiss mister try and find a seat just ahead of me. they moved their bags and i called christian back and we all lived happily ever after.
i never really thought much about moving my bags. i always do that when i see a huge crowd boarding the trains. it's just the right thing to do! and it struck me as odd when, during our entire trip, folks kept thanking me over and over again for such a simple gesture. at the end of our journey i understood why. it seems people dont always do that.