Friday, April 30, 2010

Trip to Switzerland 2010 - Interlaken to London

Friday 30 April

07:44 bus Bonigen to Interlaken Ost 07:50.
08:31 Interlaken Ost to Bern 09:23
09:32 Bern to Zurich xxx
Zurich trams routes 2 and 4
13:02 Zurich to Paris Est 17:34
19:13 Paris Nord to London St. Pancras 20:34

While waiting for the bus into Interlaken it was good to hear the cow bells across the lake even though we couldn't see where they were.
Spiez 11679, Thun 841 037 5.
We made the trip to Zurich as planned and in comfort - the SBB double decker trains are wonderful to ride in. There was plenty of time to walk down to the lake and take a tram back.

There was a nut job on the station at Zurich, He was waltzing around with a cup of Starbucks coffee and spilling most of it - which is probably quite a good idea. Then he went over to a bank of payphones, punched one digit and then was pretending to have a phone conversation.

Mary went into a high end chocolate shop and negotiated for enough chocolate to use up our remaining Swiss francs. She even managed to spend the loose coins we had - a small bite-sized cookie cost one franc.

TGV stock arriving at the platform in Zurich.

We met up with Dave Eakins as planned and the TGV left on time. There are some bright red apartment buildings on the outskirts of Zurich. Everything went to the timetable We picked up a second TGV set in Mulhouse. I noticed we were right hand running on the conventional lines in Alsace but the high speed lines use left hand running. The line runs through quite flat land in France with a lot of evidence of chalk. There were many fields of rape seed in full bloom which added great swaths of bright yellow to the landscape.

We quickly walked from Gare de l'Est to Gare du Nord and found a great place to have a beer overlooking the main concourse and train shed at Gare du Nord. Eurostar check-in was quick and boarding was in good time. Eurostar was very comfortable compared to the TGV and the trip was accomplished with just one station stop at Ebbfleet International. Such an easy journey. Perhaps the most dicey part was the Hammersmith and City line between St. Pancras and Paddington.

It is always sad saying goodbye to friends we have made on trips like this. We part with good intentions but the reality is that we will likely not see them again. Brian and Kath from Norwich (Kath is a Maid of Kent and I am a Man of Kent), Gerald and Josephine from Bristol and Margaret (Elora) and Ronald from Glasgow - there were quick goodbyes at St. Pancras just before we were engulfed in a hoard of loud school kids returning from France. Earlier we had said goodbye to Carl and Marion at Zurich and to Sandra and Paul through the train window at Bern.

This was the end of an amazing trip which showed us a great deal about the wonderful country of Switzerland. We used public transport a great deal and it was all clean, comfortable and on time:

Train – 62
Bus/trolley bus – 18
Boat –8
Tram –7
Funicular – 6
Cable car – 2

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