Friday, April 30, 2010

Trip to Switzerland 2010 - Montreux

Thursday 29 April
08:08 Bonigen bus to Interlaken Ost 08:50
09:08 Interlaken Ost to Zweisimmen 10:19
10:25 Zweisimmen to Montreux 12:13 (Golden Pass Panoramic Express)
12:40 Montreux Lake ship to Veytaux-Chillon 12:55
14:26 Veytaux-Chatillon to Lausanne 15:04
15:20 Lusanne to Bern 16:26
16:35 Bern to Interlaken Ost 17:28
17:38 Interlaken Ost bus to Bonigen 17:46

This was a long day of travelling with very little other content. The weather was hot and several trains were very hot as well. The Golden Panorama was very crowded and there were not enough seats for everybody on the train. We were forced to travel in second class because others refused to give up seats which had been reserved for us.

The scenery was good but not really spectacular. With the windows open, the coach would be filled with the sound of cow bells every so often as we went past a herd close to the tracks.

Chillon Castle was good, but not spectacular. It was good to see the shores of Lake Leman, the Swiss Riviera, even if to know that I really would not want to return. At least the first language is French.

The return via Lausanne and Fribourg was through very different country than we have seen in the last few days. Rolling upland hills with many settlements but with a very French influence on the houses and other structures.

Bob Saves the Day
We were given very specific instructions on how to get to the station at Veytaux Chatillon. This is a double track line with trains passing frequently at 60 mph and only one stopping passenger train an hour in each direction. In fact a train of oil tanks went through just ahead of our train at high speed. Two of the group were missing and Will went back to the castle but couldn't find them. They turned up at the next station, having missed the turning in the path, but were on the platform on the wrong side. She was panicking and almost went to cross the live tracks as they obviously couldn't make it through the subway in time. Will ordered them to stay where they were and asked Bob to get off and get them back to Interlaken.

Bob is probably the most savvy European rail traveller in the group. He loves traveling for its own sake and will often get in a tram going in the wrong direction " To find out where it goes. It's an adventure and you don't get lost for very long."

Bob took this couple out into the street and saw a trolley bus. His French was barely good enough to recognize the word "gare" but the trolleybus took them to Montreux station where they caught a non-stop train to Lausanne. Our train stopped at all stations. They arrived just as the train to Bern was running into the platform - to great cheers. Bob really had saved the day.

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