Monday, April 26, 2010

Trip to Switzerland - London to Zurich

Thursday 15 April

09:32 London St. Pancras to Paris Nord 12:47
14:24 Paris Est to Zurich 19:14

We left the hotel early and made the trek over to the Hammersmith and City line for the Underground ride to St. Pancras. We gave ourselves plenty of time because this line seems to be particularly unreliable. Of course the trip was made in good time with only the usual delays.

After a crepe with scrambled egg, bacon and cheese we met the rest of the group travelling to Paris. Marion Matthews is the same Marion who accompanied us on the El Transcantabrico trip last summer. Check in was uneventful and the train left on time. We were in the Channel tunnel in 35 minutes from St. Pancras. Non-stop to Paris Nord in 2 hours 15 minutes. The Eurostar was much smoother than the Javelin trains which are engineered for both the high speed line and the low speed southern lines.

 Security within the vegetation

Paris has a different feel to it and we both feel much more at home here than in London. People seem to be much more relaxed and at ease here whereas London seems to be frantic. It is truly spring here with many trees in full blossom. It was a short walk over to Paris Est where we had about an hour to get a cafe crème, a salad, a clafouti sale and a glass of wine. The train to Zurich was announced only ten minutes before departure and there was a mad rush for our seats.

The train was delayed for about 30 minutes by a “technical problem on the train in front”. After Strasbourg the line is quite a bit slower but we made good progress and crossed into Switzerland just before Basle. We arrived at Zurich about 15 minutes late thanks to a generous recovery time.

Check in was quick and we soon went out to get something to eat. As we walked into the restaurant the air was stale and stunk of tobacco – they allow smoking here. We had raclette – a plate of melted cheese into which you put boiled potatoes, gherkins and pickled onions with nutmeg and paprika. After the first round the girl brought us a second plate of melted cheese and we did it all over again. Dessert was apricot/pear sorbet with apricot/pear brandy. We drank beer. It was a good introduction to Swiss cuisine.

Walking around near the station afterwards the trams were running thick and fast – even at 22:00.

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