There wasn’t much going on in January – colds and ‘flu and general low feelings after Christmas and New Year. But once February arrived I was packing my bags to head off to the snow. Not for skiing or winter sports but to enjoy friends’ company and the wonderful scenery and to immerse myself in Schwyzerdütsch, Schwiizertüütsch, Schwizertitsch or however you wish to pronounce it! I’ve a little collection of books on the fascinating subject of the Swiss and their language, culture and customs.
So, I arrived at Geneva Airport last Thursday and immediately took the train, straight from the airport itself, to Bern where I stayed until Sunday. Despite heavy snow the trains still run pretty much to time and the lovely big, clean windows are filled with wonderful views whichever direction you look in or side of the train you decide to sit. A couple of my journeys were in first class but the views and cleanliness were equally abundant on my second class travels, too.
Lake Geneva and Vineyards
Travelling between Geneva and Berne the railway hugs the lakeside for much of the journey between Geneva and Lausanne
Sunday took me with friend Barbara out of Berne and up up up to Gstaad – in more than one meaning! Paul dropped us at Spiez station by Lake Thun and we took the train first to Zweisimmen where we joined the Golden Pass Line for the amazing journey to Gstaad. From here the train continues to Montreux, back on Lake Geneva.
So much more snow had fallen since Thursday.
This time there was a bit of delay and we ended up on a later train than intended but still we had enough time to enjoy the delights of the Gstaad Palace Hotel lounge and the pretty main village street. Unless you ski there’s little else to do here on a Sunday in winter – unless, of course, you fancy a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Gstaad was a ‘side’ visit as later in the afternoon I was to meet friends at the pretty lakeside village of Lungern in Central Switzerland. Barbara suggested we make a day of it. On the return journey she left the train at Spiez to return to Berne and I continued on the same Golden Pass route to Interlaken and the connecting train to Lungern. These trains follow the lake sides of Lakes Thun and Brienz almost entirely.
Views of Lake Thun and (sometimes) Interlaken from the Golden Pass Train
After changing trains at Interlaken Ost station my journey continued alongside Lake Brienz
On my last day I took the direct train from Lucerne to Geneva Airport so early yesterday morning that it was dark for much of the journey. Nevertheless, it being St Valentine’s Day, when I bought a tea from the catering trolley I was taken aback to receive a free heart-shaped chocolate! (The photo’s a bit blurry – either because of the time of day or the movement of the train!)