Train Holiday Memoirs – A Planet Rail Customer’s Account of their Train Holiday to Switzerland & Italy by Rail Part 5
September 22, 2014
In search of snow
Our train holiday continues and we’ve just sat down on the train from Geneva to Bern – the IR2523 – after an easy transfer from our hotel by tram and a quick cup of coffee at the station.
The trams here in Geneva are especially efficient in our experience and leave every few minutes – take note of that Edinburgh trams!
We’ve got a great seat just up the stairs and the train is very quiet and extremely clean. It is rather special being upstairs and I am getting very excited about getting deeper into Switzerland and seeing some snowy mountains.
After this train we transfer to another train to Interlaken and then one to Lauterbrunnen and finally on to Wengen via rack railway.
We’ve also been passing through vineyards and apple orchards on our Train Journey, not something I’d thought we’d see in the Alps and which definitely is a surprise to me.
In true train journey style, we’ve been lumbered with’ the talker’ on this particular train trip through the Alps. Why is there always one person (I believe in every carriage) who insists on talking at full volume?
Do they never realise that I might be an industrial spy? Or at the least have little interest in their subject matter when there is such wonderful scenery to take in.
It is slightly cooler now but a lovely sunny day.
When we arrived at Bern Station we did a quick change of trains and just as we were settled on the next train Mel realised that he did not have his wallet with him.
After a swift search and rising panic we raced to get off the train again (seconds to spare) and have spent the next 2 hours filling in lost property forms at the station and stopping his credit cards and reporting it all to the police. Every holiday needs an event I suppose!
Luckily my cards are fine so we are not penniless but hugely inconvenienced and worried it might happen again.
The police woman was helpful and told us to be very careful at our next stop in Interlaken as pickpockets are known to operate throughout Europe. Even so, I must say I did not expect this in Switzerland.
Of course, it’s perfectly plausible that Mel may have left it in the station cafe or it could have dropped out of his jacket at any point in the last few hours during our train transfers.
Whatever, I am buying him a money belt now!
Not the best start but now we are on the second train and I am beginning to calm down, relax and enjoy our rail trip again. Though I think I will be heading for a spa and massage when we arrive!
As a side note, I just say that all the staff we spoke to in Bern station were extremely helpful as was the girl who took my order for coffee and brought it to my seat even though it was a self service place. My rationale being that I could not leave the seat as I was filling in a form and watching the bags.
It wasn’t long now before we would get our first true view of the snow and frosted mountains of the Alps.
After all the hassle of wallets in Bern we were still stressed on the train to Interlaken but then we got our first views of the snowy capped mountains
It was all I had dreamed of and more.
From a technical perspective, the train changes were easy and soon we were aboard the rack and pinion to Wengen.
The sun was shining and the views were unbelievable as we chugged our way up the hillside. Some of the passengers (the man in front particularly) were petrified and could not look out of the window but for some reason I felt perfectly safe and getting more euphoric the higher we climbed.
Our first view of Wengen thrilled me and as we walked up through the car-less streets I was delighted to see so many little restaurants and gift shops.
It was a steep climb but soon we were outside the Wengener Hof and looking up at the balconies with their geraniums and hoping our own room was one of them.
I was fascinated to see that some are rough and some are as smooth as Mel’s icing on his Christmas cakes.
Continue to Part 6