Scenic Landscapes & Swiss Wine
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Travel Blogger
Peering out at the scenery, I became lost in time.
Rolling past me at a steady pace was a blue lake, glistening in the late-morning sun, looking like a series of moving paintings through windows big enough to cover a wall in some houses where I live.
I was on a train run by the Swiss Travel System and we were passing one of the two lakes at Interlaken in Switzerland.
For a brief moment I considered jumping out when the train made a brief stop in the town of Speiz, which may not necessarily sound inviting but it sure looks like a charming place to spend a few hours or a few days.
But I was headed from Zermatt to Basel, another fine destination, and besides, I really did not want to move from my seat.
I had a small bottle of fine Swiss white wine by my side, a comfortable seat and a view that went from steep valleys to waterfalls to green countryside to these lakes. I could not have been more planted if I were an edelweiss flower in the Alps.
The cabins are comfortable and the ride so quiet and smooth, it’s easy to want to stay in your seat forever.
You do have to be careful when you travel by train in Switzerland. That’s because it’s so easy to overshoot your destination.
One minute you’re gazing out the window daydreaming about what it’s like to be in a place you are passing, or perhaps even to live there, and the next you are suddenly at your station.
The distances are so close – no more than two or three hours – and the trains so efficiently operated that they always arrive on time.
And they leave on time, too, which means in my case, I always find myself scrambling to assemble all my belongings, stuff loose things into my backpack, grab my rollerbag and then go charging to the door before the train departs for its next destination.
I could easy find myself aiming for Bern and winding up in Zurich.
Or St. Moritz.
I’m certainly more alert when I’m on the platform waiting to catch a train. Knowing they leave on time – when the schedule says, say, 2:33, it leaves at precisely 2:33 – I do not want to be left standing there as it departs with a big whoosh.
So I hurry forward, almost stumbling into the people getting off the train before I remember they must exit before I can enter, and then quickly step inside.
This is a product of being an American because we don’t have any transportation as good as the trains in Switzerland. I do wish I could be more calm and cool about it like the Swiss, who do this everyday for work and for play.
They stand on the platform looking as if they are humming the elevator song, then casually step on board as effortlessly as they ski.
And frankly, if I ever do miss a destination because I’m glued to my seat or find myself left standing on a platform because I wasn’t paying attention, any place I arrive at in Switzerland is bound to be good. Or another train will be along within the hour.
This really is a great way to travel in a country.