Day 9 Geneva to Zurich to Maidenhead – Sunny -2°

We left the hotel this morning in the dark at -2° to walk up to the station to catch the 8.14am tilt train to Geneva. Our first class carriage was comfortable and not very busy and we settled ourselves in for the 3 hour journey.  Neither of us had been on a tilt train before and we were impressed at how fast it went and how obvious the tilt was around corners at speed.  A man came through our carriage several times, with a trolley filled with tea, coffee, cold drinks, baguettes, muffins etc

As the sun came up and we travelled along past Lake Geneva, we could see across the lake to France, however, it was almost impossible to get a clear photo because the sun was creating reflections on the double glazed windows of the train.

The train skirted Lake Geneva for a short time and then headed to Yverdon-les-Bains and then along the shore of Lake Neuchâtel, where we started to get back into snow country.  The train continued on through Bienne, which was quite large, then Solothurn, Olten and then through to Zurich.

We arrived in Zurich just before 11.00am and made our way to the main station area, went downstairs and put our suitcases in a large luggage locker (for 9 Swiss Francs) so that we could go off and do some more adventuring.

We headed out of the station to the Bahnhofstrasse, where we caught a number 6 tram to the Zurich Zoo. The tram took us on a 20 minute ride through the suburbs and dropped us, not far from the main entrance to the Zoo. We enjoyed wandering around looking at the animals and taking heaps of photos, especially of the lions and tigers and the penguins.

We caught the tram back to Bahnhofstrasse, walked back to the station and had a lovely late lunch in the Brasserie.  After lunch, we headed downstairs to collect our suitcases and find Platform 52 for the train to Zurich Airport for our flight back to London Heathrow.

By 7.45pm, we were back in Maidenhead with Janet, Adrian and Ella after spending a lovely 9 days in Switzerland.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed our 9 day Switzerland adventure.  One of the smartest things that we have done for quite a while is getting our 8 day Swiss Pass before we left Australia.  It entitled us to travel on public transport – trains, trams, buses and ferries – by just producing our pass.  This meant that we didn’t have to line up to buy tickets and with the number of trains etc that we caught during our stay, it was a huge saving.  On some specialised services, eg the Golden Panoramic train from Interlaken to Montreux, we needed to book our seats and pay a booking fee;  and on the final stages of our Jungfraujoch journey, we needed to pay a 50% reduced fare for that section only.

We were impressed with the quality and punctuality of the Swiss Rail system.  The trains were always clean, modern and very frequent – sometimes scheduled 10 minutes apart – the longest was an hour apart and that was from Geneva to Zurich, which is one end of Switzerland to the other.

During our visit to Switzerland, we travelled on a number of different modes of transport – trains, trams, buses, gondolas, cable cars, cog wheel trains, taxis, and Shank’s pony (for those of you who don’t know what that is, it is using your own legs, or walking). A fair bit of our sightseeing was done on foot, walking through the historical sections of the places we visited.

We were very lucky with regards to the timing of some of our adventures eg when we arrived in Interlaken, we decided that we would leave our day trip up to Jungfraujoch until the day before we were leaving Interlaken, because the weather predictions showed that it would be sunny that day. And, of course, our day trip to Jungfraujoch was spectacular because the weather was fine and we could see for miles up in the Alps. We really enjoyed our adventures in the Alps, being able to go out in the snow.

We especially enjoyed Interlaken because of our introduction to snow and being snowed on when we walked from the station to the hotel.  The view from our hotel was spectacular, overlooking the three famous mountains of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

We enjoyed the food in Switzerland, tried a number of different dishes, but we did find it a bit expensive in comparison to Australian prices eg in the hotel in Geneva, it would cost 29 Swiss Francs (approximately $AUD29.00) for a hamburger – needless to say, we didn’t have one.

We found the people we met in Switzerland to be very friendly, very helpful and all of them spoke English.

So, all in all, a wonderful snowy experience!


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