The Morning We Left Switzerland

A few people have asked how it is that I’ve been able to do a post for every day of our trip so far and why I’ve been making the time to do so when there is so much to see and do.  I’m going to answer both of those questions with the same answers: planes, trains, and automobiles!  But mostly trains. If you’re not on a train in Europe, it’s probably easy to fantasize about how you would be looking out the window and taking in the beautiful visages from where ever.  This is not always the case, and if it was, 3-4 hours of starring outside a train window is actually pretty tiring.

To expand a bit more on the why I do the posts, I’ll say that it’s logically and creatively satisfying for me.  Logically in that these posts are really nothing more than a generalized email to everyone who cares about us and is curious. If it makes sense for me to write an email to one person a day, then each post is worth it’s weight in effort so long as a single person reads it.  Writing while on this trip is creatively satisfying in that it makes me comb through the memories of our day and decide what’s worth sharing and how I feel like sharing it.  I think that Brianna’s Intragram posts scratch a similar itch for her as well.

Today’s train schedule has been grueling.  We started at a Lenzburg train station @ 0515, where Rachel generously gave us a lift to so early in the morning. Lenzburg to Olten, Olten to Basel, then three hours on the same train from Basel to Köln. Köln to Brussels was delayed because of vandalism(we weren’t given any specifics), putting us 40 minutes behind and in search of a different last leg train, Brussels to Brugge. 

Finding a new train to Brugge wasn’t difficult but it played out in a way that really imbibes the traveling spirit.  We missed the 1:40pm train, noticed there was a 2:40pm train with exactly the same stops, and so we got on.  As we were boarding, I received a response from Bob, I had texted him what we should do if we miss our scheduled train.  Bob’s response advised us to go to the ticketing office and get a replacement.  It made me anxious to do so, but we got on the train anyway, and maybe I didn’t tell Brianna about Bob’s advice until much later, no sense in us both worrying.

Not long after taking our seats on the train, Brianna noticed we were in first class and asked if we should move.  Needless to say, this observation and question made me even more anxious.  We were at an impasse.  Should we move from the first class to the second class on a train I wasn’t even sure we had tickets for?  No.  Fuck it.  If we are going to get in trouble, we may as well get in trouble while riding in first class.  I relaxed and let fate take the wheel.

The first 45 minutes went by, no one had come to check our tickets.  On my way back from the bathroom, I noticed the attendant checking tickets in 2nd class and just minutes away from our train car.  Here we go.  I pulled up the ticket from my email, the overly confusing ticket that included all of our 10 hours worth of traveling stops, maybe it will overwhelm her.  She scanned the ticket, told us to have a nice day, and walked on.  The very next lady she scanned was kicked out of first class, so her scanner was working.  Not sure why it worked out for us, but such is the traveling way!

Switzerland final thoughts:

1.) Switzerland is expensive but still cheaper than Iceland.

2.) The mix of languages makes communicating a bit more difficult than in Germany.  Usually, Germans will speak to you in German first, then switch to another language.  One of the conversations I had in Switzerland started in French, bounced over to German, and finished in English – they were fluent all along.  Not sure if they were testing me but I’m sure it was amusing to witness my incorrect use of all the words.

3.) Great people & great mountains, would love to come back.

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