Considering that this is a cycling tour, Jan and I have spent a lot of time so far on trains. Mostly this has been fine with us as we pretty much had to cross the Swiss Alps to get from Geneva to our starting point in Chur and, as much as we like rolling up and down hills, climbing the Alps in sub-zero temperatures is probably a little outside our comfort level.
Now, Swiss trains are comfortable, reliable and go pretty much everywhere you could desire to go in Switzerland. The bonus is that they happily go up and through those spectacular Alps affording us sublime views worth the fare regardless of whether you have a destination in mind at all. Utterly amazing!
Now, that doesn’t mean that everything is PERFECT mind you. Although a train arriving two or three minutes late is likely to send the average Swiss traveller or railway worker into severe consternation, we have had two uncharacteristic situations. First, the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur was held up for an hour when another train broke down and blocked the track just outside of Tasch. Never before have you seen a railway conductor look more ashen and anxious! Even when we were on our way again there was a sense of unease… did that really happen?
Second, we had to send our bikes ahead from Geneva as the Glacier Express doesn’t take bicycles. No problem, the baggage staff at Geneva told us matter-of-factly, we do this all the time. Simply take the baggage claim to Chur station in a few days and collect the bikes. Which we did. And they were there, of course. One of them even still worked. Sadly, not mine due to a smashed brake/shifter which threatened to completely fall off at any second. I could still ride, just not change gears or use the brake. I kinda hoped I’d be able to do both of those things on the trip, of course…
OK, no problem, report the damage and let Swiss Rail take it from there: which they did, of course, but once again we saw the ashen and anxious face of a Swiss Rail employee unaccustomed to real-life problems. (First-world problems, I know.)
The silver-lining to our 24-hour delay is that we get to explore Chur a little more- Coming soon!
And the train trips? Both charming, stunning and awe-inspiring. Amazing scenery, some pleasant chatting to fellow passengers (hello Gretchen, Kirk and the crew!) and destinations that delighted at every turn. Here a some highlights.