By train and boat
06.19.2013 - 06.19.2013 90 °F
Our train pulled out from the Banhof-Platz as scheduled. No surprise. I’m getting used to Swiss efficiency, and I’m lovin’ it. We’re riding a portion of the Golden Pass, one of Switzerland’s scenic rail rides. The Golden Pass runs from Lucerne to Geneva, but we’ll get off at Interlaken West and hop on a boat for a 2-hour ride on Lake Thun to Oberhofen.
The seats on the train are arranged in groupings of four, pairs of seats facing each other. The train is half full so Sheri and I have two adjacent seats with the facing two seats going empty. Courtney and Jake sit across the aisle from us.
We pick up passengers as we go. Couples and singles get on our coach carrying backpacks and water bottles. A small woman in her mid-seventies takes a seat across from us. She wears hiking boots and holds walking sticks. She says hello in German. We smile and say “hi.”
It’s hot, unusually hot for Lucerne in June, 91 degrees, so we ask her if we can open the window. “Yes,” she says, smiling. And then, as Sheri takes pictures, she says I should sit next to her by the window. There’s some beautiful scenery coming up, and I’ll be able to see it much better from that seat.
“Are you from Lucerne?” I ask.
“No, I live in Zurich,” she responds. “I’m going to go walking,” she says, motioning with her sticks.
“So will you stay overnight in the mountains?” I ask.
“Oh, no,” she says, smiling. “I’ll be home by 8:00 having dinner.”
She gets off at the next stop and says goodbye. We watch her step off the train and take a hiking trail that starts ten feet from the train stop.
So the Swiss way of life, I think, is pretty damn incredible. Work and live in Zurich or Lucerne and go hiking in the Alps. And be back for dinner.
We connect to our boat at Interlaken West. The boat stops every 10 or 12 minutes pulling up to docks of small villages. Locals use the boat as well as tourists from all over the world. We have lunch in the dining room and watch the Swiss Alps come into view. I sip a beer brewed locally in Thun. This is damned good beer, I think. Looking out the window, I watch sunlight scintillate off Lake Thun. The water is a translucent turquoise. I drink some more beer, and take a deep breath. Some days it’s very good to be alive.