One advantage of Eurail…

One advantage of a Eurail Pass is that it allows you to hop on and hop off trains all day long. That’s what happened when we left Geneva and crossed Switzerland.

We went from Geneva to a small town where we met some friends. After that it was on to Bern. And after Bern, Thun.

After divesting ourselves of our bags, we went back to Bern and spent the evening floating down the river and downing some beers with friends. Then it was back to Thun for a good night’s sleep. And all the transport was hassle-free thanks to our Eurail Pass. It also helps when you’re not counting every journey you do, but enjoying as much travel as you want to on one of your “on” days.


Validating your Eurail Pass

On day one of our Euro rail adventure, we headed from Geneva to Thun with

The ride was smooth and beautiful, plus we were met by a friend in Bern and had a great time exploring the local towns, floating down the river towards the parliament buildings, and hanging out with new-found friends at a few parties.


Photos from Swiss Pass Journey

Here are some photos taken during my 2006 Eurail trip through Switerland. It was easily the most scenic of all our travels that year. Except, perhaps the South Island of New Zealand.

Swiss countryside - 9
Swiss countryside

Brienz - 12
Brienz, near Interlaken.

Bern - 26
Magnificent Bern. With real bears.

Swiss mountain journey - 10
Swiss mountain journey.

Swiss mountain journey - 15
Train carriages ahead.

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Private line in Switzerland

Using the Eurail pass on the Swiss rail system was a great idea. Firstly, because the CHH system is clean, efficient and punctual. And secondly, because it’s really expensive, so the pass makes it affordable to use.

We’d been warned in a multitude of different ways that some of the rail lines in Switzerland were privately owned and not covered by the Eurail pass. However, we still managed to end up in the middle of the mountains on a train that felt suspiciously unique. We were heading straight up a mountain, and the trains passing us seemed to be filled with American tourists sipping champagne and eating three-course meals. A quick question at the ticket office at the next station confirmed it – we weren’t covered, none of the trains within thirty kilometres were, and we had to buy a ticket to the next stop. 160 euros later, we arrived in Liechtenstein with much lighter wallets. Needless to say, we were a lot more careful next time we used the Swiss rail system.

Linda was travelling on a Eurail Global Pass. Read more of Linda’s stories.


Zug, piss and tears of laughter

The Swiss Youth Hostel Association issue an extremely useful brochure listing information about all the YHA hostels in the country. In addition to the essentials of address, price and phone number, it also has details of distance from public transport stops, and how to get there from the main train station in the city. We were in Switzerland on a tight budget, in deciding where to stay chose a town called Zug, about an hour on the train from Zurich. According to our handy leaflet, the hostel was cheaper and closer to the train station than the one in Zurich, as well as having a kitchen and smaller rooms.

We were put into a six-bed room on the first floor opposite the toilets, a narrow room with three sets of bunks. An older Swiss couple had taken the two lower beds near the window, so I chose the upper bunk nearest the door. After a nice chat with the Swiss couple, who were walking across the country and trying out hostelling for the first time, we locked the door and went to bed.

The hostel was quiet enough, though I woke up once or twice in the night when people clomped down the corridor and into the toilets. At one point I heard someone taking a leak across the hall, opened my eyes and noticed someone standing over the Swiss guy’s bed. I thought it was the Swiss guy playing a joke on his wife, but realised that it couldn’t be since he was still in bed. You know what it’s like when you are half-asleep. It took me a second to realise that the sound of someone taking a leak wasn’t coming from across the hall, but from the guy standing over the bed!

As I fumbled for my glasses to make sure, the Swiss guy jerked upright with a yell when realised he what was going on. The young pisser was unconcerned and continued what he was doing until the Swiss guy took his arm and led him out of the room. We took the mattress into the corridor and the Swiss guy moved to the upper bunk to the sound of his wife chuckling from her bed. She was still laughing when we woke up in the morning.

Linda was travelling on a Eurail Global Pass. Read more of Linda’s stories.

Written by Linda King in: Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Liechtenstein zug

This is part of a series by Linda King

We wanted to use our Global Eurail pass to its best advantage, so we weren’t spending long in each place. We tended to arrive somewhere in the evening, explore it in the morning and head on in late morning or early afternoon. That’s exactly what we did in Liechtenstein, except with a bit more drama than we had expected.

Liechtenstein is a tiny country, with only one railway station which has a rather sparse schedule. The station is about an hour’s walk from the capital, Vaduz, though there’s a good network of buses to take you there. We were staying at the youth hostel, which was about halfway between Vaduz and the Schaan Post bus stop, which is also where you catch the train.

We’d spent the morning in Vaduz and walked back to the youth hostel to pick up our bags before heading to the train station to catch the 12.30pm train – the last one for about three hours. But we completely mistimed our walk and got back to the hostel at 12.20 – there wasn’t a chance of walking to the station in time. A bus was due near the hostel at 12.25 – supposed to arrive at Schaan Post bus stop at 12.30. Cutting it fine, certainly, but the people of Liechtenstein take after the Swiss in terms of efficiency – or at least we hoped so.

It was an anxious wait for the bus, but it finally arrived and we bustled on with all our bags. The driver took off, and we named the stop we wanted – Schaan Post. We were a bit surprised when the bus driver said no. What? we asked. “Finished” he said. We were completely befuddled, but still tried to pay while he tried to explain how the bus stop had disappeared or something – we had no idea.

Since our German was verging on non-existent, we didn’t work out what was going on until we reached the stop we wanted, just outside the post office. He looked concerned and pointed to the post office and said “finished” – the post office was closed for the day and he didn’t want us to make a journey there in vain. We finally understood, and pointed to the train station and said “nein, zug!” (no, train). Indeed, the train was just approaching the station. His face cleared and he gestured to us to run for it. We tried to pay for our rather entertaining bus ride but he wouldn’t hear of it, so we ran and caught the train with seconds to spare. Mint.

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