could we go to the station ticket counter in a small town at 9pm to enquire about our travel plans and receive an immediate response to our vague idea of travelling by train to Zurich in the morning and returning by boat in the afternoon. We need to be back by 3.30pm, so timing was crucial.
Not only was the answer given in perfect English, we were offered timetables for both train and boat
and the whole combined journey was available as part of a day ticket. Travelling after 9am saved us SFr6 each, we were told.
Such efficiency is remarkable and really hits all the buttons as far as my hero is concerned. And if he’s happy, then I am happy!
The following morning, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a train to Zurich HB, so we select the 9.10 to Winterthur for old time’s sake: This was the route we used to take when staying with friends who lived north of Zurich and the placenames along the route were still awfully familiar, all these years later.
We smiled when we spotted the Appenzeller cheese advert on the platform!
Our train was already on the platform, so we chose a carriage in section B and stepped on board. Yes, it’s a double decker train, as can be seen on most of the busy routes now.
Look how easy it is to step from the platform to the train – bearing in mind those steep steps from a British station onto the train, I find this kind of thing so impressive.
Yes, of course we sat upstairs!
Plenty of room in clean, comfortable seats – my hero picked that free newspaper up from the floor and placed it on the shelf soon after I took the photo!
We chose the sunny side of the track on which to sit, but the handy sunshade could be pulled down a little way to shield our eyes! Of course, we left right on time and stopped at several small towns along the way, which meant the train filled up nicely on the way into the city and was 90% full by the time we arrived.
The slightly misty morning gave an ethereal view of Rapperswil castle as we left.
When we reached Zurich, we were on the second underground level, newly built since we used this station frequently. We soon found our way to the escalator and I smiled to myself as everyone stood to the right hand side. How very Swiss! Except, a young man – a rebel! – stood to the left, lounging on the handrail and looking rather pleased with himself. Well, that is, until a businessman stepped up and muttered “Bitte” as he held his briefcase forward to indicate that he intended to pass…at which point the rebel squeezed into the line on the right hand side and realised the error of his ways! Love it!
Well, maybe you’ve walked around this, one of our favourite cities with us before? You’ll know how much we love just being here – we really don’t have to “do” a great deal! So, having left the train in the station, we simply walked – meandered, rather – up Bahnhofstrasse, turned left through the market and over the bridge into the old town.
This little restaurant was offering cheese fondue and had we been more hungry, then those snuggly sheepskins and warm woollen blankets would have been hard to resist. Even though it was warm in the sunshine, in the shade it was cool and they looked so cosy!
But we’d already promised ourselves lunch at one of our favourites – so we crossed back over the river and made our way through the little streets and passages to the Zeughaus.
Already bustling at just after 12 noon, we snagged our table and watched as, shortly after, people were having difficulty without a reservation, in spite of the size of the place.
Feeling happy and rather full, we made our way to Bürkliplatz and found a bench to sit and wait for the 1.30 to Rapperswil.
As you can imagine, this was no hardship!
About 1.15, the Helvetia came into view and a couple of hundred of us climbed on board to enjoy an afternoon on the lake.
It was a popular place to be on this sunny Friday, though our journey was a little less precarious than this chap’s (He fell off shortly after I took the photograph…)
Not only that, but we’d popped into Sprüngli on the Bahnhofstrasse and picked up a little something for pudding. Now seemed the perfect time to break open the box and check that these Luxemburgerli are up to standard.
All too soon, we were back at Rapperswil and with a crowd waiting to return to Zurich, we hopped off the Helvetia and walked all of 100m to our hotel. A quick turnaround was needed, because we were invited to a private view of the Raff exhibition at 5. No time to blog!