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swiss sunday: transportation to set your watch by

July 11, 2010

I’ve never owned a car.  I once admitted this fact to a group of 16-year olds from Texas as I worked as their guide of New York (story for another day).  Jaws hit the floor and one girl who could barely sit at the dinner table without a booster seat told me she owned two pick-up trucks.  I asked how that was possible, she told me her parents bought them for her.  I clarified “No, I mean how is that physically possible?  Isn’t it too big for you?”  She confessed that she had trouble with it, but she “had” to drive pick-ups.  I didn’t continue with the questions, I don’t think I wanted to know the answers.  Many years later, I can only imagine how those same kids would respond if I were to tell them that I still don’t own one.  They would likely require medical attention.

My point?  Never owning a car makes me no stranger to public transport.  And in the U.S., although schedules existed, they weren’t anything I paid much attention to.  They were more guidelines, suggestions for when a bus or train might make its way in your general direction.  Could be early, could be late.  Might not show up at all, but it was something to work with.

Then we moved to a country that makes public transportation a religion.  The novelty of watching the train starting to move right as the minute hand moves to the designated time still amazes me.  What amazes me even more is that now, three years later, I notice when the train leaves a minute and half after it was supposed to and I find myself “tsk-tsk”ing under my breath.  They take their timing seriously.  Mr. KC literally sets his watch by the train clocks, no lie.

regional swiss train

Transportation here is easy to plan, almost always scenic, clean and, of course, punctual.  If you’re planning a trip here, make sure to check out the SBB site before planning travel.  You can even just put in general tourist points and it will include walking times, waiting times and actual transport time.  Renting a car for most of Switzerland is not only unnecessary, but borderline silly.  After all, you can’t crack open a bottle of wine to eat with your cheese and bread in the car.

wine for the boat ride home

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    July 14, 2010 6:15 pm

    That wine looks GOOOOOOD… and I would LOVE to visit switzerland sometimes!!

    • July 14, 2010 9:54 pm

      You absolutely should visit! Prior to moving here, I never even thought of Switzerland as a destination, but now I go on and on as if I work for the tourism bureau. Do visit. Summer or winter, it’s an amazing place to spend your vacation.

  2. mimi permalink
    July 15, 2010 6:39 am

    We were in Switzerland for the first time ever just two months ago… Your posts about Switzerland make me miss it SO much. Lausanne, Montreux, Lake Geneva, cows grazing, serene beauty, green grass, clean everywhere… I think we walked around the whole time with our jaws on the ground – just unbelievable beauty. And we live in California already!

    And, oh, yes – LOVE the trains’ timeliness! I remember once standing on a platform and our train was supposed to DEPART in two minutes. We looked at each other and were like, “I guess it’s late?” Lo and behold, we were definitely on board and left ON TIME. Amazing. Love it when things work.

    Keep writing about Switzerland! Please! 🙂 I can’t wait to go back!

    • July 15, 2010 8:53 am

      Ask and you shall receive. Was compiling photos from our trip to Vevey just last night and need to do a post about Luzern of course. Hopefully you’ll see those shortly. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy Switzerland. It really is a spectacular place.

  3. January 15, 2011 12:51 pm

    It is on my list of places to visit. And I can drink on the train? It is like my dreams have come true!

    • January 15, 2011 4:23 pm

      I know. Transportation that’s reliable and alcohol friendly, what more could you ask for?


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