Showing posts with label lausanne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lausanne. Show all posts

Golden Pass - Montreux

Today is the last day of our trip. We had already reserved for boarding another panoramic train “Golden Express" which will take us to Lausanne where we started our journey one week ago. By now I was so used to that after waking up my first thing was to peer out the window to check weather. And like every time it was bright sunny morning at our last day of vacation. After having heavy breakfast we headed towards railway station of Interlaken with our luggage.

From our previous experience with glacier express where we missed the window seats we made sure that get the same while booking in advance.This special train is broken into two main parts. In the first part it is almost like any other Swiss railway train but it is only written “Golden Pass” on the outside.And there are no special panoramic windows; which is a blessing for the camera.


Traveling by train to Zweisimmen on the Golden Pass BSL train, offers panoramic views of the Swiss Alps, mountain slopes and valleys with picturesque chalets which is something different to experience. Train snakes through the Simme Valley passing through the rural Simmertal where one can see Swiss cows grazing on the Alpine meadows. Listening to the distant sound of cowbells tickling on the pastures is very amusing.


At Zweisimmen, we changed to the Golden Pass MOB Train to Montreux. This is the only line in Switzerland that offers VIP seat at the front of the train giving a river's eye view. This ultra-modern train gives the traveler the unique sensation of being totally at one with the grandeur of the unfolding landscape. While passing through the region of “Châteaux d'Oex” we saw beautiful Swiss villages for one more time. There are lots of hiking or other outdoor activities around this region. Admiring the view of Lake Geneva on one hand and the sprawling vineyards alongside on other hand we descended to Montreux. We enjoyed magnificent views of alpine beauty on our unforgettable rail journey of Switzerland.

We came to Montreux from Lausanne after keeping our luggage. We took a relaxing promenade on lakeshore to go to Chateau de Chillon. This 13th century castle has lots of history to tell in itself. Lord Byron's famous poem “The Prisoner of Chillon” was set on prison which is at the cellar of the castle. We spent almost 2 hours there and at the same time it was raining heavily outside.

We wanted to go to Geneva to see “Jet d'eau” (water fountain) but it looked like it might be a better idea to be at Montreux as we would be running out of time. Later in the evening we boarded TGV back to Paris – and this time it was in First Class: D

Post Bus - 19th June

Till we are not sure what would be our next destination for today. The nearest attraction is Montreaux, but that being so close to Lausanne we were discussing to keep it for last day. After taking a hearty breakfast we reached railway station. We asked at the information desk about the Swiss travel pass and Post Bus.
Traveling with yellow Swiss post bus system is really breath taking experience as they connect any place in Switzerland which can’t be reached by train. As we had some print out from web sites but none were close to Lausanne. One of the routes that attracted our attention was Napoleon route from Saas Fee to Locarno. But the special tourist post bus operates once a day most of the time and you need to make reservation for the same.

After buying Swiss Flexi Pass from the Railway station, boarded a train to Visp. The train journey to Visp was nice as it gave the taste of Alps and its beautiful mountain ranges. The bus trip from Visp to Saas Fee was magnificent. We initially wanted to get the Glacier express today itself but being a special train we could not connect the same. So we spent only 20 minutes at Saas Fee also called pearl of Alps. Saas Fee is a very beautiful car-free resort nestling at foot of glaciers One local young gentleman invited us to little Himalaya of Europe while getting down from the bus. There we had our ‘take away’ lunch.


On our way back we continued till Brig by the same bus. From Brig we had two choices – either by a train or bus. Train goes to our next destination in the south of Switzerland via long tunnel while bus takes a longer route through Simplon Pass to some remote village of Italy from where we were to take a train after 2 hours to our today’s destination (Locarno).

Well, Santanu insisted on later uncertain one as we would have reached Locarno at 21:30 and we had no hotel booked for that night. No doubt the journey along this pass was breathtaking almost 2005m above sea level. As soon as we reached border station we were only 2 passengers left from the bus and we were transferred to a mini van where we had only one co-passenger. It was quite assuring that someone is going with us as it was already 5:30 PM quite late for a place in absolute no-where. We were told by our co-passenger in broken English and Italian that there will be a bus in next 5 minutes, but that 5 become 25 and we three are waiting for bus. There is no posted time table of the same. We started to realize that we were in Italy from the very systematic and punctual Switzerland. It was quandary that we were in. The last part of today’s journey to Locarno was a very memorable one as we got rescued by two gentle Swiss.

In short, trip via road across the most beautiful Alpine passes with spectacular views over the snow covered mountains, through narrow winding valleys, lakes and picturesque villages is something amazing.

Lausanne -18th June

Alors , trip started on Sunday morning 18th for Lausanne from Paris with out any plan for next 7-8 days to be done in Swiss. On Friday and Saturday we made few calls to our friends to get an idea about the top attractions in the Switzerland. Santanu got some print out from work MySwitzerland.com about Post Bus.

He reluctantly noted one hotel address for Interlaken and booked one B&B for Sunday night around Lausanne. The train journey from Paris was not much event full as Santanu slept most of the time and I enjoyed the French country side while listening to music. Thanks to Santanu for getting the I-Pod while he was snoring mildly.

On getting down at railway station we got all the information about top sights to be visited in Lausanne from very helpful tourist office but as it was Sunday the main Railway information center was closed so we could not plan anything for next day. Lausanne being a small city by northern part of Lake Geneva, home of Olympic Museum and Swiss court of Justice.

We spent that whole afternoon walking up and down its walkway. Starting our walk along the lake side from Olympic park to Château d'Ouchy. From there we went to Gothic Cathedral via central market after visiting Esplanade de Montbenon. It was bit long walk ascending all the time to the hill top.


While descending we realized the B&B that we booked was very far so we asked about hotels in tourist office and they found us some thing nice close to Olympic museum. After having bath we just walked along the lake shore which was very pleasant & relaxing. But the nice evening walk was very short lived as Santanu realized he does not have his wallet with him for which we had to make a sudden U-turn and walk fast back to hotel. Thank God it was such a relief to find it lying on the bed. We ended up having dinner in nearby lakeside restaurant.

Uncertain Voyage

After traveling to so many places in Europe in last three years now we were thinking to travel to some other part of globe which can be easily reached from Paris within few hours maybe somewhere in North African. The very thought came was how about going to Morocco or Egypt but none of them was perfect weather wise to visit. Then also after too much of thinking we settled for Morocco and started to gather touristic information. It may be a backyard for most French but being Indian it means we need to get visa. So, process started by calling embassy to know more about it... getting a phone call answered requires lot of luck. Either line is busy or it gets dropped on half way when they try to pass the call.

Anyway, we went to there embassy in-person for submitting all documents which went on very smoothly; women in-charge said it will take 15 days to get our visa. On asking whether we should buy ticket for Morocco? hmm... its OK to get it and sends us to her higher authority to get it confirmed. Now this Monsieur says gently... after 10 days you should get it without any problem so its OK to buy ticket. Being excited we started to plan our trip and get more information. But Santanu being skeptical never showed any interest in buying the ticket and always postponed the same. But at same time he was so excited that just day before his CISM test he made a phone call to find out VISA status. Well it was negative, he went to consulate in-person on Monday 12th June and found the same negative answer and was told to come by on Thursday 15th June to take visa for a journey that was supposed to start on Saturday 17th. Well, Thursday didn’t bring any luck either which made Santanu furious.

Its well said "man proposes and god disposes". The whole euphoria vanished like a whiff of smoke as neither on 10th nor on 15th day of submission we got VISA. Since this holidays were forced one which means if Santanu doesn’t uses it he doesn’t gain anything.


There was one backup plan for Morocco, but it was never in place as we never thought seriously, the plan was to touch cities-towns of France that we have not visited yet like Nice, Bordeaux, Bayonne and Chamonix along with some part of Swiss. Well it might sound bit crazy idea but truly we are crazy when it comes to traveling. Now the search for last minute ticket started. Since there were no discounted ticket on SNCF web site and the only ticket that we could grab was round-trip from Paris to Lausanne on Friday 16th. At once started to make phone calls to our friends who have already been there.For this trip, Santanu wanted to travel with his big red North Face backpack and he was not interested to make any plans on itenary or any pre-bookings for hotels. As if he wanted to sing the famous Bengali song "Path harabo boleyi toh aaj pothey nameychi..." by Hemanta Mukerjee.(I got down on the road only to get lost .. )Bonne voyage!!!