It’s a bit of a short one today, but don’t worry there’s a bonus post coming which I’ve been cooking up for the last few days.
The ankle this morning was still a bit sore, better than yesterday but after another 15,000 steps I figured it would be best to actually take it easy today and not do too much walking, especially as I don’t know how much I’ll need to do getting to the hotel in Stuttgart tomorrow.
So I made the decision early this morning that I’d ditch the Gotthard Tunnel Experience and just catch a train to Lugano through the tunnel instead. Had I done the experience it would have been a case of looking around Luzern this morning before heading to Erstfeld for the tour in the afternoon. Changing this idea meant I would be on trains for a lot of the morning to give the ankle more of a rest.
And it got more rest than anticipated on top of that as well.
I jumped on a train to St Gallen as I needed to get off at Arth-Goldau to change to the Intercity Express service to Lugano, how good are these seats too (and this is second class). This presented a problem, as I did something I’ve never done without it being the intention of the train. I fell asleep for a few minutes and woke up an hour and a half way from where I wanted to be when the train got to the end of the route in St Gallen. I wasn’t even asleep for that long but it was long enough to miss Arth-Goldau and wake up thinking we hadn’t been through there yet until the train got to St Gallen and I knew I’d fucked up.
So I had to jump back on the same train and head the hour and a half back to Arth-Goldau again. It was hard to be frustrated with some of the scenery though. Made it back to Arth-Goldau just after 1pm and hopped on the train to Lugano.
I remember the train ride to Huashan Mountain, hitting 300kph with ease on the high speed train in China was a smooth experience. The SBB intercity was a very similar experience until we hit the tunnel. The Gotthard Base Tunnel being a 57 kilometre long tunnel under the Alps would mean a long journey underground. At the speeds we were travelling though the journey underground was over in just 16 minutes meaning we were travelling at an average of around 215kph. Impressive.
The train arrived in Lugano just after 2pm, as I jumped off the train I found that I left rain and cold and arrived to rain and cold.
With the ankle still questionable I decided the walk down hill to the waterfront probably wasn’t the best idea so I had a bite to eat at a cafe at the station then jumped back on the train to return to Luzern. I got talking with a woman that sat next to me after Bellinzona as she and her travel partner (I’m reluctant to say mother as I don’t want to assume) attempted to sit in the section behind me but the person refused to move their luggage from the seat. It turns out she spent about 15 years in Australia and a fair bit of that time in Queensland so we were talking about the global weather and how things have been in Australia since she returned home a few years ago.
I parted with them back at Arth-Goldau and jumped back on the train to Luzern. Made it back just after 5pm and my ankle was already crying enough at just over 4,000 steps for the day. The lowest since departing for Singapore. I made it most of the way back to hotel before needing to take a break, luckily there’s a nice platform viewing area with seats to overlook the rail yards coming into Luzern so I sat there for a while and got treated to an absolute gem of critical thinking and problem solving.
A chap was attempting to load an empty barrel into his light truck and the cart the tank was on was only just enough to fit on the lift tray for the truck. Initially he lifted it with the rear wheels hanging off the back of the tray so he couldn’t roll it into the truck once it was lifted. So he brought it back down and used a rock to hold the cart in place. As he lifted it again the wheels still were hanging off the back. So plan C he grabbed two old blocks of wood and used the stone to make a fulcrum and lever the back wheels on to the lift tray and hold it in place long enough to raise the lift tray. This time it worked and he was able to load the cart into the truck.
I have no idea how he went on the other end of the trip but with application of similar critical thinking I’m sure he did just fine getting it back out again.
Anyway tomorrow it’s time to leave Switzerland and head to Stuttgart. My German Rail Pass apparently gives me free travel for the 10 days I’m going to be there (including the train getting from Dusseldorf to Brussels). But I think I still need to pay for a train to get to Stuttgart as I don’t think DB trains from Zurich are included in the Rail Pass.
Anyway keep an eye out for the other post with some more images and thoughts on Switzerland.