There had been many highlights this trip, but today was right up. Back when we were planning all the places the visit we were also planning how to get between them. One of the reasons to visit Milan was the train trip back into Switzerland. The Bernina Express.
After Lausanne our next stop was in Milano, Italy. We were travelling by train through the alps and had organised to make a detour on the way over to Zermatt. We caught our first train to Visp where we found some luggage lockers for our bigger bags, and a convince store for coffees.
After visiting Basel we caught the train back to Bern, the capital of Switzerland.
As an Australian it is often hard to understand how small some countries in Europe are. Switzerland is about a 6th the size of the state of Victoria. Despite this, Switzerland is broken up into cantons, which are somewhere between a local council and a state.
After a successful trip to see the Tour de France, our next adventure was a whirlwind whistle stop tour of Bern and Basel.
The train wound its way around the edge of the lake leaving Lausanne, before heading north. The cliffs were full of perfectly manicured vineyards and farms.
Château de Chillon is a castle on the edge of Lake Geneva. It was an outpost in Roman times, situated on a route through the alps. The earliest record of a castle at that location is from the 1000’s. The castle as it is now was greatly expanded in the 12 and 13 hundreds.
We arrived in Lausanne by train from Nîmes, with a change in Dijon. While travelling by train is much more dignified that travelling by air, and you get to see where you are travelling, there is the down side of you taking your luggage with you. In Dijon we found a small waiting area to sit with our bags. Inside the station was a piano, the public were encouraged to play it.
The next day was the first day of Dad’s conference. Mum and I walked up the street to try and negotiate the buses. We found a bus stop which had a machine for getting tickets, but it only accepted coins or bus pass ticket card things – of which we had neither.
The bus arrived precisely on time.
Early in organising this trip I was eager to visit CERN. I knew they had guided tours of the facility, and they were free, you just needed to book them. Each day at about 4:30PM AEDT / 08:30AM CET they open up spots on the tours to book 2 weeks in advance. At the sametime they also open up spots for tours for that same day if they have any spots free.
Within minutes all the tours are booked out.
I set a reminder on my phone, and took my laptop to work – not trusting the incredibly expensive corporate internet connection, instead relying on my phone’s 4G. As with most work days I got distracted by something around 4:28PM and by the time I had refreshed the CERN website to see what tours were available all the spots were taken.
Despite this I was determined, and logged in most days to keep an eye on the numbers.
A couple of years ago I was fortunate to be in the same country as The Tour de France at the same time. We were in Belgium, staying a short train ride away from where the race would wind through a small town and up a decent hill. The plan then was to catch a train and walk up the hill.
This day didn’t go exactly to plan, with the race being neutralised after a number of crashes.
The plan this year was to rent a car from Lausanne and just pop over the border into France and see the race not too far from the end of the stage. That was about all the planning I did.