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.
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.
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.
Our second day in Switzerland started quite early. We had booked on the train to travel to Jungfrau the highest train station in Europe, up in the alps. The tickets we bought meant we had to head up early in the morning, and head back well before the last train. We drove the car down to Interlaken Ost station and got there way too early. The platforms weren’t open yet. There were a few other people in the car park getting their gear together, climbing harnesses, ropes, toe clips. I had my camera bag with all my lenses, a couple of lenses, and a jumper.
We had a couple of trips out of Interlaken planned for the time we were there, but the first order of business was a Swiss SIM card. Having done the appropriate research ahead of time I headed into town to find a friendly Swisscom store. Another tourist was trying to purchase a SIM but had not brought the requisite paperwork, his passport. It is easy to get a prepaid SIM in Switzerland, they have a handy form for it, but you do need a passport and a local address – your hotel.