blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Written on Tuesday, 1st December

In Zürich
It was a rainy morning, so I used my brolly on my walk to Echterdingen station, 500m down the Hauptstrasse, and just missed an S-Bahn train to Stuttgart. No matter; another rolled in 10 minutes later. I caught the 11:53 Stuttgart to Zurich train after browsing in the Presse+Buch shop.

This is a quiet, stopping, SBB train with a Swiss guard. We’ve been trundling along through sloping beechwoods with little black foresters’ huts, to the industrial suburbs of Böblingen. I’ll be on this line again, later this week. Many of the houses and sheds here have solar panels. The farmland is such as I saw near Ittersbach last summer. Little towns with imposing churches on the edge of the Schwarzwald. The sky is brightening in my direction of travel. We’re passing vegetable allotments as neat as the cemeteries. The station names are written in Gothic script.

Horb, on the Neckar, like Tübingen a few miles downstream, is a colourful old town in a steep, wooded valley. There are tall houses with pointed roofs and many gabled windows. The train announcements seem to be in langsam gesprochenes Deutsch like the news for foreign students of German on Deutsche Welle, easy to follow. There’s sunshine ahead! The Neckar is very full. On the slopes, Swiss chalet kind of farmhouses and ruined fortresses on the hilltops. After every stop, they come round to check people’s tickets: Noch jemand zugestiegen? Next stop is Rottweil, where the dogs come from. This town is near the source of the Danube (Donau). We’re about to cross the watershed, twice. I see covered wooden bridges over the Neckar, now little more than a stream.

Part of Rottweil is perched on the cliffs here. Der Zug-Team wishes us a pleasant onward journey. Beyond Rottweil, the general trend is downhill, in a broader valley. Thence to Tuttlingen, an der Donau. We stop at Singen near Lake Constance, with log trucks parked on the rails. Next comes the border with Switzerland.

We pulled out backwards, so I swapped seats. I have four different currencies in coins and notes and must sort them out, must concentrate. 70 Swiss francs will probably not be sufficient.

Then the announcement: Herzlich willkommen in die Schweiz. Geniessen Sie Ihren Aufenthalt. Enjoy your stay in Switzerland. I intend to. The Swiss girls in the seats behind me are singing, “Coming home, coming home!” Schaffhausen is our last stop before Zurich. To my delight we have just passed the Rheinfall, a wonderful sight, last seen in 1971 while I was studying in Freiburg. And in the distance I can make out the snowy Alps, the lower slopes, at least. The peaks are hidden in cloud.

I didn’t read any of the papers / magazines at all, nor did I do any work on my laptop. I just gazed out all the way on this journey. Good therapy! In Zurich, I spent 2 hours walking round the streets between the station and the lake and taking photos, thoroughly enjoying myself.  I had a pot of tea and slice of warm Apfelstrudel in a posh bar on the Bahnhofstrasse; at the tables outside were bearskin rugs for smokers to keep warm in.

The Limmat, Zürich

On the east bank of the River Limmat, Zürich

View of Zürich from the Quaibrücke

Pedestrians on the Bahnhofstraße
Chris and I met on platform 13 in Zurich according to plan and immediately hopped onto the train on the opposite platform which was bound for Yverdon-les-Bains where as a teenager I spent three summers. We alighted at Olten, had a meal at an Italian restaurant there, and caught a taxi to Egerkingen where we met Chris’ colleagues Peter and Marcus at the Mövenpick hotel up the hill.

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