Train Holiday Memoirs – A Planet Rail Customer’s Account of their Train Holiday to Switzerland & Italy by Rail Part 3

September 20 2014


We are incredibly excited this morning, waking up and remembering instantly that we’re going to be travelling to Switzerland today – I’ve always wanted to visit the country, so why the heck has it taken me sixty-two years to do it? It is, after all, right on our doorstep.

There was lightning in the sky as we set off for the short walk to the Gare de Lyon. Huge thunder clouds looked rather incongruous against the clear blue sky. At the back of my mind I hoped this wasn’t an omen as to the weather conditions for the rest of our train holiday!

We could see into the beautiful Le Train Bleu restaurant and I dimly remembered us visiting there for a quick glass of something.

However, Mel denied all knowledge of having been there so it must have been my good friend Jo who used to teach me French when we lived here.

Le Train Bleu Restaurant

At the Gare de Lyon, three armed green berets walk down the steps and I wonder if their presence is related to air strikes that took place today?

As we wait at the Gare de Lyon for the platform to be announced, I watch a man shuffle past me wrapped in a sack and carrying his cardboard bed.

I am reminded once again how lucky we are.

At that very moment, to bring me back up, we spot a steam train!

steam train paris station

Oh how excited my brother would be. We also noticed that there was a wedding train listed on the board and so that must be it. And with that beautifully romantic vision, our train departs the Gare de Lyon for the next part of our adventure – across France by TGV (Paris to Geneva) towards beautiful Switzerland.

As our journey gets underway, the views aren’t as perfect as they could be, it’s foggy!

That said, every few kilometres, the fog lifts to reveal tantalising glimpses of rural French countryside in the early morning sun.

I find it a truly relaxing experience being on the train and have been able to write something for my book (written with a friend and incorporating the tramp I encountered this morning, of course)…

paris street 2

paris street

I simply can’t wait until we see the mountains of Switzerland.

We enjoyed breakfast served at our seats (we are in first class) and I was fascinated to see we were travelling at 285 km per hour (that’s 177 miles per hour!).

Obviously train travel isn’t all as relaxing and luxurious, but luckily the man in front of me has moved seats before I gave him a piece of my mind.

He spent most of the journey so far with his hand over the back of his seat picking at the dry skin on his hand.

It reminds me of our first flight out to South Korea when the man in front of me picked the scabby psoriasis on his head for 12 hours – lovely.

We had an amazing experience on the train journey just now –  we’ve come out of a tunnel and suddenly we are no longer in rolling countryside, we’ve been transported to the Alps and we are both excited.

I gasp as we drive through a beautiful rocky limestone gorge with puffs of fog adding to its beauty.

A little village of white houses and a church peep out of the mist and before we know it we are in Geneva. I can’t think of a better way to travel into the city than by First Class train.

Continue to Part 4

Back to Part 2

Back to Beginning