I leave the safe comforts of the German region of Switzerland. I always travel after 7 (Gleis7 - ha! Take that Inspector Ticket!) and it is about 9pm I think when I switch trains at Bern. It is my first time out of German speaking Europe and all of a sudden I am completely out of my comfort zone. I had a comfort zone? But I hadn't realized how much I knew and recognized of signs and places etc. The train was so crowded and it was hard to find a seat. Free ticket pfft. Everyone is speaking French. And I must have chosen the craziest carriage available. It is full of Army boys and I think school kids on a trip. I think. I really have no idea. But there is a roll call going on and I'm half expecting my name. Everyone else gets their name called out. But all the other kids have one! But I shrink lower and lower in my seat, hoping to disappear off this foreign country of a train. The crazy French.
I wake up to the most wonderful view - I can see France out of my window. It doesn't look any different to Switzerland but, hey, I've never seen France out of my bedroom window before. Actually, I've never seen France at all. It is a wonderful weekend with Aline and her family. Strange how one can feel so at home with strangers. They even had a piano - ah bliss.
And Vevey has a giant fork. You don't see that every day eh?
And of course, there was Mamma Mia.
It was all I had hoped for and more. I allocated a whole blog post for it. It was goooooood.
Aline remembered that her favourite teacher lived near the Geneva Arena and so we popped in to say hello. She was indeed lovely and I now have a place to stay in Geneva :) This however cut our time just a little bit short. We then ran the whole way to the Arena (ok - maybe it wasn't that far but it almost killed me.) I just consoled myself that I would have died realizing my dream. Don't judge me.
After Mumma Mia we were waiting for 7pm so that I could use my Gleis 7 (ha! Take that Inspector Ticket!) and decided to take a look at this cool old church in the middle of Geneva. We walked in through a side door - and into the middle of Mass. But it was a really good 45 minutes or so. A chance to be quiet and have some space to think. Because I sure couldn't understand what they were saying. Pfft. A service in French. In the French part of Switzerland. What were they thinking?
Aline and I are walking home. It's about 9pm. Dark, but Switzerland is safe eh?
We're talking and laughing. Mamma Mia is bright and beautiful in our memories. I've converted yet someone else. All is well with the world.
Until Aline screams. I turn around and there is someone jumping on her. She is screaming and yelling and of course I am calm. Level headed. I take up my fighting stance - I know Karate, Judo, Pilates and Origami. Unfortunately I have no idea what the emergency number is in Switzerland. Or perhaps fortunately, or else I might have called.
Lucky for her brother.
Sheesh. You just don't do that to people.
I let Aline (aka Gung Ho) talk me into riding from her house in Vevey to Montreux. Destination: Château de Chillon. As I alight the bicycle the reality hits me that I haven't ridden a bike for...years. I feel like a kid learning all over again. But the allure of a castle proves too great and I'm a fast learner. Gung Ho leads the way and it is a beautiful ride. Today my behind argues with why I insisted upon visiting yet another castle in the space of a few weeks but it's always talking to me behind my back.
Château de Chillon is amazing. So much history. Lord Byron wrote the poem The Prisoner of Chillon from impressions and memories of this Castle. I even saw where he had carved his name.
Aline and I think we are doing so well. We visit torture chambers and dungeons and secret passageways. It is 10 minutes to 6 (closing time) and we are up to site & sight 21. There are 23 site & sights on the page. So well planned and how Swiss of me. However, then we turn the page over and realize there are acutally 50 odd site & sights. Sigh. I'm not that Swiss after all.
Ah well. Next time.