Sunshine on the mountain!

Trip Start Sep 09, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Switzerland  , Swiss Alps,
Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday, May 31st trip from Zermatt to Geneva

Around 5 am the sun started to rise and so did we. I was like a kid on Christmas morning, hardly being able to sleep waiting to see what Santa brought - except this time the big present was a view of the Matterhorn.  As night progressed, stars came out which meant the clouds were leaving. As the first peek of the sun starting breaking over the Alps the outline of the Matterhorn began to reveal itself. Soon there was a silver shimmer of snow.  Finally the peak was revealed in all its glory, and what a fantastic sight it was.  

Our balcony had a direct look right at the Matterhorn.  It was fantastic. The best part was that the day was going to be crystal clear.  As the sun rose the snow almost seemed illuminated.  We watched it rise and took picture after picture during the process.

We had breakfast and went back into town.  We wandered the streets trying to find a better vantage point for pictures, but soon realized our balcony was the best.  We returned to our room and took more pictures and gather up our growing mountain of stuff and check out.  We had plenty of options for the return trip down the mountain, about every half hour.  We waited about 10 minutes until we boarded the next train to Visp, where we would change trains and head to Geneva.  It was nice that it was sunny today so we could see the things we missed yesterday in the rain.

The trip back down was great, for the segment from Visp to Zermatt is the one that had rain yesterday. Going downhill was a little bit more nerve wracking for me, but I hung on tightly to the seat handle and fortunately that kept the train on the tracks!  We had a window seat this time, and it was probably a good thing we didn't for the entire trip yesterday.  There are some might far down places on that trip!

We arrive at Visp and need to change to the train to Geneva.  Not a problem at all.  We are so darn good at reading railroad schedules now it is amazing.  I can find a train to just about anywhere, at any time, hop on and actually get to the correct place.  I think I am so used to the regimen of planes - go hear at this time, stand here, get on now, sit here, and get off now that it took a while to relax about train travel.  With trains you can take this one or the next one.  You find an open seat and claim it. It is really fun.

We arrive in Geneva and did not repeat the "Zurich Effect".  There is a story about the train, airport and Zurich that is somewhere else in this blog, but to review it, here goes.

We took a train into Zurich a couple of years ago.  We are all proud and pay attention to the announcement for Zurich and get off.  The station sign says Zurich.  Something catches my attention immediately, and this is the fact that train stations usually are above ground, and we were not.  Oh well, there is an escalator so we go up.  Well, in the short span of time it takes an escalator to go up about 100 feet, my IQ went from that of a fairly intelligent person to one with an IQ of about ZERO. 

When I got off the escalator I noticed schedules for departures and arrivals.  Ok, nothing too strange here.  But then, as I read more closely, I saw that the cities involved in these arrivals and departures had names such as New York, Atlanta and Denver.  I immediately thought to myself - and this is indicative of my now Zero IQ "How can a train get to New York?" I actually thought this!  Then I looked around some more and saw the word Flughafen which I recognized as airport.  For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how I got into an airport when I got off at a train station.  I felt like taking the escalator back down and riding back up to see if I ended up in the same place

Well, I was so completely befuddled I actually asked someone where I was.  They looked at me like I would look at someone in the Orlando airport who asked that question.  So, we went to the car rental counter and I asked them.  The nice lady sort of backed away from the counter as I spoke; all the while I think she was looking for the panic button to press to call the police.

Next I asked someone how to get out of the airport, and they said "use the door".  Oh, my IQ was now at about 10, for I knew I was in an airport.   Next, we saw a Bankomat and decided as long as we were there we would get some Swiss Francs.  Well, at this point, with an IQ of 10, I couldn't figure it out!  I have used these darn Bankomat machines all over Europe but I couldn't even come close to using this one. 

Soon a very nice young lady responds to my "Dumber than Dirt" look and asks if we need help.  YES!  She reminds us of how to use the money machine and the fog starts lifting. My IQ is now up to about 60... maybe. I ask how we ended up in an airport when we got off in a train station.  She explained that Zurich has two stops.  The first one is for the Airport and the next is for the city.  Oh, wow, my brain starts to function a bit better now and my IQ is approaching about 80 to 90. 

She asks if we need help getting back on the train and I just had to look at her.  She took me by the hand and led us down the escalator.  She pointed to the sign that said Zurich.  She said "just stand here and do not move until you are getting on the train".   The train came, we got on.  The train stopped at Zurich (again) and we got off.  We were in the city and no longer in the airport!  Those of you who know me probably think I never fully recovered.

Anyway, when we heard the announcement for Geneva, I was skeptical.  I asked someone if there were two train stops for Geneva.  And guess what, by golly there was!  We needed to go to the airport this time.  So, we were not fooled again.  We stayed on the train until we arrived at the Airport and then got off.  We once again had to ascend by an escalator, but my IQ didn't disappear this time!

We found our way to the hotel shuttle stop and parked ourselves.  Within 15 minutes the car came and picked us up.  The hotel was only about 3 minutes from the airport and before we knew it we were all checked in.

The hotel issued us a bus/train pass good for our entire stay.  This meant free travel on the train and busses within the city.  We had it made.  The hotel shuttle takes us to the airport and the busses and trains leave from there.  It is our gateway to the Geneva explorations to commence.

The train didn't have a dining car, so we were ready for dinner. Someone in the lobby suggested a walk up the street to a couple of restaurants.  However, it was only 5:00 and European restaurants aren't always ready to serve dinner at that time. So, the two local restaurants were not an option so we headed back to the hotel.  We should have gone back to the airport/train station for we had the most expensive hamburger and French fries I ever had in my life!  30 francs!  Oh my gosh!  We soon learn that everything is expensive here, except for the free bus pass!

After dinner we went to the room to unpack a bit and plan the next day.  What a relief!
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