20,000 leagues under the sky, 2004- travel blog

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 858 K)


15172km from Hong Kong.

I've no idea where everyone came from but just before my train arrived a small crowd appeared on the platform, I guess that the Swiss are too well organised to contemplate waiting on a train platform for too long at minus ten degrees. The train was already half full but I didn't have much difficulty finding a nice seat. I have to award the Swiss with the 'train of my trip' award, the carriage that I got on to had a children's play area complete with climbing frame, no use to me but it told me where all the little noise machines were so by moving down a carriage I could avoid their company, result. The carriages were all two floor with a huge variety of seating options, double or single facing seats with tables, individual seats, side sofa style seats and the one I chose, a curved corner unit with a table and a big picture window. The start of the journey was through some magnificent snowy mountain scenery via numerous tunnels and bridges.

At Zurich most of my fellow passengers got down so I decided to change seat and this time chose a forward facing single seat with a little table. As I'd been running low on memory card space in Vienna and had to shuffle about with my cards I decided to try to re-jig them into a more sensible order. I obviously become engrossed with this task as before I knew it the train was rolling into Basel and I had my camera apart and SD cards spread about on the table. I had to hurriedly put them all away and get off the train. I think it took about 3 hours from Sargans to Basel but after multi-day journeys this seemed like the blink of an eye.

I headed off into the station complex to try to track down a train for my next leg, somewhere in the direction of Luxembourg, via either France of Germany. Again I struck it lucky, the only direct daily train on the time-table was in less than an hour, however it said that it left from Basel SNCF and not the station I was in. I remembered from my internet searches for routes that Basel to Basel SNCF was always stated as a 20 minute walk so I followed the signs and arrived there less than 5 minutes later, the SNCF station is basically a dusty half forgotten corridor at the end of the main station. It's officially in France so the Swiss efficiency ended at the entrance, the ticket office was closed and the ticket machines were unintelligible even to the French people present. A note on the timetable indicated that reservation was compulsory, how you we're supposed to do that at the closed ticket office was beyond me so I wandered back to the Swiss station and bought a ticket (sans reservation) there then legged it back to France. A sign on the closed door to the platform informed would-be travellers that this was an international boundary and that passports, tickets etc were necessary to enter - when I went in it was so deserted that I couldn't find my way through, I stupidly tried to go via passport control rather than the shortcut straight to the trains.

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