Go with me to Zurich from Locarno in the Ticino area of Switzerland.
I just left the hotel about two hours before I catch the train, for what the ticket saleslady told me would be direct with no stops. First, I just got a cup of cafe latte and will sit for about an hour before heading up to the train station.
At the train station and about twenty minutes early, the conductor helps me with my luggage. “Is it okay if I leave it here?”
Right next to the seat where I will sit for a bit over three hours.
“Si, si, that’s okay, Senora.”
The train is not full. In fact, I’m the only one in this compartment.
The train is silent as it works it’s way, away from Locarno and into the higher regions.
I look up toward the mountains in the rain, and see houses way up high. Some have vineyards connected to the property, and some don’t.
I’m curious about those who live up so high. How do they travel back and forth in all kinds of weather? I cannot see any roads, however, I know there must be some that I cannot see.
It sure didn’t take long for us to arrive in Bellizona, not even with the few stops we’ve taken so far.
See the colorful large houses in Bellizona? See the castles up there in the clouds? Then there is a village way up there, a church and a few houses and now a waterfall streaming down through the granite, rain-slippery rocks.
“Where does the water end up?”
Now we’re at the stop called Biasca where I can see a huge waterfall, largest among hundreds of them along our way.
“Look at that!” A restaurant called the Colorado Cafe.” I was just about ready to say this country reminds me of my homeland of Colorado, and over there is evidence that someone else thought the same.
There is a huge bridge and I have a feeling we will be on the rail just under it. The rain makes the rocks glisten and mute the fall colors.
At the stop Faido, there are stone buildings and a village high on a hill side. How do people live there? I cannot get that question out of my mind.
I feel a bit let down that I couldn’t spend some time in a small village and see for myself how people live. But I didn’t seem to be able to connect to anyone that way. I’m not thrilled to always be in big cities, but Locarno was kind and I’m sure Zurich will be, as well.
Doesn’t it seem that every time we go through a tunnel, that when we come out there is always a surprise?
Now we are near the town of Ambrio Priotti and there is more snow on the ground, and covering the pine trees, and we enter another tunnel near San Gottards, and the town of Airolo…and here is the latest surprise.
It’s snowing. The limbs of trees that are covered with snow make it look like a fantasy land.
Everything is white, as we enter the light at the beginning of the town Goschenen. It’s cloudy, pines are white and close to the tracks.
Below is a stunning scene: a white village, and houses of three and four stories.
Many tunnels and villages we go through, and now the snow is less now, and we’re going lower, where evidence of the rain and snow has turned the hills jewel-green.
The terrain and the houses are beginning to look a little different at the lower altitude, than in the higher mountains.
We’re passing Lake Laurentzen. It is loaded with boats, and I imagine people just waiting until the snow melts and they can get back to serious sailing.
As we get closer to Zurich, I hear the conversations of people turning to German sounds, and the Italian sounds have gotten less.
We pass charming little houses where people grow gardens which have become somewhat of a hobby, I’ve been told. The houses are simply sheds for tools and comfortable sitting room.
The Rhine River offers us an awesome view for quite a long way, and now we’re in Zurich, and it’s time to gather belongings and find a taxi to the hostel.
It has rained the entire time I have been in Tincino, and it has greeted me here in Zurich. I counted at least ten stops along the way.
Switzerland is beautiful, but far too expensive. The lady in the hostel said the standard of living is very high, and people can live on minimum wage, however, it evens off with the expense. “Insurance costs 300 francs a month,” she said.
I’m punishing myself for taking the most expensive side trip I’ve been on since this long journey began, and now I will be in a hostel for three nights.
I got a taxi here and find the hostel in a seedy looking neighborhood, and the receptionist informed me, “this is a party area. Oh, the area is changing a little bit. The red light district is moving down there.” She pointed to the street and down a ways.
Well, three nights and then I’ll be with relatives in Frankfurt.
More photos tomorrow. I’m in the lobby and my camera is three flights up the stairs. I don’t feel like tramping up there to get the disc, so I promise more photos that I took while inside the train.