After a short day and a half in Basel, Luna and I boarded a train to the Bernese Oberland.
Have I mentioned the Swiss train system yet? Because it’s very much worth mentioning. Firstly, because it is wonderfully efficient and reliable. Secondly, because the trains and clean and comfortable. Thirdly, because taking planes in Switzerland means that you miss out on the stunning scenery. And fourthly, because MAPS.
You see, I love trains everywhere, but I really, really love Swiss trains. And one of the main reasons I love Swiss trains is this: they have built-in route maps, fascinating images of what towns you are passing through and in what direction. It’s a wonderful way to keep track of your progress, to know when to start re-packing your snacks and readying yourself to de-board, and to just orient yourself to the area you’re in.
I love them.
So, yes, I love the maps. And you know what else I love? My Swiss Pass.
Last time I was in Switzerland, I bought my train tickets as I went, slipping down from Zurich to Bellinzona and into Italy, then back up to Lucerne, Lauterbrunnen, and Geneva. This time, I had the pleasure of traveling on that luxurious little ticket called the Swiss Pass, which allows its holder to travel on any train in the Swiss travel system with no additional charge, most mountain railways (that go up to the tippy top for breathtaking views) for half price, many city transportation systems without any additional charge, and something like a bazillion museums at no extra charge. Did I mention that most of that stuff has no additional charge? Because that’s what I loved about having my 8-day Swiss Pass. No additional charge = total and complete travel freedom.
When you buy tickets as you go, the cost is always top-of-mind. When you buy a Swiss Pass, pampering yourself is top-of-mind (which is as it should be). If I wanted to spend the morning in Interlaken (which I did), I could. If I didn’t love Interlaken and decided instead to head up to Murren to eat lunch on a cliff (which I totally did), I could do that too. There was no pre-booking. There was no hemming and hawing about spending more money. There was just spontaneity, trains, and a relaxing vacation.
Plus, the fact that they work for lots of city buses and trams was a huge, wonderful, unexpected bonus.
During my eight days on the Swiss Pass, I visited Basel, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Murren, Interlaken, Klein Sheidegg, Grund, Zermatt, and Thun. Next time I’m going to take the Glacier Express.
A super huge thanks to Switzerland Tourism who provided me with my 8-day Swiss pass and made all of this fast travel possible. They didn’t ask me to spout sonnets about Switzerland, so all passionate Switzerland-loving and train-loving is my own.
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