Bis Nächsten Mal

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(Until Next Time, Lauterbrunnen )

We left Lauterbrunnen about 9:30am for Basel, stopping at Zweilütschinen (zwei = two ; Lütschine = Lütschine river), where the Weisse and the Schwarz Lütschine rivers converge, then briefly at Wilderswil and finally at Interlaken Öst (Öst= East) .

Wilderswil has a few unique rail cars destined for sightseeing at Schynige Platte

We have a bit of time at Interlaken until our train for Basel departs.

Bern (capital city of Switzerland) is the last major stop brfore Basel, where we change for a TGV (train ; grande= high ; vitesse= speed) or high speed train. Basel is a city at Switzerland’s border with France and Germany, hence the point of departure from Switzerland to major cities in those countries.

Our train into Basel was running late, late enough that making the connection to the TGV might be one we’d miss. It would be close. Fortunately, we came in on track 5 and our train was still there on track 6. We’d prepared to get off our train quickly by getting our luggage and standing near the door. We walked across the platform and got on, irrespective of whether it was the right car number, we’d traverse the train to the correct car as long as we could get on the train. Well before we found our car and assigned seats, the train started moving. That’s about as close as we’ve ever come on a connection.

Soon, I receive a text message from my cellphone provider welcoming me to France, but this is really the only indication anything has changed, the mountains disappeared long before Basel. The countryside is rolling, but doesn’t seem as green.

There’s no “speedometer” at the head of the cabin, so I cannot tell our exact speed, but we’re moving along pretty quickly. This is a TGV Lyria; we’ll make the trip from Basel to Paris in just 3 hours, about 354 miles, at an average of about 110 mph., but we were going 195mph (calculated using an app called Glympse) , then slowing to around 100 or less. Most of the time, we seem to be going about 100mph, then sped back up again in the last hour before arrival.

Basel, Switzerland to Paris, France in a bit over 3 hours
TGV Lyria, top speed 200 mph

We arrive in Gare de Lyon. In the midst of the disembarking passengers from our train and the TGV on the opposite track, we see some plain clothes police frisking someone and going through his baggage. The main change we see in the station since we were last here is that those waiting for arriving passengers are no longer allowed to approach the trains, which is a good thing. There are so many people in a train station that allowing passengers as well as those seeing them off or greeting them, up to the trains is congestive and a security risk.

We’ll take the Metro to as close to our hotel as possible and walk the remainder. While in the underground Metro station, I bought une carnet (10 Metro tickets) since I only carried over a few from the last trip.

Door to door, our journey from Lauterbrunnen to Paris, with relatively little slack time, took us about 6 hours. While that is a long travel day, had we tried to make the same journey by air, we still would have had to take a train to the closest airport (Zurich), wait for the plane, fly to Paris, then transit from Orly (probably) to the city, which is quite a ways out, as well as pay for transport. The trains are really the most efficient “city center to city center” mode of transport.

Our hotel had a nice welcome gift waiting for us.

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