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August 20th, 2000 · No Comments

August 20, 2000 Braz, Austria to Flims, Switzerland

Day 234

Switzerland is more beautiful than I ever imagined. The border crossing from Liechtenstein into Switzerland was the most beautiful I have see yet. It was located in a vast green field, there were mountains rising from the fields in every direction on the road, two flags, one the crossed flag of the Swiss and the other the crested flag of Liechtenstein. No guards, no guard huts, no arches, no sign, just two friendly flags blowing in the wind.

As one would imagine, you don’t just go to Switzerland, you climb to Switzerland! The first sign of life I saw was military. A few kilometers from the border was a military base, used for training on tanks. It was a lovely base, the road curled right through it. I passed a horse soldier on his rounds.

I understand the even though Switzerland is a country known to be neutral, each man and woman is expected to serve in the military, 18 months full time, then another length of time in the reserves. Everyone is given a gun and a uniform for life. Switzerland has a very strong military.

Upon arrival, my first order of business was to find a bank teller machine. As soon as I did, I made a wrong turn that ended up at the Bahnhof (train station). Just for kicks, I decided to go in to see if the train went to my destination and how much that would cost. I was all alone and was tired of riding. I had never taken the train “all by myself” on this trip yet. It was about time I struck it out on my own.

There was only 30 kilometers to go, but they were mostly uphill. I found out from the station manager that the train did not go to Flims, but I could take a train a few stops down at which place I would transfer to a bus and finish the journey. That sounded OK to me, so I purchased the ticket. My timing was getting better, because by the time I checked pocketmail and bought a drink, my train was there!

I hopped on and before long it was time to get off. I found the bus station that was conveniently located above the train station with no problem. When I arrived at the bus platform, there were 3 other Odyssey riders already waiting. So much for my “do it alone” strategy!

One of the riders told me that the buses only allowed 3 bikes at a time. Of course since I was number 4, I figured he was just teasing me. He wasn’t. I figured I was going to have to use my powers of persuasion, but then something really amazing happened. The bus people brought out a trailer and attached it to the rear of our bus.

I love the Swiss! The think of everything and make it a pleasure for the customer. We piled our 4 bikes into the trailer and boarded the bus for a 2 hour uphill ride to camp.

Tags: Northern Europe · Switzerland · world travel