loos rock – you know those automatic taps, the ones that magically
sense your presence? The ones that only work 50% of the time in
Britain leaving you with a palm-full of noxious liquid soap? In
Switzerland they work. Always. Flawlessly - after a day or two you
stop checking the taps first and simply soap up, fully confident that
the water will emerge as scheduled.
that's Switzerland for you. Things do exacty what they're supposed to
– the trains arrive on time and leave on time and, Richard Branson
take note, don't stop randomly in the middle of nowhere leaving
punctuality beaten and bleeding by the side of the tracks. And that's
just the start of it. Pretty much everywhere in Switzerland is
accessible by public transport – bus, train or post bus, they all
run efficiently and regularly. And the roads, wow...
why am I sitting on a train en route to Interlaken telling you this?
Well, according to the nice people at Swiss Tourism who've been
plying 140 journalists from all over the world with chocolate,
alcohol, ridiculously lavish buffets, opera and sleep deprivation –
keeps those pesky journos quiet and pliable – walkers everywhere
need to know that Swiss infrastructure rocks.
not only does Switzerland boast amazing alpine hiking and climbing,
but you can get to it easily. And they say, it's no longer so
fearsomely expensive that you need to take out a second mortgage just
to buy a cup of coffee. Not that I'd know about that, I haven't
bought so much as a bottle of water since I got here two days ago.
quality of the walking you'll have to take on trust for now because,
so far, I haven't actually done any. I've gazed out at blankets of
cloud from a goat shit-strewn viewpoint reached by rack and pinion
mountain railway and conversely, gazed up at the same viewpoint
through blankets of cloud from the ground, but mostly I've just been
indoctrinated gently by the charming folk from Swiss Tourism, two
beared chaps pushing a polysteyrene boulder across Switzerland, a
champion somelier singing the praises of the wines of Ticino, where
we've been based, and subiminally by top-level opera singer and
you know that El Solo Mio translates literally as: 'Swiss hiking is
the battery on the much-abused editorial Macbook is on the verge of
early and painful death, the nice man from Swiss Tourism is
suggesting glacier hikes from the Jungfraujoch and I'm gazing out of
the train window at stupendous alpine scenery which I'd rather be
walking or climbing through.
mountains, new views and the promise of a walk below the North Face
of the Eiger in the sunshine to come – it's on the free Swisshike
iPhone app as well – the world looks bright and shiny. More Swiss
pics coming soon.