Travel in Switzerland is the most tourist friendly and extremely easy because travel routes have been so well organized that even if you are alone (suppose like us, you choose to tour individually and not in a group), you will not encounter any trouble. Switzerland is well connected by Swiss Rail, one of the best railway systems. Trains come and go on time. We even missed trains by half a second because the system was perfectly punctual. All information about train destinations and train routes is so easily available at any hotel, on the train station that you don't need to depend on anybody. You can travel your way and believe me that it is a much more enthralling experience than going for a group tour. Of course, you would have to sacrifice the food part as Indian food, though available in Switzerland is difficult to locate and very costly. We saw a lot of senior citizens traveling freely and very comfortably in train without any inhibition or help. This impressed me a lot. Citizens there, seem to enjoy their lives a lot...unlike us. They work for the entire week and then have fun on weekends. On our way to Zurich, we saw a lot of cars being parked at the beach side. The driver told us that people left office early on Fridays and camped on the beach side, enjoying with their families. Such a contrast from us, where people in our country have to slog it out for earning their daily bread.
The Swiss Rail experience was amazing. The train ride was so scenic and smooth and I felt really low the day I left Zurich and took my last ride on the Swiss rail. The discipline inside the trains was such that even for a 10 minute journey we were sure that the TC would come and check tickets. Music was not allowed to be played in the train and once when we unknowingly played some music on our mobile, the TC came and told us about this rule. Of course, we respected the law and switched off the music. The train rides were without any kind of commotion and even during the peak hours of travel, people never rushed past each other. They always respected the elderly people, gave them way and seats. It was actually the Swiss rail experience which I cherished the most. I don't think we would have been able to enjoy so much as we did had we traveled by bus/car. And there was one incident which made me respect Swiss people, their culture, their values and their utmost love for the country.
On our way to "jungfraujoch", the peak of Europe, we were fortunate to witness the hospitality and courtesy of Swiss people. Unaware, that travel vouchers needed to be converted to tickets, we mounted the train which was going to take us to the mountains. As we showed the voucher to the TC, he told us that these wouldn't suffice and we should have tickets. We expressed our inhibitions and then he told us that we should get down at the next station and get our voucher transformed into a ticket. We got down at the immediate next station, and to our surprise, Mr. TC also got down with us. He took us to the counter, explained the thing to the relevant official in German (since we were unknown to the language), stood besides us as our voucher was being converted into a ticket, handed us the tickets and led us to the train!!! Can there be any better example of the way in which Swiss people treat their tourists ...almost like a king. Now, I understand why Yash Chopra shot many of his films in Switzerland. In fact, a park in Switzerland even thanks Yash Chopra for promoting tourism in Switzerland. Certainly, the Swiss know how to give respect to tourists who visit their country? Is the same possible in India? I leave you with this question to talk more about my Swiss journey in the next post i.e Part III. :)