Day 188: To SwitzerlandAugust 21, 2017 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C
Back on the road again today, after being in the same spot for a week! We left our apartment around 11:30 and walked back to the train station. Thankfully this time no dramas with the trains, so we grabbed some supermarket sandwiches and boarded our train to Switzerland.
It was about a 90 minute trip, still very French countryside with rolling hills and lots of farms and meadows. Sometimes you wonder how countries of millions of people can feed themselves, but it's only once you travel through enormous fields of wheat, corn and vegetables that you start to realise where it all comes from.
Arrived at the train station in Basel - well, the French station, anyway. Basel is in Switzerland but right at the borders with France and Germany, so it has two separate train stations - one connecting to the French train network, the other to the Deutschbahn. It also has a tri-national airport, where you have to go through different exits whether you're going to Switzerland or France/Germany (remembering of course that Switzerland isn't part of the EU).
Our train arrived at the French station, while our hire car pickup was at the German station, and of course they aren't particularly close to each other! So we spent 10 minutes on a tram with all our luggage, crossing the city. Our voucher said the rental car office was inside the station, but we couldn't find it, and when I asked the (mostly non-English speaking info man) he said it was outside and down the street about 200 metres.
We got down there and found the office of a different rental car company, but they couldn't help us either. Eventually we found it, about 20 metres behind where we'd gotten off the tram! Whoops.
Picked up the car with no problems, a Mini Clubman Cooper S which is very nice. We'd actually splurged slightly and booked a Mercedes A Class but this is probably slightly better. Spent some time fiddling with all the little gadgets and then set off on the drive to Berne.
The drive itself was actually fairly uneventful, the countryside was much the same as in France though maybe the hills were slightly more dramatic. Still a long way north of the Alps, so no mountains just yet.
Approaching 5pm, we decided to just head for our Airbnb on the outskirts of town - just a bedroom in a three-bedroom ground floor apartment with a young couple. They're slightly hippy - he's a stand-up comedian (in German, no less!!), while she's a language teacher who teaches French to German-speaking Swiss company employees. They're both nice, though the road was being repainted and so the parking spaces were blocked off and we didn't know where to park. Eventually we found a spot a street over.
Headed straight out to grab some supplies from the supermarket, and here got our first taste of Swiss prices. The Swiss Franc is worth about $1.30 Australian, so add 30% to each price. Large bag of muesli: 10 francs. 300g packet of supermarket brand spaghetti - 6 francs. Small jar of pesto - 8 francs. Yeah. We're gunna be eating in a lot here.
As you can probably guess, we had spaghetti with pesto for dinner, along with a couple of beers which were actually pretty cheap.Read more