During a Thursday afternoon in early January of 2002, on a whimsical notion, I decided to pack a small bag and fly out to Davos, Switzerland from London. After suffering from a dull Christmas and an equally quiet New Year, another day in London would have been the thin end of a wedge. The idea for a long weekend in Switzerland brewed with the morning coffee and took root during lunch with a colleague who mustered me on. A quick walk from our Green Park office to the easyEverything internet café in Oxford St and thirty minutes later, I found myself the proud owner of a budget airlines return ticket from London to Zurich and a weekend booking confirmation in Sheraton Davos. The Zurich to Davos bit, in the excitement, was forgotten: I don’t know how I had thought, in my socalled planning, that Davos was a suburb of Zurich. The overnight stay in Zurich on the return leg was thus also missed. I really needed a break! The Friday to Monday extravaganza could have been better planned, certainly not what one would expect the traits of a future travel magazine editor to display.
Oddly enough, upon arriving in Zurich and discovering that someone had moved Davos 150 km away, towards the far right, there was no panic. The staff at the airport quickly referred me to a train station, pointed to a train schedule that showed the timings of a train to Davos a few times a day with a hop at a station in the middle. It all sounded simple enough, and it was in fact very simple indeed. The train arrived at the platform at the time, to the last minute, as predicted by the train schedule. I have a hunch that the Swiss don’t run their trains by the clock; it’s vice versa – they set their Swiss army watches by the arrival and departure of the train! Traveling in Switzerland was, and still is, relaxing and easy.
Davos was beautiful. The ski instructor was patient as he watched me tumble down, quite a few times, on a slope reserved for children. The hotel was nice. The people were friendly. But the train travel was amazing. The Zurich to Davos and back was smooth, timely, clean, comfortable and perfect. In all fairness, I was comparing this train trip to my daily commutes in the London underground, on the northern line, the one drawn in black.
Zurich by night was amazing. Having run out of cash due to questionable planning, with limited bank notes and coins in hand enough for a meal and ride to the airport, and guess what – no credit card to count on – I decided to walk it out. For the next few hours, I wandered the paths of this attractive city guided by its street lights, gazing into delightful window displays of shops, secluded cafes and along a river bank. It was simply beautiful.
Late into the walkabout, just as I was ready to call it, it started snowing gently. The tiny puffs of white floated down ever so lazily, with a cold breeze picking up strength with sound of laughter and soft light pouring out of the cafes, the moment was magical.
This issue of World Travel Magazine covers the quintessential Swiss Experience. Happy Reading!
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