Day 28 - Rome to Zermatt

Ran into the Canadian girl with the bruised arse (Lau) at the hostel bar last night. She remembered my name funnily enough, I told her how she had become a bit of a celebrity with Andreas the Capri tour guy. So she proceeded to show the photos again... We had an early start (7:30) and I ordered breakfast fromthe hostel bar, but didn't have time to eat it or pay for it. Felt a bit scum, but you get that on the big jobs. We gottbe Leonardo Express train to Rome airport and we were checked in and ready to go a bit early.

The flight to Geneva took us over the Swiss Alps which is a pretty amazing view especially because we were in a twin prop plane and weren't much higher than the mountains themselves. The flight was pretty uneventful which I suppose is a good thing.

Getting into Geneva reminded me just how much the Swiss have their shit together. The ATMs aren't designed for midgets, I can actually read the screen without ducking down a foot. When you collect your baggage there is a sign saying free transport with a single button on it. Press the button and you get a free bus, tram or train ticket for 80 minutes to get you into town...even though it only takes 6 minutes. My belt from Poland was failing pretty badly at this point so had to buy another one...$7 bought me about 2 weeks, can't expect too much more from the Polish.

We ditched our bags in a station locker (another example of Swiss awesomeness) and did a quick hour tour of Geneva. Picked up another cowboy shirt from H&M and Dave had to get a hoody because the forecast for Zermatt was about 8 at night.

Geneva reminded me a bit of Zurich, but a little more oriented towards food and cafes and hotels, rather than banks. It's a nice spot though, plenty of river and lake frontage. We picked up a pretty good lunch from a department store called Manor and had a hectic 15 minutes back to the station to get our train just in time.

Our train took us along Lake Geneva through Lausanne and Montreux, places I visited last time. It's really nice along there, lake on one side and houses and vineyards built on hills on the other side. It took us about 3 hours to get to Visp, a little town at the foot of the valley. We changed to the cog wheel train to take us the next hour up to Zermatt. They are just normal trains but when the grade gets higher they engage another cog wheel mechanism to get better traction I guess.

It's a picturesque ride and most people (apart from the locals) spend the trip with their heads and camera lenses out the window. The temperature dropped to about 17 degrees which was really good after 4 weeks of 30+. Listened to Explosions in the Sky on the way up, good choice for that ride.

Zermatt is a ski town in winter and hiking town in summer and is 1800m above sea level. It has a rushing river right through the middle with the typical milky green colour that all Swiss rivers have from the limestone. Everyone walks around with Nordic walking sticks and calf high hiking boots mixed with other unfashionable clothing which I'm sure is quite functional. The hostel is ok, pretty old and fill of German hikers there for the weekend. Apparently Zermatt has the most expensive accommodation in Switzerland or something, so they all hit the hostel.

I had my first slab of meat for dinner (burger) that is worth talking about in recent memory, and it was gone in record time. Found a little pub which has good dinners plus relatively cheap beer. We were pretty beat after a full day of travel so we had a few there before heading back to the hostel. I slept with my earplugs in for the first time ever. Noisy koreans and thin walls don't mix.

It was 4 weeks today since I left home. I haven't been homesick once or wished that I was anywhere else. Met a lot of people, drank a lot, walked a lot, cracked 10,000 photos on my camera since I bought it. I think I've taken about 3000 so far on this trip alone, which is scary enough. So far I have travelled using the following: plane, bus, car, train, tram, scooter, chairlift, ferry, boat, bullet train, pushbike. Only hovercraft to go I suppose.

Bits of language from each country are in the back of my mind and are confusing me, but from now on all I have to worry about is French, German and English I think.

Highlights so far would have to be Kyoto and Capri, as well as spending time with Gaz and Emma in Sorrento. Favourite photos so far are from the wedding, St Pauls in Rome and Kyoto.