We are in Basel, Switzerland!

Great guesses everyone!  We are actually in a suburb of Basel on a house sitting assignment.  We are taking care of a dog, 2 cats, 1 kitten and 3 guinea pigs…it’s a zoo!!  We love house sitting though and the owners are absolutely delightful.

We ended up arriving 6 hours late into the Basel train station, our first real stress of travel (well, besides the hell of UK customs) so we really can’t complain!  We started our day early, to get the bus in Lezzeno the town we stayed in on Lake Como to the main train station.  We arrived by train on time to Milano to catch our fast train direct to Basel.  Only to find the train was cancelled!  So we queued up with hundreds of other people in customer service line.

Once it was our turn we were handed about a 1 X 2 inch piece of scrap paper with a train number to some town in Northern Italy, leaving in 2 hours.  From there we would pick up the train to Basel.  That was it.  No expected arrival time.  No train number for the second train.  Nothing!  We found some wifi while we were waiting and discovered that for the next month there were PLANNED shutdowns from Milan to Basel for rail work.  But so typically Italian they sold us the tickets anyways and dealt with the chaos, instead of being preventative.  Ahhh!

From Milan to Domodossola, Italy our train had NO air conditioning at it was at least 95+ in the train, but we were all just happy to have a train to get on.  At least it wasn’t a strike!  From Domodossola we got on the Swiss train for Basel, also no Air Con.  By this point everyone was looking worn out and nearly passed out from heat.  With all the sweating, no one was smelling very fresh either!  This is where the fun began!  Once we crossed the Swiss border, the train stopped.  Yes, it stopped.  The lights shut down, the doors opened and that was it.  No announcement, nothing! Finally, we see people running to a train on the next tracks and saying that is the train we now have to get on for Basel.  So we follow suit and ran…thank God for small luggage!

Now this train ride was spectacular!  There was air conditioning (huge plus) and enormous windows with views of the Swiss Alps.  It was straight out of the movies and travel TV shows that you watch about taking a train through the Alps.  It is so beautiful, with green mountain sides and peaks still covered in snow.  Loved every second…but the train did not go to Basel, it stopped in Bern.  So there was more running and finding the next train to Basel.

We made the train to Basel within seconds of it leaving.  Our last train was so beautiful I thought we were in first class, when I realized it was second class I was worried how much this little addition was going to cost.  Of course we didn’t have tickets for this train, only from Milan to Basel direct on TrenItalia.  And of course, this was the only train on our day long journey, that was checking for tickets.  I kept praying the man would let us slide, we are coming to the end of our trip and the end of our budget too!  Jon showed him our tickets and said he hoped it would be okay…guess what, he let us slide!  He said normally he would not, but he already knew that our train had been cancelled and there was nothing we could do about it.

Lessons learned….air conditioning is a blessing on long train trips and strangers are still kind.  Most of all you have to be flexible and be ready to run when traveling!  We are now safe & sound in Switzerland!

For those of you that love the real stories…hope you enjoyed and I hope we don’t have to repeat this one for you! 😉

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