Tuesday, April 17, 2018


noun: An abnormal craving for food.

From Greek sito- (grain, food) + -mania (excessive enthusiasm or craze). Earliest documented use: 1882. The opposite is sitophobia.

And here when I read it this morning I thought that it perhaps referred to my activities yesterday, i.e. sit-all-day.

And that was actually the one thing that I didn’t have yesterday – sitomania – good thing too as it all started one day last week when on a “coup de tête”, or a whim if you will, I decided to buy what is known as a “day card” on the Swiss train system. One can obtain these through the SBB/CFF, but also – at a much more interesting price – our local communes.

I had rather thought that I would discover Olten, Neuchatel and Yverdon so having had a decent breakfast at home, minus the coffee, off I went to catch a bus (they also cover all the bus systems and many of the smaller trains, or on private trains give a reduced rate) to my main train station.

There I almost wavered as the first train up was to Brig in the Valais – a lovely ride, but one that I have done recently both by train and by car; the second train up was to St.Gallen. Four hours away it is also a well-known-to-me destination so I decided to stick by my original plan and get off in Lausanne to find a train to Olten. The first possibility was still the one to St.Gallen, but as it was passing through Yverdon and Neuchatel I figured that was good enough. Had coffee in luxury in the restaurant (one of my favorite upgrading tricks is to board the train on a major route then simply head for the dining car and according to the time of day order coffee, a snack or even a meal as the food is surprisingly good).

In Neuchatel the next track over had a RE (Regional Express) for Le Locle so that’s where I went. The views along the way were lovely even if it was overcast, especially at Les Hauts Geneveys where one could see wide and far. Traditionally in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle the watch industry thrived. Today there is even a new stop “Le Crêt sur Locle” as many other factories have joined the ranks. Spent 15 minutes in Le Locle then retraced my steps (having blindly gotten off in La Chaux-de-Fonds and boarded the train on the next track over only to discover that I had boarded a train back to Neuchatel). 

The train station has been abandonned in Le Locle

OK, another chance: in Neuchatel grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of water then hopped on a regional train to Buttes having absolutely no clue as to how long, nor what I would find along the way, or in Buttes for that matter. A beautiful ride in one of the folds of the mountain through the Val de Travers, including Môtiers where my former housemate had begun her life in Switzerland. Fun as we had gone there by car on one of our other adventures.

Along the way

The castle in Neuchatel

Return to Neuchatel than an IR (Inter Regional) to Bern – the federal capital of Switzerland. As I intended to stick strictly to nature I hopped on the next tram down to the Bear Pits where Lady Luck accompanied me: the bears are out of winter hibernation and mom, dad and junior were enjoying the lovely spring weather just as much as we humans – it was sunny!

Spring has sprung near the train station in Bern

Maman foraging for food

Father scratching that itch (the same way I do!)

Maman decided to cool off and take a nap

Father and son trying to return to the inside

By the time I took the lift down to the Aar and walked along it back to another bridge nearer the Federal buildings it was well past time for coffee. A half-hour of shopping and back to the train station where I decided that it had been a lovely day, but was perhaps time for the trip home, via Fribourg, Romont, Lausanne and on to Geneva.

Our Federal Palace

The roofs rival with the trees for color

Along the Aare looking back towards the bear pits

Such a lovely way of seeing Switzerland and in spite of the many hours of sitting in trains I still managed to clock almost 11’000 steps as well!  To be repeated.

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