A mountain division.
Published Thursday August 19th, 2004

Friday was another heavy travel day. Adam and Wes did not join us, however we left at 0800 for the city of Locarno in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. While waiting for our connection in Thun we walked through the town a bit. I found some Greek food place and i couldn't resist, so i bought a Durum or something of the sort. When our train arrived, we got on and didn't have to change trains until we reached a small factory city called Domodosola in northern Italy about 90 minutes later after crossing over, or rather, underneath some Alps and into a glacier valley. Our train conductor, or Engineer was a female, which was rather odd because i had never heard a female voice over the intercom giving updates and such. Was new, and cool.

Sitting in the train, heading from the Swiss city of Brig over into Italy on our way to Domodosola we went through a really long tunnel built at the turn of last century. It was kind of cool because the train picked up a lot of speed, and you could feel that we were going much faster than usual. As we entered Italy, more specifically the city of Domodosola one could tell that you were no longer in Switzerland. Thing's were kind of trashy. Houses were falling apart, and a lot of various things like this which made the city look very shitty and dirty. It looked kind of like a ghost town, once a happening place but now abandoned. The train station was rather large, and rather deserted. We walked through the train station and got onto our connection, a swiss train back into Switzerland, directly to Locarno. This train was a mountain railway with regional stops through the Centovalli valley.

After 90 minutes or there abouts, we had driven through a valley which was different from many other places in Switzerland. The valley sort of looked like the mountains out my Ojai, California. Between the border of Italy and Switzerland it was announced over the intercom that we were reaching customs and that we might need passports to present to officials. Erm, this never happened because no one cares enough to check at the borders.

When we reached Locarno, we found a pizzeria where we each ordered our own pizza. Was good. After having eaten and been in the restaurant for around 90 minutes, we had 15 minutes to our connection which would send us on our way back home. From Locarno we got a regional connection to a city called Belizona where we got on a different train. This train was rather packed, and very full. It had come all the way from Milano in Italy. The distance between Belizona and Lucerne was beautiful and awesome.

The Gotthard mountain is between Lucerne and Belizona, and this mountain also divides the Italian speaking section with the German speaking section. On the side of the mountain with Belizona, people speak Italian, on the side with Lucerne, people speak Swiss German. This is kind of interesting. It's as though the mountain divided the settlers from the north and the south, and with never, or rarely crossing the high alps the two sides spoke separate languages. Not only is the language different, but even more apparent is the architecture. On one side it is very standard northern Italian, and on the other side it is very German. It as though two civilisations were cut of from each other by such a short distance. It's truly something awesome when you're sitting there in a train looking out and with a blink of an eye architecture shifts as you reach the other side of the mountain. The scenery also changes from a more Mediterranean look on the Italian speaking side, to a very green and lush look on the German Speaking side. All of this in the same country: Switzerland.

To make things yet more interesting and awesome, the rail way and tunnels which lead the train over and through the mountain were built 150 years ago. What's unique about it is the layout of the track. In a literal spiral, the track spirals up one side of the mountain, and back down on the other. While sitting there in the train, looking out the window you would enter into a tunnel. You'd have the slight feeling that the tunnel was very curved. The tunnel ended and you saw a building, or a road, or something distinctive, and then you headed back into another tunnel, the track still curved. You'd come out of the tunnel again, and you'd see that building, or road but this time, from a higher elevation. This same thing, over and over. As you looked around, you could see tracks above and below you on the mountain side. Track you had already driven on, and some you were yet to drive on as you came back down the other side of the mountain. The track just constantly criss-crossed over itself. It was truly amazing.

We reached a city of Arth-Goldau where we switched to a train which took us to Lucerne. Here, we had some time to kill. I bought a Vodka mixed drink with lemon flavour. It tasted like a sprite. I hate sprite. From Lucerne we got a train to Langnau, and from there a train to Ramsei, and back to Wasen. When we got back to our apartment, Wes and Adam had bought a 12 pack of Heineken's. We ate dinner, and suchlike. I went to my grandparents and chatted a bit. I also helped my grandma out with something on the computer and that was the day.

It was a day of riding trains and looking out the window and a very assorted, different sceneries of Switzerland. A lot of fun. I really like just sitting in a train and riding around, looking out the window. I was probably the only one who enjoyed it as much as i did.
Posted by Andimandi @ 12:20, August 20, 2004
Drunkies!....... jk....