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James Bond Dam in Locarno, Switzerland – Day 49
Friday 18th September 2009 – Switzerland
Its quite easy to see why I like Switzerland so much. Its friendly approach to people, its willingness to help, and what it has to offer in terms of attractions and sights, and scenery from out of this world, I could easily fall in love with the place. The people here are very beautiful as well.
After speaking to the kind lady at the reception, and putting my mind at rest regarding tomorrows busy travel plans, I caught the bus to the station with an Austrian guy from the dorm. We went our separate ways at the station, I headed for the info place to sort some things out. By this point it was already time to get the train, so on I hopped. The trains and buses in Switzerland are every hour, every day, it is very easy to get about. On the buses and trains, as I think I mentioned on a previous day, the announcements are in several languages, including English Its very traveller friendly.
Its quite a strange feeling when your eyes are fixed out of the window of the train, watching the world fly by, when you stop at a station and the train appears to be slowly moving backwards, even though it is perfectly still. Its like when you stare at a black and white spinning pattern for a while, then look at your hand and it seems as though your hand is squirming. Its a strange illusion, but it always gets me on the train.
One main point about the trip today was suppose to be the Gotthard tunnel, a long tunnel in which we had to go through in order to get to where we were going. The tunnel itself was a non-event. We were in it for less than 10 minutes, and with so many other tunnels along the way, it wasn’t much different. Its not as if you can really see anything either, only your weathered reflection staring back. There were also a lot of unattractive people on the train today, aside from myself, and when its dark, people start to look round at one another. I was happy to be out of the tunnel really.
The other main point of the journey today was the scenery. We travelled through the most breathtakingly stunning mountain routes I have even been through by train, with so many mountains standing tall to show themselves, then slumping back down to give the other mountains a look. Some snow capped mountains appeared briefly as we trudged along, up through the mountain passes, winding left, then right, through tunnel and over bridge. I looked out the window and watched as the leading carriages came into view as they wound round the tight turns, then disappeared from view as they turned the other way. It is almost as if we are chasing the leading coach, trying not to fall behind, mimicking its movement to keep up. Every so often, a train travelling in the opposite direction sweeps past the window and interrupts my view. We followed the course of the river, not letting it leave our site for too long, intersecting at various points. I watched the vehicles on the roads, remembering how I loved these sorts of roads at the start of my travels. Our train hurtled through the valley as we began to level out, as if trying to make up for lost time, and we arrived a little late at the station I needed to change over at.
I had only 2 minutes to find my next train, but luckily for me it was on the very next platform, so I hopped straight on, and off we set again on the final stretch. The stop was at a place called Bellinzona, and as we moved on I began to see flocks of flies hovering in groups everywhere I looked. Some even ventured into the train and expired on the window sills. They were literally everywhere. People getting off at the various stops seemed to be bothered by them, so maybe it is a mating season for the flies, I don’t know.
We made it to Locarno and I used the nearby info place for directions to the hostel. It was in walking distance. It was already clear to see that people live well here. They are all dressed well, and shops only sold designer gear.
I arrived in the hostel and left my bag in the locker while I ventured out for the day. The hostel wasn’t officially open yet so I couldn’t go to the room. The girl on reception gave me a bus timetable that I could use to go to the Valle Verzasca, more importantly the Verzasca Dam. This was the same dam used in the James Bond film Goldeneye. It was spectacular. They had a bungee jump you could go on, the largest in the world they claim, and it holds that world record. It was 150 Euros though, way out of my budget, and it looked as though they weren’t running it today anyway, so it was a bit disappointing. I got back on the crowded bus, got my ticket by playing the dumb tourist – the language is Italian in these parts – and came back into Locarno.
After a little wandering around I retraced my steps to the hostel and obtained the key to the room. Up I went around some confusing corridors and eventually into a nice sized room with 6 beds, shower and toilet. This is where I remained for a while. Another guy turned up briefly, then left after depositing his things, and I was left alone to rest a while.
It wasn’t long before I decided to go into town for a meal, but unfortunately most places were closed or were closing. The only thing that was left for me was a McDonald’s, which filled a gap I suppose. The meal was devoured and I exercised my legs once more for the walk back to the hostel. I thought more would be going on for a Friday night but the streets seemed to be emptying quite rapidly. There was a brass band setting up in the main square by a restaurant, so maybe things were happening a little later.
I wondered if the other guy was back yet in the room, or if someone else had joined us, and sure enough, as I opened the door, a guy stood with an arm outstretched, looking at me quite intently. I shook his had, we introduced ourselves, and began talking. Thomas is his name, and he comes from Germany. We ended up talking for a couple of hours, until the guy from Israel turned up. Tomas was talking about auras and energy, and how he uses inner energy to help him in his everyday life. He noticed my aura as I walked in and told me a little about my character, which was all correct. A lot of what he was saying really made sense, and I found it very interesting, but as the evening went on, I really wanted to rest my head on the pillow. He went to get something from his car, and this seemed like a good point to end it, so myself and the guy from Israel went to sleep. I would like to know a bit more about some of the things he was saying, so when I get home, maybe I’ll read a book or two. Maybe!
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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