So we traveled to Switzerland from Paris on the morning of 2nd September. The day was quite eventful. Here is a brief account of Day 1. We will be here for 5 nights.
Landed in Zurich HB station at 11:26am. TGV Lyria train. Quite nice. Had a nice dashboard inside the train which showed the speeds the train was traveling at. Lots and lots of greenery on the route along the French border into Basel and then Zurich. Booking early is really useful, apparently - we got tickets at 37 euro per head, might have been even cheaper earlier.
Need to withdraw money from an ATM. Cards dont work. Bank of America. TD Bank. Both Visa debit cards. Panic. We only have a few euros and I have some 600 $ in an emergency.
Suddenly card works on the 5th ATM and I can get 500 CHF out. Try again. Fail. Not enough money. Switzerland is expensive.
2nd card works on the 6th ATM or so and I get another 500 CHF out. Dad's card works as well and we get 200 out there. Phew.
Need a place to store luggage. Awesome self managed lockers for 9 euro. Fit 4 bags very easily. Need change though. So have to buy some stuff, request some coins and use them in the luggage store locations.
Eat lunch. Its now nearly 1:30. All this running around has been extremely stressful and Dad who is not calm in the best of days is practically in panic mode right now. All is eventually well.
Go to tourist office, get travel advice, get half rate card as advised by them (and Sam on an earlier thread) and book tickets by 7:02pm to Lauterbrunen.
More hunting and I figure out that a Zone 110 day card for 24 hours is the best bet for Zurich. 6 CHF a piece and we can spend a few hours here and there.
Finally head down Banhofstrasse. Dad's leg is already shot sadly. So we jump into a tram and go down Banhofstrasse. Hop off a couple of stops later to look at and click pics of a big clock on a church. I was searching for St. Peter's church but couldn't find it on the main street, and too little time in Zurich meant we couldn't walk and rest..walk and rest.
Hopped on and off at Lake Zurich. A really nice calm lake. We all loved it and spent a while strolling around it. Cruises seemed quite expensive, not sure if the half rate card would have been applicable.
More tram travel, quick hop off at Bellevue Square, but nothing as such to see, its just a central location where a lot of roads intersect.
Hopped off at a Coop store and got some food. Lots of precious time wasted here figuring out how to weigh produce :)
Walked to a little Chinese garden and took a peek around. Not too much to be seen, can kill half an hour maybe. Nice overall park though.
Took more trams randomly around the city, had some lunch and got back to Zurich HB at 6:25, 35 minutes before the train. As usual, Dad was a bit panicky about us being late etc. Got the luggage out of the locker quickly and boarded the train at platform 16.
Train's very nice. Hop off at Bern and catch a connection in 6 minutes. That's really very hard for Dad, its a long way to walk in a very short time.
Get in. Ask someone if its a second class compartment. They say NO. Panic. Change compartments. The next one looks just like the previous one, but hey ..that's what it is, and the ticket is validated.
Get off at Interlaken West and goof up. I had a feeling this was the wrong station but should have ascertained before going. Tooo much stress everywhere and..really I'm not only to blame here...but we're stuck there at 9:15 pm and having to check in to Lauterbrunnen before 10pm at the Valley Hostel.
Decide to take a cab. Less risky. More expensive. One guy magically appears. Talkative guy but a nice guy - drops us at the hostel for 70 CHF. That's a lot of money wasted but its the best option under the circumstances. Hostel's nice. We check in and I sit and plan Day 2 :). Finally.