TAILS OF A TRAVELLING CAT
Greetings, humans! As promised, I will inform you about any exciting developments on our night train journey. The only unexpected occurrence was the train stopping for over two hours at a station somewhere in Austria where our cabin-mates got off and didn’t come back. Nice people that they were, it did mean Charlie and Jack had the compartment to themselves and could stretch out across three seats each. I mean, that’s almost as good as a bed but for the price of a single seat.
Now, onto today. What a morning! I woke up to the early morning light of 5:30 AM, stretching my legs and flexing my claws to be greeted by a beautiful sight – the Alps stretching high above us on both sides, green, covered in trees and small old Austrian houses; I can’t be sure but I don’t think we’ve crossed into Switzerland at this point.
Despite the beauty of this early morning scene with the mountains lightly coated in mist and Charlie’s best poking abilities, Jack didn’t wake up and so missed what I must surely argue is one of the greatest wonders of the natural world.
Well, that got a bit poetical. We went back to sleep for a bit and when we woke up, it was definitely over the border, the Swiss flags and number plates were a bit of a giveaway. But we were travelling through the German part of the country so, like in Austria, all the writing was in German. The fact that Switzerland also speaks French, Italian and Romansch confuses me slightly – why don’t they speak Swiss? And while I’m on the topic, why do they not speak Austrian in Austria and Austrian-German instead? I’m not sure that’s too important or relevant to my writings so I shall move on.
Our train pulled into Zurich (or Zürich to give it its German/Swiss name) and alighted for breakfast. In the train station, my personal humans found a shop selling vegan pretzels and shared a seeded one, although it was very salty and Charlie attempted to brush most of the salt off.
Breakfast over, it was then back on a train to Geneva (Genève in French – this city is in the French speaking part). This was a double decker train, one the three of us had long since watched and coveted at every station and here it was – success – we were on the top deck. Splendid views! What can be better than watching the Swiss countryside roll past than watching it from a whole floor higher up?
It was quite obvious when we passed into the French speaking part of Switzerland, obviously the signs became French, but the buildings were more often chalets instead of the farm buildings, both beautiful in their own way. We arrived in Geneva at lunch time and so headed straight to Aux Deux Ports, a vegan bakery, for lunch. Another new wonder of modern transport: the tram! After seeing them all around the cities we finally got to ride on one of these as well!
For lunch, the humans selected from the counter a large helping of spinach tart and a batch of freshly cooked potato crêpes with a side of salad and sauces. This was followed by the obligatory (as I have seen with my humans and thoroughly approve) dessert. This was strawberry cheesecake and a sponge cake with vanilla buttercream icing, coconut and lemon curd. Well, I’m going to call it lemon curd, that’s what it looked like, just not what it tasted like! Everything tasted good though, so I suppose that’s what’s important.
One of the café owners imparted wisdom to us – there was an area of Lake Geneva where swimming was free. Although not as blistering as the previous days, it was still pretty hot, and cooling in the lake would be much appreciated by the humans if not by me.
I thought they’d broken this deranged habit of heading to water like ducks!
We took the tram back to the station and walked from here to the lake. Part way there, the humans got distracted by a souvenir stall and then sat down on a grassy area. I thought perhaps the lake had been forgotten but, alas, no! They soon got up and carried on along the side of the lake looking for the place we had been promised. Before long we came across a small pier other humans were jumping off from a diving board into the water and swimming around. Oh what a shame, there was an entry fee to get onto the pier, looks like no swimming today then!
Oh darn it! These humans are painfully persistent in their quest for water. They kept walking and found a rock wall built around a small harbour, they walked out onto this and sat perilously close to the edge. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they took off their shoes and socks and put their feet in the water. Cold shivers are going up my back even now just thinking about it! At least they decided against swimming in it.
We stayed here for an awfully long time, looking across the lake, trying to guess which mountain was Mont Blanc (the one with snow on, of course) and taking pictures. Then a pair of swans with cygnets viciously and completely without motivation started swimming towards us and then… um… swam past us, so at least we were safe from them, the same cannot be said for the water.
And then, as if I needed any more proof that water is deadly, Charlie slipped on a rock and would have fallen straight into the lake if aforementioned rock hadn't been there! I nearly lost my scribe and cat-carrier! This would have been a disaster too terrible to comprehend, but did the humans realise the dangers of water now? Did they realise what I had been telling them all week? No, of course not!
After a lot more sitting and contemplating of the holiday, such as discussing the best city and the food they would most like to have again, my humans finally discovered it was time to leave and get the train to Paris. Well almost, they managed to squeeze in a bit of time sitting in a final park.
We then boarded the train which took us to Paris where I am writing this. We walked through the city to our final room. After much confusion regarding the English translation of what exactly we were supposed to do (this is basically a self-service room), we finally settled down for the evening.
Well, I did very much like Switzerland, waking up to the mountains may have been the only time in my life I enjoyed waking up. The countryside and the housing styles were beautiful. I think I would have liked Geneva too if it hadn’t had such a big lake in it, I mean, it is so big it is practically a sea, they might as well call it Ocean Geneva!
Paris, on the other hand, I could get to grips with, old buildings everywhere, even the metro signs are stylish. Small streets, big streets, winding streets with those old lampposts like that one in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, just perfect, especially for a stylish cat such as myself. Perhaps I should have been an Aristocat.
Well, goodnight for now folks, bed time for me. Tomorrow I shall relate to you my final instalment, the Tail of my return to Britain by Eurostar.
Until then, Chesh.