Monday, September 22, 2008

Swiss Transport. Catch it if you can.

As most people know, the Swiss transportation network is very efficient. But it wasn’t until my father-in-law visited a few weeks ago that I realized sometimes, it’s almost too efficient.

For example, trains, buses, boats, and some cable cars are scheduled so that you hardly have to wait to connect from one to the next. This is fine for healthy people with no luggage. But add some luggage, a health problem, a baby, or all three, and you have problems.

For example, coming back from Rigiklum to Baden involved a train, a cable car, a boat, and two more trains. From the cable car to the boat, it was marked as a 10 minute walk. Well yes, without luggage and a health problem, it is a brisk 10 minute walk. But for some of our guests, it was a 15 minute walk. And so we missed our connecting boat.

Luckily there was another boat in an hour, it was a nice day, and there was a café nearby. So it was an enjoyable wait. But for example, this could have been the last boat of the day or we could have been in a rush, and then we really would have been in trouble.

The thing is, the way the transport system is built, it allows for no imperfections, transport or human. And realistically this is flawed because in the scheme of things, something is bound to break down, be it mechanical or in an older American’s situation, physical.

But if you look at most older Swiss people, they are really in shape. They climb mountains, eat 10 pounds of cheese without putting on weight, and beat young Americans in races (but then again, it’s no wonder—they’ve been running after Swiss trains since they were toddlers). Perhaps a friend put it best (a 38-year-old American tri-athlete), “I beat a 60-year old Swiss guy in the last 10k, it was a real accomplishment.”

For those who aspire to lesser goals, just keeping up with the Swiss transportation connections will usually involve enough athleticism for the day. Especially with anything other than yourself and an optimal level of fitness.


Jessica said...

I love the way you write. It is so nice to read your observations.

And yes, you know, I never looked at it that way either, but you are 100% correct. It could all just be TOO efficient. Imagine that.

Chantal said...

Thanks, I enjoy your blog as well. I see you're in marketing? I work in advertising...and also as a freelance writer. We should meet up sometime.

Jessica said...

Sounds good to me! Email me... the address is on the blog.

JessKAH said...

I think I accomplished a lot in Switz by never missing the bus to work - although I had to run my little heart out every morning, while the Swiss stared (you know..).

Chantal said...

That is an accomplishment!! Congrats on never missing a bus, wow, you should get an award or something.


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