This may have been a mistake. I left after labo and got a train to Bern at just after 4pm. I stopped off in Thun on the way to get some slightly less cloudy photos and was on my way by 6. But there were problems with the railway and I had to get a bus. A packed bus, all the way to Spiez. There are a lot of people in Thun. It seems like such a pretty, quiet place, but this is rush hour:
This was my first view of Spiez itself:
It’s another place that is just so beautiful. I think Lake Thun and around is my favourite place in this entire country. There’s that lake, surrounded by mountains, and over it all, the three giants.
I walked down to the old town, through some pretty streets:
Near the bottom of the hill, I found a swimming pool and it just looked like the most incredible setting for a pool. I was desperate to swim in it, but I couldn’t.
At the bottom was a small harbour, with lots of boats and the church overlooking the lot.
I spent most of my short time in Spiez taking photos of the mountains and the lake:
And of the zebra crossing going the wrong way.
By now, the sun was getting lower, so I headed back, completely unaware…
I got my bus back to Thun. No problem. I got the train from Thun to Bern. No problem.
I arrived in Bern at 8.55. The next train back to Neuchatel was 9.39. Instead of hanging around for three quarters of an hour, I wondered about getting a train via Biel. I didn’t. Probably I should have done.
I went to Macdonalds and got some fries. That was a good way to kill some time, then I went back to platform 13.
According to all the signs on the platform, that train was going to Neuchatel. But once I got inside, it only mentioned Bumpliz Nord, Gummenen and Kerzers. I was worried, but I thought “In an hour’s time, I’ll know one way or the other”.
This is how the rest of my night proceeded.
9.55 – Arrived in Gummenen. We were tipped off the train and told that there were works and we’d have to get a replacement bus.
10.25 – Still no sign of the bus.
I was sitting on the steps at the bottom of a station I’d never heard of, with no clearer idea of where I was than “somewhere between Bern and Neuchatel”, in the middle of the countryside, where the only sounds were people muttering about the lack of bus, crickets chirping and our train, still sitting at the platform above us. Every now and then someone would go back to the station to ask when the bus was coming, but they didn’t seem to ever come back.
Finally, a station worker came out. He said something in German but it appeared that there were no German speakers among the entire trainload. They asked him to speak in French, but it took a long time for him to realise, although he seemed to be fluent in it. What he did say was that the bus was coming sometime.
I was sort of worried, but it seemed there were a lot of us, probably 50 or 60, all in the same boat, so at least I wasn’t alone, although I did wonder if I was going to get home before the morning. People were getting angry, people who had connecting trains, mostly from Neuchatel. There was an old lady going to Chaux-de-Fonds who was going to miss the last train and people going off in various directions, so me, only missing one train, seemed to be one of the lucky ones.
Then the bus turned up. A double-decked crimson coach. A lot of people got on the front doors, but soon stopped moving. When I went to the middle doors, I discovered that was because the seats were full and people were queueing up in the aisle instead of going upstairs. I went upstairs and was amazed to find no one sitting at the front, so obviously, I sat there.
That thing was scary. Its lights seemed to do nothing and it was hurtling along these narrow country lanes in almost complete blackness. Then it put its main beams on and they were incredible. Lit up the world for miles around. The driver kept speaking to us and I couldn’t figure out whether he was Francophone or Germanophone because he seemed to have trouble with both. He just kept on apologising and saying he hoped we would come back on the trains.
At 10.35, I arrived at Kerzers. There was a train waiting there to take people to Ins, Marin and Neuchatel. Anyone else was staying on the bus and going on to Morat. I think I’m glad I had to get off the train, because I have no idea whether I would have ended up at Ins or Morat. I think you have to sit in the right half of the train and I don’t think I was. Never mind. I got a fun bus ride and got back to Neuchatel just after 11pm. I now know that if I decide to go on a trip after school, to make it somewhere a bit closer to Spiez and not to go via Bern, because they don’t seem to like sending people to Neuchatel at the best of times.