Personal Impressions

The "Personal Impressions" section is a collection of thoughts and personal experiences.

Perfectly Organized

Our experience at the Lucerne train station ticket information counter wins outstanding marks for the speed, accuracy, and completeness of information delivery. Maybe all ticket information counters throughout Switzerland are as efficient, but the only we had the pleasure of experiencing was in Lucerne.

We had what we perceived to be a complicated question. Given that we want to travel from Lucerne to Montreux, then to Orsières only if there is a bus continuing to Champex or Issert, otherwise to Charmonix, then to Zermatt, then multiple unplanned stops in the Jungfrau Region between Zermatt and Interlaken, and finally back to Lucerne, should we buy a Swiss Flexi Pass, several individual train tickets at 15% discount offered for 2 adults traveling together at all times, or are there any other discounts that we can take advantage of?

Being technical people, we approached the ticket information counter prepared to ask an enormous list of questions ranging from the price of a single adult ticket between Lucerne and Montreux to the cost of a one month Swiss Flexi Pass for a various number of days. But after asking our first question, the ticket information person (who must be intelligent since she spoke 6 or maybe 8 languages fluently) pulled out a full map of the country and said, "what do you want to do?". We explained our vague schedule as coherently as possible, circling place names, asking about buses, and highlighting full sections that we had no set schedule for. A few minutes later, the ticket person had a printout in hand. "OK. You want a 1 Month Half Fare Card and a ticket covering your full loop at half price. This is the cheapest option and gives you the most flexibility." She showed us the price savings between this method and the Swiss Flexi Pass. She had the bus routes. She explained that we could get on and off trains heading in the direction of our loop without additional charge. Wow! We were impressed. Where else but in Switzerland could you expect such organization?

Trilingual At Two

Switzerland is a small country with four official languages: Swiss-German, French, Italian, and Rhaeto-Romanic. People naturally learn to speak multiple languages just to survive. Still, we were impressed by the 2 year old daughter of Masami's Japanese friend and her Swiss husband.

She speaks comprehensible Swiss-German, Japanese, and English and knows the difference between each. When asked a question, she responds in the language of the questioner. Trilingual at 2! How incredible.

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