General Abonnement

Heading home along the lake

By my reckoning, I have made the journey between Brienz and Spiez nearly three and a half thousand times in the past seven and a half years: a phenomenal number of trips backwards and forward for a person who used to long to abandon the car and travel in relaxing comfort on public transport. Back in the days when I used to travel through the daily traffic jams of south eastern England – for up to and often more than two hours every day – the ability to relax, read a book, work on a design or just doze between home and work was just a dream.

As I shall be commuting between Spiez and Bern from the start of next month, I have, at long last, invested in an annual “General Abonnement” (national public transport pass) as the cost, in comparison to the regular ticket between home and my new office, makes it worthwhile. That means that I can now travel pretty much anywhere in Switzerland by train, bus or ship without having to buy an additional ticket. Days out with the Flickr crowd in Zürich; trips over the mountains on the scenic train to see friends on Lac Léman; weekends away and travelling up into the mountains to spend the day hiking will all be free. Even the trip to Milan – just over two and a half hours away from our home station thanks to the new Lötschberg tunnel – will be free as far as Domodossola and massively cheap from there on, as Italian train prices are much lower than Swiss ones. I imagine that Jo and I will now be travelling more often in our spare time, which will be great. I am sad that I will no longer be travelling through such spectacular scenery every day, but the prospect of more travelling and the return from the city each day, towards the grand view of the Alps, will be worthwhile alternatives.

The Train Now Arriving (Brienz)