From Lyon to Basel
The morning of May 28 saw us up early as our packed cases had to be outside the cabins by 6.30am. I felt excited to be starting on the next stage of our holiday, but sad to leave the very friendly staff and happy memories made on AmaDagio.
David and I had become quite attached to our cabin and I wondered if the next one would feel as homely.Returning there after breakfast, I checked all the cupboards again to make sure we hadn’t left anything.‘I hope the internet works on the next one,’ I muttered, shoving the last of many cords into my hand luggage. David patted the bed in a proprietarial fashion; he appreciated its comfort and hoped that AmaCello’s would be as good.
Gunther was coming with us, which gave some continuity to the program. He had warned us two days earlier, that it would not be a good idea to pressure him on departure day as problems were bound to arise, despite his very detailed planning. He was Belgian, not German as his name suggested, and he stressed this fact, but his ability to organize all our trips, to be on hand and at his desk seemingly from dawn till late at night, was the kind of Germanic trait for which most of us were grateful.
Knowing that my back would not cope well with sitting for six hours on a bus, I reserved the back seat before everyone else got on, so that I could lie down. We had large, well sprung tourist coaches, but this gave me extra protection and meant that I reached Basel feeling fine; and I offered to swap seats for a while with anyone else needing a lie down. I think I dozed off a couple of times, but managed to see much of the countryside and if I snored it couldn’t have been louder than a few of the guys.
The scenery was so much like I had imagined it to be, that I almost expected a Heidi, with long, straw-coloured plaits, to yodel from the fir covered mountains.Everything about the land and the properties was neat and well maintained; vines grew up the hillsides from
Lake Geneva in perfectly straight lines, or in rows that were parallel to the lake, but aligned with Swiss precision.
The houses, too, looked exactly as I expected, with steeply pitched roofs and the smaller, shuttered windows that are common in children’s picture books. Brown and white or black and white cows, fat and contented looking, munched on grass so green it had to produce incredibly rich milk and delicious meat. I knew, without question, when we crossed from France to Switzerland.
Lake Geneva itself, with snow-capped mountains on the far side, an almost clear blue sky above and villages and farms fitting snugly into the sides of the hills below us, was picture perfect.