In many cases, the act of traveling is something we despise. The continual packing, hauling our bags, waiting in lines, and sitting around on planes, trains, or buses for hours on end until we reach the next place gets old very quickly, even if the views end up being quite enjoyable. For a year-and-a-half long trip we will be spending many days of our journey doing just that, and it is something we just have to get used to.
That has been our view thought for the past few years. Then Switzerland happened.
From the second we jumped on the panoramic train of the GoldenPass from Montreux (Geneva) to Interlaken we knew it was going to be different. But it wasn’t until we got up in the mountains that we knew just what we got ourselves into.
The GoldenPass Train
The first class cabins on a GoldenPass panorama train are like what all trains should be. The near floor to ceiling windows don’t even end at the top of the cabin, as a second window pane bends across the roof allowing for a 140-degree view. Not only does this allow for natural lighting (yay!), but more importantly a chance to see the tops of the beautiful mountains that are to come.
To our surprise, our GoldenPass cabin was only half full. For each “block” of seating, which consists of four chairs arranged facing each other on one side of the aisle and two on the other, only 30% were full. Angie and I sat in the pair of two seats on one side, and the four chairs next to us were completely empty. How this worked during peak season, I’ll never know.
For the views you’ll get on the GoldenPass, having those extra seats open is a dream come true.
Views from the Windows
At the beginning of this article we mentioned that the act of travel is something we dislike. One of the reasons we mentioned was sitting on the train for hours on end waiting to get to the next destination. As it turns out, travel on the panorama trains of Switzerland involves very little sitting.
For the next 3 hours, we were on our feet; crossing back and forth between the seats to catch the wonderful views that presented themselves as we rolled by. First we said our goodbye to Lake Geneva as we climbed into the mountains, and then the mountains and lakes appeared, one by one, for the next few hours.
We had to celebrate.
Pictures Don’t Give It Justice
What I wanted to do when publishing this post was to load it up with as many photos that I could to share the beauty that we had on our journey. But after looking through the 200+ that I took on the trip I realized that even these photos do not give the itinerary the justice it deserves.
The reason is that with a camera we can only capture a photo within a small frame, a rectangle whose size is dictated by the model of our lens. In a sense it is very much like looking out the standard window of a train. Your view is minimized and the full scene is lost.
The whole reason we took the panorama train in Switzerland was to catch the whole view, and even with photos it is something that is quite difficult to convey.
Perhaps you’ll just have to try it out for yourself.
After experiencing the panorama train on a 3 hour journey, we’re pumped for our next trip which is a 7 hour ride across southern Switzerland from Zermatt to Chur on the Glacier Express. If the stories we have read are to be true, that one is to be even better.
A special thanks must be given to Switzerland’s Tourism Board for giving us a Swiss Pass to enjoy during our stay in the country. The Swiss Pass includes complimentary travel on the major panorama trains and discounts on mountain trains and cable cars throughout the country. We’ll have a full review of the pass after our stay in Switzerland is complete, so check back soon for more!
For more things to do in Switzerland, check out our articles such as the Swisspass review, Zurich events (the biggest festival held once every three years), visiting the Schilthorn, taking a CERN visit, or riding the train up Jungfrau Mountain.
Book a Train in Europe
Thinking of making a trip around Europe by train? Check out prices of Rail Europe passes or individual train tickets to save a lot of money on your journey!