We thought this part of our adventure would be a bit easier than our trip to Kenya or the brief stop over in Lisbon, but we were wrong. We had not figured on Schweizerdeutsch!
Finding the right train became a challenge as we played dazed tourists. We couldn’t figure out what language everyone else was speaking. It sounded like nothing we’d ever heard before. With the help of a hurriedly perused travel book, we learned that Schweizerdeutsch, or Swiss-German, was the dialect of the region.
That information was not much help when we stopped people and asked for directions to the train. They looked at us like we were creatures from another world. Actually, we were. As time passed, we became more and more frustrated to the point of desperation. Then our angel intervened. He didn’t have wings or a harp. He was nattily dressed, wore a fedora and smoked a pipe. He was sitting nearby reading a newspaper and when he looked up, there we were, two young Americans, with a very old problem.
Our angel spoke perfect English with a slight accent. He graciously walked us to the correct train platform, tipped his fedora and bade us farewell. We’ll never forget him. Many of us have had similar experiences in which a stranger came to our aid when we needed help. On the other side of the coin, we get the chance to play angel at different times in our lives. All that’s required is being there for someone in distress.
The ride to Lucerne was a treat. We hadn’t done much traveling by train, but it was to become one of our favorite modes of transportation.
(We didn’t know it then, but the future would hold the ultimate train
adventure on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express.)