Well, all good plans etc……This morning, instead of being in Turin, ready to catch the train to Pont Saint Martin, we find ourselves on a train from Paris to Zurich, then another to Milan and two more to get to Pont Saint Martin some time this evening. Isn’t that a rather long way around? Yes, of course, but it’s apparently the only way we can get there!

Our Eurostar train to Paris was late leaving London, we were told because a passenger lost her watch and her travelling companion jammed himself in the carriage door to prevent the train from leaving! Eventually the police were called, the offending passenger was removed, and the train got on its way. There then followed the inevitable delays in the tunnel as we presumably missed our slot. By the time we reached Paris our planned one hour transfer time had evaporated and we missed our connection to Turin. Then while waiting for the SNCF staff to reallocate us we missed the next and last train of the day. Worse than that, weekend engineering works in the transalpine tunnel meant no more trains to Turin until early next week! Hey, ho we’re on a pilgrimage aren’t we? “Who so beset him so with dismal stories”!

So, after an enforced stay over in the Ibis Diderot courtesy of SNCF, and a very nice though unexpected Paris restaurant supper, we found ourselves at the Gare de Lyon at sparrowfart, negotiating our way onto a four hour train journey to Zurich. At least we’re on our way southwards!

Un petit apéritif near the Gare de Lyon. There is smile behind that grimace.

We were relieved to find that the slip of paper given to us by SNCF staff in Paris to authorise our journey without proper tickets seemed to do the trick, though as it was Saturday the trains were all very crowded so we had no allocated seats. We were advised to sit in the buffet car initially and then see if there were any no-shows.

The train change in Zurich was a bit tight and saw lots of us running down the platform, aware that Swiss trains always run to time, but we made it onto the correct half of the train for Milan. The Swiss train guards also didn’t bat an eyelid over our scrap of paper. And so we wound our way through the Alps, past beautiful clear blue lakes and pretty villages, emerging south of the St Gotthard pass and down past Lake Como to Milan.

Another two changes of train saw us arrive at Pont Saint Martin about 6pm, tired but very glad to have got here at last!

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