Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The reverse spice trail (Live)

We are at sleepy Montreux in Switzerland now. Am here for a conference. A fairly empty town. A contrast from packed Mohamed Ali Road in my last night at Mumbai. I have a feeling that our conference has tripled the population of the city.

We then break and go to Lucerene, Zermatt and Interlaken. Hope I get the net there for live updates. Blogging furiously from the hotel conference centre here.

We came via Dubai as I wanted to meet my aunt on the way back. At the risk of someone I know telling me I told you so, avoid break journeys. Specially if you have a crashed out travel agent. The night before we left I realised that we were scheduled to spend 8 hrs at the Dubai airport while going thanks to her uninspired booking. And we've been at this for three months!!!!!!!!

A few frantic calls, and a desperate attempt to save my marriage (I had visions of K storming out of my life after hour six at Dubai) the very helpful guys at Emirates suggested a morning flight with a two hour break and a minor rescheduling fee. I breathed again.

I must say that Emirates turned out to be one of the most pleasant and helpful international airlines that I have ever flown and the comfortable seats and leg space, even in coach, helped us sleep like babies.

Got of at Zurich airport. The staff at the enquiry counter were very helpful, yodelled happily in English in response to whatever you ask and were probably my grandparent's seniors in school.

We took our suitcases, crossed the airport and got into train station just as Dilber, our super duper fantastic travel agent and friend, had told us with the Super Saver Swiss pass she advised us to buy.

What my other crashed out TA, who did the conference part of the trip, didn't tell us was that Zurich to Montreux was a four hour break journey and that we'd reach at six!

Lesson in life, if you find a great travel agent like Dilber, hold on to her with your dear life. Metaphorically of course. She guided us on our lovely Turkey trip earlier.

The Swiss trains weren't a hassle. We put our strolleys beside us. Seats weren't reserved in second class but it was quite empty, clean. Dirty loos from what I heard. The windows were big and the view was suppose to be great. Don't ask us. We slept most peacefully.

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