There was thunder and lightning in the night. We woke up to see clouds rolling in from the west into the Rhine Valley, giving the landscape a magical and mysterious countenance. Rain was promised for later, but after a memorable Swiss fruhstuck, Heinz went and collected a Renault Megane estate from the Mobilis a local car short term rental pool, to drive us to one of their favourite places in the mountain territory of nearby Lichtenstein, on the other side of the Rhine Valley.
Half an hour later we were climbing a thousand metres up a winding mountain road to a calm and solitary place in the forest, where currently a clinic is being constructed for patients suffering from burn-out. When it's open, it is unlikely to suffer from a scarcity of clients in our insanely pressurised modern world. We parked nearby, and followed a pathway along a contour through pine trees rooted seemingly precariously, on an extremely steep mountainside. I was surprised to see two different enclosures in which donkeys were grazing and wondered why there were being raised here so remotely from the urbanised valley floor below.
Cloud was already partially obscuring the view below, but only towards the end of our walk did it envelop us. Shortly after we reached the car, it began to rain, and continued steadily until it was time for me to take my leave and return to Montreux. Clare stays another day, but I need to travel to Verbier tomorrow, an hour's journey from Montreux, for a wedding preparation ahead of Saturday's service.
The train from Buchs to Sargans was three minutes late. This left one minute to change to the mainline express train to Zurich - four minutes allowed by the phone app. Energised by the challenge, I ran to the necessary platform, arriving as the express pulled in. It then waited to collect case-lugging stragglers, while I settled into a seat and regained by breath. We left three minutes late. How kind. We arrived punctually in Zurich, where the Lausanne train was waiting. Likewise at Lausanne, the train to Montreux arrived conveniently as I crossed the platform to wait for it.
This took me to Montreux in time buy some bread and wine before returning to Church House, as it was a late opening night at the COOP. The only disappointment was a half hour wait for a bus to Territet to complete the journey. The scheduled bus didn't appear. The next one wasn't a full sized electric bendy bus, but smaller. It was rammed with passengers already. If it hadn't been raining, I'd have walked back anyway, but didn't relish the thought of arriving soaked through,. So I waited instead. I might well have been back in Cardiff waiting for a bus. Timetabling post-rush hour, when services and vehicles deployed change over, rarely delivers what post rush hour bus travellers find satisfactory.
I'd like to think that in the next quarter of a century, real-time information about travellers' needs on local public transport networks will provide services to match, in the way that rail networks across Switzerland seem to achieve as a matter of national pride.