6.30 am, Dewsbury station; WE’RE OFF on our travels again but this time heading west through the Pennines via Marsden Tunnel on the train to Manchester airport. I’m aware that our familiar moors aren’t going to compare in scale or variety with the scenery that we’ll encounter in Switzerland.We set off from Manchester airport at 10.50 am.

By 11.30 we’re reaching the coast of France at a height of 35,000 feet.

The fields in the this part of France are longer and narrower than most you’d see in England and, in this area at least, there’s more woodland than you’d see in most parts of our country.

Getting into holiday mood, I go for a Merlot from the Pays d’Oc and an Easy Jet in-flight snack-pack which consists of Belgian Ardennes paté, a triangle of Vache qui Rit spready cheese from France, not to mention biscuits from various corners of Britain; water biscuits from Carlisle, Hula Hoops from Ashby de la Zouch and Scottish shortbread from Aberlour on Spey, plus a packet of olives from somewhere in the Med.

12.10 BST and we’re descending between two layers of stratus to Zurich airport.

The first bird that we spot is a Heron flying over the river at Zurich HB station. The river is muddy – there was heavy rain this morning.


I could get used to this kind of life. We even paid a modest premium to travel in the extra space and comfort of first class for our tranfer via Swiss railways, changing at Bern and Spiez, travelling most of the way on the upper deck of a double-decker carriage with panoramic windows.

No first class on the final stage of the journey via a funicular railway climbing 1500 feet out of the deep U-shaped valley at Lauterbrunnen to the little town of Wengen, which will be our base for the next two weeks.

Still in holiday mood, I opt for one of the Swiss speciality raclette. You scrape the raclette cheese as it melts from the top of the block of cheese onto your new potatoes, pickled onions and gherkins.