Here are two facts about Switzerland: As a small, landlocked country, it has plenty of borders. And it is public transport heaven.
Last year, I had to travel from Neuchâtel to Thonon-les-Bains (on the French banks of Lake Geneva) to do some work on my doctoral thesis. I was very much looking forward to getting there… by boat!
The easiest connection by far was to take the train to Lausanne, head down to Ouchy on the metro and to embark on one of the very frequent CGN services to Thonon-les-Bains. The ticket was included in my Swiss Travel Pass (and it is, too, if you own a GA/AG).
The Compagnie Générale de Navigation – or CGN – operates a plethora of boat services, both for commuters and travelers, on Lake Geneva. What makes their journeys so exciting is their transnational aspect. Without realizing it, your boat is crossing national borders and taking you across to France.
Since I was using an early morning service, the boat was not too full. That is until I disembarked and spotted hundreds of French workers about to commute to their work in Lausanne by boat.
Tonight's sunset on Lake Geneva aboard the @CGN_leman N2 boat from #Thonon to #Lausanne @1000Switzerland #switzerland pic.twitter.com/TCiu9K5v31
— Jordan Girardin (@JordanGirardin) October 15, 2014
This boat commute is a proper treat. It is peaceful, quiet, and calm, and it allows you to admire the mountains of Savoy and the Chablais.
Bitten by the travel bug and the boat services on Lake Geneva, I decided to go back a few days later. This time, I visited the lovely town of Évian known for its bottled water.
The next time you plan on traveling to a meeting or a seminar somewhere in Switzerland, study the amazing journeys that public transportation offers.
Why not spice up your commute by sailing across one of the dozens of lakes on the way to your meeting?
Day pass in Zurich has train, tram, bus and boat included :)