Vienna to Geneva By Rail

My quick day in Geneva a few months before had taught me that most of the town is closed on Sundays so planning a full day of train travel on a Sunday seemed to be a good idea. It would be a long day, but only required one train change in Zürich so I booked it.

One of the great things about rail in Europe is how easy it is to get from place to place. That can be a hassle when everyone else takes advantage of it at the same time. I’m not sure if it was the holiday, the weekend, or both, but it seemed like all of Austria chose to travel that Sunday via ÖBB second class rail. I got a reserved seat so there wasn’t any fear I wouldn’t be able to travel, the real issue is a lack of space for luggage bigger than a carry-on.

The train I was on from Vienna to Zürich had started the morning in Budapest and was pretty full by the time I hopped on board. I was lucky to find a place for my suitcase, but others down the line were not so lucky.

The ride through Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland was insanely scenic like before. It almost made up for the length of the trip and the crowded cars. I saw many places I’d like to explore more on a future trip.

The train was comfortable and on time, but by the time I got to Zürich I was sick of being around so many people. The Swiss Rail app has a great feature where you can see how crowded each train is by class, and I was seeing second class of my train to Geneva was pretty full. Feeling very much that I wanted some room away from the crowd, I gave in to a moment of weakness and upgraded to first class via the app while en route to Zürich. I also switched to a later train at the same time. No mad dash to find the right platform, plus since I’d spent quite a bit of time at the main station there a week before, I knew I could grab some provisions.

The quick ride from Zürich to Geneva was much less crowded in first class. I got lucky because at one stop in the trip they made the announcement that several cars of the train would not be making the rest of the journey. Of course I was on one of them. The luck came with me not having my headphones in when they made the announcement, so I had time to grab my suitcase ad relocate to the part of the train that was going to keep going.

Swiss First Class
Much more legroom and much less people in first class.

I arrived on time and walked to two blocks from the station to my hotel. After a good night’s sleep, I’d be ready to explore Geneva on a Monday when things would actually be open this time!

In the future, I may plan to go ahead and pay for first class in advance if I am traveling with a large suitcase. Either that, or use the service that some railroads in Europe have where they will ship your luggage in advance.

A Full Day In Vienna

How does a person decide how to spend a day in one of the greatest cities in the world? My plan was to travel back to the main Vienna train station and get some info at their tourist office there. I had a bit of an idea of my options ahead of time, but anything I got there would help me make up mind.

Vienna, like many other European cities I’ve been to has it’s own museum card, the Vienna City Card. While it didn’t offer many free admissions, it did give some slight discounts. The most attractive feature is the free transit on city buses, trams, and the metro. A day pass is 8€ and a 24 hour Vienna City Card was 13.90€, so  if I hit a few museums, it would pay off.

I decided the three things I wanted to be sure to do in Vienna were Vienna Central Cemetery, The Esperanto Museum, and the Globe Museum. I should be able to cram all three of those sights in a day. I hopped on the tram to ride out to the cemetery.

I have a thing for cemeteries, it’s not because I’m a goth (I am very pale though) it mostly has to do with the history of them. It is also a great reminder that no matter what, you going to die. It’s unavoidable. You can put it off, but in the end, you will end up dead. If you can read this, you have 100 years at the most left on this planet, and most of us will have a lot less than that.

All I knew about Vienna Central Cemetery before my arrival in Vienna (or Wien as the locals call it. Shouldn’t we call it that too? I mean if that’s what they call their city, shouldn’t we take their lead? Just saying….) was that Falco was buried there.

I used to say that if I was ever in Vienna, I would visit Falco’s grave. With only 24 hours in the city, would it be the best use of my time to do that just to see his grave?

Probably not. As I mentioned a bit back, I am well aware that tomorrow is not guaranteed, so to spend so much time to make that one pilgrimage wouldn’t make much sense. However, not only is Vienna Central Cemetery the final resting place of Falco, it also is the final resting place of many other famous people and has a funeral museum. Now it makes much more sense to visit on my only full day in Vienna.

The grave of Falco and Falco’s mom

Vienna Central Museum is huge. It holds the remains of 3,000,000 people. It has four tram stops and a city bus line runs through it with stops inside. Lucky for us, they tended to group the famous dead in the same areas of honor. While in route to seeing the graves of the famous who have merged with the infinite, you get to marvel at some amazing monuments to people you have never heard of.

It’s hard to top this one


No caption needed
No caption needed either


I was struck by the “etc. etc. etc.” line in his bio.


I love the factory in the background
I’m guessing a famous mountaineer


I love the mourning statues. I’d like one on my grave of a beautiful angel or woman just shrugging her shoulders.


This was more than likely modeled after the wife of the deceased


Anybody have any idea what’s going o here?!?!?

There is a colossal church in the center that is worth peeking into if you are a fan of churches. They have free maps that point out the main areas of the grounds. They do have guided tours, and an app that you can download. I used a paper map they gave me at the funeral museum as my guide.

I saw what I came to see, but would like to spend another day there in the future. I grabbed the tram to head to my next stops which were in the same building at the Austrian National Library.

First up was the Esperanto Museum. I have been aware of Esperanto for a while and am always fascinated by an attempt to make communication easier. The main problem I have with Esperanto is that like all other languages besides English, I don’t speak it. The idea behind it was noble, to bring the world together by increasing communication. I’m not sure it will ever happen. Maybe a future of nothing but emojis will come close, but that doesn’t solve the problem of speech.

Espertanto CongressLabor Olympics


The museum is small, but has some very cool items in its exhibits. It has info not only on Esperanto but also other created languages. It is an interesting stop if you are interested in languages.

In the same building and on the same ticket (along with the Papyrus Museum at another location I didn’t get to this trip) is the Globe Museum. It has more globes in one location that I have seen in my entire life and I have a geography degree. If you are a history or geography nerd, you need to see this!

The sun goes down early at this time of year, so when I was done with the globes, I made my way back to the area around my hotel to find some dinner and other supplies and plan for the next day which would take me to Slovakia for the day.





Buchs To Vienna By Train

I decided since I was going to be so close to Austria while visiting Liechtenstein, I would use the opportunity to visit Vienna. It would be a quick trip, just and day and would require a full day of travel from Buchs in Switzerland, but I considered it a fact-finding mission for a future trip.

The train left from Buchs and traveled through Liechtenstein and then to Austria. As we got into the mountains of Austria it was snowing and the route for the next hour or so turned into a live action Xmas card. Living most of my life in the American South, snow is always a novelty. It is even more appreciated when I don’t have to drive or work in it.


The train slowed a bit in the mountains, I’m not sure if the snow had anything to do with it, but we arrived in Innsbruck a few minutes late. It has been my experience that European trains run on time. I wasn’t really thinking about transferring between trains in Innsbruck when I booked this trip. The window of transfer was very small. By the time I got off of my train and found the car I was supposed to be in, I was surprised to find that the door wouldn’t open. I soon realized the reason was that it was leaving without me.

This was not the train that left me. 

In most parts of America missing a train will mean waiting another 12-24 hours for the next one. Since I was in Europe, there was another leaving for Vienna in about an hour. I got booked on that one and grabbed lunch at the station while I waited for my new train.

The next train arrived on time and the journey to Vienna continued without any delays. I arrived early in the evening and made my way to the hotel. I checked in, walked to the neighborhood store for supplies, and plotted how to attack my full day in Vienna.

The Austrian Federal Railways trains were fairly modern, clean, and comfortable. All of this was good since I spent about 8 hours that day on them. In hindsight, I probably should have not spent so much time on the rails for such a short trip, but this was all brand new for me. The trip from Buchs to Innsbruck through the mountains was scenic enough to make it worth it. I only wished I had gotten better photos from the train.

Central Europe New Year’s 2017-18

I am spending 10 days in Europe over New Year’s, I know…. I just got back from Europe, but I got a super deal and it’s over the New Year holiday, which also happens to include my birthday.

Here’s some info on this trip:

  • CHA to ATL to CLT to JFK to ZRH on Delta. Flew from home to CLT instead of driving. I’m happy with that decision even though it added a night at a hotel.
  • Books: None. I’m reading a bunch of magazines that came in the mail during my last trip.
  • Music: To The Outside of Everything-A Story of UK Post-Punk 1977-81 (Just got that one in before Xmas), Slade B-Sides, and James Brown In The Jungle Groove.
  • TV: None, I’m going to read.
  • Guide Book: Lonely Switzerland, Lonely Planet Fast Talk German, Lonely Planet Pocket Vienna.
  • My Mother’s Biggest Fear: nothing this time.
  • My Biggest Fear: That my new larger suitcase will encourage me to buy too much stuff. Excess baggage fees.
  • Plans: Zürich for a few days over New Year’s, Lichtenstein for a day and a half, Vienna, maybe a day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia, back to Geneva. Probably too much rail travel, but it should be very scenic.

My one day in Geneva last month got my interest up in exploring more of Switzerland. I had a flight to Zürich booked in July and decided to use that to see a little of Central Europe by rail. I’m looking forward to eating Swiss food, sampling wines from the Prince of Lichtenstein’s vineyards, seeing Vienna, adding to my Euro coin collection, and just doing my usual nerdy museum visits. I found out they have an Esperanto museum in Vienna. I wish I spoke Esperanto, but that’s probably just me hoping it would be a cure for my lack of a second language. I do speak English, and that is probably as close to a world language as we have right now. I really lucked into being born in the time and place that I was.