I bought a day pass today and went travelling by myself; Stella and Amy stayed at home, and Debby went off with Peter to Heidiland.
I went from Degersheim to St. Gallen, then on to Trogen and back on the steepest adhesion train in Switzerland (essentially an overland tram, incidentally, since the entire stretch of track is either on or right beside the road to Trogen).
Then on to Rheineck and up to Walzenhausen (a fairly short stretch: six minutes up and nine minutes down), then to Rorschach and then Rorschach Hafen (an interesting station in that one of the platforms borders directly on a row of houses and shops -- as if someone had put signs on the pavement and tracks next to it).
From Rorschach Hafen, I went up to Heiden on one of only two (AIUI) standard gauge rack-and-pinion railways in Switzerland. From Heiden to Walzenhausen is the joke trail, which I'd like to walk on when I have the time (it takes about 2½ to 3 hours, apparently). Then back to Rorschach again.
I would've liked to go on to Buchs by train, but the timing of the railway wasn't conducive to that, so I took the local train to Heerbrugg and then continued on by bus to Buchs via Altstätten.
Along the way, there was an accident and a section of the road was closed; the bus had to make a detour via the motorway and I was a bit afraid I might miss my connection in Buchs. However, the detour only cost a couple of minutes, and the bus managed to make up the time in the short stretch remaining.
In Buchs, I caught the bus to Liechtenstein; in Vaduz, I took the connecting bus up to Malbun. While climbing up the winding road above Triesenberg, there were lovely views down into the Rhine valley. That ended once the bus went through the tunnel just below Steg.
In Malbun, people were still skiing and snowboarding, but the temperature there was about 8 °C, according to the thermometer in the bus, and the roads were clear of snow -- at least until the cul-de-sac with the bus's terminus.
In Malbun, I also got my passport stamped with a Liechenstein stamp; immigration requirements in Liechtenstein are exactly the same as for Switzerland and there are no border or customs formalities between the two countries, so there is normally no stamp in the passport. However, the tourism offices in Liechtenstein offer a stamp, for a small fee, for those who would like one.
After I got my stamp, I took the bus back down again to Vaduz and then continued on with the next bus to Buchs. From Buchs, I took the bus through the valley between the Säntis and Churfirsten mountain ranges, through the town of Wildhaus (the highest point of the pass, and incidentally the town with the highest postal code of Switzerland, viz. 9658) to Nesslau-Neu St. Johann; then on to Wattwil by train (which arrived a couple of minutes late, but still in time to make the connection). From Wattwil, I took the Voralpen-Express back to Degersheim. Whee!
I certainly got my money's worth out of the CHF 31 day pass (two zones: E and G). And had a lot of fun in the process.
Incidentally, while I was waiting in Degersheim at the beginning, I spoke to a couple who was waiting for the train as well; the mother had been speaking English with what seemed like a British accent to me. And indeed, she was from Wales, and their children are growing up bilingually, which I think is a good idea. Or perhaps I should say trilingually, since they'll be learning standard German in school (and perhaps from watching German television as well, or the occasional Swiss broadcast in standard German, such as news programmes).
I asked one of the girls whether she spoke Swiss German or standard German (High German) better, and she said she thought she spoke both equally well; however, her father said she made more mistakes when speaking High German. Still, yay for bilingualism!
(Narnia userpic because when I came home, the others were watching that film, which we had bought as a present for Eliane yesterday.)