I awoke at St Moritz Youth Hostel expecting a slow morning before my 1pm train departure to Stuttgart. However at 9am I received a Facebook message from a friend in Germany advising me of a rail workers strike that may affect my journey. Around the same time I received a “Delay Alarm” notification from Deutsch Bahn advising that my St Moritz to Zurich journey was operating as scheduled but Zurich to Stuttgart was cancelled. What would I do now? I didn’t want to be stranded in Switzerland when I already had a tight schedule in Germany planned (3 days in total).
I called my friend in Germany on Skype and she suggested that I try to find a flight or bus from Zurich to Stuttgart. It didn’t take me too long to find a bus that would get me to Stuttgart for only 15 Euros. I was originally supposed to arrive at Zurich at 16:23 and depart for Stuttgart by train at 17:05 (scheduled arrival in Stuttgart at 20:10). Now I’d be departing Zurich by bus at 1830 and arriving in Stuttgart 2150. Not too much of an inconvenience – I’d get to see a little of Zurich in that time.
I took the bus from St Moritz Youth Hostel to St Moritz train station where I purchased myself a magnet of the town at the last minute before my train departed for Zurich via Chur. Great scenery along the way.
The timetable at Zurich train station had a notice of the Deutschland / Germany train cancellations.
On arrival at Zurich train station the first thing I did was find out where Carpark Sihlquai is. This is where I’d be catching my bus. Fortunately there are signs in the train station that point you towards the car park, 5 to 10 minutes’ walk away.
With 2 hours to pass I spent time in the Bahnhofstrasse shopping area across from the train station.
I visited the Apple store, checked out the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Both phones are much larger than the phone I use so I wasn’t interested. I also stopped at a chocolate store for some praline and a few bars of chocolate to sample later.
At 6pm I headed towards the bus station. I found a nice vegetarian only restaurant nearby and purchased a sandwich which I ate before the bus departed.
The Meinfernbus coach is quite comfortable.
What was surprising to me was the free WiFi onboard which provided internet connectivity for half the trip into Germany. I commend the bus driver for taking us safely during heavy rain that night. During the bus ride I managed to eat through all those chocolates that I purchased in Zurich that afternoon.
By 2145 we arrived at Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen train station. Since the rail workers were on strike I could not get use the S-Bahn train to get me to Stuttgart-Hauptbahnhof (Main train station). My hotel was beside this. I waited for about 20 minutes in the rain to see if a taxi would come by (the bus driver told me to expect them) but one arrived. One of the passengers who was on the bus with me said told me that if I’m looking for a taxi maybe I should chat to another young guy who is also looking for a taxi. Perhaps we could share one.
I approached this young Algerian guy and he was also trying to get to Stuttgart-Hauptbahnhof. I had the phone number of a local taxi company (which I stored on my phone in St Moritzz). He had a Swiss sim-card which works in Germany and called the local taxi company who collected us within 10 minutes. On our ride to Hauptbahnhof the Algerian guy shared his interesting story with me.
He is a young architect that was denied asylum in Switzerland because he entered Spain legally (with a visa).He will now request asylum in Germany. He explained that he could no long remain in Algeria – it is too corrupt and very difficult to get good work. He is currently taking antidepressants and is very well spoken (in French and English). He had been traveling for more than 6 months with only a cabin sized suitcase and a guitar. He also explained how he had to learn to be sociable in the asylum camp that he spent time at in Switzerland. Some people really struggle! He reminded me how fortunate I am.
By 2230 I was at Stuttgart-Hauptbahnhof and by 2245 I had made my way to the Novum Hotel Rieker, quite soaked from the rain. After checking in I had a quick shower and slept. Days in transit are tiring!