Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk gets its name from a legend dating back to the St. Elizabeth floods of 1421, in which a basket was swept ashore containing a small baby and a cat that had both remained unharmed. Today, Kinderdijk is a large open air museum close to the city of Dordrecht. It houses a series of restored windmills that were originally built as part of an elaborate water system aimed at managing and draining the wetlands.

Getting to Kinderdijk

From Rotterdam, Kinderdijk is only about 25 minutes by car. It is not possible to access the museum directly by car. So your GPS will likely navigate you to the visitor centre with its large car park. From there a shuttle bus runs to the actual museum every fifteen minutes. Or you could rent a bike and ride along the river. From the visitor centre it’s only about five kilometres by bike along a very scenic route.

Where to get your tickets

The visitor centre is also where you get your tickets to enter the Kinderdijk. Alternatively, you can also purchase your ticket and access to the parking online. The parking tickets includes the use of the shuttle or bike rental.

Review

I visited Kinderdijk at the end of April 2022, and althought there were quite a few people around, the place did not seem overly crowded. The bike ride was good fun. The place really is flat as a pancake, so you easily get by with just the one gear on the bike. Having a bike is also useful for getting around the museum, as it sprawls over quite a vast area. Other than that, it was a lovely day when I visited. The flatness of the Netherlands allows you glimpses of these really big skies that you rarely get in a place as hilly or mountainous as Switzerland.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Business Class – Boeing B 737-800: Zürich to Amsterdam

Introduction

It’s the end of April and the last week of work before my sabbatical starts. My second attempt to go on sabbatical, that is. I arrive by train at Zürich airport at 16:15 with a little over one hour to go before my departure to Amsterdam. Online check is now possible again, after it had been suspended during Covid for them to be able to check certificates. So I bypass check-in at the airport and head straight fro security. Landside everything seems normal enough.

But the monent I step through the electronic gates to enter the security checkpoint, it’s a complete mess. There are people everywhere, and you can actually watch the queue getting longer by the second. Usually there’s a separate queue for First & Business Class passengers. But with nobody from the airport there to manage the queues, it’s just chaos and nothing else.

Airside

By the time I‘m through security, there‘s only half a hour left before boarding. In Zürich KLM uses the DNATA lounge, which is really nothing to write home about. So, I figure I might as well go sit outside on the terrace of the airside sports bar.

Boarding

As the result of the Covid pandemic, Zürich airport recently shelved its plans to demolish and reconstruct the A pier, which is a real shame because the place is just about bursting at the seams right now.

KLM’s handling is done by DNATA, and I‘m impressed by how religiously the gate agents stick to the boarding process, starting with zones 1 and 2. Mind you, I’m in zone 1, but I still wait until everybody elses has boarded to get on the plane.

Literally the moment I pass through the gate, an alert pops up on my KLM app, informing me that my return flight has been cancelled. But this is KLM, so I’m not really too bothered. Their irregularity team is great, so I’m confident they‘ll find a solution for me.

Boarding takes for ever, and by the time we push back from the gate, we’re running just over thirty minutes late. We depart from runway 28 and then make a wide left hand turn of 180 degrees to point us in the direction of Lake Constance, bringing us back over the airport.

The cabin

There are two rows of Business Class, for a total of eight seats. On row two, all four seat are occupied. However, on row one only the window seats are occupied. I’m on 1A, so I have a whole row of three to myself.

The crew

The purser is working the Business Class cabin. She’s in her late forties I’d say, and she really is brilliant. She’s very funny and an excellent hostess. For example, shortly after she serves me my tea at the end of the meal, we encounter some pretty severe turbulence. She immediately comes to clear everything away before I’ve even touched it, to prevent it from spilling over and scalding me. Later on, once the turbulence calms down, she brings me a fresh cup of tea without me even asking. That’s excellent service.

The meal

The meal begins with the drinks service. I ask for a Coke Zero, and the purser asks me if I’d like that with ice and sugar.

KLM’s Business Class meal tray service appears to have been permanently replaced with the cardboard box they previously only served on the Cityhopper flights.

Catering on KLM tends to be somewhat experimental, and that’s not always a good thing. The salad is fine though. However, as part of the cost cutting measures they no longer serve bread, which I think is just a bit of a shame.

The dessert is revolting. It’s basically a flavoured blob of gelatinous goo. Why can’t they just serve something normal, like a biscuit?

Arrival

Eventually we land with only a few minutes delay, after a flight time of one hour and fifteen minutes. The flight ends at gate C5, at the very beginning if the C pier.

Getting to Rotterdam

There are regular direct trains between Amsterdam Schipol airport and Rotterdam, where I will be spending the weekend. The regular trains take about 55 minutes to make the journey. However, there are also intercity trains which run nonstop in just 26 minutes. For those you need to pay a supplement though.

Conclusion

I suppose the tragedy of the airlines is that their customer base is so diverse, and different people appreciate or pay attention to different things when they fly. The food on this flight was a bit of a mixed bag, and then dessert was just… no. Having said that, the cabin crew were stellar, which is what I have come to expect from KLM and which they consistenly deliver. The cancellation of my return flight is of course inceonvient. However, with KLM consistency also means that I can rest assured they they will find the best alternative for me. And by alternative, I do not mean simply offering me to refund the half-return price of my ticket.

The Cambrian Hotel, Adelboden

The Cambrian Hotel is located in the heart of the village of Adelboden in the Bernese Oberland. By public transport Adelboden is only accessible by bus from a town called Frutigen, there is no train.

I enjoyed my stay at The Cambrian very much. From the specutacular vistas from the balcony of my room to the excellent and very friendly staff, I can highly recommend staying here.

Rooms at The Cambrian either look out over the valley and the mountains beyond, or onto the main street in front of the bus terminus. From what I could tell from the floor plan, there are only standard rooms facing the street.

The room

I stayed in The Cambrian Suite, which was spacious and well appointed. The living room had a comfortable armchair and sofa, as well as a dining area and a bar with a fully stocked fridge, a Nespresso machine and electric tea kettle.

The bedroom

The bedroom was completely separate from the living room. It had plenty of storage space. The bed was large and the mattress was reasonably hard and certainly supportive for my slipped disc.

The bathroom

The Cambrian Suite had an en suite bathroom with a bath and a separate walk-in shower. In addition, there was also a separate toilet next to the entrance to the suite. The amenities were by the Grown Alchemist.

The view

Of course it helped that the weather over Easter was stunning here in Switzerland. Even so, I really cannot say enough about the views from the hotel. Being a corner room, the suite had three balconies on two sides. All of them offered spectacular views of the valley. I could have spent all day sitting out there just watching the world go by!

The restaurant

The restaurant was on the lower level, given that the hotel is built on a slope. The chef is a Welshman by the name of Bryant Williams. I woldn’t say that the menu offered any unusual or extraodinary choices, but the food was well prepared and nicely presented. For breakfast there was a large buffet with a wide selection of hot and cold dishes.

When I first arrived, it was still a bit cold in the mornings to sit outside. However, by Easter Sunday the temeprature had risen sufficiently to be able to enjoy breakfast outside.

The hotel grounds

The hotel had a large spa area which proved very popular with the Japanese tourists, who clearly used it as their onsen. The outdoor pool was heated. From what I understand, there was an indoor pool too.

The lobby was nice and cosy. I can only imagine that it must be lovely in the winter, to be able to sit there watching the snow, preferably with a mug of hot chocolate by the open fireplace.

The staff

The Cambrian Hotel gave the impression of being a very well maintained and professionally run establishment, and this also showed in their staff. Everybody I met at this hotel was really just so nice. At breakfast, it was nearly as though the waiting staff had a sixth sense: every time I was about to finish my coffee, one of them would appear by my side out of nowhere and ask me if I’d like a refill. At dinner too, the service was efficient, friendly and completely unpretentious. Just perfect!

Adelboden

Adelboden is clearly geared towards winter sports. There are many good slopes in close proximity to the village. Even so, it’s also very nice to visit in the summer, be it for relaxation or for hiking. The long Easter weekend is an excellent time to visit too, because that’s when the village is between seasons. During my stay many hotels had already closed down until the start of the summer season in June. As a result, it was very quiet and not at all crowded.

Conclusion

I enjoyed my say at The Cambrian in Adelboden so much. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had such a relaxing stay anywhere. Adelboden is lovely and the hotel made it all the more enjoyable. Granted, staying at The Cambrian Hotel was not exactly cheap. But that is not something that is unique to this hotel, but something you have to accept when visiting any one of the Swiss ski resorts – even in the off season.

SBB, First Class: Genève Cointrin airport to Adelboden

Introduction

I arrive in Geneva on a Luxair flight from Luxembourg. It’s Maundy Thursday and the beginning of the long Easter weekend.

I exit through customs and turn left. At the end of the terminal is the entrance to the airport’s railway station.

On my way to the platform, I come across this sign. Manor is a Swiss department store. I find it interesting that their poster clearly mentions the new Easyjet dimensions for cabin luggage. And that they’re using the Easyjet branding.

Boarding

Geneva airport is a terminus station, trains can only arrive and depart from one direction. The last time I visited, admittedly a few years ago, the place was very dark and looked like a sad reject from the 70s. So it’s rather nice to see it updated.

The train

The journey from Geneva will take me directly to Berne, with the train calling at Geneva’s main station, Lausanne, and Fribourg on the way.

The service is operated by a Bombardier Dosto train of the Swiss Federal Railways. The Dosto is a modern and attractive train that the Swiss public just loves to hate. Mainly, this is due to the fact that the train allegedly has some amazing new technology that allows it to take curves at a higher speed. However, the system has been plagued with many issues. As a result, the train sometimes starts rocking violently from side to side and for no apparent reason. It’s strong enough to knock you off your feet if you’re not holding on to something.

The First Class cabin of the Dosto is bright and feels unclustered. The seats are comfortable and soft and all come with their own power socket and a reading lamp. The recline and pitch are generous. The only drawback is that there‘s not a lot of storage space on the upper deck. The hat racks are very narrow and not very high. They can hold little else than a coat. There are baggage racks, but they’re not really large enough to hold anything more than one large suitcase.

Seating is three abreast, with groups of four facing seats on one side and groups of two facing seats on the other. There are only two single seats in each First Class carriage. I rather like these seats, because they’re private and offer a little bit extra room to place things.

The route

A long stretch of the journey runs along lake Geneva. It’s a lovely evening and the views of the lake below are just gorgeous!

The journey from Geneva to Berne takes just under two hours. I make a brief stop to get dinner in Berne, and then continue to Adelboden. To get there, I first take a fast train to Spiez, change there to a regional train to Frutigen, and then from there catch the bus to Adelboden. By the time I arrive at the hotel it’s just gone 22h00.

Luxair, Business Class – Bombardier Dash-8/400: Luxembourg to Genève

Introduction

I’ve just finished the week working in Luxembourg. It’s Maundy Thursday before the long weekend. Originally, I would have just returned to Zürich in the late afternoon. But then within two weeks of booking my flight, SWISS had already cancelled it again, which seems to be a recurring theme with them these days. In May I should have travelled to Brussels on SWISS, but that booking didn’t survive for very long either. So instead, I’ve decided to return from Luxembourg to Geneva and then to spend the long Easter weekend in the Bernese Oberland, which should be nice and relaxing.

Getting to the airport

I leave Eurocontrol just before 14h00 on Maundy Thursday to catch a number 6 or 16 bus to the airport. There’s a bus every ten minutes, and the journey only takes about 15 minutes.

Check-in & security

Luxair has its dedicated Business Class check-in area off to the far right of a long row of check-in counters.

This afternoon there is only one counter open, but it’s not looking very busy. From check-in, Business Class passengers have a direct access to the fast track for security. Which doesn’t get me very far today, mind you. There’s a young couple at the head of the queue and I’m wondering if perhaps this is the first time they’re travelling by air. They have multiple pieces of hand luggage with them and the poor security agent looks close to tears. She more or less has to ask them item by item to remove things from their bags, take off their jackets, etc.

Airside

By the time I’ve checked in, bought an Easter bunny and gone through security there’s only about ten minutes left before boarding starts at 14h55. So I figure I might as well go directly to the gate on the B concourse. The airport is really very quiet today, which is surprising given that it’s the long Easter weekend. I would have assumed people would be going off to make the best of the short break.

Boarding

My flight is departing from gate B07. Just as boarding is called, my bladder decides I need to visit the rest room. When I come back just a few minutes later, the gate is deserted and the gate agent is giving me her patented “you do know we’re only waiting for you” look. So I inquire about the load of the flight today, to which she answers that there’s a grand total of 13 passengers on the flight.

The cabin

I always like the Q400, although my colleague the Flying Dutchman tends to disagree. Of course it also helps that there are five rows of Business Class and there are only two of us sat in the forward cabin today. On the port side of the aircraft, the first row is row 1 and has very good legroom. On the starboard side, the first row is row 2 by the emergency exit. Legroom on row 2 is good too, although the location of the emergency exit means that my fellow aviation geeks do need to lean forward to look out the window. In Business Class the aisle seat on each row of two is kept empty.

The crew

There are three crew on this flight, and from what I gather one of them has her first training flight today. And it shows. She seems very nervous and when she brings me the tray, she’s holding it the wrong way, so that the food is on the far side of the tray from me. Other than that though, the crew are all very friendly.

The meal service

Before departure, one of the crew hands me a disinfectant towel and the menu for the flight, which is surprising given that the flight time is only 55 minutes.

The meal is nicely presented and I’m positively surprise by the presentation and quality of the dishes. It’s quite an unusual meal. Personally, I’m not a fan of duck, but I think Luxair certainly deserve Brownie points for effort and presentation.

To drink I have a Coke Zero. The cabin crew ask me if I’d like that with lemon and ice, which is also a nice touch you don’t get that often any more on short-haul.

Arrival

As we head south, the weather starts to improve. By the time we reach Geneva, there are only few scattered clouds and the pilot reports a ground temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. The approach into Geneva brings us in over a mountainous are to the south of the city. In this distance you can see the famous jet d’eau in action.

Eventually we pull up to our stand on one of the funky satellite gates at Geneva airport, which look as though they haven’t been upated since they were built sometime in the 1970s.

The terminal at Geneva airport is a strange set up. The main issue is that there’s hardly enough space for the terminal building, because there are public buildings and roads encroaching on the airport on all sides. As a result, there are many long, narrow corridors with little natural light that give the place a gloomy apprearance.

Eventually, my suitcase arrives and I make my way towards the railway station at the far end of the terminal.

Conclusion

I rather liked my flight with Luxair. Even though it wasn’t very long, I found there was something charmingly old fashioned in Luxair’s service delivery. I also thought the meal was a pleasant surprise and different to what you normally get on short-haul European Business Class.

Hotel Conservatorium, Amsterdam

Introduction

I’m in Amsterdam to see, or rather hear Bach’s Matthäus Passion at the Amsterdam concert hall. The interior of the building is quite spectacular, and so is the music. The concert hall is located on the enormous Museumplein or museum square in Amsterdam, in close proximity to the Van Gogh museum and the Rijks museum. And that is also why I’m staying at The Conservatorium Hotel, which is literally just across the road from the Van Gogh museum.

Reception and public area

The hotel is housed in what was once a bank. The entrance to The Conservatorium in through a quiet courtyard off the main road.

The reception is bright and airy, with a high glass ceiling. The receptionist is quick to check me in and show me to the room.

The Conservatorium Junior Suite

I’m staying in a junior suite, which is large and spacious and spread across two levels.

On the entrance level there is a comfortable sitting room and a desk, the wardrobe and the bathroom and toilet.

The bedroom and what I call the secret shower are located on the upper floor.

Upstairs shower room

To be honest, I only discovered the secret shower the day after I arrived at the hotel. Nobody had told me it was there, and so I only discovered it by chance.

Downstairs bathroom

The downstairs bathroom is much larger and spacious than the shower on the upper level.

Bathroom amenities

Amenities in the bathroom are provided by Malin & Goetz and smell refreshing and natural.

Room amenities

There’s also a Nespresso machine in the room.

Restaurant

Breakfast is served in the main restaurant at the far end of the lobby on the ground floor. I usually tend to have breakfast early, even on my days off, at around 07h00. The restaurant is not very busy, so it’s nice and peaceful.

The breakfast spread is excellent, with a large selection of sweet and savoury dishes from the buffet. In addition, there is a large selection of hot dishes from a separate menu. They are complimentary and the staff will make sure to check if there’s anything guests would like to order. I decide to go with the American pancakes served with berries and maple sirup. And I have to say, they’re probably the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever tasted!

Staff

The staff were all very friendly and polite. Whenever I passed one of the staff on the hotel grounds, they would greet me and inquire if they might assist carrying my suitcase or shopping. The turndown service is nicely done. When I return from the concert hall in the evening, the Nespresso capsules have been replenished, a bottle of still water is stading near the bed and my night robe and slippers and have been laid out for me.

Conclusion

The Conservatorium is an elegant, quiet hotel in the centre of old Amsterdam. It’s close to many of the city’s sights and is easily accessible. The rooms are nicely appointed and the service is friendly and helpful but without being fussy.

Restaurant Ogata, Paris

Where it is?

Ogata Restaurant is located on a quiet side street off the narrow throughfares of bustling Le Marais, in the oldest part of Paris. On the ground floor there is a small Japanese confectionary selling Japanese-inspired sweets.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and is located on the second floor. In the evenings reservations are recommended.

The venue

The interior of the building is quite striking and unusual. It’s rather dark inside, but not gloomy. The decor is clearly in the modern Japanese style, with clean lines and simple, unfussed decorations

Guests on their own or in pairs sit at the long table which frames the kitchen. For groups of four there are also tables away from the action in the kitchen.

The staff & service

The staff are an interesting combination of Japanese and French. Most importantly, they’re very forthcoming, relaxed and friendly. They’re happy to explain the menu.

The experience begins with an unscented oshibori at room temperature.

Amuse bouche

The amuse bouche is a selection of broad beans in beef jelly, beetroot infused tofu and pineapple with a tahina sauce.

Entrée

For the entrée, my companion goes with the selection of seasonal vegetables cooked and prepared in various styles.

While I go with the lobster and cauliflower, served in a tahina sauce with watercress.

Owan – savoury Japanese flan

Then comes the Owan, which is a sort of egg flan served warm with fish roe and vegetables.

Selection of sashimi with salt, wasabi & nato

There are two pieces of three different fish for the sashimi course. The middle one is tuna. The other two I forgot to ask about.

First course – grilled Lotte with artichokes, spring onion & morels

The first course isinteresting, but perhaps a little greasy with the deep fried spring onions and the Lotte. But the taste is very good.

Second course – vegetable hotpot with black truffle & grilled Dorade

For the second course, I go with the vegetable hotpot and black truffles, which is very nice and light, making a sharp contrast to the previous course.

My companion has the grilled Dorade with fondant.

Kombachi – two variations of steamed gohan: first with pickled vegetables and the with baked Cod

To end the meal, two bowls of rice are served in sequence. The first serving is with pickled vegetables, daikon and seaweed.

The second is with two small pieces of fish & dried seaweed in a dashi broth.

Palate cleanser – Fresh Mango granita

To close the meal, we are brought a small cup of Mango granita. This is very nice and not overly sweet.

Dessert – Strawberry sponge cake

And then for dessert, we both have the creamy strawberry sponge cake, which is excellent!

Vertict

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. It was well cooked and nicely presented. What’s more, I think the chef struck a nice balance in the way he integrated Western elements into the preparation of the very japanese dishes.

In total, the meal came to EUR348 for two persons. We only had sparkling water throughout the meal. Nonetheless, I think the price is reasonable for what you get.

Air France, Classe Affairs – Airbus A 320: Zürich to Paris Charles de Gaulle

Introduction

This evening I‘m on my way to Paris. Since February I’ve been going to the office again more or less every day. So I’ll be starting my journey in Winterthur.

I catch the 16h54 train from Winterthur, which arrives at Zürich Airport at 17h06. It‘s Friday late afternoon, and most people have probably left early to enjoy the lovely warm weather. Because the train is more or less empty.

Speaking of empty, so is the airport. Air transport has been rather slow to recover in Switzerland. SWISS, as Zürich‘s hub carrier, has one last bank of departures between 17h and 18h, but that’s then basically it. In the evening there’s just a handful of long-haul departures.

Check-in

Air France checks in at Check-in 2. There is a separate line and two counters for SkyPriority passengers. Currently, online check-in is not possible with Air France, as they want to see your Covid pass before checking you in.

Airside

From check-in I head straight for security. There’s hardly any queue. Like most other airports, Zürich has a dutyfree shop right behind security. If, like me, you want to avoid have to weave in and out of deranged last minute shoppers, my suggestion is that you do a sharp left turn before the dutyfree shop begins. That will bring you to a corridor that takes you past the lavatories. But it’s still much quicker than going through the shop!

From security, I head one floor down to the sports bar located at the Southern end of the terminal. I’m not into sports bars really. But its one redeeming feature is the outside viewing terrace. It can’t be missed on such a balmy evening!

Just before 18h I make my way back inside. Boarding should be starting in just a few minutes.

Boarding

Boarding is from gate B 39 on the B pier, which is split into a Schengen and a non-Schengen part. From what I can tell, the flight is completely sold out today.

The Classe Affairs cabin

I’m seated on row 2. The seat features an individual USB port, a cup holder and a hook to hang a jacket.

There are three rows of Business Class with twelve seats in total. Ten out of twelve seats are occupied.

Seat pitch row 2 is very tight.

The crew & service

Once boarding is done, the crew distribute small bottles of still water and disinfectant towels.

The crew and friendly and professional. During the meal service one of the crew is constantly patrolling the cabin to make sure passengers have refills of drinks or to not keep them waiting to remove the tray.

The meal

The meal is tasty and more than adequate for a flight time of one hour.

The meal consists of a tasty cucumber andcouscous salad with a poached egg on puréed peas.

With that, there is also a plate with two types of cheese and sone butter.

There is also a selection of rolls from the bread basket.

And for dessert there is this obscenely rich chocolate fondant. With dessert I have some mint tea.

Arrival

We land on time and taxi to our stand at Terminal 2F. In contrast to Zürich, Paris Roissy seems quite busy. There’s a huge queue to enter into France, because they’re checking that only passengers with Paris as their final destination are allowed into the country. That wasn’t the case last week when I did the same trip.

Getting from CDG2 to La Défense

In Paris I’ll be staying at La Défense, out West of the city. To get there, I first need to catch an RER B train to Châtelet-Les Halles , and then from there an RER A train to La Défense.

Not all of the RER B trains from CDG serve all stations on their way into the city. And this evening I’m in luck. I catch a train the only stops at the Expo and then runs through, all the way to Gare du Nord. All in all, the journey to La Défense takes me under an hour.

TGV Lyria, Business Première: Paris Gare de Lyon to Basel

Introduction

I‘m staying at the CitizenM in La Défense, far off to the West of Paris. My room has a brilliant view of La Grande Arche.

And of course I have to visit Le Train Bleu in the Gare de Lyon during my stay!

Looks like asparagus season has started.

I don‘t take photos of the whole meal. But I can hardly keep dessert from you: clementine souflé with koriander sorbet.

The lounge

The French railways operate a lounge for their First Class passengers at Gare de Lyon. The entrance doesn‘t look like much, but there is a large seating area on the upper level. The lounge has complimentary wifi and a selection of hot and cold drinks.

The lounge is located more or less in between halls 2 and 3. The TGV Lyria trains which serve Switzerland normally depart from hall 2.

Boarding

There‘s a bit of a hold up for my train to start boarding. Apparently they‘re experiencing delays in readying the trains. So eventually, the train doesn‘t start boarding until 12h40, twenty minutes after it should have already departed.

I‘m travelling in BusinessFirst today, which is the first First Class carriage behind either one of the engines. When I reach my seat, there‘s already a fat, smarmy Italian sitting there. He‘s on the phone to somebody who also speaks Italian. Not sure why he needs the phone, though. Because he‘s yelling loud enough to be heard in Sicily.

I ask him to move, which eventually he does after I decline his generous offer to give me somebody else‘s seat he‘s volunteering. The old Frenchman sitting behind me takes that as an opportunity to remind the guy that it‘s not permitted to make phone calls inside the cabin. You can take the Italian out of Italy, but…

Eventually we depart with a delay of 35 minutes

The BusinessFirst cabin

The BusinessFirst cabin is the same as the standard First Class carriage. The difference between the two classes is in the service, not the comfort.

Having said that, the premium cabin on the TGV is very nice. Seats are configured in a three-abreast seating arrangement in a mixed layout, with some seats facing each other and others behind each other. The single seats are mostly behind each other. There are only two sets of facing single seats.

There is plenty of storage space and legroom. Each seat has its own standard issue European electricity plug, and wifi is also available.

The meal

There are two crew serving the cabin, and they‘re really very friendly. They make a first run through the cabin to set the table and offer drinks and unscented hot towels.

There are three choices for the hot meal. Although, by the time they reach my row towards the end of the carriage, they‘ve run out of the vegetarian option. The fish option is king prawns, and the meat option is pulled veal. Which is what I have.

The tray comes with a small plate of cheese.

A pumpkin and chestnut salad.

And the veal is served with creamy mash and grilled chicoré.

The crew make two rounds with the bread basket. Because of Covid, the rolls are wrapped up individually in plastic.

And there is also a tasty creamy chocolate cake.

And to finish, a cup of not so bad coffee.

Arrival in Basel

In Basel, the TGV arrives at a platform on the Swiss side of the station, because it continues on to the Zürich terminus from Basel. That means there are no customs or passport checks on arrival.

Conclusion

Although I knew that complimentary food was served on the TGV in BusinessFirst, I was still rather surprised by the quantity and quality of this meal. I rather enjoyed it! I also thought that there was something very grand about dining while you speed along the French countryside doing an easy 320km/h and without breaking into a sweat.

The staff handled the delay professionally and proactively encouraged passengers to make their claim for compensation on the SNCF website (https://garantie30minutes.sncf.com/). I‘m not sure I‘ll make a claim, though. After all, I enjoyed my trip and I incurred no expenses because of the delay. I didn‘t have anywhere urgent to be anyway.

Please Donate to the Swiss Red Cross in Support of the People of Ukraine

This blog has always been and always will remain apolitical. I side only with humanity. The citizens of Ukraine have been drawn into a conflict that is uprooting people, forcing them to leave their homes and country, and separating them from their families and loved ones. These people need all the help they can get right now. We all have a moral duty and an obligation to assist and support those in need of our help.

In the name of compassion and everything that is good in this world, please follow the link in this post and donate to the Red Cross. Your donation helps to bring at least some solace and comfort to those that have lost everything. Thank you!

William

Link to the Swiss Red Cross website for donations