Tales from the Rails – mountain tops and mini cheese

Some views ignite child-like awe. What is it about these snow covered mountain tops? I’m craning my neck to see out of the train window to take in Switzerland’s landscape, my eyes sufficiently full of wonder that the elderly lady sitting next me offers me her window seat. I politely decline, but every now and then our gazes leave the window and turn toward one another and smile in mutual appreciation. The mix of languages fascinates me. People weave seamlessly between German, French, Swiss German, English and Italian, as if this train carriage were the very heartbeat of Europe. I have been on it once before, but today the air is crisper, the sun brighter.

It will have set by the time I reach Verona. I will have to leave Juliette’s balcony to the tourists and make my way straight to the venue. For some reason, I’m looking forward to crossing the border – despite the language barrier, I feel more at home in the chaos of Italy. Switzerland makes me feel unorganised and small. It has me stopping every couple of steps to peer down to the bottom of the river. How do they get the water to be so translucent and intensely turquoise? It’s not like the Thames and the Mersey or even the Spree.

Perhaps I will feel differently once I get to know Switzerland a bit better – I have four more shows here next week once I’ve swung around northern Italy.

Nowadays when I announce my musical travels, you write to me to say you’re looking forward to the tales, which makes the long train journeys and uphill struggles a lot easier – I’m keeping my eyes peeled for things worthy to report back on. Here’s to a two-week adventure. So how about the amazing, tiny and amazingly tiny cheese board I had for breakfast? Everything from the salt shaker to the orange juice glass here in mini-sized, much to my amusement (you’ve got to keep yourself occupied somehow when you’re travelling alone).


This is the second day of this particular tour. I have my new Ukulele with me, which proved to be a good ‘pick me up’ at last night’s show. I was very tired after a long day of guitar and suitcase carrying and was on at 11pm on a Thursday, so mine and the audiences’ energy was a bit low… until the ukulele made an appearance. Despite the late hour, it was great to be back at the lovely, cavernous Mundwerk and I’d like to thank everyone who came to see me, especially those who came back after seeing me perform last time! Next Stop, Verona, Italy! I have a good feeling about this…

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