Wilhelm Tell Express
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it." -Greg Anderson
Since the summer of 1988, I have traveled on an amazing train route at least once a year, the Wilhelm Tell Express. Here one can witness two beautiful parts of Switzerland: Central Switzerland with its magnificently tall landscapes of mountains overlooking enlightening lakes, and the contrasting Italian-Mediterranean mood of Lake Maggiore and Lugano.
Riding inside a superbly efficient and well-kept train car, while viewing one of most notably beautiful routes in the world, can be so luxurious and rare that one often overlooks the fact that it was once a common transport method. And yet, the Wilhelm Tell express is a sustainable way to get to Milan from Zurich, and an ever so relaxing transition into the bustling city vibe of Milan.
The Wilhelm Tell route is a comfortable and genuinely peaceful experience that everyone should take advantage of if only to shake off the jetlag. Whether the weather is grey, cold, hot, or humid, the viewing experience is unforgettably authentic. The beginning amazing hues of green are nurturing, and the turning, twisting train route through mountain passes keeps my mind captivated while my head tilts back sipping Alpine spring water (a wish that arises when riding the Wilhelm Express is that our own Amtrak train cars would have clean windows to enjoy our views).
Then the Gottard tunnel provides a dramatic intermission. It's one of the longest tunnels in the world, and after a brief stretch in the darkness, one is greeted with Act Two: the curtain rising to reveal Ticino, the Italian portion of the Switzerland. I am quite happy viewing the rolling hills with cypress groves and Italianate villas, and occasionally spotting little docks perched onto the siren lakes. At times the water reflects rich jade, and on occasion, a soothing turquoise.
I have always taken this route whether in the midst of holiday snowstorms, late spring showers, or flowering summer seasons. I recommend that everyone who travels to Milan, fly into Zurich and experience the Wilhelm Tell Express to rejuvenate the tired body and mind and to disembark with a truly unforgettable experience.