PetrolBlog goes to Geneva, via Montreux

Major Waffle
PetrolBlog has driven, flown, walked and, er, railed to Geneva. Here's day one...

At the time of writing this, I am sat on a train from Montreux heading for Geneva. It's 6.02am and the temperature, according to the digital display on the factory outside is just three degress. I've been up since 4.33am and faced a mile long walk to the station. The reason? It's day one of the two Geneva Motor Show press days.

I'll admit to feeling just a little bit foolish yesterday afternoon. After a pain-free two-hour drive to the airport and a subsequent pain-free flight to Geneva, I boarded the train heading for my hotel accommodation in Montreux. It was exactly one hour into my rail journey that I began to question my wisdom in travelling out for the show. After two years of missing out, I was determined to be here this year. But as I approached the town of Vevey and totted up the cost of getting here, not began to wonder if it was all worth while.

Feeling just a little homesick and admittedly rather hungry, I left the train at Montreux and went off in search of my digs. Having bizarrely witnessed a slow and somewhat harrowing death of a pigeon after it had flown unceremoniously into the glass fronted station entrance, I headed off.

Passing some of Montreux's more lavish hotels, I began to rue my inability to book accommodation months in advance. I'd been warned that finding a room in Geneva during the motor show week would be nigh on impossible. Even Googling the subject resulted in my MacBook breaking into sudden and unabated laughter. But the fact is, my day job dictates that forward planning is impossible, as proved in 2011 when I had to cancel my trip at short notice.

If finding a room at all was a minor victory, the fact that it was actually in Switzerland was nothing short of a miracle. At one point I was considering a two hour train ride to Lyon, which as you know, is located in the very French region of France. Now perhaps it's psychological, but staying in a different country just seems wrong. It's like going to watch the FA Cup Final at Wembley and staying in Brussels.

Upon arrival at my hotel, if I'd have been offered the opportunity to stay in Brussels, I may have taken you up on the offer. The room and facilities couldn't necessarily be described as poor, just horrendously dated. Think British motel circa 1983 and you'd be along the right lines. The first thing I did was to connect to the Internet and search for earlier flights home.

Realising this was going to be impossible, I decided to make the most of my opportunity, stick with my two night stay and headed back into town for a bite to eat.

It has to be said, Montreux is a delightful place. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, it hugs the shoreline of Lake Geneva and, even out of season, feels every bit the trendy and chic resort that it's made out to be. So naturally, I headed for McDonald's ordered a takeaway and sat on the banks of the lake enjoying a Big Mac. Hey, it's not every Monday you get the chance to eat al fresco to the sound of waves gently lapping the banks of Lake Geneva.

I made my way back to the hotel, taking ten minutes off my previous journey. This came in handy this morning when, aiming to get the 6.19am train, I arrived early and jumped on the 5.59. Nice.

With 15 minutes until I arrive in Geneva and a further 15 minutes until the show opens, I have no idea how the day will go. It's always been an ambition to visit the Geneva Motor Show and to do so on a press day is an honour. Should be fun.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with some of the things I've learned so far. You simply must book your accommodation a considerable time in advance. A late room that's still available during the motor show week is vacant for a reason. Coca-Cola needs to import its Vanilla Coke to the UK. Swiss number plates make all cars look cooler. There's a distinct lack of Shatchbacks in Switzerland. And watching a pigeon take its final breaths is a surprisingly tragic experience.

Must go, I've got a show to attend.