The journey from Lake Geneva to Salzburg is visually a pleasure. There are endless vineyards in Switzerland side with fields of cattle beyond. Neat, mostly new housing beside the tracks in villages and small towns: signs of prosperity in the shape of new infrastructure, small factories and workshops, new cars and buses.
A smiling countryside in the unusual heat which has taken all Europe by surprise with 35C at noon and in the 20C range at night. Harvests all in with only maize standing apart from orchard fruits in great abundance.
The train to Salzburg in Austria from Buchillon is a journey of a straight 8 hours with arrival at the timetabled minute despite great heat and minor track works delays. The train from Zurich had Budapest as its final destination and was Hungarian rolling stock seemingly operated by national crews in Switzerland and Austria; whether there were also German and Hungarian crews is unknown. Clean, fast, efficient.
Arrival in Salzburg is an alarming moment because the place is madly busy in Festival month (pictured). The station is like the Tower of Babel and a riot of colours, clothes, cultures, and conversation. Peace and quiet in the country 15 minutes away.
We found accommodation on a farm which operates furnished flats to- let as a side enterprise.
Comfortable, well equipped, lovely views and a good rural tang of cattle. Here they are huge milkers, each the size of a small family car and all stabled winter and summer. There are 40 of them here and each drinks 50 litres a day. Happily there is no shortage of water as rainy mountains are close and ground water is abundant. Salzburg milk is much prized.
But farm acreages are small, agribusiness non-existent and farmers need to be inventive and enterprising in order to maximise income in high wage economies where machinery is fearsomely costly.
Austria has lurched to the far Right politically, seemingly more aligned now with Poland and Hungary than France or Germany. The fate of Brexit made even more uncertain by the turmoil in the wider EU. The UK media, endlessly navel gazing, really need to be more aware of what is going on elsewhere and what may happen in Europe if the UK's steadying hand is lost from the wider guidance of the EU.