- 27 Jun 08, 09:45 AM
Vienna - 2,411 miles travelled
As I walked out of the St Jacob-Park media centre in Basel for the final time on Wednesday evening, a wave of melancholy swept over me. Euro 2008 is over in Switzerland, the party has finished and it is time to move on.
A rather fearsome woman who works on security, screening journalists as they enter the stadium, summed it all up. I asked her how she felt about it all and she simply replied: "Game over."
The large number of volunteers at the stadium were clearly planning to celebrate. Their table in the media centre was full of champagne bottles and other alcoholic drinks. It felt a little like the last day of school, and I half expected them to start signing each other's shirts.
I wouldn't say the Swiss people suffered a serious dose of football fever during Euro 2008, but then I didn't expect them to. Anyway, their team gave them precious little to cheer.
But they were near faultless as hosts and, if they weren't quite the main story themselves, were more than happy to marvel at the crazy scenes that unfolded all around them.
As thousands upon thousands of Dutch fans descended on Berne to see their team in action, the streets were lined with hundreds of Swiss waving them on, curious to see the spectacle before them. It looked like they had just been liberated.
Everything works in Switzerland; all the clichés about efficiency are true. Trains run on time, information you are given about transport or directions or opening hours is correct, and people wait for the green man before crossing the road. Some may view it as slightly boring, but then you don't hear bad music blasting out of mobile phones on a bus and wonder what dire consequences might follow if you ask the yoof to turn it down.
Besides, it would be untrue to say that there wasn't plenty that caught my attention or made me laugh in Switzerland.
In no particular order, here are a few things that caught my eye:
A slightly scruffy man paying for 54 Swiss francs (£27) worth of supermarket shopping with a 1,000 Swiss franc (£500) note. The checkout girl did not bat an eyelid. Back home, if I hand over a fiver it gets properly checked.
Swiss information staff at tram stops changing from fluorescent orange to yellow bibs to avoid confusion with Dutch fans, some of whom were apparently taking to the role with relish and handing out duff information.
A Swiss man on a train telling me that although his country is steadfastly neutral the people there are starting to make exceptions when it comes to visiting Russians. He also used the phrase "holy moly".
An old German woman - a long-time resident of Switzerland - sitting opposite me in a pizza restaurant and moaning at length about the presence of foreigners in the country without the slightest hint of irony.
Atrocious daytime TV, featuring a man stroking lots of cats in a barn while a Carole King song plays over the top. Watching Sex and the City dubbed into German. It made more sense.
Aromat. Some kind of condiment. No idea what it is but it tastes good.
Listening to a Chinese journalist starting a question to Uefa president Michel Platini with the words "Mr Blatter..." Monsieur Platini was not amused.
Hearing every substitution announced over a stadium's tannoy system in up to four languages - English, host country and the two competing nations.
The bear pits of Berne, a reminder of my student days in Leeds, where there are the crumbling remains of a Victorian bear pit.
Watching a Turkey fan desperately trying to make progress with the receptionist at my hotel while the woman in question swatted away all advances with consummate professionalism. Wednesday just wasn't his day.
Poor old Alexander Frei, crying his eyes out just yards from where I was sat after injuring himself in the opening match of the tournament. Such a terrible thing to see.
So, there you go, my highlights of Switzerland. To mark my last full day there, I cycled into France, then Germany and back to Switzerland in the space of a couple of hours.
After three weeks of irregular eating, too much drinking and very little exercise, it was high time to listen to a few signals from my body, though I could have done without the wrong turn that took me to the airport and into some bizarre customs zone.
And on Thursday I took three trains and one bus on an 11-hour journey to Vienna, my final destination. The transport to the Austrian border ran like clockwork. The minute I left Switzerland and arrived at Feldkirch train station, I was confronted by delayed trains, confused passengers and a beleaguered platform attendant. It felt almost like home.
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