Europe: Zurich
Published 08-12-2009 on my old wordpress blog.

“sleep”er train, near Bern, 6:48

Actually, it wasn’t that bad. I woke up a few times and listened to train noises and the wind from the open window blasting on my face. I think I got about 6 hours in, though. I’m again the only one in the cabin. Two angry Swiss kids got out sometime in the night, Walter, Anna and her madre got out in Bern. They were pretty fun and it was nice to talk to a lady within my self-imposed +/- 5 year restriction (she was 27) that was doing good things. She’s been the first person to ask about the tattoos in Europe, as well. Now, let’s check out this free breakfast nonsense and wait two hours for Zurich.

Jethro Tull room, Zic-Zac Rock Hostel, Zurich, 9:42

There is a stencil painting and several pictures of the flute guy from Jethro Tull on the wall. I thought this would be fun, but it’s sort of Jethro Tull. Seems original, but really sucks. The guy checking me in was a dick. So, I guess this is the rock experience I was looking for! Treated like crap and not to be trusted with nice things. I didn’t even get a map. I did buy a day pass for the trains/trams/busses for $2.50 before I got here, though, so I’m set to go wherever. I guess I’ll go back to the train station and get a map. After I put in my sunscreen and let this beast charge.

By the Fraumunster, Zurich, Switzerland, 11:56

So, I fell asleep a little bit and got some Internet stuff done. On the way out, the guy was nicer and gave me a map. Rock doesn’t happen before 11AM. I’ve been walking about five minutes and have seen a Ferrari, Lamborghini, expensive Porsche, dudes wearing suits riding bikes, the bluest river ever, and the coolest church organ that I couldn’t take a photo of. Zurich is pretty rad so far.

On a bench, north of the Zurichhorn, by the Zurichsee, 13:47

Zurich may be awesome, but the high number of ridiculous Italian sports cars should have tipped me off: Zurich is expensive. Lunch of a cheese, egg, pickle and tomato bagel sandwich and ice cream: $10. A CHF is pretty close to a dollar these days, by the way. I now have five currencies in my posession…

Also, the language here is interesting. Most things appear to be written in German, but French words sneak in a lot and the bank notes have Spanish and Italian on them as well. So, to move here, I’d have to be super rich and learn at least two languages. But I could probably live here. The ladies are pretty like Berliner ladies, the weather is temperate (I don’t know about the winter, though), and things are generally nice. I think on my second Europe trip, I’ll have to spend more time in Switzerland. I won’t even get to climb up on some Alps this time around.

I am going to try to get up to the highest part of Zurich, though. Luckily there’s a tram or two that will get me there, because I’ve only walked a couple miles and I’m tired already.

Lost in some woods, above Zurich, 15:56

I’m not really lost. I just go that general direction and I’m back at the steep train that brought me here. I think. There’s supposed to be a lookout somehwere where I can see the city and surrounding areas, but I haven’t found it yet and all the signs are in German or whatever. I haven’t seen anybody else for about 20 minutes. I choose my path by taking the steepest of the choices. I think I’m pretty much at the top of this mountain now. I have GPS, I think…

In the shade of a lovely elm or maple or whatever, the edge of Lake Zurichsee, Zurich, 19:48

So, I took a wrong turn or two on my way back after finding the highest point. Instead of going back down the front of the mountain, I ended up going down the back of it. East instead of west, you know. By the time I realized, it was easier to keep going down than to go back up. So my leisurely nature hike turned into about 5 miles of hiking and a lot of sweating. I was a little scared for my life (particularly near the gun range), but it was a good feeling out there in the woods and in the farmlands. My woodsmanship is really not that terrible, I was just wandering more than anything. Also, wanderweg isn’t the specific name of a trail, it’s German for “footpath” or something similar. So following those signs doesn’t mean you’re on the same path. Ah well. I used signs and a bus stop map to navigate to the closest available tram station. I had wandered all the way off my map and out of the scope of my bus/tram/train pass. I suppose I could have just taken the bus to the tram station, but where’s the foot pain in that? Also, I wouldn’t have gotten to see the horses, sheep, and cows that I met. In all, it was a good adventure and prepared me well for dinner.

From the tram this morning, I saw a vegetarian restaurant out the window. I vowed to eat there no matter what the cost or selection of food. After my Blair Witch Project, I got off the tram in front of the place and tromped right in. I sat out on the terrace and a kind, English speaking waiter brought me a menu half in English and half in German. I inquired about a drink called Nivella and he informed me it was a Swiss secret drink kind of like Kombucha. Woah buddy, you had me at Swiss secret drink. It turns out that it is basically milk soda. Kind of like those weird Asian sodas. But it was rather tasty and the same price as some imported crap from the U.S., so I regret nothing. I had “exotic fruit curry” and it was pretty good. Not mind blowing, but tasty and filling. Overall I enjoyed my experience at this vegetarian restaurant and would recommend it to you if I could remember the name. It’s right off the Central tram stop. Port au Pot or something. Sorry, I walked too much in the hot sun.

I’m now sitting by the lake (by the Bad Mythenquai, to be exact) waiting for the sun to go down enough to show me the Alps in the distance. I can just make them out now…

Jethro Tull Room, Zic-zac Rock Hostel, 21:33


After watching the sunset and not watching the older lady go topless swimming, I started walking back to the hostel. I passed by a street band doing some busking, so I stopped and checked that out. They were basically a blues band, but the singer/guitarist was all dressed up like Jimi Hendrix. I don’t think they even did a Hendrix song. I watched a couple of those and then decided to stroll down the river a bit and see what happens. I was feeling pretty good so I tried some “hey what’s up” smiles and got one second glance and maybe a return smile. Most of the second glances I get are just to check out the tattoos. I think I got a second glance from a lady sitting down that I smiled at, as well. So, two acknowledgements of my existence, no conversations. When I get back to a country that speaks my language, I’ll learn how to get that extra step in. Mostly this Europe trip has served to remind me that nearly every lady is beautiful in some way. I’m pretty good at finding those ways.

Now I’m back in the rock hostel, hiding from Jethro Tull and listening to the sounds of the busy street below. I need to take a shower in a bad way. It would be nice to have some clean clothes to change into, but you do what you can. I think I’ll watch some Swiss TV for a while and then fall into a blissful slumber before my last eurail train trip tomorrow. Ahhhh.

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Keywords: europe, switzerland, travel, zurich

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