"Oh, we're not Europe"

Trip Start Jun 19, 2009
Trip End Jul 22, 2009

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Flag of Switzerland  , Aargau,
Saturday, July 4, 2009

My first impression of Zurich is that it is very forward in MANY ways! I noticed the escalators almost stop until a "passenger" steps on and then zoom, you're off! The tram between airport terminals is fast, extremely clean and a video plays along the tunnel way as you ride along and because the entire tunnel is lighted you can watch the twist, turn and come at you tunnel (let's just say I was entertained with this short tram ride!) When entering Switzerland, apparently you do not need to present customs forms - that was great! The administration process was VERY simple!

Just about EVERYONE speaks english (and very nice, grammatically correct English I might add). I still wish "we" were taught a second language more intensely as young children in the U.S. like they are taught in many countries around the world!

Anyway, when I entered the "mainstream" airport I asked about luggage lockers. I only have about 10 hours in Zurich which is too short for a hotel but way too long to pull everything around thru the city. I found the luggage lockers on level 2 of the train station (they cost 8 chf - francs) which is approximately $8.00 US. After I withdrew Swiss Francs and stowed my luggage I purchased a 24hr Zurich pass which entitles me too travel thru the city by train & bus and I can take a 1.5 hour bot tour around the lake as well as a tram up the side of a local mountain (I'm trying to finish this so I can experience at least one of these). With this pass I have free access to several museums and discounts at many stores. It's a good deal for sure and you can get it in 24 hr increments.

Just a side note, apparently the European electric adapters DO NOT include Switzerland. When I stopped in a Starbucks (it looked familiar so I just went there, I know, it's weak but I was desperate for a place I knew and an electric outlet) and noticed several customers with laptops I thought I'd found the perfect spot to juice my computer and my body. It turns out, when I asked why my European adapter wasn't fitting in their outlet, I was told "Oh! Yea, well, we're NOT Europe!" Oh, who knew? I'll take a picture of what the Non-European nation of Switzerlands adapter outlet looks like just in case it may help someone else traveling thru the country!

I was told by a Starbucks customer to try McDonald's they have free internet access and MIGHT have different outlets. Ok, that sounded good so I went there and no luck however, they did have two computers I could try at a cost of 1 (one) Franc per 7 (seven) minutes. I tried that however, it was SOO slow and I couldn't get it to switch to English so I gave up. I walked a little further and found an adorably funky hotel (Hotel Otter) with an EXTREMELY nice woman working a the reception desk. She gave me an adapter and the password to the internet so I could catch up on emails and letting everyone (that cares) where I am and how I'm doing. Wow, I love the internet!

I'm here on a Sunday so that's something else to keep in mind when planning your travels, almost everything is closed here on Sundays. I met a Canadian girl who is here for work, she's lived here for over two years and she was just returning from grocery shopping at the airport mall because it is the only way to shop on Sundays in Zurich. That made me laugh but, it is what it is! We have so many things we take for granted in the U.S. - I love being reminded of that!

Okay, I'm off to a boat or a mountain top this afternoon and then on to Budapest, Hungary! Hopefully, I can post photos soon!

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