Ancient Machines..

Trip Start Apr 12, 2008
Trip End Jun 18, 2008

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Flag of Switzerland  ,
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

<Brian's brief chronological list of "highlights" (and of whinging)>
- Caught a train to Zurich... locked our big backpacks in a locker at the train station and then walked around Zurich.
- Lang had a list of 4 objectives for Zurich :
(1) Get chocolates from Sprungli - Ended up visiting here twice... once for a box of every flavour of burger shaped meringues (called Luxemburgerli), the second for a variety of truffles till we ran out of Swiss Francs.
(2) Go on a cruise on the lake - Made the mistake of leaving my DS in my main pack and ended up sleeping most of the cruise... I hate cruises...
(3) Get sausages from some famous sausage stand - Ended up finding the place and getting half a chicken and bratwurst... which was pretty good.
(4) Get hot chocolate from some Cafe Schober, recommended by the Lonely Planet guide - FAIL...found the place... closed for renovations... d'oh!
- While looking for the first objective, some friendly old German hypo lady walked up to us, said we would never get a good view of the river from there and told us to follow her... and away Lang went with me in tow watching our backs! After a frantic 10 min speed walk with her talking extremely fast, she pointed at a hill and told us to go up there to a lookout before disappearing. Well there was a lookout there... but there just wasn't that much to look at really... there was a free public toilet up there though... BONUS!
- We caught the 5:40pm train out of Zurich to get to Innsbruck in Austria at 9:30pm...which of course didn't go as planned... around 8pm, the train started giving off a weird smell (read: bad), which soon after the train came to a halt. An announcement came over the PA system that "The ancient machine was suffering from technical problems." It took almost 2 hrs to fix and we finally got into Innsbruck just after 11pm thanks to some "speeding" by the train driver.
<Lang's Extended Version>
We had spent some time debating what we were going to do today as originally we had planned to go on a cruise to Lake Lucerne, but a last minute change, meant we were going to head to Zurich for half a day instead..
So after a substantial breakfast, we strapped on our packs, and headed to the train station. The walk took roughly 15 minutes, but when you have packs weighing approximately 12kg each, your shoulders and backs start to feel the weight pretty quickly, the walk seems 10 times as long. Definitely heed the warnings and pack light if you do go backpacking!!
Upon arrival, we checked the train times, and one was leaving in a couple of minutes for Zurich, but we decided to wait half an hour for the next one, so we could check our emails while it was still free..
When we arrived in Zurich, we searched for the luggage hold service and found that they only had lockers here that seemed way too small for our packs.. Luckily for us, a kind man pointed out that there were big lockers further down on the other side, so we managed to whack our two packs into the one locker and headed off to see what this Business district offered.
It wasn't long until we cross the street and found our way down Bahnhof Strasse, where all the big wigs hung. There were business men and women in their expensive tailor made suits, sipping on coffee or having business lunches, rich house wives who shopped at all the big expensive stores like Louis Vuitton, Channel, Hugo Boss, Bvlgari, Armani etc etc.. There was definitely a lot of money in this area..
We were half way down the street when we were directed by a fast talking and walking woman around the corner and towards the Limmat River. She walked as fast as she talked - and believe me, she talked so fast, we could only understand half of what she said.. Apparently there was a nice lookout near the river and she was heading just in that direction, so showed us most of the way there.
It was as if she was Speedy Gonzales, because as soon as she'd appeared, she soon disappeared and we were left scratching our heads, wondering what on earth we were doing following her. Nevertheless, we followed her direction, and walked up a small hill and found ourselves at a small park/lookout.
After a few photos, we headed back towards the main strip in search for the famous Sprungli chocolate store. On the way, we found walked by a toy store and soon found ourselves looking at all the wares including a mountain goat yodeling the Sound of Music song.. it sure was catchy!
The toy store also had a dragon slide from the ground to the basement and being big kids, we decided to give it a go - even Dog Dog slid down it.. Yeah, it was heaps of fun! =)
Anyway, we finally made it to Sprungli and boy, did we drool!! We looked at all the delicately made chocolates, pastries, cakes and other goods on offer and just could not decide what we wanted. In the end, we decided to try their 'luxemburgeli', two small flavoured meringue rounds stuck together with a yummy layer of icing, yes, made to look like a mini hamburger.. They just melted in your mouth..
Since we didn't do the lake cruise in Lucerne, we decided to do one in Zurich instead as it was free here too.. The shortest round trip took about 1 and a half hours, I think Brian slept for over half of that.. haha.. yeah, not too exciting, really - water, buildings, houses and boats on either side... woohoo.. I think had we done a cruise in Interlaken, it may have been a bit different, as the water in Zurich seemed murkier and definitely not that brilliant emerald blue of Interlaken. Besides, there were no towering Alps either..
So off the boat we went and found a place called Sternen Grill, listed in the Lonely Planet guide for a late lunch. We had a roast chook and a bratwurst, sitting between a bunch of locals, one old lady chain smoking 5 cigarettes in the 10 minutes we were there, we got out as soon as we could..
We just walked around the town a bit longer before stopping by the co-op store (this seems to be huge here as we even spotted a co-op bank!) to pick up a few things for dinner because the train journey from Zurich to Innsbruck would be about 4 hours.
As we wanted to use up all our Swiss francs before we left Switzerland, we headed back to Sprungli and tried to spend our last 13.35sfr on truffles. We ended up with 8 truffles and 95 cents left over, which we bought a Kinder bar with at the train station..
At 5.20pm, we boarded our train for Innsbruck. Things seem to be going well for the first few hours or so then there seemed to be a burnt acrid smell in our cabin.. The train stopped and the announcement over the speakers was something like "We have a problem with our ancient machine, thank you for bearing with us while we try to fix it up".. Ancient machine?!
Anyway, we were delayed for almost 2 hours (I think we'd already crossed the Swiss-Austrian border by then, so I guess the train didn't need to be on time) and were very happy to finally arrive in Innsbruck and check into our hotel for the night at 11.30pm. However, the lady down the hall seemed even happier as we heard her orgasmic screams all the way down the hall...what a way to top off the night... =P
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