Time to relax and rejuvenate

Trip Start Aug 24, 2009
Trip End Sep 15, 2009

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Where I stayed
Amber's Aunt Beth and Uncle Dave's house

Flag of Switzerland  ,
Thursday, September 10, 2009

The train ride from Florence to Switzerland was 6 hours and it was not without its adventures. We were kicked out of our seats twice (of course it was our own fault as we didn't sit in our assigned seats) and there was an attempted robbery. Some strange gypsy chick went through our bags...she didn't take anything but two of our bags were opened and when we gave her the stink-eye, she was quick to exit the train. She even cut open my dirty laundry bag...hopefully she got a handful of dirty chonies.

We arrived late in Zug, Switzerland and were so fortunate to have our friend Amber's aunt Beth to pick us up. She and her family are living there now so it was very convenient. We were introduced to our room and settled in, followed by a catch-up with Amber and Graig until 2 a.m.

The next day we headed to Mount Pilatus via a cog-wheel train. It took us up 7,000 feet for amazing views of the Alps, the Black Forest, Lake Lucerne and the villages below. We even saw a paraglider take off from there...perhaps a foreshadowing of things to come. After walking around a bit and eating bratwurst for lunch, we headed back down the mountain. Upon arriving back in Zug, we visited Mr. Pickwick's Pub for some drinks and then another long night of wine and story-telling with Beth, Amber and Graig.

The next day, Beth was kind enough to drive the four of us to Interlaken to explore the village and get some more great photos of the Alps. We did a little shopping, had a picnic lunch in the shadows of the Alps and then decided we would go Zorbing - basically rolling down a hill in a huge plastic ball. But, as it was the end of the holiday season here, we were unable to do it. So, after much consideration (because of the expense) we decided to go paragliding. Danielle had an unbelievable time soaring above the village and lakes. Greg had a bad guide and was less than thrilled after the initial take off. He never got as high in the air as the others and his trip was very short (he took off last and landed first). That being said, it was an adventure we will always remember. We went back to Beth's house for a home-cooked meal of chicken, corn and risotto. Greg was able to BBQ so he was feeling better about the paragliding. Beth, Dave and the family were incredible hosts and we are so grateful.

We left on the train the next morning to catch a plane from Zurich to Barcelona. Some things we learned about Switzerland:

• It was by far the most expensive of our destinations, with beers running about 9 Euro as opposed to 3 or 4 in Greece and Italy. The natural beauty is breathtaking but so are the prices.

• If you are ever on a train in Switzerland, be sure to not accidentally sit in first class if you don't have tickets for it. The ticket guy tried to very rudely fine us 80 Euro each for missing the tiny sign with a "1" on it. It is also the first coach of the train so we thought it was an honest mistake.

• We didn't know that they spoke German in Switzerland...

• The Zurich airport is the cleanest, nicest airport in the world. It is also eerily quiet.
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