Sunday, October 09, 2005

6 hours ahead and 200 years behind...

Hallo! Wie geht es ihnen? It´s Sunday in Switzerland and I´m still alive.

Friday was fun. I´m a little fuzzy on the details, but I remember having lunch with my aunt a supermarket buffet (Co-op). It was surprisingly better than most American restaurants. We also shopped and ran a few errands and then drove into a small ancient town (Angefingen?) and had some dessert (Mango sorbet with raspberry liquor and an espresso). I took some cool pics of a Schloss (castle) and park and we then met my mom and Oma in Schaffhausen to take Oma to an eye-doctor´s appointment. My mom and I walked around a small farm market and the museum while we waited. We also managed to find a replacement watch-band for one of my watches and joined my aunt and Alfred at the Kino (cinema) and we watched The Woodsman. It was very good. A great performance from Kevin Bacon. After the movie we went to a local pizza place that is a local favorite of my aunt and Alfred. Sehr gut! I called it quits early on Friday and went to bed fairly early as I had to get up at 6:30 on Saturday.

I couldn´t fall asleep at all on Friday so I was already up when 6:30 rolled around. It was still dark. At 7:30 my aunt and I walked to the bus station and took the bus to the Schaffhausen Zughof (train station). We met my mother and uncle and got on the 8:05 to Zurich. It left at 8:05. Swiss trains are extremely punctual! The engines and train cars are much more modern than the ones I remember riding as a kid. We arrived at Zurich and a short time later hopped onto the train to Luzern (a double-decker). We arrived in Luzern with about half an hour until the boat left so we walked around the town a bit. I think this was my first time in Luzern (Lucerne). It´s a beautiful city! I took some pictures of the famous ancient covered wooden bridge and also took some pictures from it as we crossed the lake. They had a busy Saturday open-air market and I could smell the wonderful cheeses, sausages, and roasted chestnuts. Unfortunately we didn´t have enough time to check out the whole market as we had to make our way to dock. We arrived at the dock and it was quite crowded. We boarded the boat and found ourselves a table with a good view and made our way around the lake. It stopped at various towns to pick up and unload passengers, but our destination was the last stop...Vitznau. The view of the alps from within this watery basin was nothing short of breathtaking. We could see peaks like Eiger and Jungfrau. Simply beautiful on a luckily sunny day. We arrived at Vitznau after probably more than an hour and immediately boarded the train to Rigi-Kulm. This is the oldest mountain train in the world. It´s really like a tram with a cog system (like a roller coaster going uphill for the first climb), but it´s very smooth (and steep). This rail journey provided us with some breathtaking views of the mountains and the lake. We arrived at the final destination...Rigi-Kulm. We climbed the very steep path to the top and this fat boy was out of breath (being at about 6000 ft. didn´t help much) The view was stunning. Alps and valleys all around. We could see the Zug See (Lake Zug) and villages everywhere below. Forward and above we could see the majestic Alpen peaks gently enshrouded by clouds. It was really a sight to behold. Hopefully my pictures will do it justice. It may have been too bright. At this point we luckily walked downhill to the restaurant/hotel. I had a delightful plate of bratwurst (weisswurst in America), pommes frites (French fries), and carrots with peas. American bratwurst is not bratwurst. Bratwurst (weisswurst) is a white sausage made from pork and veal and gently seasoned with nutmeg. Delicious! I followed that with a piece of chocolate torte (mz first chocolate on the trip). (Can you believe that? Chocolate desserts are rare here. Everything is delicious, but they´re centered around fruit, anise, or Amaretto.) We rode the train back down a different route and ended in Arth-Goldau. The views were otherworldly in parts. We had about 15 minutes in Arth-Goldau and then boarded the train to Zurich. My aunt left us this point to go home to Bülach to check her mail. My uncle, mother, and myself boarded the train to Schaffhausen. We arrived at the Schaffhausen Zughof and got on the bus to visit Oma. After a few minutes visiting we walked to the bus stop and boarded the bus and got out at my uncle´s stop. He made us some nice salads, veal cutlet with onions, and spaghetti. Very nice. I was very tired yesterday as I hadn´t slept the night before. I was grateful to return to Alfred´s so that I might crash in my bed.

Today it´s fondue at Alfred´s and then dinner at my uncle´s.

Europeans don´t drink while they eat (water, etc.). I'm dehydrating myself. I´m drinking lots of coffee and virtually no water. I haven´t had any milk or butter yet. WTF?!?!? Apparently the Swiss don´t drink milk. It was always around before because I was a kid. I have a serious milk-habit in America and now that I´m in the home of the world´s best milk I haven´t had any. Switzerland is awfully hilly. For every downhill there´s an ass-kicking uphill. Swiss girls are hot! I have to both admire and laugh at European fashion. Switzerland is a successful merger of the ancient and the ultra-modern. I could never drive here! I´d rather drive in Manhattan or Detroit! Crazy stops, yields, hills, curves, narrow neighborhood roads, and circular turn-arounds. Tiny cars look funny. There are lots of tiny cars in Switzerland...I mean tiny. Lots of crazy bicyclists riding up crazy hills around crazy curves. Everything is expensive here. 6 Francs for a Coke? 1.8 Francs for a single airmail postcard stamp? Yup. Worth it to be here? Yup. The German that Swiss speak barely resembles the German (Hoch Deutsch) language. Swiss people love to show off their English (luckily). Supermarket cashiers have chairs. Don´t tell the unionized Americans. Soccer (football/futbol) is huge! Swiss people are very chatty. They just love to socialize, be it over coffee, beer, or nothing. Salads just taste better here (I think it´s the simple vinaigrettes). Kids get pierced pretty young here. Maybe it´s a nod to the traditional earrings worn by men in the Alps. Swiss people cannot handle spicy food. I mentioned to someone that I love spicy food (Thai, Indian, Mexican, etc.) so they just put more onions in my salad. Switzerland is pretty cool.

Random poll- What´s your favorite childhood travel memory?
Random poll 2- What´s your favorite spicy food?



Blogger Spoozinator said...

Oh Jason, your trip sounds fanstatic! It also sounds like a much needed break. Enjoy this time, your descriptions are wonderful to read!

4:47 PM  
Blogger Brian P said...

Sounds so beautiful. Still can't believe you have not gone though milk withdrawls yet.
Fav childhood trip was the one up the whole east coast in my dad's green work van. we saw lots, including the road through the rusted doors. I even remember the brakes burning up and my dad having to get them replaced.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably you mean 'andelfingen', and 'bushof' instead of 'zughof' (sry :) )

hope you like(d) your trip here in switzerland =)(hope you already visited the munot)

Grüsse aus Schaffhausen


10:02 PM  

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