At long last my latest international excursion was upon me. After the great experience I’d had on my tour of Ireland last year (see articles entitled When Irish Eyes are Smiling), I was going to utilize the tour’s co-sponsor, Globus Journeys, to take a round the country tour of Switzerland.
Globus did bum me out over a couple of things. For one thing, if you’re traveling solo, you are not given the option of agreeing to room with another solo traveler, so you have to pay the single supplement up front. On the other hand, that does guarantee a room for yourself.
The other item is that I had joined the Journeys Club after the Ireland trip which gets tour discounts and, most importantly, absolutely free currency exchange at the top market rate. However, apparently the Journeys Club is no more and I don’t recall getting notification about it, so there went the currency exchange.
The day of the trip didn’t start out all that rosy either. My trusty laptop gave up the ghost so I had to borrow one until I returned home. Then my first flight was experiencing a slight delay and I cringed inside. My flights didn’t leave me much room for error. I flew from Omaha to Chicago with a layover of 1 hour, 20 minutes. Then I was to fly from Chicago to Newark, NJ with an hour layover so I didn’t have much breathing room.
Mercifully, my flight actually made up the delay, arriving earlier than expected. I also had enough time to grab a quick bite at a McDonald’s before taking off to Newark. That flight was also early, allowing me to exchange currency at Travelex so I would be ready when I landed.
The flight to Zurich was perfect. I had a seat at the back of the center section, so I could lean back without disturbing anyone and I was right next to the restroom, if needed. I spent the flight watching Paranormal Activity and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, eating a surprisingly tasty chicken pasta dinner, and playing Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations in between a few snatches of sleep.
The flight arrived in Zurich nearly an hour early. I breezed through customs in a few minutes, grabbed my bag, then met Brane (pronounced Bra Neigh), who would be the tour guide for the trip. He pointed me towards the shuttle where I met Marty and Val O’Brien of Syracuse, NY who would also be on the tour. We zipped over to Movenpick Hotel Zurich Aiport, where I was able to check in immediately.
I organized my room and then decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. I discovered that Zurich is like small town America from yesteryear where everything is still closed on Sunday. That included the City Centre, so I opted not to take a train down there to explore.
Instead, I darkened my room to relax and took a 2 hour nap to beat off some of the jet lag. I actually managed to find some episodes of Columbo in English after I woke up so I had that on for a bit before washing up for dinner.
At dinner I sat with Emiline and Dorothy of California and Brane talked over what to expect on the tour. We drank a toast to the success of the trip where I sampled the “famous Swiss white wine”. As you may or may not know, I am a borderline teetotaler, but this was rather good. Just the right amount of sweetness and not dry.
Then we were served a 4 course dinner that included a salad with a creamy vinaigrette dressing, an unbelievably awesome pumpkin soup, Chicken Schitzel Parmegiano, and plum pudding for dessert.
After the meal, I could feel the jet lag setting in, so it was time to bang this article out and get some shuteye, though I also met Bruce and Carol of Australia as we were taking the lift. Tomorrow the adventure truly begins!!!