The travel office had two agents and one person in line ahead of us. As the people being served got to be more complicated, two more agents came out to assist. The woman who helped me was very good. She needed both my passport and Christopher's (presumably to verify that we don't live in Switzerland), and entered the data onto our passes. She asked what itinerary we were taking, and I told her that we were going outbound to Luzern that day, and would be returning to Zurich on Monday (05Jun). She asked how we would be returning to Zurich airport, and I told her we'd planned on buying single tickets. She sold me the single tickets on the spot, in addition to the Swiss Passes. Grand total, in USD, $243.69. Pretty good for four days of unlimited transportation. Details of Swiss Pass are at http://www.sbb.ch/pv/sts_e.htm.
After clearing the travel office, Christopher looked at the schedule and the next train to Zurich Hbf (main railway station) was arriving in 1 minute. Normally, I'd say we don't have a shot, but I'd heard about the punctuality of Swiss train systems. Sure enough, we got onto the platform (merely one escalator down from the travel office), and the train pulled up! We got on, and were shortly being whisked away to Zurich Hbf via Zurich Oerlikon. Eleven minutes later, the train slowed and we alighted at Zurich Hauptbahnhof.
I must admit I was somewhat overwhelmed. My goodness, the station was huge. I've been to London train stations (such as Euston), that weren't nearly as impressive stations as Zurich Hbf. But London has multiple "main" stations, while Zurich only has one. In addition, Zurich has many international trains, while London only has Paris and Brussels via Eurostar, and thence only from Waterloo.
After a quick recovery from our stunned (and sleep deprived) senses, we headed off for left luggage. It was all the way down a long (and external to the station) corridor. On the way we noted the FlyBaggage desk, which we were contemplating using for our trip on return to the US. Typical Euro-inefficiency meant that we stood in line for almost ten minutes at left luggage while the left luggage attendant (male) chatted with two supposedly cute females. Once they left (and his attention was returned to his job), we handed over both our backpack and our duffel bag. On a bright idea, we dumped our jackets on top of the duffel bag and velcro-ed the handles over them. This meant that the only items we were left carrying were our kangaroo pouches (aka fanny packs or bum bags).
Then we were off to see the station. We wandered around the entire main departures level, viewing the Rosti bar (and DEFINITELY planning on getting back there), popping in and out of the little Kiosks, and trying to figure out what different words meant on the signs. Then a call of nature became evident, and we went down to the middle level of the train station which contained "McClean", a pay-for WC (2Sfr, EXPENSIVE!). I've paid 20p before in England. But y'know, McClean was WORTH it. Each stall was very clean. No urine left on the seats, doors that lock completely (unless you don't turn the knob all the way - oops!), and lovely fixtures. If I had been the primping type, there were two sit down mirrors where a woman could make herself beautiful again. As it was, I heeded the call of nature, washed my hands (the sinks were VERY nice), and we headed out.
There wasn't much else on the middle level (just left luggage lockers, which had backpackers thronging all over them), so we went down one further level to "Shopville". Wow it was like a city in and of itself! While not comperable to any US Malls (for one thing there was no ubiquitous The Limited), there was just as much shopping variety, only geared towards the average commuter, which makes sense as many many commuters pass through this facility every day.
The first store we actually went into was Migros. We'd read all about it, in our pre-trip literature. Migros is a cooperative supermarket (and some locations have restaurants), at cheap prices. Certainly, even the train station Migros (which you would think would have higher prices than many other locations) had reasonably priced food and drinks. Much of what Migros had was private label (similar to Trader Joe's in the US). Christopher grabbed some landjaeger (cured sausage) and I got some water. During the trip around Migros we made unavoidable comparisons to the McClean visit. "Hey, that's cheaper than a trip to the bathroom!".
What I really wanted at Migros was some potato chips. I couldn't get over the lack of selection. Just two flavours: "natural" and "paprika". I am of course very used to England, where the crisps and other snack food in a UK Grocery Store would have FILLED the Migros at Zurich Hbf. France also had a plentiful supply of crisps. I pondered about whether it was just because this Migros was tiny that there were no crisps (I did search several other grocery stores during our trip. At most they had one other flavour of crisp, but NONE of them had salt & vinegar!).
After paying for our items at Migros, we headed out and found ... another Migros! The only differences I could tell were that this Migros had a smaller food selection (but it did have SOME food), the second Migros had clothes and other housewares, and the second Migros was QUIET compared to the first! We kept wandering around the Shopville at Zurich Hbf, intrigued by several different stores, from bookshops (with occasional books in English), to chocolate shops, etc.
Done with Hbf (at least for the time), we headed outside in search of the hotel we would be staying at on Monday night. We exited the station at Bahnhofquai (we should have exited at Central instead, oh well!), and walked across the plaza containing the constantly arriving and departing LRVs (oh, sorry, this is Europe. They're Trams :-).
There was another grocery store across the tracks, this one was named Coop. We went in there and I ended up buying some Paprika potato chips once I realized I wasn't going to find Salt & Vinegar. This store was MUCH bigger than both Migroses. After a wander, we ended up going across to Central which was just down the road from our Monday-night-hotel, Hotel Rutli. I'd found this on the web after doing much research. In the end, the final recommendation came from TWENJ. The webpage said that the hotel was near the train station. I guess that's true, if you consider how big Zurich Hbf is.
We didn't go in the hotel (no point), so we started wandering around some more. We ended up at a neat computer store a stone's throw from Hotel Rutli. Downstairs was full of Macintosh stuff on one side, and full of paper and pens on the other side. Upstairs had smaller electronics (Palms) and more pens. I puttered about looking at pens, on my perpetual search for the elusive perfect green pen.
Christopher came running over to me. His Palm Vx was missing. The last time he remembered seeing it was at McClean, and at that point it was (as usual) clipped to his belt. His Palm Vx rides in Slipper+Belt case made by EB Cases, but no longer. The clip was still on his belt, but the Palm was long gone. Was it theft? Or did he drop it? He honestly couldn't remember when he had it between McClean and the computer store, even though 90 minutes had elapsed.
Panic! We retraced our steps back from the computer store to Zurich Hbf. Once inside, we went to lost and found (which was, coincidentally, immediately adjacent to the left luggage). No dice, but it was MUCH too early for it to have been turned in. The nice desk staffer suggested we go to the city lost and found (as we didn't know if we lost it in the city or in the station). We did that, as well as going to the police station in Hbf and filing a report.
Emotionally and physically exhausted, and minus one Palm Vx, we reclaimed our bags from left luggage and caught the 1701 train to Luzern. We got it with only minutes to spare, but managed to find some seats on the upper deck, immediately adjacent to the luggage storage area, in the non-smoking part of the car.
We were both pretty shattered at this point, so the ride was somewhat of a blur. The trip took about 50 minutes, and we stumbled off the train at Luzern quickly (not having any idea how long the train would dwell at the station). From the station we headed towards the first hotel we would be staying at for the trip.
The hotel directions said: Walking: Opposite the train station flows the river Reuss. Follow the river down stream on the left hand side, just before you reach the second wooden bridge (Spreuerbrucke) there is a fountain on your left. Our hotel is just over the way.
Now the problem with those directions is that we exited the train station on the LAKE side of Luzern (although we didn't know it, as it was very narrow!), and it was not very clear which way things were flowing. We ended up heading the correct direction almost by accident (it was really by figuring out that one direction had bridges and the other didn't).
After a ten minute walk we reached the hotel, Hotel Baseltor, the first four star hotel we've ever booked ourselves in deliberately (we've gotten one or two by accident through Priceline upgrades). I liked the look of it on the web as it was listed as a small (30 room) hotel. We checked in (the desk staffer spoke English so we didn't have to stumble in German, phew!) and took the lift to our room (two bags and two exhausted people, three flights of stairs was just too much!).
Adamant that we wouldn't succumb and go to sleep at 1900, we took a walk around the city. I was amazed how many things were open relatively late (since some of the literature we read said that things tend to close by 1800). We wandered around a couple of shops, plus crossed a couple of really cool wooden bridges. By this point, Christopher was in the mood for food (the last real food we'd had was at 1100 between Brussels and Zurich). I'd had a snack (in the form of a yogurt drink) while we were dithering around like mad looking for the Palm at Zurich Hbf. He got a slice of pizza (not the most authentic, but the toppings were NOT American style), and then we wandered back to the hotel to fall asleep within moments.
We awoke relatively early and went down to breakfast. The hotel (like our hotel in Zurich) included breakfast as part of the room price. The breakfast was plentiful - four kinds of cereal (with full cream milk!), breads and croissants, jams, yoghurts (I had a chocolate one!), ham, and cheese. There were also many kinds of juice (and we had the option of coffee and tea of course, but we didn't partake).
During breakfast we plotted our course of attack on Luzern. We mainly came to see one thing, the Swiss Museum of Transport and Communication (Verkehrshaus). However, we've seen lots of transport museums so I did not anticipate it would take long, and there were some other interesting things to do in Luzern. To play it safe, we decided to do the transport museum first. We can always do the other stuff afterwards!
Our first stop after checking out was the train station. We figured we'd get a locker and shove our bags in there rather than hauling them around with us. We found a positively cavernous locker which held our duffle bag, backpack, AND our jackets. Wow. This thing probably could have held me! It was 5Sfr but well worth it. After stowing our belongings, we went upstairs to the bus station and found one of the three buses which would drop us near the museum.
We arrived at the museum at about 10:30. Note that time, it's very important. We paid our admission (regularly 18Sfr, but we got 2Sfr off each because our hotel gave us a discount coupon). 16Sfr, which works out to about $10/each. The museum helpfully had maps in all four languages (German, French, Italian, English), so we picked up one with the Union Jack on it and headed off first to the model train sets near the IMAX theatre.
After walking around that and cooing at it, we went through into the ticket area. The first hall we went into was the train hall. I was amazed, looking down the hall at the large number of trains. But before we walked on the ground floor, we ascended the steps and went one flight above to see the exhibitions about the switching and signalling of trains. In addition to many written and pictoral exhibitions (in all four languages), there was a setup of cameras and a model which corresponded to the real life train running. It was VERY cool - pick the next train from the timetable (helpfully located overhead), and watch the train on four cameras, PLUS watch it out the window (as the line ran directly across the road from the museum). To top it all off, there was narration available - in four languages!
The signalling and switching exhibition was just the beginning of a fabulous day. We crawled all over the train exhibition reading all of the signs and watching the videos. Of the trains we were allowed to go in, we went in. After seeing all of the train exhibitions, we went into the St Gotthard tunnel exhibition, which was a VERY well done audio demonstration (with dummies for illustration). The audio was available in, of course, four languages. The St Gotthard exhibition took 30 minutes and it seemed like five.
After visiting the whole train hall (we went back to make sure we saw it ALL), we walked outside and went to have a look at the options for lunch. It was 1:30pm - 3 hours after entering the museum. We'd spent THREE HOURS looking at trains! We chose to eat at the onsite cafeteria (no time for anything else!). I had spaghetti napoli (the cafe staffer asked me if I wanted "Kase", I didn't understand, but when she said "fromage" I did! I nodded, and thus we conversed well enough so that I got cheese on my spaghetti. Christopher had chicken with french fries and some kind of gravy. It was very good (as was mine).
Lunch done with, we went to explore the plane exhibits. There was a Convair 990, which of course we know of but had never seen in real life (even at the San Diego air museum). It was painted in Swissair colours (not current colours of course!), and was open to the public. The cabin was still set up, and you could see into the lavs and cockpit.
After the Convair we went inside the rest of the plane exhibition, which took us a not insignificant amount of time - and this is US we're talking about. Christopher and I can practically *recite* most flight exhibits. "first man saw the birds, then the Wright brothers came", or if in France "first man saw the birds, then the Montgolfier brothers came". But the plane hall had some very interesting things nonetheless, lots on the history of Swissair, Balair/CTA, and Crossair (no surprise). There was also a movie shown on a Swissair flight from Geneva to New York and then back to Geneva, which was horribly out of date (Pan Am Tristars in the background!), but fun nonetheless, especially considering how much our feet hurt - it just felt good to sit down!
The planetarium was directly connected to the air transport hall, so I wanted to see when the next show was. There were many selections, but the one that interested me the most was at 1600 (there was a 1500 option, but it was astrology based and I'm not bothered about astrology). We decided that if we'd seen what we wanted to see, we would go at 1600 to the Planetarium.
After the air transport hall, it was off to the nautical and cable car hall (yes, both, together!). The nautical hall we were not as bothered about ("it's a landlocked country!", said Christopher), but the cable cars were rather cool. By then it was 1600 and it was time to go to the Planetarium. The show was neat, but 35-40 minutes in a darkened room just made me sleepy!
To get our blood moving we went back to the air transport hall, and followed that by going through Communication Halls 1 and 2. Communication Hall 2 had, among other things, a "radio station" and a "TV station", plus five Internet terminals. Christopher took a minute to log in (using webmail) and read his email. Hall 1 also had a virtual reality exhibit where you had to watch what was on the screen and pretend like you were part of the movie. I played nice, but Christopher pretended to be a mad driver!
Communication Hall 1 was not quite as nice, had some neat things (including a ham radio), but was just generally a little less fun. Of course, that might be exhaustion talking. A quick swing through Communication 1, over to the Automotive hall, and suddenly it was 1715! We spent a few minutes in the gift shop, bought some postcards, and were standing at the bus stop for return to Luzern Bahnhof at 1740. SEVEN HOURS at the museum. If you ever get a chance to visit Switzerland, and are remotely interested in transportation, take a visit to this museum. It was worth our while. I was just glad we hadn't tried to see anything else beforehand!
We arrived at Luzern Bahnhof at about 1755, or with 40 minutes before our preferred train (1834 Luzern to Interlaken). I say preferred, as this train was a direct run, with no changing (there were stops). Even better, it was a narrow gauge part-rack-railway! I am first and foremost a plane spotter, but my father and his brother were train spotters and that is very much part of my heritage. I wanted the change to ride narrow gauge if we could help it.
We grabbed a snack at the station (some rosti, actually), reclaimed our bags, and boarded the Brunig train (as it is known) at 1825. We found some nice seats (a set of 4, facing, over a mini table), and prepared for the ride over the mountain. I had my trusty Diamond Rio 500 (MP3 player), and Christopher had lots to read.
The ride was amazing. I couldn't get over the scenery, plus the amount we climbed! It rained en route, but that didn't stop me from sticking my hand out the window at one of the stops to see that our altitude was approx 4000 ft (or so my GPS told me)! I had a chance to sample the lavs on this train (note that the train was old, had windows instead of a/c). I suspect the lavs were dumping onto the track (I don't really want to think about it!).
There was a nice elderly couple sitting down the car from us. They were British, and avid train spotters. They had a camper van, and had driven down from Calais and were spending time in Grindenwald. The woman was very nice and gave us some very good suggestions on things to do in & around Interlaken (unfortunately we didn't get a chance to do any of them!).
We arrived at Interlaken Ost ("East") at approximately 2030, and got off the slow train. Our hotel was actually closer to Interlaken West, but we had no idea how far it was between the stations (I later read in a Rick Steves book that it was a 15 minute walk. Well, I'm about as fit as you come, and I couldn't do the trip in a 15 minute walk!). We changed platforms and got onto another train for the 3 minute ride to Interlaken West (it was actually a EuroCity train which had started in Hamburg!).
Interlaken Ost was quite a big station with many tracks, but Interlaken West really only had one (well, it has three tracks but all trains only ever seen to use Track 1). It was quite simple to find our way from there out to the curb. Only hitch, I hadn't noted down directions to the hotel. No big deal, we ducked into the Kiosk attached to the station and looked up the street on a map (I did have the address).
Problem solved, we were off to the hotel and arrived there about 2100. We checked in, and were given the key to a room on the very top floor of the hotel. The hotel is named Swiss Inn and was very reasonably priced (130SFr/night). The rate did not include breakfast, but we tacked that on for 10Sfr/night each. Still, at 150Sfr/night the hotel was a bargain compared to the Baseltor or Rutli (each of which was over 200Sfr/night).
We dumped our bags off and took the obligatory walk around Interlaken. Yeech. I didn't realize how much of a tourist trap it was. You can tell that Rick Steves has recommended this place. It was full of backpackers and Japanese tourists. I didn't hold it against the town, of course, but I resolved not to spend much time there. After grabbing a snack, we went back to the hotel and went THUD.
Next morning we were up for breakfast. The offerings were almost the same as the Baseltor, except there was no ham (there was cheese). The waitress asked what drink I wanted, offering coffee (no thanks), tea (no thanks), hot chocolate (well...), cold chocolate. COLD CHOCOLATE? It sounded yummy. Well, I ordered it, and you know, it WAS yummy (and no, it wasn't just chocolate milk). Glug. I drank it all down (along with water and OJ), while eating cereal (full cream milk again!), and a lovely crusty roll slathered with jam.
After breakfast we were out on the town again, this time walking the opposite direction from the train station and ending up all the way back at Interlaken Ost via a VERY indirect route. Unfortunately, we'd left our Swiss money back in the room, so from Interlaken Ost we took the train back to Interlaken West and fetched our money.
We had no idea what to do next, so we let serendipity take us. We went back to Interlaken West and looked to see where the next train went to. Well, it wasn't a train, it was a boat - to Thun! Our Swiss Pass covered it, so we went down to the boat dock, and along with many other people, got on the boat on a lovely Sunday afternoon.
We went upstairs on the boat and found some seats underneath the canopy. The sun and I don't agree (it likes to burn me), so I wanted to stay out of direct sunlight. The boat pulled out at 1210 and we went out upriver towards Lake Thun. Not long after, the onboard staff came around selling icecream. Yum! We selected a strawberry cone with different tasty toppings. This was not the first time I'd seen the Swiss and their love of ice cream. Obviously the Swiss are to ice cream what the English are to crisps!
Not long after, the crew came around checking tickets. We got our Swiss Passes out, only to have the crewmember tell us that we were sitting in first class! Well we didn't know. Everybody got on the boat and went upstairs, so we followed them. After going back down to the bottom floor we saw that there were signs labelling the top two floors as First Class.
Back down with the lowlifes of second class, we soon settled inside. Christopher wandered around outside taking lots of photos as we plodded along Lake Thun. The trip isn't very far as the crow flies, but the boat trip is just about two hours long, as it makes many stops along the way. The scenery was breathtaking, with mountains going up on either side. In addition, the weather was spectacular and sunny, becoming hazy only at the very end.
The boat arrived at Thun and we disembarked. I was quite hungry, so we managed to get a sandwich each with a bottle of water and followed that up with a couple of pastries from a little pastry shop. We came out of the pastry shop to find that it was POURING down with rain. Suddenly, bringing the backpack along stuffed with our Gore-Tex jackets didn't seem quite so silly. Luckily, the pastry shop was in a row of covered shops, so we finished eating our pastries, put our jackets on, and set off, past a million litter bins (it seemed that Thun was a city of litter bins).
Well, the rain didn't abate, and what we did see of Thun was pretty boring (I expect there's alot more to it on a non-Sunday). So we used our GPS to navigate ourselves back to the train station (every time we stopped somewhere, we set a GPS waypoint at the train station so we could find our way back. Likewise, we set a GPS waypoint for our hotel in Interlaken so we could find our way home).
The next train departing was going back to Interlaken. I really didn't want to go back, but what else was there to do? We got on the train, and it was pretty packed (and full of backpackers). Rather than stay on the whole way, we chose to get off at Spiez. Funnily enough, we had considered getting off the boat at Spiez. Well, after getting off the train in Spiez, we realized that the transfer between boat and train at Spiez was not nearly as nice as the calm 100m walk in Thun. It was 1000 metres up a STEEP hill.
Once again, nothing was open in Spiez, so we went back to the train station and tried to figure out where to go. It was only 1500, much too early to go back to Interlaken (what we'd seen of Interlaken was, in my opinion, quite enough). The next non-Interlaken, non-mountain bound train was back to Thun and thence to Bern. One of Christopher's Uncles had lived in Bern for a whle, so we figured what the hell.
The first train to Bern we got on was MOBBED (it was continuing on to Zurich). We actually got off the train, changed platforms, and got on another Bern-bound train (which would eventually go to Basel) that was much emptier. There were plenty of seats and we didn't have to get hit in the face with backpacks.
The ride from Thun to Bern was nice (not spectacular, but nice). Some of the graffiti outside of Thun was quite artistic. Arrival into Bern was nice, and we accidentally went out the wrong exit, which put us not in the station, but on a side street. Oh well. We soon found our way around to the Tram lines while we tried to figure out which way to go.
Bern was HOT. Compared to Interlaken and Luzern, at least. I never got a chance to see the difference in altitude between them, but while the temperature in Interlaken was a little warmer than "just right", Bern was a little cooler than "unbearable". We chose to ride a Tram out a little ways rather than walking, just to avoid having to walk in the sun. The whole time, we were glugging water like mad (while in Switzerland we easily went through 2 litres of water each per day), but still sweating like pigs.
We ended up on an overlook near the Cathedral (the Cathedral was, unfortunately, covered in scaffolding). The overlook was very nice, with some nice views, and I took photos while Christopher remained as far away from the edge as possible (he's not one who is fond of heights). The people in the area were, shall we say, "alternative". Many tourists from the Cathedral walked near the overlook and then seemed put off by the pink hair and multiple piercings. It didn't bother us, though.
We walked very slowly back to the train station, window shopping (as none of the regular shops were open). Luckily, the street we were walking on had an overhang, and thus was shady and relatively cool. We arrived at a Tram stop (one stop before Bahnhof), and a Tram pulled up, so we considered it divine intervention that we were to take the Tram.
Once at the Bahnhof, we descended to the depths to look around the shops. Well, there were lots of shops, but there was also a train to Interlaken departing in just five minutes. Rather than look at the shops (many of which were duplicates of ones we'd seen at Shopville at Zurich Hbf), we went out to the platform and caught the train instead. Luckily, the train wasn't very full and the ride to Interlaken West was a relatively quick one.
We went back to the hotel and dumped off our backpack and jackets, and then went out in search of food. We hadn't had a chance to look around the area of Interlaken around the Ost station, so we got on a bus that took us to Interlaken Ost and started walking back to Interlaken West. Along the way we saw a Japanese restaurant and stopped there for a quick dinner. The service wasn't very good, but Christopher had a decent chicken curry. It was just refuelling.
Afterwards, we slowly ambled back along to the hotel. I was amazed how many shops were open, at 2030 on a Sunday night! That's truly the sign that Interlaken is a tourist town. Truly, Interlaken is a nice base, but it isn't a very nice place in and of itself. I did enjoy our hotel (and the price was right), but Interlaken didn't have alot of character (just alot of chintz).
05Jun Bedtime, and morning came before too long. We got up and had breakfast, and then went to the one store in Interlaken I really wanted to go into: Migros! This one put the store at Zurich Hbf to shame! It was really the size of a Tesco's in the UK. The food selection was great, and the prices were reasonable: we paid just -,55Sfr, or 33 cents, for 1.5 liter bottle of water! I bought two of them. :-) In addition, we went a bit mad and bought some marzipan candy, as well as Smarties (think of English M&Ms, they *do* melt in your mouth. After all, how often do the English have to think about melting? :-). We went back to the hotel laden down with food, checked out and headed to the train station.
There was a direct 0945 train to Zurich Hbf from Interlaken West, but we chose instead to catch a shuttle train from West to Ost and catch the Zurich train there. Yes, there was a method to our madness: we wanted to be on the train at the very beginning, and be able to pick our seats with a minimum of fuss. The compartment we selected ended up being a "Quiet" compartment (mobile phones not allowed!), but since the only others in the compartment were backpackers, and the backpackers were nattering away (one of whom was complaining loudly "oh man I just bought a pack of cigarettes and I can't smoke in this car" - well, no, if he'd gone past the door at the other end of the car he would have been able to, though!). If I'd been trying to get some work done I would have bitched, but as it was, I just enjoyed the scenery.
The scenery *was* nice - not nearly as majestic as the mountains over Brunig or the boat trip across Lake Thun, but the rolling hills and pastures were very pretty nonetheless. Our tickets were checked (on many of our trips, especially the short ones, the ticket inspector never made it around to check us). Christopher read during the trip and I listened to MP3s. We pulled into Zurich a few minutes late, 1200.
Our first task was to get rid of our bags by checking them at the hotel. We knew the way (having snooped it out days before), so we didn't get lost. After that, we made the round of Lost & Founds looking for Christopher's Palm Vx. No luck. It was looking rather dim that we'd get it before we left Zurich - if at all! After that, we walked down the Bahnhofstrasse for a little while, and then took the Tram back to Bahnhof and ate at the Rosti restaurant.
While we were in Copenhagen, we ate at the DSB Bistro at the central station there. Well, the Rosti bar at Zurich Hbf was just as good (albeit not "all you can eat"). Christopher and I have had Rosti before at Movenpick in the USA - but that was Americanized Rosti with smoked chicken or smoked salmon. At Zurich Hbf, Christopher had Rosti with pork curry, and I had grilled macaroni and potatoes with cheese and onions. Yum! The decor of the place was very much like a Skyline Chili (except it was all counter service).
From Hbf, we headed out to Glattbrugg. What's in Glattbrugg, you ask? Buchair, of course! - a publisher of airline & airplane related books and memorabilia. We got lost en route, but found the store after a while, and made it worth our while (although not our credit card's!). One large bag of books later, we were back at Opfikon station (which was actually closer to the store than Glattbrugg, but who knew?), awaiting a train to take us back to Hbf.
After returning from our expensive sidetrip to Glattbrugg, we headed out and started walking up and down Bahnhofstrasse again. Not long after, it started to rain, so we went back to the hotel and collected our jackets (and dumped off our haul from Buchair). We walked up Bahnhofquai and went looking for the Bodum store (a shop I had enjoyed in Copenhagen, but haven't found one as big since). It rained on and off, as we walked around and around. We ended up in yet another grocery store about 1700, and this one had a HUGE selection of chocolate, specifically Ritter bars. We love Ritter bars, both Marzipan and Peppermint, although the selection of Ritter bars at this store was AMAZING, and the price was even better (Sfr 1.80, about USD $1.10). We bought a bagful (I mean it), along with some other chocolate, and loaded it into the backpack.
By the time we left the grocery store, it was literally pouring. We went back to the hotel (after stopping at Hbf to check lost & found again) and packed up our bag. Rather than get up super early on Tuesday morning, we chose to check our duffle bag Monday night at the FlyBaggage service at Hbf. So we hauled our packed duffle bag and ourselves back to Hbf in the pouring rain.
Rather than go back to the hotel, we instead chose to go into Hbf, and take a train somewhere. The airport was the obvious choice: since we had already checked in for the flight, we wouldn't have much time on the ground at Kloten the next day (or so we thought!). Our trip to the airport was nice and relaxing, and most importantly, free of rain. Upon our return from Kloten, we went back to the hotel and thence promptly to sleep.
The next morning we got up, had breakfast, and checked out of the hotel. We caught the train to Zurich Flughafen, and ended our stay in Switzerland. You can read about the return air portion (and the 4.5 hour delay on the ground in Zurich!) at http://www.ckdhr.com/hrose/switzerland-june-2000.html.
I really really enjoyed Switzerland. I can't say enough good things about it. The climate was mixed (not surprising, given the mountains), the people were friendly (and tended to know more English than the people we dealt with in Paris), and the train system was INCREDIBLE. I would definitely like to go back to Switzerland, and spend some time in the French part, including taking the Golden Pass train.
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