Monday, June 20, 2011

Arrival in Zurich

My flight took off yesterday evening at 6:25 PM and landed at about 7:30, which felt to me like 1:30 in the morning. I was one of the first people to board the plane, and so was the man who sat next to me. He was thin, looked about 30 years older than me, and seemed to speak English well but we didn't talk much. The flight itself was not bad considering: they showed a movie and served dinner. I waited for the movie to end at about 9:30 and tried to sleep. I was surprised that they did not turn off the lights until around 11. Luckily I had a sleeping mask and ear plugs (there was a baby three rows up from me), but it was so uncomfortable trying to sleep upright that I didn't get much sleep anyway.

My first impression when we were descending was that area surrounding the Zurich airport is rural, not suburban, despite the fact that the airport is not far outside of the city. I laughed when I saw on the Zurich airport website shortly before leaving that the airport offers tours of the "picturesque airport property" that last an hour and a half and that cost 8 Swiss Francs, but now I see that the countryside is actually very beautiful, and a tour might be worth the 8 francs on a long lay-over. The airport was extremely modern and clean inside, and it was nearly empty. I thought customs might take an hour or more but it took 2 minutes or less. I wandered around the airport to see what was there and then struggled with the primarily German-language train ticket machine. I was fairly certain when I got on the train at the airport that it was the right one, and luckily I made it to the Zurich main station without any problems.
 A train passing by the National Museum of Switzerland in Zurich, the first photo I took

Right outside of the main station was the Swiss National Museum, which I believe is closed on Monday, but which I took a picture of. I also wandered down Bahnhoff Street to look at the shops and then down to the river, where I took some pictures. I was supposed to take the tram to Jennifer's house, but since I had a map with me and it wasn't very far I decided to walk. I took some photos along the way since the buildings are all so quaint and decorative and even the sidewalks are fancy and clean with cobblestone borders.

Zurich is located along a beautiful lake

My first impression of Switzerland is that everything seems orderly, clean, efficient, and designed with attention to the last detail. I noticed a lot of smaller-size cars and bikers, and there were a lot of places where you could pick up healthy fast food like apples and cherries.

Being in a German-speaking city by myself for the first few hours was a little overwhelming, especially when I was trying to buy my train ticket, use the ATMs, and navigate the tram network. I'm really glad that Nicole and I will be traveling together soon. I think we are going to have a lot of fun.

I am glad to have a chance to use the computer. The Crowne's have been very hospitable and I feel clean and relaxed since I just took a shower. I am looking forward to seeing the city more later today and wish I had more time to see everything there is to do here, but am also excited to see Interlaken tomorrow.

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