Saturday, March 15, 2008

Starting From The Beginning...

Many times we have been asked: Why Switzerland? I'm not entirely sure myself except that Miles, who has never been out of the U.S., had a fascination with the country and I figured indulging it would be the best way to kick off more exotic travels. Miles also loves cold, wet weather -- which he gets virtually none of in Las Vegas -- so going in the off-season made a lot of sense to us. It also was a steal of a plane ticket I found thanks to Kayak.Com.

Miles claims to be a poor flier, but he did quite well -- without drugs! -- on the pair of flights, including the nine-hour ATL-ZRH leg. His only real complaint, besides the lousy film lineup (Bee Movie and Balls of Fury) was that the pilot never informed us when we were flying over anything even though he promised he would.

Not that we could see anything, given the cloud cover. Here was our first, gloriously gloomy glimpse of Switzerland:


And here we are on the ground, waiting to disembark...

Fixing our clocks (Zurich is five hours ahead of Atlanta, eight ahead of Vegas)...


Heading to baggage, with a glimpse of the guy who, despite having an empty seat besides him, nonetheless put his seat back so far he might have been laying in my lap...Grr...


And then we were out waiting for a streetcar to take us to our hotel...


Our home at the moment is Hotel Neufeld, and our room is the one on the third floor with the cute balcony below. It's got this cute little restaurant called the Popcorn Restaurant where we get breakfast included with our room.
I picked this place from an excellent site called TravelRes.Com which seems to have the consistently best rates. And, yes, they do Vegas, too. But another reason I picked it was because the street was named... Friesenberg!


Here's what our cute room looks like...


Mostly, Miles is a little irked that CNN International is the only English station we're getting. We're now up to speed on the unrest in Tibet and the fate of women in Iraq. But we also noticed that even the Swiss papers are enthralled with the "Spitzer schwach." Page 2 of the major paper here had those Myspace pix of the hooker who supposedly serviced the NY gov. How strange that they would care about the sex scandal of a local government official in America.

We took a long afternoon nap on Friday to catch up after the travel and the time change and then headed out to look around and get some dinner. We'll be renting a car on Sunday for the upcoming week, so we were curious about how gas prices were. And seeing this, we got excited...

...until we remembered our metric system and realized that that's 1.79 Swiss Francs (which are actually roughly 1-to-1 with $ right now) per liter, not gallon. And since there's about 3.8 liters to a gallon, that means gas is $6.80 a gallon here. Yikes! Hope the fuel economy is as good as you always hear.

Don't know why it tickled me that the dumpsters are painted like the walls of a kindergarten, but it did...

...as did the idea that this Chinese takeout was called Yummy Yummy...

But then again, this below is where we ended up for dinner, eating pizza.

It doesn't sound very exotic, of course, but I'm still not eating hard food because of my dental mess and, anyway, we're finding that Switzerland is kind of the US of Europe, with heavy influences of German, French and Italian cuisines. So pizza -- and it was really good -- isn't that inauthentic. We did go into a different place but the waitress didn't speak English and Miles got uncomfortable, so we split for this place.

And finally, we leave you with this billboard...


...not for the beefcake but for the intriguing little thing atop the billboard that proves that you're never far from the clutches of corporate America. Can't see it?


More later.

Oh, wait. One more thing. Miles just came in from the balcony. "You know what you don't see around here?" he asked. Then he answered himself: "Police." He's also surprised that there aren't more blond people and I've noticed we haven't seen almost anyone fat. So I guess a fat blond policeman would be out of the question...

5 comments:

Troy from Las Vegas said...

"How strange that they would care about the sex scandal of a local government official in America."

I suspect that is because if that happened there they would not really care. In fact, I doubt it would even be noticed or mentioned.

"I've noticed we haven't seen almost anyone fat."

Yep. Yet the press will tell you that we are not an obese nation and the BMI gets adjusted for what reason?

Anonymous said...

actually, the media is constantly writing about how fat americans are.

Anonymous said...

Cool post. I recently had a nice visit in Vancouver - a refreshing break from Vegasd.

If you go to the alps you might see some fat blonde yodelers there, to complete the stereotype, lol.

gregoryzephyr said...

On my very first trip abroad in the early 90's I was in London near Victoria Station. I discovered a Burger King just down the block from my hotel. Hardcore travelers would probably shudder but I found it oddly reassuring to be within walking distance of both Buckingham Palace and a Whopper with fries.

robertw4771 said...

When I travel all over the world I always see various stories from the US getting good coverage. Not matter what people in the US think we are a superpower. And the governor of NY stepping down in a scandal is major news. Good stories in the blog about switerland. No matter where you go in the world you find a place that says they have NY Pizza. Sometimes you value a fast food restaurant overseas as well which was a good point by Greg. At least you now what you are getting. I use a slingbox on my trips to see any of my US based TV. Works good as long as you have high speed where you go and they arent charging $40.00 a day for it...

rob