Monday, September 12, 2005

The Day After

Saturday, September 10

Maria takes the news of our early departure with good grace. "Well, what could you do?" she asks. She is not going to make us pay for tonight, even though our cancellation is less than 24 hours. We have a last hearty breakfast and checkout. It is dark and misty, about the way we feel after a great week in Switzerland.

We walk down to the Old Town section and walk along the farmer's market stalls set up along the river. They let their zuchinni's get way too big. The Swiss farmers' organization has displays promoting Angus beef. They have a mechanical bull in a ring, going in circles, although no one is trying to ride him. American country and western music blares through loud speakers.

The farmers' market includes a fish market. The fish purveyors dress the fish for their customers around a fountain, with a lion's head on four sides of a middle column; water coming out of the heads' mouths. They use this water to rinse off their knives and the dressed fish.

About 11:00 a.m., we part ways; Rosalee to return to shopping, me to the internet cafe to wrestle with the y's and z's. At 1:30 p.m., we meet for lunch at the Hotel Des Alpes. I feel a lack of having tried a fair sample of Swiss cheeses, so I have a cheese plate, with all kinds of hard and soft cheeses, accompanied with olives, pickled onions and pickled cucumbers.

I have seen the Alps, eaten my fill of cheese, heard my son play and am now ready to leave Switzerland. I spend another couple of hours at the internet cafe, trying to get my blog up to date, and get it up through Friday night.

At 4:45 p.m., we meet to catch the train to the Zurich Airport. As we glide noiselessly along, Rosalee remarks, "This doesn't feel like riding a train. It feels like riding an elevator -- sideways."

At the airport, we find the shuttle van to take us to our hotel, "The Fly Away." The van driver asks us if we are flying out early tomorrow morning, and when we affirm, he suggests we check in at the KLM counter, go ahead and check the luggage we are not carrying on and get our boarding pass. He said we will be able to avoid the long check-in lines in the morning when we will be able to go directly to the departure gate.

We find a deserted area in the airport, to repack our luggage so that we have what we need in the carry-on bags and check in. Then we catch the next shuttle to the Fly-Away. Rosalee was skeptical about the hotel when the travel agent at the train station suggested it to us. Sounds like what might be called "the Bedbug" in the U.S. However, I remind her that we are in Switzerland. They do not have hotels that are not neat and clean. Turns out I was right. The hotel is very modern and high tech and spotlessly clean.

We try to eat at the hotel pizza parlor, but there is an hour wait; there is no seating outside and it is hot inside. So, we take the desk clerk's suggestion and go find the Lowen (yes, Mr. Autodidactic Grammarian, I know that the "o" is supposed to have two dots over it. The European keyboard I had to use in Switzerland had lots of funny characters. I could probably figure out how to do that on this American keyboard, if I cared.) The Lowen turns out to be an excellent choice. It is in an out-of-the-way side street (so out of the way that I get lost trying to find our way back to the hotel) patronized by locals. They have excellent food. I have weinerschnitzel mit schwein instead of veal, and it was perfect. The weinerschnitzel is lightly breaded and perfectly done. The pommes frites are hot and crunchy. It even comes with vegetables, cooked carrots.

We finally find the hotel and are back in bed by 9:30. We have to get up at 4:30 to catch the airport shuttle and make it to the airport in time for our flight home.

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