Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sunburnt in Switzerland

Taking over Europe one park bench at a time.

Rrrrrrandom blurbs about the land of chocolate, cheese, and fountains...

Close call. I almost didn't make it. Despite the fact that I've been traveling rather frequently since I was literally five months old, I somehow managed to neglect packing my passport. I know, I know, I AM AN IDIOT. I know. Of course, I didn't realize my error until I actually stepped foot in the airport, at which point, I had to book it back to my flat by cab to grab the pesky item and speed back to the El Prat just in time. Whew. [I can picture my mom shaking her head at me right now. Teehee. *sheepish grin*] On the flip side, I do know now that it takes exactly 12 minutes to get from my apartment to the airport by car...and that's including extra minutes for driving on various sidewalks as the cab driver felt so inclined to do.

View from the top. The vista of the Alps from the plane when I was flying over Switzerland was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Actually, the scenery in general was quite idyllic and stunning. Man. Wish you coulda been there.

Cloudy with a chance of aloe vera? All last week, I kept reading weather reports predicting snow and torrential rain in Zürich, so I was prepared to brave the elements and fully expected to freeze my buns off. Learning from my winter break travels, I packed about 800 layers. And what do you know...the weather was sporadically pretty nice. Yay. I think I actually spent more time being sweaty than cold. In fact, I got slightly sunburned on Friday when Jess and I fell asleep in a park. Huh?!?!

Tweed coats and Burberry. Switzerland is generally old, rich people. But everyone there was so nice. On our second day after grabbing a kaffee creme at Sprüngli Cafe, a very dignified and classy old lady sitting next to me helped me put my coat on (I had so many layers on, I could hardly move...) before kindly patting my leg and wishing me a good day. Then on our boat cruise around Lake Zürich yesterday, I sat across from the sweetest old lady ever, who would occasionally smile at me and make some sort of thoughtful commentary. I, both because she spoke inaudibly softly and completely in German, didn't understand a single word. Nonetheless, she squeezed my hand and told me to "stay warm" before she disembarked from the boat. It's amazing what can be communicated beyond verbal language.

Rolex. Timeless. I don't know about the rest of Switzerland, but in Zürich, the entire world is immaculately dressed, I, consequently, looked like a ratty ragamuffin straight off the streets of Spain. And Jess made me go in the Louis Vuitton store with her. Ugh. Anyways. The shopping, especially on Bahnhofstrasse (comparable to Champs Elysees in Paris) was seriously FOOOOOOF. We window-shopped a few Chanel bodysuits, $500 chocolate truffle eggs, a few Rolexes...*commercial break* My mom thought she lost her Rolex, but then a plumber magically fished it out of the toilet when we were having flushing problems. My dad took it to a shop to get it cleaned, and despite having sat in the loo for a few years, it still works and runs like magic!

Old McDonald. We took a trip to Baden, an old town outside of Zürich, and went to order some typical Swiss sausages at a street-side stand for lunch. After looking at the menu and coming to terms with the fact that I had NO IDEA what anything meant, I just pointed at two wursts on the grill and ventured to ask the difference between the two. The lady responded, "That one is, umm...*SNORT SNORT SNORT* and the larger one is *MOOOOOO.*" "Umm, okay, I guess I'll have the...mooo." That was pretty entertaining. The lady in line behind me was cackling away, doubled over in laughter. *Haha*

Spic and span. Switzerland is SO clean. Wow wOw woW. The free WC's in public parks were eighty times cleaner than the bathroom in my Barcelona flat, if that says anything. They even have dispensers with "toilet seat cleaner" gel in the stalls at Zürich Airport. On the other hand, I could smell Spain before I could even see that I had returned...

Comfort and joy. I think part of the reason why I loved Switzerland so much was because I felt like a human again. I didn't have to be psychotically vigilant about my bag or pessimistically cynical 24/7. People didn't blatantly stare at me like my life is entirely their business. Guys didn't devour me alive with their eyes. No one catcalled, said inappropriate things, or made any sort of disgusting noise when I walked by. I was free to comfortably enjoy myself and it was such a nice luxury.

Love. So. I really, really, really liked Switzerland. It was absolutely beautiful and I was truly enchanted by the country. 'Tis a crying shame I didn't study abroad there instead (I guess, the fact that they don't speak Spanish is kind of a bugger), but I am already planning to return when I am old and retired and can afford (maybe? hah...) to leisurely vacation there.

Mmmm. Switzerland, I'll be back yet.

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