Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 2A: Zürich

"Why 2A?" you may ask. Well, I like to divide the day into 2 parts in my mind: the part where I really wanted to cry and then the part where things started looking up. We'll begin with the bad news:

The Zurich airport is lovely. Impressive design. Clean. High-tech. Quiet. We arrived at around 2 in the afternoon and pass through the passport check with no issues and got stamps in our books (yay!). We proceed on to baggage claim and wait. And wait some more. Finally an airport employee tells us the bags on the belt are all that are coming. My heart sank. Our bags our lost. I scowl as we pass by all the middle schoolers who were on our flight as we retreat to lost and found. Why did they all get their bags?! It's not fair!! (For the record, Kurt and I were surrounded by these kids on the flight and they were docile and wonderful creatures. I only say bad things about them in humor.)

Our confidence is tested even more when a cute, sweet blonde girl with a trainee nametag comes to our assistance at the lost and found desk. She checks the list and confirms that, yes, our bags were not on the flight. They are still in New York. Apparently that baggage check line and the time wasted there were our undoing. Delta only makes the NYC to Zurich flight once a day, so they couldn't bring the bags until the next day at the same time. The airline is very helpful in coordinating bringing the bags to you, but we had packed our schedule so tightly that we rarely would be in one spot long enough for them to catch us. We were scheduled to be on a train headed towards Venice before the bags arrived the next day. And then, we would only be in Venice for a night before we moved on to Slovenia. We gave them the addresses of our next 3 hostels and crossed our fingers we would see those bags eventually. I dreaded the thought of not having my luggage for several days. I wasn't even going to think about never getting it back. This was when I was about to cry. We gathered up our Sky Team toiletry kits and set off to see Zurich even though our initial traveling excitement was a bit tarnished.

Zurich train station.

We arrived to the center of Zurich, found a map, and began the search for our hostel. It was a bit of a walk and we quickly realized we had not escaped the hot and sticky weather back in New York. The long jeans and tee shirts we wore to keep us warm on the plane were now getting sweaty and uncomfortable under the blazing sun. We finally locate a sign for the hostel and it brings us into the building's courtyard. We find the correct buzzer and ring. Nothing. We ring repeatedly. Silence.

Kurt and I are standing there, sweating, wondering what in the world we are going to do. We followed all the right steps! Why were things not falling into place!? After some unsuccessful interaction with a Swiss neighbor, we try to find a pay phone to call the hostel and hope they would answer (Communication proved to be a major difficulty in our trip. Finding pay phones and knowing how to use them are much harder than you would think. I hope to upgrade to a more advanced 3G phone before my next European adventure. It will really come in handy). After some searching, we located a phone but could not seem to connect to the right people.

Exasperated, we decide finding Wi-fi somewhere is our next best chance at getting into this hostel. After grabbing some cash, we find an internet cafe/bar. We grab a couple beers (one of which turns out to be much for helping us relax) and get to work on one of the computers. We search through all of Kurt's correspondence with the hostel, looking for some information about this place. There are no special instructions and no clues on what to do. We scour the hostel's website and slowly find out that it is associated with a bar of the same name which we vaguely remember seeing back at the hostel. We pack up and decide to try this bar and hopefully gain more insight.

We find 3 laid back surfer dudes chit chatting behind the counter. Apparently, the hostel and the bar are the same thing and check-in happens in the bar. There is no office or front desk. Really?! That's all we had to do?! It's painful when the answer is that simple. However, I was more than happy to see a bed, take a shower, and gain a momentary reprieve from my jeans.

Our first few hours in Zurich were rough. Hooters was there to give us some entertainment. Just so you know, we did not eat there. We just laughed at the menu of curly fries, mozzarella sticks, and chicken wings. It's like we never left the states!

This is where things start looking up :)

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