Monday, July 4, 2011

Eurotrip 2011 - Day 15 (7/1/2011) - To Zürich

After getting ready we checked the train schedules online to see when the trains to Zürich were leaving.  We saw that one was leaving at 9:40, which was in 15 minutes, so we hustled down to check out and then over to the Hauptbahnhof.  We made it a couple of minutes before the train was supposed to leave, but couldn't find the train. A closer look at my phone revealed that the train was leaving from a different station in München.  Galen asked an attendant at an info desk and she gave us a timetable for a trip leaving at 9:43.  So we hustled over to catch that train.  The first leg was 80 minutes to Ulm.  After about an hour there, during which we finally got a late breakfast, we took the next train 134 minutes to Schaffhausen.  After disembarking we headed toward the stairs into the station, but we were stopped by a Swiss border patrolman who asked to see our passports.  He then took us into the office where we waited for him to do whatever it is they do in the back room.  He then came back out with our passports and sent us on our way.  At this point I realized that we weren't far from Rhine Falls, so we contemplated visiting there.  Galen asked at a nearby Best Western and they told him which bus to take.  Since we needed Swiss Franks to do this, we exchanged our remaining Euro cash at the ticket center.  After the exchange, though, Galen remembered that his friend Matt was to have arrived in Zürich at noon (3 hours earlier), and didn't want to keep him waiting at the hostel.  So we took our original 3:09 connecting train to Zürich (a 39 minute ride).

Once at the Zürich main station, our hostel (City Backpacker) was about a 15 minute walk (add 5 for doing it the first time).  Interestingly, the entrance was at the side of the building, and reception was 2 floors up (which I guess isn't as bad as Raise a Smile in Berlin, which was on the 5th floor).  Once we checked in, we left a note for Matt and then went wandering around on the off chance that we would find him.  And we did...by the river not too far from the hostel.  After greetings and reintroductions (I apparently had met him before) we walked over to a park with Linden trees that Matt had wandered over to earlier and really liked (we later found out that the name is Lindenhof).  They have 3 garden-size chess sets there with large wooden pieces.  Galen and I were able to sneak a quick game in on one of the boards (he won, as usual in timed games) before we had to head off to meet Erin's friend Liz.

We caught up with Liz and her friend (whose name I don't recall) a couple of minutes after 6 at a beer garden that she had coordinated with Galen.  I was getting a bit hungry so I had an ice cream bar while the others each had a beer (though Matt also had a pretzel).  After the drinks we walked to a stand (it's normally a restaurant, but it was being renovated) that served Liz's favorite bratwurst in town.  I went with the "white" brat and a (hard) roll (served separately), and some of the horseradish mustard.  Next we hit up an ice cream place that supposedly is the best around (Mövenpick - I think it is a chain), and then a bar that featured an accordion player.  Liz's husband, Joe, joined us on the way to the bar.  The customers (read: mostly our group) were able to participate in the "music" making, as the bartender brought out a couple of percussive wooden instruments (spoons, some slinky slotted wood and leather thing, and something else nobody knew how to play).  Galen and Joe also joined a couple of young locals in a game that they used to determine who bought the round of drinks.  Basically, the bartender brings out the drinks, typically shots, and a nail for each player.  The players each give their nail a bit of a start into a wooden stump and then they take turns taking one strike at the nail with the sharp end of a hammer (where the hammer strike upswing must be started at the side of the stump).  The last player to hammer their nail all the way in pays for the drinks.  Galen started out slowly, but ended up finishing third (though he "cheated" a bit on the starting position of some of his good strikes).  It came down to Joe and the guy who won the first round before Galen and Joe joined in, but Joe ended up avoiding defeat.  A short while later we left the bar and said our goodbyes to the other group.  Then the 3 of us walked back to the hostel, which was pretty close by.


Some pictures from the whole trip:

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