Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 1 - May 1, 2010, Saturday/May 2, 2010, Sunday

3:00 am wake up call (half way to resetting our clocks!)

4:00 am departure for SFO.

Had boarding passes and got in the short checkin line. No charge for the bike bags...hooray!

We had a relatively short flight to Atlanta (~4:30) and had just enough time to grab a quick healthy-like lunch a "Nature's Bounty". I had a half Greek salad/half lentil salad, which seemed good at the time. Unfortunately, I think the lentils were doused with MSG, which gave me a headache.

At 4:30 EDT, we boarded the 9 hour flight to Zurich. We watched "Leap Year" and "Crazy Heart" on the plane, read a bit, and dozed a bit. We arrived at 7:50 am in Zurich on May 2. We walked out of the airport to find a "Park Inn Zurich" shuttle waiting. Fantastic! It was pouring rain. Bummer! A 10 minute drive had us to the hotel. They checked us in right away - huge customer service points! We put together the bikes and had a shower.

Around 1:00 pm, we took the train to downtown Zurich. It was 12 CHF (~$10.50) per person to ride the train. Kinda steep given it was only about 10km. We emerged from the ginormous, 3-level train station and walked around downtown in the constant, but fairly light rain. We got some Francs from the ATM and stopped for lunch at a falafel joint (the only thing that seemed to have reasonable prices). We struck up a conversation with a guy from Benicia, who happened to be the IT director from Pixar, who was there on business. He recommended we check out two of the churches in town. The first was a church built in the 1100-1200s - in remarkable condition - probably because Switzerland has stayed neutral through the big wars. The 2nd church had a chapel with all the stained glass done by Chagal. That was pretty cool.

We stopped at the local Starbucks for some caffeine (didn't work). It was quite the hopping place on a Sunday afternoon - with lots of students there studying and others enjoying good company. It was hard to even find a place to sit. It was 12 CHF for 2 coffees - yikes!

After our short stop in downtown, we were pretty beat. The staying awake thing wasn't going so well. So, we headed back to the hotel around 4:30. I quickly dozed off into a little nap. At 5:30, my parents called, and we were both so out of it, it took a while to notice it was the phone ringing. They asked a simple question like "have you done anything today?", and I remember not being able to come up with words to complete a simple answer. Yes, I was that tired and out of it. Eventually, I woke up enough to have a perfunctory conversation with them.

Then, we headed down to eat at the hotel restaurant at 6:30. It was either the high-zoot lounge at the hotel or the adjoining McDonald's. So, high-zoot lounge, it was. I had a nice corn and clam chowder with french fries and a nice Swiss wine. We joked that they had gone over to McDonald's to get the fries. But, they were much too good for that. Dinner was 43 CHF.  At 8:30, we finally gave into our jet lag and went to bed. In the future, we will try to get flights that arrive in the early afternoon. It's too hard to stay up from 7:00 am all the way until night.

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