Switzerland: Day ‘Eins’

Our trip began with no plan. This is perhaps the first time Priyendra hasn’t done any planning for a vacation!

As soon as we landed on the sar zameen of Zurich we felt we did not know anything and had to start off our lives from scratch again. We were supposed to read the Lonely Planet guide on the flight and chalk out our plan for Sunday. But while I finished a documentary on Swiss Railways, Date Night and Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge on the plane, Priyendra had a good night’s sleep :)

Our cute Swiss Airways plane (cute because it was splashed with a lot of colors on the outside) landed at Gate 22 of the Zurich airport. We moved to pick up our luggage from Carousel 24 before proceeding to the immigration counter. Now immigration in Switzerland is really cool! They checked our passports, asked our reason for coming and let us in. No length lines, no paperwork. Now this is what you calll “coolity-cool”.

We then took our bags and went to the rest-rooms. This is where we decided on a protocol. Whenever we go to a restroom or any other place where we shall be separated, we will have a pre-decided meeting place. We wait at that place for 30 minutes before turning on desperation mode and using our international roaming :) Also if we get separated on stations (think Kajol in DDLJ :)) I will stay where I am, and Priyendra will come look for me.

After looking at some information and collecting maps etc from the tourist information desk, we proceeded towards the railway station at the airport. The station is probably called “Bahn” here. We took our one way ticket, sat on a train which we knew was going to the main station of Zurich, named Zurich HB. We boarded the train and kept looking at the map and the small display screen to make sure that we don’t miss our stop! It came in about 12 minutes. We then took the tram #7.

Now we were in West Zurich which is supposed to be a shopper’s paradise. This is where Zurich’s famous shopping mile is located. It starts from the entrance to Zurich HB and ends two blocks away from our hotel! Oh BTW, our hotel is the Sheraton Neues Schloss on Stockerstrasse. The receptionist greeted us well and we were given room the keys to room 410. It was a nice, cozy and small room. But looking at the size of the room you knew why Zurich was rated as one of the top ten most expensive places in the world.

Well we took a quick shower, dressed up (Priyendra dressed up as well!!) and went back on the shopper’s mile towards the main Bahn to buy our Swiss travel pass. We kept looking out for places where someone could give us more information on Swiss pass, Swiss Saver pass, Swiss Flexi pass and Swiss half fare pass. For a new person in Zurich, looking at the number of trains and scenic routes in Switzerland, the information can be very very over-whelming :) Well the main station was just like Bombay VT bustling with people. There was even a small beach football game going on in this huge station where they had brought in artificial sand and one could hear hooting and applause from a distance.

Well well well, the world is a very small place and you never know whom you bump into. While we were walking to the Tourist information desk, I met Kashif Mukhtir. He was my senior in college and a very nice person. He introduced us to his wife and gave us his card. He works for Accenture in Zurich (nice place to stay and work). It was a wonderful experience bumping into him and meeting him after almost 6 years.

Anyways after we purchased the Swiss Pass, we started to look for a grocery store to purchase some basic stuff so we can make a few sandwiches to pack for the day trip tomorrow. One good thing we have done is that we brought our electric sandwich maker with us. As always we travel with kitchen stuff like the griddle or the toaster. We got knife and ziplocs too:) Most grocery stores that we found were closed since shops close quite early, it seems, in Zurich. However, we did manage to find one deep inside Zurich HB which was open till 10 PM. So we went in and got ourselves a loaf of bread (it is a small bread with about 8 slices in it but these guys call it Double XL Bread!), tomatoes, cucumber, jam, bread, cheese, seasonings, pepper and believe it or not, Mango Lassi! Who would’ve guessed? :)

We finally reached back to our room around 10:30, made ourselves the sandwiches (it tasted yummy) and started looking at what to do next. We had decided we would explore the eastern part of the country. Priyendra looked into what places to see. While he was doing the planning for tomorrow I slept off around 11:30. I woke up around 4 and saw Priyendra with the laptop. He tells me “I have made the plan for the next seven days and now I feel more at ease with a plan in hand.” Uska katna nahin chahiye is his metric always :)

He had his plan ready in an email which he sent me. He slept soon but then I did not get sleep anymore so I decided to blog. I am hoading on calories as I am feeling hungry. Just had two pieces of kisses chocolate and now having a swiss cheese slice…ummm…not bad :)

My day is never complete until I upload the pictures. More coming soon!


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