Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Most Interesting Bus Ride

      We had a few hours on Saturday morning before our bus to Zurich and having failed to eat a crepe on the first day, we went in search of some for breakfast. In the end, we found a place directly opposite the cathedral. Eating a crepe in an outdoor café in a medieval square across from a gothic cathedral – check! Unfortunately, crepes only last so long. With still a bit of time left, we leisurely strolled down a side street. What do we find, but a street market! So I got to cross another thing off the list: buy and eat a homemade French baguette.

     We managed to successfully navigate public transportation and made our way to the bus stop. As the bus was getting underway, the driver began giving the safety instructions in German. As we were riding a German bus, this was not a complete surprise. Suddenly a guy in his late-twenties leapt up from his seat and moved up to the front of the bus. The driver seemingly thought nothing of this and handed him the microphone she had been using for announcements. He proceeded to offer a surprisingly humorous translation of the driver’s instructions. Whenever he was at a loss for a particular word, the group of 10 or so other guys sitting in the middle of the bus (who I assumed he was traveling with) would shout at him until he figured it out. The only instruction he had issue with was the one about using the facilities. Not knowing the proper bathroom idiom, he eventually settled on, “The toilet is for small business only.” (I’ll leave it to you to figure out what that one means.) The rest of the ride proved to be just as amusing as his translation. The group he was traveling with made ample use of the beer on sale in the front of the bus and had a jolly time for the entirety of the trip – occasionally even breaking out into song.
I see something - I must climb it.
     Having changed buses at Freiberg, leaving our German friends behind, the remainder of the journey had been without incident. We came into Zurich in the early evening, the road sloping in from the mountains while the city opened up before us. The divide between the country and the city is pretty stark. In one moment the road is surrounded by farmland; in the next, by towering hotels. The bus dropped us by the train station, which was a bit of a walk from our hostel. We stopped into a neighboring Starbucks to double-check our directions before heading out. It was there we discovered just how expensive Switzerland was going to be. (A motif that would continue for the rest of the weekend.) We traipsed our way to the correct part of town and only managed to get lost once! Our hostel was located above a Spaghetti Factory – the name explains everything – with a four-story walk up to reception. Once we sorted everything out and found our two friends who arrived earlier in the day, we realized just how hungry we all were. After a fairly in-depth exploration of our options, we settled on authentic Swiss Chinese food. Nothing had ever tasted better.

Searching for a bar, finding a great
photo shoot. 
      The night was still quite young and one of our friends had found a bar he wanted to try, so we ventured out in search of it. The stroll through the city at night was beautiful. A light mist diffused the lights along the river and on the churches, giving everything the look of an impressionist painting. We enjoyed many different views of the city that night as we searched for this bar. Every time we arrived where the map told us it should be, we found nothing resembling a bar. Eventually, starting to get wet from the mist-turned-rain, we settled for a second choice. This bar, which we found much more quickly, hosts a different artist’s work every month. The only catch: the art must be erotically themed. October was featuring a set of wonderfully rendered sketches. Unfortunately, that bar was rather full. In the end, we settled for a bar with far less interesting wall dressing.

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