Hey guys! I'm back!
I can't do a full update now as the pictures we took are somewhere in the depths of my dad's camera and I don't have an SD card reader that...well, whatever. I don't have pictures yet. But I will give a quick overview of the trip now and then go back and update when all my media are ready. And then I have to go binge drink for lunch since tomorrow school starts and I won't be able to do fun stuff like that anymore.
Okay...now that I'm sitting here in front of the computer, I'm REALLY glad I kept a travel journal this time, if only for the reason of remembering exactly where I was and on which dates. Let me go dig it out and then we can start...
So we left town on the 13th...our flight landed in Amsterdam (about 10 hours) and then we took another one to Zurich (1 and 1/2 hours). I usually sleep on flights but I was strangely well-rested this time so I read ALL OF MY READING MATERIAL THAT I HAD PACKED FOR THE ENTIRE TRIP. Ahh! Zurich was nice enough, but when we landed I was so tired from traveling and sort of sick from reading on the plane (which I always do even though it makes me feel like my head is about to spin off and roll away) that I fell asleep in the car on the way to the hotel in Lucerne and didn't get much of an impression.
We spent the 14th in Lucerne as well...we set out to see this supposedly awesome cheese factory, which I was stoked about because 1. I'm a nerd, and 2. I was hoping they'd give out samples. Unfortunately it turned out to be more of a display than a factory tour, so we came away from that tourist trap with the idea that Frommer's writers probably get bribed a ton to put stuff in the book and give it more than one star.
Then we saw the Crying Lion memorial, which Mark Twain described as the saddest memorial in the world - I'd have to agree, because while other monuments certainly commemorate similarly sad events (like the Vietnam wall in Washington DC), they don't actually evoke any specific emotion themselves. Maybe I'm not making any sense. It was erected to commemorate the massacre of the Swiss Guard while defending the Tuileries in Paris in 1792 during the French Revolution.
We went to see a dinner show that night that was ostensibly about Swiss culture, but really we ate a bunch of mediocre fondue and stared at this 50 year old woman yodeling. The Alpenhorn demonstration was cool though.
On our way back to the hotel, we wandered through this fancy store and discovered that Rolexes in Switzerland are like 40% more expensive than they are in the states. Apparently it's done to protect overseas markets, but I still don't get it. 40% strikes me as not just protection - it's more like murdering your home market and burying it under Giants stadium.
On the 15th, we drove to Grindelwald and stayed at the Grand Hotel Regina, which reminded me a lot of the hotel in The Shining. Seriously, it was creepy. I woke up at like 4AM because of jet lag and watched like a million different versions of coverage of Michael Phelps winning his 6th gold medal, all in German, French or Italian. That wasn't frustrating AT ALL.
We were going to go up Jungfrau mountain that night, but it was raining and cold so we decided to fuck it and go tomorrow.
The 16th was better weather - Michael Phelps won his 7th gold medal and we went up Jungfrau which...well...it was a mountain, just like you'd expect. This is where I'm supposed to wax poetic about the clear blue Swiss sky and almost vertical Swiss meadows with fat brown Swiss cows and stuff but I'm usually not all that impressed by nature. I'm more impressed by stuff that humans do...on purpose. There was an "Ice Palace" at the top, which was cool - basically someone carved a tunnel through this massive glacier and you could walk through it. Even the floors were ice. The top of Jungfrau is apparently the tallest place in Europe - even taller than the Matterhorn!
We crossed the Italian border and went to Lake Como on the 17th and heard this HILARIOUS conversation at dinner, between a customer whose first language was Arabic and a waiter whose first language was Italian:
Customer (indicating menu): "What is...mussel?"
Waiter: "It is, how do you say...like a fish? But with a cover."
Customer: "Oh. A clam."
That's right, IT'S LIKE A FISH, BUT WITH A COVER. You heard it here first, folks.
On the 18th we drove to Milan and shopped a ton. We saw The Duomo, which featured a statue of St.Bartholemew after he had been tortured by whomever. For the uninitiated, St.B had all his skin peeled off while he was still alive, so the statue was of a dude with no skin, whose empty skin husk was draped around his body like a cloak. And that's just as creepy as it sounds.
Milan was surprisingly dead: apparently all the Italians were on vacation as well. And it was Berlin fashion week so I assume all the people I expected to see were in Germany.
This is also where I learned that the Four Seasons charges $40 for internet access in your hotel room. FORTY BUCKS. So that explains why I haven't been updating: ain't no blog post I write worth forty damn dollars.
More shopping in Milan on the 19th. I bought a Miu Miu jacket and a pair of shoes from the same. I guess I'm turning into kind of a whore for that house but I can't help it: I'm gay for girly clothes with simple lines that make you look completely overpriveleged, I guess.
I also see in my journal that I made a note here about wondering whether Anna Wintour was in Berlin or Beijing (since she's BFF or something with Roger Federer, who was playing on the Swiss tennis team, and can often be seen courtside at his matches).
We left Milan on the 20th for Tasch, which was a small town at the base of the Matterhorn, back in Switzerland. During our drive to Tasch, we stopped at a small roadside establishment whose proprietors spoke only in German. Their son had some English learnin' so we ended up staying to eat some pastries and hot chocolate, and when I went to the bathroom I saw that there was a poem in German printed out and laminated on the back of the stall door. I wish I had taken a pen and piece of paper in there, but...I don't have that kind of foresight. All I can do is guess that it had to do with "if it's brown, flush it down/ if it's yellow, let it mellow" since it seemed to be that kind of place.
On the 21st we drove from Tasch through Zermatt and took some gondola-type things up the side of a mountain to get a closer look at the Matterhorn's peak. We ate some INCREDIBLE food in Zermatt. The Swiss love their macaroni and cheese (and now so do we) - who would have thought?
Then we drove to Geneva and spent the night there.
We drove from Geneva to Zurich on the 22nd and saw the Red Cross museum, which was pretty much like a Holocaust museum in its scope and material. Depressing. But then we drove further and saw an ACTUAL cheese factory! I was stoked about seeing the process in person...and it's exactly like it looks on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, for those of you who are curious.
My brother and I also watched some snippits of the Opening Ceremonies, which were just as mindblowing as everyone has said. I frowned at the little singing girl though. SHAME ON YOU FOR LIP SYNCHING! and shame on the other girl for having snaggly teeth or whatever her problem was. And shame on everyone for the CGI fireworks. And also for all the human rights violations and shit. Shame. But the torch-lighting bit was undeniably incredible.
On the 23rd we drove to the airport and our flight, which was supposed to go from Zurich to Amsterdam, was delayed by like an hour because it was raining so we were going to miss our connection from Amsterdam to Houston. So then we ran all over the airport and eventually caught a flight to Paris, and then another from Paris to Houston. Somewhere in there my suitcase got lost (I'm on hold with Air France right now), which explains why I'm typing this in a bathing suit. THIS IS SO AWESOME, and is making me angry and stressed (since all my good clothes were in that suitcase) and probably why I woke up today with a zit that casts its own shadow. Because I'm going to have to wear a bathing suit and cutoffs to school tomorrow. And I know I've been telling everyone I'm not stressed about first impressions or anything because what do I care about what sophomores think, but COME ON. THIS IS NOT WHAT I MEANT.
And that is the story of my trip to Switzerland. I now leave you to your regularly scheduled case of ennui that summer is over and now you have to get a haircut and a real job.