Monday, January 11, 2010

Portland - Chicago - Zurich - Brig

Wednesday January 6, 2010 / Thursday January 7, 2010

Finally after days of packing and preparation I have boarded the long awaited plane and left for Switzerland/Europe for the next 4 months. You can never start a trip off smoothly so why not have this happen immediately when checking in, minor details. When using the self check-in and through scanning my passport my cousin's travel information would come up.... thanks Rachel! After 5 min of searching the representative was able to help us out and get me checked in to my flight to Switzerland and not Atlanta. Said the good-byes and headed for my gate to wait for boarding. The flight to Chicago went smoothly and we arrived earlier than expected so all was well there. Then after arriving in Chicago I realized I had to go to a completely different terminal via train before re-entering in through security to arrive at my gate. Here I waited for Lauren to arrive to board the 8.5 hour flight to Zurich.
After boarding our flight, a guy kindly switched seats with me to allow me to sit next to Lauren for the flight.... maybe this was a mistake. On our overnight flight I may have slept for an hour. We ended up having a family sit behind us, with a toddler and another child a few years older. When the toddler wasn't screaming and crying the other kid would kick the back of our seats. What a fun flight! Not to mention we had a few delays that made the flight that much longer. Finally touching down at 11:00 am Swiss time (2:00 am Portland/West Coast time) I was exhausted after being up since 6:00 am the previous morning.
We passed through customs without any problems and went down to baggage claim, rounded up our luggage and headed to a travel agency to purchase our 1/2 Swiss Rail Pass, train tickets to the Zurich HB, and our ticket to Brig the next morning. After filling out paper work, handing in passport photos. We asked what train to take to get the the main center (Zurich HB) he said to take train 3 or 4. Whatever one. We made it down to the trains and immediately stood there extremely confused. I asked a gentleman if this train went to the Zurich HB he said he thought so, yeahhhh we let that one pass. A young lady say us looking around, at our tickets, and then at eachother and laugh. She asked if we needed help, she then told us what train to take (the same one as her) and then showed us our stop. First train ride a SUCCESS!
After arriving at the Zurich HB, we figured our hotel was there.... not a chance. We wandered around lost, trugged our luggage up stairs, asked for help in a flower shop and were told to take the moving stairs to the top and then get on a train #3 and it would take us there. Back down the non-moving stairs and found what they were talking about (as well as a Tourist Information Station). They told us to hope on Train #3 and get off at a certain stop, we did this and hopped off, say signs to the hotel and wandered in. Navigation around Zurich..... success!
After checking into the hotel we went into our rooms and passed out (3:30 pm) woke up at 4:30 pm and decided that dinner wasn't going to happen and went back to bed. We then woke up again at 2:30 am fully rejuvenated and ready to go. Hoped on facebook for a bit then decided that it would be best to go back to bed. Woke up again at 6:00 am and thought might as well get up, shower, eat, and head to the train to make our way to Brig.

Friday January 8, 2010

We ate a wonderful breakfast buffet at the restaurant, checked out of our rooms, hopped back on the #3 train back to the Zurich HB, here we once again stopped in the Tourist Information and were directed to platform 14 where the train to Brig left every hour on the hour.
We jumped on the 11:00 am train to Brig and arrived around 1:15 pm. We wandered around the streets with our luggage looking for where we needed to head to. Luckily I had my WSU sweatshirt on and an RA found us, turned us around and brought us to where we needed to be. The RAs checked us in and brought us to our rooms. I'm in Xenius 462. I can't complain. A full size temperpedic bed, desk, my own bathroom with a shower, closet, and a TV. Life should be good for the next three months.
We met up with a few other WSU students as well as a few students studying at UCCR for the term as well. Most everyone ended up heading back to their rooms and sleeping as they flew in on Friday morning and had been traveling all day.


Traveled around Brig for a bit, did some shopping at the stores for a few groceries. Oh threw in a workout as well, that's something new for me! Most of you back home know that I will not enter into the WSU Rec Center at ALL! I'm trying something different haha.

On Sunday the entire city shuts down. I believe that we say only a pizza parlour to be open. Definitely different from NYC, Seattle and even Portland!

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