I met Adam & Krissi at the Bayswater tube station at 8:30am to head to the airport (about a 1 hr train ride) so we’d be sure to arrive the recommended 2 hours early before our 11:45 flight. We got through security very quickly and smoothly and were able to sit down at a coffee shop for sandwiches and coffee before heading to our gate.
On the first leg of our flight, we were all in the same row. I was very impressed by KLM- our airline. Lots of leg room, the free snacks are good (sweet- a chocolate cookie sandwich type thing; or savory- delicious Tuc crackers), and you get free beverages (some airlines over here you have to pay even for just water or a soda).
Our layover in Amsterdam was pretty short… and interesting because each gate has its own security? Since I was only transferring, I don’t know if they have one set of security when you first get in and then another one at each gate for added security or what the deal is. I’m going to Amsterdam in a couple of weeks, so I’ll find out more then! Also, we discovered another thing to love about KLM- Adam and Krissi were in a different row than me this time… but they got the exit row for free! Most airlines these days charge you “economy plus” rates to sit in the exit row. Boo. So, on my next flight with KLM (when I go to Amsterdam again), I’ll be sure to try and get that row!
When we arrived in Zurich, we had to catch an underground shuttle train to the place where the train station was. While on the shuttle, this crazy advertisement came on (on some screens on the wall inside the tunnel) with this woman dressed in a swiss outfit and I screamed because it startled me—and in turn I startled everyone else in our car. It was like on Minority Report where the advertisements talk to Tom Cruise when he walks by. Freaked. Me. Out. Aaaaand it was really embarrassing that I screamed and startled everyone.
We bought our train tickets to Interlaken (about $150 round trip each, but it includes a half-price discount on any other travels in Interlaken) and went on our way. The train was pretty cool—it was a double decker–but it was getting dark so we didn’t get to see much outside of the train on the way. Also, the food on the train was crazy expensive. It was getting late and we hadn’t had anything since the sandwiches at Heathrow so Krissi and I went down to the “restaurant” and the first problem was that the woman did not speak any English… and we don’t speak any German or French (apparently the primary languages here). We ended up paying about 13 USD for 3 little packages of Paprika potato chips and a coca cola. The prices were kind of equivalent to buying snacks from a hotel room mini bar. C’est la vie.
We had to transfer trains, and our first train was late so we only had 5 minutes to transfer to the next one… and in the rush I left my purple zip-up hoodie behind. I was pretty bummed about it until I took a moment and remembered that I WAS IN SWITZERLAND and it was JUST A SWEATSHIRT. I’m a very lucky girl, and sitting around sulking about a piece of lost clothing was pretty lame.
Finally, sometime around 8pm, after 5 train rides (including 2 underground lines in London and the airport shuttle thing), and 2 plane flights we were finally in Interlaken! We dropped our stuff off at our hotel and headed out to find dinner. Krissi and I both had tomato soup and it was soooo delicious. However, the dinner also brought our attention to a major downside of Switzerland—smoking is ok in restaurants. Boo! Not just in a special “smoking section” either, it’s ok anywhere in the restaurant. The one time we found a restaurant with a no smoking area (our last night on the trip), the no smoking area was the room in the back… where you’d expect the smoking room to be!
After dinner, we headed back to our room and tried to figure out a plan for all the things we wanted to do while we were here. Again, due to language issues on our part and poor organization on the part of the brochure creators, we couldn’t figure anything out (other than the fact that sled dog rides ended in September… Sad!) so we ultimately decided to go to bed and head to the tourism office across the street in the morning.
Our hotel room had 3 twin beds, two pushed together in the middle and one in the corner in a little alcove kind of thing. We had two balconies that looked out over the two connecting streets on our corner—it was nice to have a room in such a central location and with such a great view! Also, there were blinds we could put down that made the room pitch black. At 9am when we would wake up, it was still completely dark in there. It was crazy!
Anyway, that was the end of our first day. More to come about Day 2!