All Good Things...

Trip Start Jun 08, 2010
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Trip End Aug 26, 2010


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Flag of Switzerland  , Zürich,
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not much today. Just a 6-hour train ride to Zurich to spend the night near the airport. I did have a little trouble figuring out if I was on the correct train. It was one of those that separated, and only the cars going the other way were labeled. The conductors helped me figure it out.

In order to make myself feel better about going back, here's a quick list of things I won't miss:

* Guys in speedos
Need I say more?

* Playing guess-the-speed-limit

* Locks where you have to turn the key twice
What's the point? I'm sure it doesn't seem like a big thing to any European who might read this, but consider the following scenario. You haven't been to Europe before. You've been flying for 12 hours to get to Europe. You had to get to the airport 2 hours early for an international flight, and you probably had another few hours on a train or bus to get to your hotel for the night. You finally make it to your room, put the key in the lock, turn it once, and hear a click. The door doesn't open, so you think it must have been unlocked and you just locked it. You turn the key the other way. Click. But the door still doesn't open. Your sleep deprived and travel-overloaded brain struggles to comprehend what's happening as you turn the key back and forth, hearing clicks that tell you the door should be unlocked, but it isn't...

* No insect screens
I was so excited when I had one hotel with insect screens. One in the entire two and a half months (Penzion Kiska in Kežmarok, Slovakia, if memory serves. Check it out.) I got quite a few mosquito bites in hotels without A/C.

* No free refills
I was telling some Austrians US restaurants almost always gave free-refills on soda, and one of them said maybe that was why the US was so fat. We do have diet soda, you know. At any rate, we may be the world leader, but whoever thinks the US has a monopoly on lard hasn't been east of France. I watched a German TV program say that 51% of Germans were overweight, and I saw plenty of excessive waist-lines in other countries (and not only on US tourists). My point is, there's more at work than just free-refills on soda.

* No sheets, just blankets.
I actually had a few hotels in Croatia and Hungary with sheets, but most had only the big blanket. I really don't understand the point of that in the summer when the rooms don't even have air-conditioning.

* Units Conversion
I never did figure out if a 32cm pizza was big or not, and don't get me started about Slovakia where pizza sizes were measured in grams. The oddest thing to me was the 24-hour clock. I like it in theory, but since everyone still said "3pm" instead of 15, what's the point? I guess it makes printed schedules less ambiguous.

* Hotels without smoke detectors
I noticed this while staring at the back of hotel room doors and saw the "In Case of Fire" instructions. The first steps were usually something like: "If you see a fire, tell the receptionist. Do not alert other hotel guests as this may cause a panic." I'm not paranoid, but basically it was saying: "If you somehow manage to notice a fire before dying in your sleep of smoke inhalation, exit the building without letting anyone else know as we have no night staff. Instead, leave the other guests to fend for themselves and allow Darwinism to sort out the weak."

What I will miss: double-hinged windows, great for rainy days, and pretty much everything else. All of the countries were great. They were modern and clean (for cities) and safe. I'd recommend any of them and could see myself returning someday.

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