Monthly Archives: November 2012

Making mistakes while traveling on a dime

A seedy neighborhood it is. Ladies of the night (and day) are  seen strolling in the neighborhood in their short shorts and high heeled boots. I feel sorry for the life they lead and wish I could do something to help them.

I reported in the last post, that I made my way to Zurich and found the hostel where I would be staying for three nights. The lovely receptionist, who holds dual citizenship from both Switzerland and Canada, informed me there would be a jam session in the lobby and of course I would be welcome. The lobby is right next to the street and the general public has access to the bar, whereas the guests have electronic keys which opens the door to the front, the room wing, and the bedroom door. Then there is a closet which we’re expected to use our own locks and keys.

The bedroom is small, but holds three bunk beds, and the room is stuffy, hot and steamy. Last night, while music was still wailing away, three of us in the steamy room went to bed, while one young lady sat on her suitcase, where she had been since 3 p.m., surfing the web until way after midnight.

This morning I woke up to see snow on cars and gently falling down on umbrellas, buildings and outdoor-restaurant chairs.

I don’t like to be negative, but since the original purpose of the blog was to show how to “travel on a dime” and also how a senior citizen could have a great time traveling, I need to be honest and report, not only what has been fun and rewarding, but also, any mistakes I have made.

Switzerland is a lovely country, and the beauty will stay with me in my good travel memories.

However, taking the side trip to Switzerland has been a financial mistake, and I attempted to make up for it by staying in the hostel and by watching how I spend money eating in restaurants.

Just to show you how expensive it is here, a cup of coffee will cost at least five dollars, sometimes more. You may be able to find it around four-fifty, if you’re lucky. Yesterday I paid twelve dollars for a falafel sandwich that I have never paid more than four dollars for in California.

A pair of boots and a coat are things I need to purchase to make it through the winter, and just for fun, I looked at prices and was blown away. “I will buy the same thing in Germany for half this much,” I told a salesclerk. She agreed. “A lot of people here go to Germany to shop.”

Okay, enough of that, you get the idea by now.

So back to the hostel in the seedy neighborhood, the music into the night and the steamy, stuffy room: I will cut my stay by one day. I made a reservation for a hotel near the airport, and will bite the bullet and get a taxi to take me there. I won’t even bother you with the amount of money that will cost.

But the next day I’ll be with Juliane and Lenny and Lenny’s parents in Frankfurt. I need to be at the airport by 5 a.m. and rested up in order to be alert when I get to Germany.

I made this decision as I walked back from train station today. I walked there just to get an idea what it would be like to take the train to the airport. The train information lady told me to ask at the tourist information bureau, so off I trundled down the street in the snow.

“That is way hell out of town,” the information man said when I gave him the address of the hotel.

“What? It’s near the airport, right?”

“Yes, it is, but the airport is far away.”

“Ok, I get it, so how would I get there by train?”

He gave me the news that, first of all, it would be a ten minute walk to the train station, then downstairs. He told me where to get off from the first train, get on a second train, and from there walk about twenty minutes to the hotel. (Dragging my luggage, I might add here).

“Or get a taxi from that stop.”

On my way back through the snow, I decided to cut my losses, and get a taxi tomorrow right from the hostel.

The hostel gave me fifty percent of my initial payment for one night, which I figured was fair enough.

The lesson learned here is to do the work before venturing off to a different destination. If I had realized how expensive it is in Switzerland, I would have made other plans. I did know that Italy is the same, and that’s the main reason that country is not on the list of places to see.

Sometimes trying to cut costs actually costs more in the long run, as I have learned in two days in a steamy hostel.

Enough of that. Now I want to share that I came upon the first Christmas market near the train station.

There was a mixture of smells to delight the senses: scented candles, incense, wooden items, and International food of many types. It was a pleasure to walk among the creativity that abounds in traditional Christmas markets. I will experience that soon when I meet my friend Marilyn McCord in Berlin on Dec. 12.

 

 

 

 

Senior traveler goes by rail from Ticino to Zurich/come along

Go with me to Zurich from Locarno in the Ticino area of Switzerland.

I just left the hotel about two hours before I catch the train, for what the ticket saleslady told me would be direct with no stops. First, I just got a cup of cafe latte and will sit for about an hour  before heading up to the train station.

At the train station and about twenty minutes early, the conductor helps me with my luggage. “Is it okay if I leave it here?”

Right next to the seat where I will sit for a bit over three hours.

“Si, si, that’s okay, Senora.”

The train is not full. In fact, I’m the only one in this compartment.

The train is silent as it works it’s way, away from Locarno and into the higher regions.

I look up toward the mountains in the rain, and see houses way up high. Some have vineyards connected to the property, and some don’t.

I’m curious about those who live up so high. How do they travel back and forth in all kinds of weather? I cannot see any roads, however, I know there must be some that I cannot see.

It sure didn’t take long for us to arrive in Bellizona, not even with the few stops we’ve taken so far.

See the colorful large houses in Bellizona? See the castles up there in the clouds? Then there is a village way up there, a church and a few houses and now a waterfall streaming down through the granite, rain-slippery rocks.

“Where does the water end up?”

Now we’re at the stop called Biasca where I can see a huge waterfall, largest among hundreds of them along our way.

“Look at that!” A restaurant called the Colorado Cafe.” I was just about ready to say this country reminds me of my homeland of Colorado, and over there is evidence that someone else thought the same.

There is a huge bridge and I have a feeling we will be on the rail just under it. The rain makes the rocks glisten and mute the fall colors.

At the stop Faido, there are stone buildings and a village high on a hill side. How do people live there? I cannot get that question out of my mind.

I feel a bit let down that I couldn’t spend some time in a small village and see for myself how people live. But I didn’t seem to be able to connect to anyone that way. I’m not thrilled to always be in big cities, but Locarno was kind and I’m sure Zurich will be, as well.

Doesn’t it seem that every time we go through a tunnel, that when we come out there is always a surprise?

Now we are near the town of Ambrio Priotti and there is more snow on the ground, and covering the pine trees, and we enter another tunnel near San Gottards, and the town of Airolo…and here is the latest surprise.

It’s snowing. The limbs of trees that are covered with snow make it look like a fantasy land.

Everything is white, as we enter the light at the beginning of the town Goschenen. It’s cloudy, pines are white and close to the tracks.

Below is a stunning scene:  a white village, and houses of three and four stories.

Many tunnels and villages we go through, and now the snow is less now, and we’re going lower, where evidence of the rain and snow has turned the hills jewel-green.

The terrain and the houses are beginning to look a little different at the lower altitude, than in the higher mountains.

We’re passing Lake Laurentzen. It is loaded with boats, and I imagine people just waiting until the snow melts and they can get back to serious sailing.

As we get closer to Zurich, I hear the conversations of people turning to German sounds, and the Italian sounds have gotten less.

We pass charming little houses where people grow gardens which have become somewhat of a hobby, I’ve been told. The houses are simply sheds for tools and comfortable sitting room.

The Rhine River offers us an awesome view for quite a long way, and now we’re in Zurich, and it’s time to gather belongings and find a taxi to the hostel.

It has rained the entire time I have been in Tincino, and it has greeted me here in Zurich. I counted at least ten stops along the way.

Switzerland is beautiful, but far too expensive. The lady in the hostel said the standard of living is very high, and people can live on minimum wage, however, it evens off with the expense. “Insurance costs 300 francs a month,” she said.

I’m punishing myself for taking the most expensive side trip I’ve been on since this long journey began, and now I will be in a hostel for three nights.

I got a taxi here and find the hostel  in a seedy looking neighborhood, and the receptionist informed me, “this is a party area. Oh, the area is changing a little bit. The red light district is moving down there.” She pointed to the street and down a ways.

Well, three nights and then I’ll be with relatives in Frankfurt.

More photos tomorrow. I’m in the lobby and my camera is three flights up the stairs. I don’t feel like tramping up there to get the disc, so I promise more photos that I took while inside the train.

 

 

 

Rain!

Hello  Swiss-American folks in Salinas Valley, I went to Ticino in Switzerland in your honor. I got here yesterday traveling from Liechtenstein, where I spent two days. Prior to that I was in a small town near Winterthur, Switzerland for two days. I’m leaving tomorrow for Zurich, where I’ll be for three days and then to Frankfurt for my month in Germany.

I knew if I were to see Ticino, now would be the time, so I just went for it.

I have found the people friendly and with easy smiles and happy to give a comment or two.

The downside is that I am on the end of the second day, and it has rained here both days and nights, and I have found the country extremely expensive.  More on that later.

Today, the goal was to take the train to Bellinzona where there are three castles to tour and a lovely city to explore.

inside the train going back to Locarno

The train passed the towns of Riazzino, Cadenzaao, Saint Antonino and Giubiasco.

I arrived in fog, rain and chilly air, with the first order of business would be to find the tourist office and then get directions on how to tour the castles. Yesterday I did some inquiry by telephone and was told that not all castles were open, but in some I could see the outside and the museums would be open.

Note to the world: even with minimal employee training, please teach your employees where the tourist information office is in your town.

With trial and error, I found the tourist office, while I was dripping wet,  and the nice lady  gave me many brochures about Ticino area and the castles, and she also opened up a plastic cape for me to wear while outside.

So I was given directions to the first castle, after several questions, and found the ‘lift’ that took me to the front of the building. The heavy front door, in itself reminded me of a fortress. The lobby was inside with a very nice lady ready to sell me a ticket to the museum; the castle itself was closed.

I declined the museum, because the price would be 9 francs, which meant $11 in U.S. money. I found that an outrageous price for a museum,  but that wasn’t the last of the surprise on how much things cost.

The lady there told me how to get to another castle, where I could go inside, but where the museum would be closed. Well, that sounded okay, but once I got outside the rain came down in sheets, and I was tired by then, of walking, so I regrouped inside a cafeteria. I got a cheese cake type of dessert with cafe latte. Boy do they know how to make that: it’s almost like soup, it’s so thick with coffee and milk. Yum.

Bellinzona street scene

Then I left to find the castle, but the rain discouraged me from trying to find the street to take to the castle. I asked myself how necessary it was for me to find the castle. I have seen many castles throughout my traveling life, and therefore, just talked myself out of it. I couldn’t take photos anyway, as when I took the camera out of the plastic bag, it immediately got wet, and the camera already has steam trapped inside the lens and I didn’t want to make it worse.

So, it was lunch time, and going inside a restaurant would be a ‘cultural experience’ as well as viewing a castle, and there was one handy and it looked busy.

Inside there were many tables of two people, some round tables with business-men, and long tables with families, or shared by several people. There was a ‘buzz’ sound in the room of people talking.

I ordered a risotto made with red wine, and a bottle of sparkling water. It never arrived, and people who came in later, were already leaving. A man came over to me and asked what I had ordered. It seems the kitchen somehow either forgot or just didn’t get the message. Anyway, it finally appeared, and I didn’t mind waiting, for after all, it was a cultural experience.

Then it arrived, a rice, soup-like ingredient in a bowl over red wine. Interesting. Then I asked the waitress for coffee latte, and that arrived, followed by a dessert that was free since I had waited so long.

It was a spaghetti-type brown noodle over a white crunchy sweet, divinity-tasting candy, and covered with whipped cream. Interesting again.

Then I got the bill: the dessert and coffee were not on the bill, but here’s what a bowl of rice and sparkling water cost: are you ready?  Twenty-seven Swiss francs! That is equivalent to twenty-nine U.S. dollars.

Switzerland is a beautiful country, but coming here was a decision that blew my budget way out of bounds.

I will be making up for it throughout the next few weeks, beginning by staying in a hostel in Zurich tomorrow.

The villages viewed from the train window made me wish to see those areas up close, some houses had vineyards attached. But a car would be necessary to get close to a smaller village.

So, the Ticino experience had pleasant moments, but the rain and expense thwarted the plan, however, I did get to understand where my friends from Salinas Valley came from.

a local newspaper

The last of Liechtenstein

The last night in Liechtenstein was a send-off with fireworks. Or at least that is what it meant to me. Birthday parties are often ended that way, I leaned, so I enjoyed some from the window of the hotel.

I stayed two days in the tiny country and blew my budget until it now looks like Swiss cheese.

My hotel was in a little village of Nendeln, and about a twenty minute drive to the Capital City Vaduz, and that was my destination yesterday.

I realized all this time I could be getting a senior citizen discount on the bus system, but didn’t know how to ask for one, so I came up with, “Ich been an alt frau” , which, in bad German says, “I’m an old lady.”

The bus driver laughed and gave me the discount.

The nice lady, Dagmar, at the hotel, when I asked if I could leave my luggage while I spent time in Vaduz, agreed to give me the key to the hotel to use whenever I came back to get my luggage. The hotel would be closed at noon, and that would have only given me a couple of hours.

So off I went without my luggage to Vaduz. The first place I stopped inside the town with many banks, was the Liechtenstein National Museum. It was so well organized and interesting, with commentary available in English. The docents were accommodating and plied me with free booklets about the history and the principality of the small country.

Seen inside the museum

The Reigning Prince Hans-Adam II, lives with his family in the Verduz Castle that sits high on a rocky terrace, and is accessible on a steep path, which puts you at the foot of the castle. Visitors are not allowed into the castle, but it’s not unusual, I’ve been told ,to see the royal family in the town at times.

After I toured the museum, and went on further to the art museum, and observed the tall granite buildings, and many banks, that match the towering granite peaks surrounding the country, I decided to try the path to the castle.

At the beginning of the steepest part of the trail

It was a rocky, steep road, whereby, there wasn’t anyplace I could use as a railing. Once in awhile, a shrub on top of a wall would help me gain my balance, but other than that, I struggled up the steep road until it turned and continued on in a rocky, slippery path of fallen leaves.

“My gosh, what did I get myself into?” I stopped where a couple were taking photos and taking their time up the path.

“Yes, and we’re not even there yet,” the young woman said and pointed toward the top.

A view from half way to the castle

I struggled to keep my feet on the ground, and to stay on the path, but by then, my knees were about to give out. Then I saw the castle wall and that gave me hope.

Meanwhile, people passed me up, and a few people were coming back down from the castle. Some smiled at my struggle.

I will not give up, I told myself. Meanwhile, I saw a road with cars driving down, and it looked as though they were driving past the castle. “Well, now I know the Royal Family doesn’t go up and down this hill.” I said to the couple who now had caught up with me and now passing me by.

One view of the castle

I made it to the top and saw the castle with the guard house, and then worried about how I would get down the steep path with my weak knees.

Since cars were passing me heading down the hill, I thought it should be no problem to hitch a ride, so I stuck my thumb out, and only decided that was useless when three cars stormed by.

The castle wall as seen from the path

So back on the path, I put one foot in front of another one, ever so slowly, that I must have been seen to shuffle as I stepped precariously on the downhill slope with nothing to hold on to.

About half way down, I began to realize there was no turning back, and there was no other way to get down the hill but to persevere, and that put me in mind of my brother Jack. He was a surveyor and did most of his work in the Colorado mountains, all the while suffering from years of pain, from a youthful serious bout of polio. He never gave up and neither will I. Then I looked down on the path and found a heart shaped rock.

I made it off the mountain and back to the hotel to pick up my luggage.

I met another couple at the bus stop, who I had also seen on the trail, and they helped me make certain I would get on the correct bus. She is originally from Finland and takes care of children, and he is Swiss and is a landscape architect. They were delightful and It felt good to spend some time talking with them. That’s what makes my whole adventure worth while.

And that was the beginning of the next chapter…the trip to Ticino in Switzerland where I am now.

 

a surveyor's measuring point

 

 

 

 

A heart bedded into the rocky path/ encouraging me to continue on

busy day

I will take a break today, because I’ve been on the move all day. It’s been an awesome, and interesting day.   More tomorrow. I must sleep now.

What is so special about Liechtenstein? People have used this line to discourage me from going to this country. “There isn’t anything there,” I’ve been told and have read such in travel forums.

But I’m happy to report the opposite of what some have said. This is the most beautiful country, with fall colors on massive mountains that jut straight up to the sky on one side of the country, and awesome snow covered Alps on the other.

The Alps

Today, I signed up for one more night in the hotel, as I wanted to discover more of the country; one night was not enough time. I took a bus to the Schaan station, which is the center of one major town.

I was mesmerized from what I saw; awesome huge mountains, old and new architecture and spotless one way streets that are driven on mostly by large new cars.

I wandered around and found an old stone church and steeple, with bells beckoning me near.

Church steeple I saw from afar

It’s heartwarming sometimes to experience what comes from traveling, especially when you are alone. The massive mountains that border the cities, the fall splendor and the snow capped Alps, and, that this is all part of a German country, put me in mind of my German father, Lawrence.

I felt an overpowering feeling of his presence in the massive and powerful mountains. He was strict, to say the least, and often used the belt as a whipping tool. I believe in the child rearing knowledge today, it might be called ‘child abuse.’

So much time has gone by, and my father became a mellow, funny and warm man later in life, that I had long ago excused his style of discipline, as a part of his cultural upbringing.

But it was today in the mountains and the familiar cold, crisp air, I grew up in, in Colorado, that I truly felt a feeling of forgiveness towards him.

Liechtenstein is a sandwich between Switzerland and Austria, with closer ties to Switzerland.

Liechtenstein has a castle.  You can climb to the top of a hill and find His Serene Highness Hans-Adam II, prince of Liechtenstein’s dwelling, which is the castle.

It has a broad view of the Rhine Valley. It is said the prince is a casual guy, taking a morning jog and greeting folks.

Politically, Liechtenstein is an independent state that, to say it enjoys a high standard of living, is an understatement. I’d almost come close to calling it Rodeo Drive of Europe.

The City of Verduz is the capital city and is the center of commerce and international banking.

“Are you here to get some of the ‘black money?’” A man heading up a table of American’s during breakfast this morning asked me.

“I haven’t seen any black money yet.” I answered, but not really knowing what my answer should be.

He was the owner of a business and was treating his employees to a mini-vacation in Liechtenstein. Later they whooped it up in the same restaurant.

I learned that low taxes spurred an outstanding economic growth, but  banking oversight resulted in concerns about the many banks being used for money laundering and tax evasion, as well.

However, I have learned that folks bringing money-loaded suitcases to hide in banks is over.

Prosperity is evident everywhere, with building’s going up and stores full of expensive goods.

Liechtenstein has never been involved in a battle or military confrontation, and see their flag as a banner of peace.

There is a very low rate of unemployment in the country of only 35,000 people.

In my walk around Schaan I came to a theater which is used both for stage plays and to show movies. There was a children’s play to be seen later in the day.

I also found a Christmas Market that was held inside a city-owned cultural building and was a fund raiser for Waldorf school.

Made from a paper product

The kiosks were full of crafts, the likes of which I have not seen before: wool toys, and wool fake fruit that looked real, paper lanterns, books and canned food, dried fruits, candy and more.

One kiosk made me stop and look further. They were floral arrangements made from a paper product called paper thread. Lidwien, the artist, showed me how the product comes from Great Britain in threads, that when pulled apart can be used to create flower petals or leaves. “It’s a lot of work.” she said and I can believe it, but they would make a great addition on a holiday table.

Tomorrow I’ll go to Ticino, after I have seen the City of Verduz.

By the way, the people are friendly, helpful and interested in my journey. It was an awesome day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liechtenstein

Three train changes, two bus changes and now I’m in Liechtenstein, one of the smallest countries in the world.

The train cruised quietly past rolling hills and mini forests that were in fall splendor, and the hills got greener and greener as we got closer to Liechtenstein.

One of many fall trees

Then all of a sudden there they were: the snow capped Alps.

The last bus was in Liechtenstein and to make certain I’d get off the right stop for the hotel I had prearranged, the driver agreed to tell me when to get off the bus.

After climbing higher away from the capital city, Vaduz, and closer to the mountains, the bus stopped and the driver walked back to tell me it was time to get off the bus. He took my two suitcases and put them on the sidewalk. He then got back in the bus and left me standing, wondering where I’d find the hotel.

Then I saw a large yellow van that was a delivery service of some kind. The van stopped at a stop sign and I waved a note at him and he rolled down his window.

“Do you know where this is?”

I don’t think he understood English, but he knew what I wanted and told me to get in, he’d take me there. It was about 500 meters away. I wouldn’t have found it by myself.

I went in to the hotel and it was silent at the restaurant inside the hobby.

I hollered hello. Hello? No one answered. Hmmm, wonder what I should do now.

Soon a small man came in and found me wandering around. It turns out there are two restaurants with two hotels attached, and they are owned by the same people.

He didn’t speak English, but we went together to the other hotel lobby, where he found my paper work. I signed the papers, and he walked back with me to the room.

He told me dinner would be served in the restaurant next door around 4 p.m.

I settled down in the room, a nice clean place with a yellow comforter and matching pillow.

I took a nap and then went to the restaurant, that was slowly filling up with noisy people at the bar.

A church across the street from my hotel

It’s strange how in this German environment, I feel quite at home even though I cannot speak the language.

The waitress was dressed in a long skirt with a vest and full sleeved blouse, which looked like a modified version of the old costume of the village.

My hotel window looks out to a small farm with cows grazing and the other side of the mountain range.

from my window

The Alps are in front of the hotel and seem to never end. There are fall colors all the way up to the snow caps.

The dinner began with a creme and white wine soup. It was delicious. The second course was a spinach dumpling kind of dish with mushrooms and pepper.

Tomorrow I’m going to sign up for one more night here, so I can walk around some more, and head to the main city to have a look.

Castle steps and one stubborn American woman

I’m in a little town in Goltweg in Switzerland. I went with my hostess on a long walk in the countryside and then to a Schloss (Castle) Kyburg.

We began our walk along trails that took us through the green countryside, fall leaves on the ground, tree limbs like arms reaching out into the space and past a looking hippy haven.

Pathway in Switzerland

It’s a coop farm that has a tent and a painted bus, a-la the 70s. Brigit explained that it was one man’s idea to purchase the property and then sell shares. The residents share in the work. I saw a huge amount of wood all chopped up and sitting like a long wall. Boy would that have been nice in our Colorado home when we depended on wood to warm our house.

Then we came to cows grazing and a horse wearing a royal purple blanket. We saw some cute little children caring leaves strung up on a line. Each child carried their treasure of autumn leaves.

At one point I looked up toward the hills and saw a castle.

“What is that? It looks like a castle?”

“It is. We’re going there.”

“What? That far?”

“Yes, it just looks far, but we’ll soon walk along the river bank and then we’ll climb up to the castle.”

What is that? "It's the castle. That's where we're going."

Then we walked on a path along the river bank. The water was sparkling clean, and, according to Brigit you could drink from it.

We got up to the stairs that would take us to the castle. Wow! That took a long time, as the steps were high and my knees had to work hard.

“Are we almost there?”

“See, that’s where we want to go. Just rest whenever you want to.”

I walked as far as I could go before I had to admit to needing a rest. But rest I did. It must have been 2,000 steps.

We finally got to the top and saw that the museum inside the 1500s castle was closed, so we walked a little bit around the tiny village and found a restaurant. We went in and had apple strudel with a delicious white sauce.

The man who waited on us wore the formal white coat. I believe he lives upstairs as the restaurant is an old home, turned into a restaurant.

The original tile oven was still there against the wall with a curtain on top of it. I have read that when people baked inside ovens like this one, the tile was warm and allowed children to sleep on top of the oven.

One huge advantage in Switzerland is the public transportation and because I was tired enough not to want to walk all the way back, Brigit looked up the bus schedule on her phone and we waited ten minutes for it. We took that bus to the Winterhurt Seen station and then to Winterhurt, where we did a little bit of business in the commercial area, and then took a train back to the bus station, and took the bus back to her home.

Brigit is a fabulous, creative cook, and she made polenta, a pumpkin stew and a Chinese cabbage salad. I ate too much, as usual. Homemade food is a treat these days.

Now for the difficult part: Brigit has traveled extensively and has strong opinions, most of them bring out how wonderful and perfect Switzerland is, and how bad other countries are, especially the U.S. I learned from her opinion that people in the U.S. don’t know how to read maps, they are ignorant in many subjects – namely math, they don’t take an interest in what’s going on in the country politics, they depend on those in power, high school education is many years behind Swiss schools, U.S. citizens are not very bright in general, U.S. people don’t know anything about the world in general, the people in the states drink a lot and often get drunk, and the list went on and on the entire weekend. U.S. people blame others for their own mistakes.

She blamed the media for how Swiss teen agers now ‘binge drink’.

I finally nailed her about generalities, so I didn’t let her get by with it. I can handle a little bit of criticism and can even agree with some of it, but enough is enough.

I’ll be in the little country of Liechtenstein tomorrow. It will be a challenge getting to the hotel I arranged through the internet, but I’ll do it, just wait and see.

This American is one determined woman.

Cute little Swiss house

 

I’m in Zurich

I’m in Winterthur Seen in Switzerland at a home of the lovely Brigit. Brigit is a college professor, bright and thoughtful, and in tune with world politics. Her apartment is in a lovely posh neighborhood, surrounded by trees and shrubs, two and three story houses.

I left Malaga at 5:30 a.m. in a taxi I shared with a couple from Ireland, and left Malaga by Vueling Airlines for Barcelona where I spent six hours waiting for the next flight out to Zurich.

I walked up and down the airport corridors, looked at the duty free shops, and ate food and drink at various restaurants. Anyway, six hours came and went and then it was time to board for Zurich. I hoped for a seat companion from Switzerland so I could ask some questions. Lucky me. A nice woman and her husband sat with me and gave me encouragement about how to get where my hostess lives.

Not only that, she went with me, pulled one of my suitcases up and down the elevator and escalators until we finally went into a train information/ticket office where I purchased the tickets to Winterthur.

In Winterthur, I asked another lady if she would help me find out where to catch the Winterthur Seen train and she, not only helped me, but stayed with me until it was certain we were at the right station.

Then at Winterthur Seen, I had to catch a bus for the final destination, which would let me off at the bottom of a hill that I would need to climb to get to Brigit’s place. By then it was dark.

The bus driver was a crabby kind of guy and tried to tell me something and I still don’t know what he said.

Anyway, I got off the bus and found another kind soul who told me how to find Brigit’s house.

When I got to the top of the hill, pulling my baggage, and found the house, Brigit wasn’t there.

She eventually showed up on a bicycle. She rides to work on the bicycle, and on her free time, she rides on long journey’s throughout Europe.

She has four long haired part Siamese cats, who are guaranteed to sleep with me tonight.

Brigit had made a delicious pumpkin soup, and shared several types of Swiss cheese, and I bid her good night. It was a very long day.

 

holy man

Holy man