I love riding the trains in Europe. They are clean, efficient, relaxing and fun. Our trip to German and Switzerland included many train rides this year and each one was pleasant. Our first train ride of the vacation was from Munich to Zurich. We fly direct from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Munich. We spent two days there before going to Zurich to meet up with some travel friends we have know for many years that we met on the former Virtual Tourist web site. Although the web site no longer exists the friendships made there continue
1. We started our leaving Munich the early afternoon of May 20 to head to Zurich. We bought our tickets the day before but it wasn’t necessary as we could have bought them the day of the trip and still have no problems.
|Italian restaurant in the Munich train station|
1. I took some photos in the station when we arrived. We were early enough for an early lunch at the station. Luckily there were some good choices for food and not just fast food. We found a nice Italian restaurant where march ordered a salad plate which was huge. I asked about the size of the pizza. The waiter told me it was good for one. When it arrived it was good for one full table. So Mark helped me finish it.
1. Our jet lag had gotten better after two days in Munich so we were not zombies and could enjoy the ride. And also our cell phones.
1. The train took us Munich, down into Austria, and then back to German in the city of Lindau where we changed tracks. We never had to change trains. Our train just changed directions.
1. Near Lindau the motion of the train got the best of Mark and he fell asleep. I was too curious to give into the rocking motion and stayed awake to take photos along the way.
1. We saw many small towns and interesting stations like this small one with men sitting at a train station in Turkheim.
1. We also got to see Lake Constance (also called Bodensee) in Bavaria. The lake is a 63km-long central European lake that borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Fed by the Rhine River, it’s composed of 2 connected parts, the Untersee (lower lake) and the larger Obersee (upper lake).
Finally we got to see the beautiful and majestic Alps. I love the Alps and have been fascinating with them since the first time I saw them in 2003. As the train moved the mountains seem to change with each curve of the tracks.
There were many small towns along the route. I enjoyed watching them roll past. They were all picturesque. I particularly like the many small churches I got to see in the distance.
|Our good friend Sonja|
1. Finally we arrive in Zurich. We were not expecting a welcoming committee but our friend Sonja, who lives in Zurich, was at the station to meet us. I was walking down the platform looking at the station and trying to get myself acclimated when I heard a familiar voice and found someone running up to me and hugging me. What a nice welcome to Zurich. Like I said earlier. The Virtual Tourist web site may no longer exist but the beautiful friendships we made there are a bond that will never be broken.
1. Entering the train station I once again saw the Guardian Angel to those visiting Zurich suspended from the ceiling of the station. I first saw this in 2003 on my first visit to Zurich. So it was a great pleasure to see it was still there all these years later. The guardian angel was designed in the style of the colorful, voluminous “nana” figures for which the artist was world famous. They stand for joyful, liberated, self-confident women. Initially ridiculed by fellow artists, Niki de Saint Phalle's works are now one of the most popular works of contemporary art. . The Guardian Angel was even mentioned by Ric Steves in his PBS travel series. I liked her 2003 and even more now.
Sonja helped us find our hotel and then left us to rest and plan the rest of our night. Our hotel with the Ibis Zurich West. It was not city center but was in the Technopark area. It was a very short tram ride Zurich's city center.
After resting we ventured our for our first tram ride in Zurich. We went down the city center and found a wonderful Italian restaurant which was both affordable to Zurich standards, which are high, and very comfortable.
Then I was finished. The pasta and dessert had gotten the best of me and I was tired after a very long and enjoyable day. I stretched back in my chair in the restaurant and took a moment to close my eyes before heading back the tram and our hotel.