So, yesterday I left my hotel right around sunrise and stayed awake until about 9:30 Boston time. Long day. My flight left Zurich at 10AM, and I was staying in Lucerne, a little more than an hour from the airport, and I didn't know what the lines would be like or anything, so caught a 6:30 train to Zurich airport. Well, that was unnecessary. It took me all of fifteen minutes to get from the airport train station to the gate, including check-in. Even though my passport wouldn't scan. (The blue cover on my passport bled through onto the photo page in several spots because it got a bit damp when I was in England -- I kept it in inside pocket most of the time. For the last two years I have been worried that I am going to get hassled about it, but so far nothing bad has happened. Of course, really I've only been to Canada the once and then this trip to Switzerland, so I haven't exactly put it to the test. I have five years left on that passport so I hope it doesn't get any worse. I don't keep it anywhere damp anymore.)
So I paid nine Swiss francs for a four-ounce cup of coffee and a chocolate croissant to pass the time. I had about 15 CHF when I got to the airport and I figured I might as well spend it, since it seemed unlikely that I would be able to hold on to $15 worth of foreign coins until the next time I go to Switzerland (the smallest-denomination Swiss bill is the 10 CHF note -- they have coins for fives, twos, and ones).
In Paris I was befriended by a slightly-lost Croatian boy who was going to do a senior year at boarding school in Maine. He liked my photos, and took a picture of me before we got on the plane. Good luck, Martin from Croatia! Then in the line for Customs at Boston a guy who appeared to be in his early twenties came up to me and asked if I would do him a favor. "It depends on the favor!" I said -- doing favors for strangers involving U.S. Customs seems like it would generally be a bad idea. He just wanted to use my phone, though, and it didn't work in there anyhow. He had just gotten back from two years with the Peace Corps in Armenia, he said.
My flights were fine, although I was oddly focused on what I would do if the plane crashed, something I don't ordinarily think about much. I wasn't afraid the plane was going to crash, I just felt like I needed to have a plan in case it did. I had decided who I would call if I had access to a phone, who I would email if I had access to email, and I decided that a Facebook status update would be a good part of an assuring-people-I'm-OK plan.
Being home is fine. I have been giving people chocolate, which makes them like me. I had Thai food for dinner last night and an iced coffee on my way home from work today (these, together, cost me less than the coffee and croissant I had had for breakfast yesterday). I was so excited to put on a different pair of shoes this morning! Two weeks alternating between my Dansko sandals, my flip-flops, and my hiking boots made me very ready to try on something else. Only flat shoes for more than two weeks! What will my Achilles think when I put on heels tomorrow?
As I walked to work this morning, number one it felt really nice to be walking on the flat for thirty minutes straight. Wow, I don't think I had two miles of flat walking anywhere in the whole country of Switzerland. And the Trader Joe's parking lot is finished, finally! And a building I walk past every day was completely torn down while I was gone (I knew this was going to happen, but it was really weird to see the big pile of bricks where it used to be).
I've been looking over all my photos -- I've got something around 500, although some of those are repeats, and some are just sort of for reference rather than being nice photos. I'm really happy with them, overall. They make me want to take more photos, and possibly to get a more fidgety camera that I can do things with. Although I do really like my current camera -- it is small and blue and it has a big screen and a 10x zoom. Also, once I discovered how to fiddle with the white balance (um, two days ago), I was able to get a better handle on taking photos in bright sunlight, I think.
Here are some of my favorites (they have probably all appeared in the blog already):
Well, I could go on. What a beautiful country. I'm playing my photos on the TiVo right now, and some of them I just look at and think, "that cannot possibly have been real."
I definitely hope to go back there someday. Overall I had a great time. I felt a little bummed and lonely this past weekend in Basel, but it's not like I generally go two weeks at home without ever feeling blue. Sometimes I think there's too much pressure to have fun on vacation. I have to remind myself that just because I'm not ecstatic non-stop doesn't mean the vacation is a failure or a waste!
This morning I woke up at 3:30 and thought, "Oh no! I forgot to go to the glacier cave!" Because, you know, I did forget. I had been planning on going in the glacier cave on Monday, but I got distracted with sledding and catching trains and things. It was right there (somewhere -- I didn't see any signs for it), but I just forgot to go in. So sad! So I'll definitely have to go back.