Sun 5 Jan - Somewhere between Zürich and Bangkok

Leaving Europe... Going home.

We awoke to rain so took our being our last day we've sort of lost our mojo for tourism so we were in no hurry and went to breakfast around 9am and then packed up for an 11am room departure.

This was a view similar to what we had from our room - ie: not much and not inspiring.

One thing that made sense was to check in online for our flights, tonight with Swiss Air to Bangkok and from Bangkok to Sydney with Qantas tomorrow.

Problems problems problems. Two of them...

  • Yep, we could check in with Swiss Air but we were seated apart, both of us in a packed plane seated in the middle of 4 but several rows apart.
  • Secondly, no chance of online check in with Qantas even when we were within 24 hours. Nope. Not allowed for code share booked flights. What can we say but "Qantas s..cks".

With no other plans we thought we might as well do a little trip to Zürich airport to try and at least sort out the Swiss Air boarding passes. Financially it made sense to buy a day ticket to cover this trip, returning again tonight and some tram touring for today. Off we went.

Success at the Flughafen with Swiss Air. A sympathetic supervisor understood our unhappiness and pulled a rabbit from his hat. At least we are now together with one of us on the aisle. No luck with Qantas still...Swiss Air was confident we would be OK with getting boarding passes issued at the gate in Bangkok as there is no local Qantas representation. We will see how that goes tomorrow. At least they can send our bags all the way from Zürich to Sydney.

OK...time for something more interesting - and you know we love time for some exploring.

First to the zoo, not to see animals but to visit the nearby Friedhof (another cemetery) and find James Joyce. This was the tram and our final stop.

But wait...what does that sign on the right say? FIFA? Here? We had to investigate.

Wow - the international headquarters of FIFA are here and they even have a street named FIFA Straße, see sign to the right.

Hans was very excited but disappointed that he could not get closer...

But that generally only limits us a little...and we balanced on top of a barricade to get a closer look and photo of this statue.

Just up the road was the cemetery. It was only a small place and the Swiss being so organised they had a list of prominent citizens buried here. James Joyce included and a Nobel prize winning author called Elias Canetti (which we are embarressed to say we had not heard of).

When you get in to the cemetery you have to "park your dog".

Up the top of the cemetery is the grave of James Joyce, and we think his wife and at least one or two children. The statue is just him. Apparently he lived in Zurich for quite a while and then came back here when he was old and ill and quietly passed away.

The Swiss are so neat and so compliant. They even have these nice chairs for resting in the cemetery. Not bolted down, all clean and with a nice perspective. Nobody would dare damage or remove them.

And like the Germans and Austrians the Swiss here seem to encourage individuality in grave stones. We liked these two. The one on the right has bunnies, carved mountains, a sun and the valley.

Time for a return trip on the tram. We thought of catching tram 5 instead of 6 buy as per Murphy's Law the tram pulled away when we were within 10 metres of it. We laughed hard.

The delay did give us time to check out the vending machines and this made us laugh too. You can buy snacks, condoms and if all goes too far you can also get a Maybe Baby pregnancy test kit.

Our tram 6 was very modern and handled the steep hills of Zürich no trouble.

On the way down we had the beat seats - the very back. Great views...and Di.

Of course there are lots of rules of things you can't do but we've never seen someone turn up with a saw to remove seats...maybe the locals can be a little bent...

We had been snacking a bit in the morning so missed lunch and opted instead for coffee and cake as a final European farewell and where better than a confectioner who has been in business for 175 years - Sprüngli - you might know their name from the upmarket Lindt chocolate which credits them.

To us Sprüngli seemed to be a Sunday afternoon institution for the locals. It was very busy and when we arrived a window seat freed up. Bonus.

Ahhhhhhhh the patisserie counter looked lovely.

...but we couldn't go past Kaffee Gourmand, something we had tried in Paris, where you get coffee with a section of mini pastries and treats.

At CHF14 per head (about $16) it was a serious splurge but delicious with a truffle chocolate, 2 macaroons (here called Luxemburgerli) and 2 mini pastries. Tasty tasty but perhaps a bit too much sugar in one hit.

Di was rubbing her tummy afterwards with a big smile.

These are 2 of the 4 Luxemburgerli we tried - tiny, delicate, light and expensive (CHF120 per kilogram).

More exploring was needed as we knew we would soon be sitting for a long time so we jumped on another tram but got off about 10 minutes later as the suburbs it was passing were boring.

Back on the tram to town as we got off at OpernHaus. Much nicer and the sun was setting after a surprisingly nice day - so a selfie was required.

Shame we missed this, a Fondue Tram, it looked like does move and tour the city for about 90 minutes while you eat fondue onboard, and we assume drinks plenty.

Strolling home along the river, we took a few photos of places we visited yesterday that just looked great in this soft light. The light was kind to Hans too. For a change...

Lindenhof was empty when we visited in the rain but now had some people sitting at the top. Probably very romantic with the sun setting.

We kept going a little further past the Hauptbahnhof and the river edge had a nice park and path. Again very pretty. Note that this tree is propped up by a pole in the water.

It might be hard to see but you eventually get to a spot where the river and a canal meet (part of downtown Zürich is on an island) and the river suddenly drops a few metres.

But all was calm looking back towards old town and the alps. A good way way to remember our time here.

Back to our hotel around 5pm for a few hours of blogging and watching sport on TV in the lobby before grabbing our stored luggage and heading back to Zürich Flughafen.

We arrived at Zürich Airport at perhaps 7pm, took off our LL Bean jackets and packed them before checking in our bags (heck, we are unlikely to need those jackets for some time now).

The airport got into the Christmas spirit...

We had seen this ad a few times already and laughed but this time we just had to take a pic of it.

A crap meal for dinner at McDonalds where we got rid of our last Swiss franc note, but had to supplement with a 5€ to get what we wanted (chook and chips) before wandering around the airport looking for anything vaguely interesting. No, shops only.

After loitering around for a little while, we found a Starbucks with nice seating and since Zürich airport provided us with 1 hour free wifi, we plonked ourselves down there.

Our plane left Zurich airport some 30 minutes past scheduled departure time of 10.45pm. Perhaps the ludicrous fact that 2 planes were scheduled for a 10.40pm while 4 more were scheduled for 10.45pm had something to do with it. Anyway, we were on our way... Good night... Sort of.


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