Zurich, Switzerland, and Freiburg, Germany

Day 8- Saturday, September 29, 2001

We awoke around 6:00am. We got dressed and went for breakfast at 8:00. The buffet was a bit different than the day before- fried eggs instead of scrambled with the same great assortment of meats and cheeses. One thing that I have noticed about the eggs is that the color of the yolks is orange- orange like pumpkins, and not like the yellow yolks that we are used to in the U.S. I don't know if it's a difference in the feed or the chickens. The taste is the same but the color is quite startling. After breakfast we stopped at the front desk and paid our bill before going back to the room to get our bags. We really hated to leave this place because it had such charm. The taxi picked us up and took us to the train station in Fuessen. We got there shortly after 9:00 and the train didn't leave until 11:05. We walked back, bags in tow, to the center of town to wait, watch the people, and do some last-minute shopping. The train arrived at 10:50. We boarded the first-class car and settled back for our transfer point at Buchloe (pronounced boo-KLOH-uh), about an hour away.

We arrived in Buchloe and got ourselves and bags off the train. By this time we had it down to an art. Barb would get off first and then I would hand her the bags and we would put them back together at a convenient time. We also did this in reverse when boarding trains. We could now get on and off trains in less than a minute, a skill that would later prove valuable. The train to Zurich was originally scheduled to leave from track 4 but was changed to track 5, on another platform. We had about a half an hour so we weren't rushed at all

We boarded the train and were off to Zurich at 12:54. About 1:30 we went to the dining car for some lunch. We both ordered the meat and cheese plate- smoked meats, salami and Brie. In the first-class section of the trains, which we were entitled to with our Eurail pass, the dining car was always very close. The rest of the ride was pleasant as we were the only people in the 6-seat compartment. We met a couple from Toronto who were going to Bregenz to spend a week with friends at Lake Constance (Bodensee). After the stop just before Bregenz the train reversed directions on its way to Bregenz. We arrived at Zurich Hauptbahnhof at 4:26. It was raining and foggy. We took a taxi to our hotel.

Cars are definitely a lower form of life here compared to the street cars, at least near the rail station. The traffic lights are timed to accommodate streetcars and one, maybe two, cars would get through each traffic light. Once we got through the heavily congested main area traffic moved a little bit faster. It was a 17,30 Swiss Franc fare (about $11) fare to the hotel.

We checked in to room 1616 and asked about things to do in the area. We were told that since it was Saturday afternoon everything closed early. We walked around the area and the hotel, and finding nothing open, as warned, back to the hotel restaurant for dinner. It was 5:45pm and the restaurant did not begin serving until 6:00 so we had to wait for a while. We asked for a non-smoking seat and we were shown to a table right next to where the people were smoking. This was a non-smoking table, not the non-smoking section of the restaurant. We asked again for the non-smoking (nicht rauchen) section and were seated in another section of the restaurant. Better but not exactly what we wanted. Remember the 'non-peeing' section of the pool? This was it. I ordered the Norwegian salmon with lemon herb butter and French Fries and Barb had grilled chicken breast with fries. This was also very good.

We went back to the room, called home, then sat back and relaxed.

Until now, one of the things that we had rarely seen are SUVs. I saw a Ford Expedition in Munich, apparently owned by a business that could afford gas at more than $4 per gallon, and an occasional Jeep Grand Cherokee, but generally no SUVs until we got to Zurich. Almost immediately I saw a Lincoln Navigator and other large SUVs.

Day 9- Sunday, September 30, 2001

The day dawned very rainy and foggy. We got up about 7:00am. Our plans were to take the train from Zurich to Basel, switching to the train to Freiburg. We went to breakfast, a nice buffet as we had grown accustomed to. We checked out and got a taxi to the train station. We got to the station early expecting to sit and wait. Our train was scheduled to leave at 10:02 where we would wait in Basel until about 3:00pm for the next train to Freiburg. I checked with the information desk and was told that we could get on the 8:37 train to Basel and transfer to Freiburg at 10:18. The train would arrive in Basel at 10:13 and we would have just 5 minutes to make the transfer. This would put is in Freiburg shortly before noon saving more than 4 hours. By now we were experts in getting on and off trains. Barb gets off first, then I hand down each piece of luggage. We reverse the process for boarding and I hoist each bag into the train. This way the bags are never out of our sight. This was one of the nicest train cars that we have been on yet. The first-class section is nearly empty. There was a couple sitting in front of us in a 4-seat arrangement. An elderly woman got on the train and insisted that she had a reservation for one of the occupied seats, and made the people move even though there were plenty of empty seats in first class.

We arrived in Basel on schedule at 10:13 and began our exit/entry drill. The connecting train was on the opposite side of the platform, less than 20 feet away. We had no more than stowed our bags and sat down than the train began to move. This was the tightest connection that we have ever had, but we made it and got to Freiburg at 11:00am instead of 4:45pm as was our original plan.

At the train station in Freiburg I asked a taxi driver where our hotel was. He said it was down the street to the left about a 5 minute walk. He was absolutely correct. We checked in at the front desk and by a stroke of luck our room was ready. We didn't have to wait 4 hours until 3:00pm. We dumped the bags in the room and set out to see the sights.

Since it is Sunday, there are very few places open. We did find the tourist information center office, next to the hotel, with 10 minutes to spare before it closed. We bought a map, a pin, and were off to explore the old city which is behind the hotel. We walked about an hour, decided that we had seen enough for now, and were ready for lunch. We walked back to the hotel and had lunch in the café. We both had salads, mine with smoked salmon and Barb's with chicken.

We then took a walk back to the train station to see what shops might be open there. We bought a paper and some soda and beer and returned to the hotel. We both took a nap, tired from all of the walking and riding from the past few days. We got up about 5:30pm. Dinner would not be until 7:00pm. We watched TV for a while and at 6:30 went down to have a drink in the bar before dinner. We ordered our drinks and went to a table to sit down. After quite a while without seeing anyone I walked back to the bar to ask about our order. I was told that it takes at least 7 minutes to properly draw a pilsner beer which was why it was taking a long time. I sure didn't know that.

Dinner time finally arrived and we were seated. We both 'dressed for dinner.' I had put on a pair of Dockers instead my usual blue jeans. I ordered a bottle of wine- a fine Riesling. For appetizers, I had the salmon rolls with a caviar sauce and Barb had the scallops with bacon. My entrée was the fillet of sole stuffed with a spinach sauce and Barb had fillet of rabbit. They had saved a portion back when serving her so that when she was done they served another course. I have never seen this done. We thoroughly enjoyed both. Throughout the dinner experience there was a 'nervous little man' flitting about making sure that everything was just so. He was ready to drive us crazy by the time we got out of there.

After dinner we went for a short walk in the old section of town. We retired early tonight, being very tired.

Zurich Train Station
Train Car - Zurich to Freiburg
Freiburg Train Station
Hotel Colombi
Back to Fussen Freiburg, Day 2