Apr. 3rd, 2010

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In hindsight, I realised when I woke at 3.30am this morning, that second Tanqueray and tonic last night was a spectacularly bad idea. Getting up in the middle of the night to queue for check in with the hordes when you’re feeling tired and hungover is really rather unpleasant! I hope to remember this fact when we’re at the Holiday Inn at Bristol Airport in July!

Yes, it wasn’t easy, but we managed to get ourselves up and checked in by 4.30am this morning, and then after clearing security we went for a much needed coffee before mooching around the shops for half an hour and then walking down to our gate. We hadn’t been able to get speedy boarding so we had to wait while those people went through, and then of course the people with children went next, because of course they rule the world [/sarcasm], and then it was time for us second class citizens to board. It wasn’t a problem to get a seat together with one by the window, though. I’ll be glad to have the speedy boarding for Mallorca, I must say. It’s one less thing to worry about!

The flight was fine – the pilot had warned us that there may be a bit of turbulence because he was having to fly at a slightly lower altitude than normal due to the short duration of the flight, but actually it was really smooth! We landed into Zurich, got our cases and then we had to get a funny little underground train thing from the terminal, which at one point showed a flickering picture on the walls of the tunnel, which reminded me of those ghostly photos from the London Underground, and then there was the sound of a cow mooing. Most bizarre!

Our Tour Director (I’m sure they just used to call them Reps) met us in arrivals – she’s from the Italian part of Switzerland and she’s called Fiorenza, but we’re to call her Flo, apparently. Also there was Michele, who’s from Sicily and is to be our driver for the week. On the way into Zurich, Flo gave us maps of the city and pointed out various places of interest, as well as telling us how to get into the city centre from our hotel, and what the plan was for this evening. She also gave us the idea of going to the local supermarket (Migros) to get things like mineral water rather than getting them from the mini bar – top tip, that!!

When we got to the hotel we were able to go straight to our room, which was brilliant. Mum unpacked, and I nipped over to Migros and brought back some chewy sweets to have on the coach as well as some tea bags and some water.

Once mum had finished unpacking we headed out and made our way to the tram stop, where we quickly picked up a train heading into actual Zurich. We got off at the main railway station and found the Tourist Information Office, and booked ourselves onto the next Trolley excursion, which was leaving shortly. We found the trolley and got on, and spent the next couple of hours being shown around the main sights of the city.

It’s a really pretty city – fairly compact so it was easy to get to see most things from the trolley. And the weather was lovely – we’d looked at the forecast and it had said rain for today so we were very happy to find it not only dry but actually very mild and partly sunny!

Once we’d finished the tour, we walked along the main shopping street, the Bahnhofstrasse, and found a little café up a side street, where we had a lovely ham and cheese sandwich and a huge beer for lunch. We then mooched around the shops for a while but didn’t really see anything we couldn’t have got at home, so we decided to head back to the hotel and just chill for a while, before this evening’s welcome meeting/dinner.

I managed to have a little doze back at the hotel and then got showered and changed and we went down to the bar and had a beer before the welcome meeting started. During this, Flo outlined the itinerary for the week ahead (it’s going to be so busy!) and we also had to say our names and where we were from. I’d expected everyone to be English, but that’s not the case. There’s one more English couple, a single English woman, and also a Welsh couple, but then it’s like the United Nations – people from America, Australia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, The Philippines, Thailand and India!

Dinner tonight was one of the two which is included in our holiday, and it was a set menu but was very nice – salad to start, followed by pork in a cream and mushroom sauce on a bed of rice, and then a sorbet to finish. We sat with a couple who now live in Houston, but he’s originally from Spain and she’s originally from Peru. She’s definitely called Marina and I think his name is Pedro. Pedro has a very strong accent and a moustache that sticks out from his upper lip at a 90 degree angle. Marina has an equally strong accent, but no moustache.

After dinner we decided to head straight to bed because it’s been a long day, and we have to get up early again tomorrow to head off to St Moritz. The weather forecast is for snow – we shall see.

Today's photos )

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