Zürich

Despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t sleep on the plane.  So I was pretty fried by the time we landed in Zürich at 6:20 local time.

We had carried on toothbrush and toothpaste to freshen up.  Forgot.  We had carried on a clean pair of underwear and a clean shirt to change for our Friday excursions.  Forgot.  Goodness, I don’t think I even brushed my hair!  OOPS!

An airport employee helped us to find the Skymetro (from the international terminal) to the main terminals for baggage claim.  By then, it was relatively simple to find the customs officers (who waved us through) and a currency exchange to convert some of our American money.  After stopping at the Hertz counter for our rental car and grabbing a breakfast refresher + kaffee (and Diet Coke for me) at an airport café, we headed out.

The google map directions from the Zürich airport to St. Gallen were fairly worthless.  It was certainly better to attend to Dad’s advice that we just follow the signs for destinations.

St. Gallen  was organized by the same city planners who arranged the streets in Cedar Rapids, I think!  No straight streets; no easy routes to backtrack if you miss a turn.  We eventually found reasonable on-street parking pretty close to the abbey.  Just 2 CHF per hour (about $2.25 USD).

We first visited the cathedral, which seems to be undergoing renovation.  Still, a classic medieval Catholic architecture with ornate wood coverings, massive narrative paintings, and delicate inlaid gold.

The library was all the more stunning in that context.  Even the decor on the floor was made of inlaid wood, so easily scarred that visitors must wear slippers over their shoes.

How amazing to see manuscripts and illuminations more than 1,500 years old.  I especially enjoyed seeing pages from Martin Luther’s first translation of the scriptures.

The stunning roof tiles drew us from the TI (tourist information) center to the Church of St. Laurentius, the largest Protestant Church in St. Gallen dating back nearly 6 centuries.  This sanctuary, too, was very ornate and richly symbol-filled.  The lovely stained glass windows had such vivid hues, especially the deep reds (which are no longer commonly available for newer windows).

We had a hearty lunch at the cloister’s al fresco bistro. Ron’s sandwich contained thick tomato and mozzarella on a whole grain bun topped with pumpkin seeds.  Dad’s sandwich looked like a good amount of salami, lettuce, cucumber, and more on a hearty whole-grain bagel.  Just Diet Coke for me; still a little queasy from my motion-sensitivity.

We headed from St. Gallen to Appenzell, just for the scenic drive.  Lovely little village in the foothills, with one major snow-spotted peak prominent on the drive.  Interestingly enough, it’s possible to get lost even in a small town when driving!  And once you get reoriented, the roadsigns and maps aren’t much help!  Eventually, I exercised my driver’s prerogative, returning to Zürich by way of St. Gallen.

The google maps directions to the Hotel Leoneck were fairly helpful.  At least, they got us into the neighborhood.  Of course, there was no parking on the street due to the trams/buses.  So, after several loops through the neighborhood, we finally chose to park on the sidewalk in front of the hotel.  Not the only ones to do that either!

Our room, #650, was on the 6th floor of the added building.  Since the Swiss refer to the main floor as “0,” we took the tiny lift (which just held all of our luggage plus our 3 bodies) to floor #4 and then walked up the stairs to our penthouse.  =)

It was actually a nicer-than-expected space with beds in two rooms.  The smaller room (for Dad) also had a desk with a fridge beneath it.  The larger room (for Ron and me) had a little table with two chairs.

Since it was about 35 degrees Celsius outside (mid 90s), we were pleased to learn that our room included a tiny air conditioner.  It was wimpy and inefficient, but it was welcome.  By the time we were ready for bed, it was cool enough to be bearable.  It would have been even moreso for Dad’s room if not for the heat-generating fridge.

We were also pleased to learn that our room had a sizeable walk-out balcony with seating.  Too hot to enjoy this visit.  Hopefully in a week (if we have the same room)!

Dad and Ron each took a nap for about two hours.  I had consumed enough Diet Coke to stay alert that I wasn’t able to nap, but took time to get organized and relax a little.

As tired as we were, we decided not to venture out for supper.  The “Crazy Cow” restaurant adjoining our hotel was pricey, but adequate for a meal.  And we couldn’t have asked for friendlier service.

Ron had a vegetarian rösti with broccoli, peas, green beans, and zucchini in a cream sauce.  Dad had a meat and sausage topped rösti.  Three waters + one beer.  Oh yes, I had a plain green salad with delicious homemade Italian dressing.  Fresh breads, both sourdough and rye, were served in a slipper just like the ones we wore at the library!  Hearty meal with a hearty check ~ 95 CHF including tip!

I think we were all in bed by 22:00, local time.  No street noise.  No neighbor noise.  Just quiet + a comfortable bed.  Despite the warmth, I slept pretty well overall.

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