Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 9 - Switzerland to Germany

We set an alarm for 7:45, just because we didn't want to sleep in too long. Especially with not much time left to spend here in Switzerland!

Dik came around last night and shut all the big wooden window shutters for us - from the outside of the house - so the sun wouldn't wake us. I slept great!!

I hopped in the shower right away. The bath tubs here are smaller than ours. It got a little steamy in the little bathroom, so I cracked the window.  The brisk morning Alps air was amazing. And the cow bells are so peaceful. I just love it here!

Dik ran in to the bakery to get breakfast for us, and Christa washed dishes. No dishwasher here, which she is not happy about. Their new house will definitely have one!

We all sat down around the table and had croissants and bread with fresh jam. And oj. They eat Kellogg's cereal here. Corn flakes and choco-puffs are Christa's favorites! (Apparently there is a big Kellogg's factory near here...)

We learned that Dik can do amazing animal impersonations while eating. I guess he worked on Christa's family farm for the first month or two he lived here (before he found a job) and he wanted to entertain the animals. His pig, cow, and chicken are all spot on. It's scary, haha. Christa's mom thought he was crazy, always standing around the pig pen talking to them, ha. It cracked us all up! That, and the fact that Christa is obsessed with Halloween! She has seen in on television in the US and wants to come visit for Halloween to dress up!

After breakfast, we looked up train schedules so Christa could just drop us in Burgdorf instead of all the way back to Bern. (11:38 train put us in Bern in time to catch our 12:02 from there to Zurich.) Then we loaded up all our stuff (kind of getting tired of unpacking and packing, since I have to sit on my suitcase every time to get it zipped) and left to see the new house they are building.

Nothing but blue sky again, so the drive up the hill to their land was spectacular. Christa kept telling me that this area was beautiful, too (before I came), and she was right. We stopped once to take some pictures. Big green rolling hills dotted with cows, and the Jungfrau region off in the distance...

I rode with Christa and Matt rode with Dik. We drove through a little village - the one Christa grew up in - and just up a hill that overlooks it was the beginning of their very own house being built. It was pretty cool to see. They are very excited about it, as they should be! It's going to be a big, nice house with great views of the village below. They gave us boots to wear (it was muddy) and gave us a tour of what was there so far. Guest room in the basement has already been claimed by us. We definitely will be back when it's finished -- maybe for their wedding!

Turns out the guy who owned the land was a family friend of Christa's. He bought all of his cows from them. So when they were looking for land to buy a couple of years ago, he let them choose the land they wanted, and gave them a deal on it. Pretty cool!

We hung around there for a little bit, and had to say our good-byes to Dik who had to go back to work. Christa took us on up to her family farm just a few minutes away, up above their building spot. What a beautiful house she grew up in! It's a huge 200 year old farm house. Her dad was sitting outside on the porch when we pulled up.

Christa gave us the tour: garden, horses, goats, chickens, ducks, sheep, and cows! So cool! The horse was so calm and we got to get right up next to him and pet him. He was HUGE!

We were heading up for Christa to show us somehow else when I realized the time. It was 11:05, and Christa had said earlier we needed to leave by 11 to make it to Burgdorf for our train. Woops!

So we quickly hopped in the car and took off. Christa said, "Oh shit, Christa! Why don't you leave earlier?!" In her little Swiss accent, it was just hilarious. She started driving like a bat out of hell on the little windy Swiss country roads, well exceeding the posted speed limits. She even told us she was going to drive crazy, ha. Matt and I both thought we were going to throw up before we made it to Burgdorf. Somehow we didn't, but neither of us felt well as we pulled in to town.

Christa kept telling us we would make it. We all had our eyes on the clock. But as we got close to the station, the whole road was under construction and comes off. "Oh, shit! This big problem! This problem for us!!" She didn't know where to go, so we kept driving. I calmly asked her how far it was to Bern, to see if we had any chance of her driving us all the way there to catch the 12:02 train. But all of a sudden, she flipped a u-turn by some bicycles and said, "That way! We run!" Ha, it was an intense couple of minutes, but we actually got there - completely out of breath - with two or three minutes to spare! We said our good-byes on the train platform, and vowed it wouldn't be another 5 years until we saw each other again. I just love that girl (and Dik). They are really good people. :)

Saying goodbye on the train platform

It only took 18 minutes to get to Bern. We jumped off, found our next train to Zurich, and hopped right back on. We only had a few minutes. That train (Bern to Zurich) was about an hour. Most of that time was spent eating the bread and sausage Christa packed for us. So sweet! (As well as the last of our amazing cookies from Murren!) The train was packed and we barely found two seats together with room for our bags. In Zurich, we only had about 15 minutes to find our next train to Munich. We popped up, grabbed some water and ham/salami sandwiches for the long ride, and went back down to the platform.

We went ahead and reserved two seats on this train. First, it's a very long one, so I didn't want to be standing that long. And second, it's a popular route, especially for the last weekend of Oktoberfest, so we thought it might be packed. And packed it was. We got on somewhere in the middle, and couldn't for the life of us find car 708, which was on our ticket. Couldn't find any workers either! We walked from car to car, and I was getting beyond frustrated. And motion sick. The train was moving and bouncing back and forth as we tried to maneuver through people. Ugh! We finally found a guy who motioned that it was six cars in the opposite direction. Bleh! So off we went, me about to murder someone. Aaaand the last two cars of the train were not numbered. There were people in our seat numbers on both cars. We stopped in the very last (or first, I guess) car and just stood there trying to decide what to do. There were two girls in our seats on this one, and by the time I'd had enough and was going to go ask them to move, they were asleep and I didn't want to wake them. We were in second class, after all, and that's pretty much a free for all. We just happened to reserve seats there. So two nice American girls heard us and offered to move their bags so we could sit with them. We did for awhile, and ate our sandwiches. I got up to go to the bathroom, and these trains aren't near as nice as the ones in Switzerland. The bathroom was gross and the the whole in toilet went straight through to the train tracks below! How disgusting!

Anyways, at the next stop, the two girls got off - thank goodness - so we moved to our seats. It was going to be a long four hours (or probably three at that point) squished in with the American girls. It was a much nicer trip after that. Except the sun was beating down on us and it was nuclear! Our long sleeve shirts definitely came off. We made a few more stops, slept a little, snacked a little, and eventually got off in Munich's central station. (But not before two old people, who also had reserved seats, sat down right next to us and made us move all our stuff. We just moved seats instead so we had more room.) Oh, and when the guy came around to check our tickets, we couldn't find the ones with our seat reservations on them anyways - the ones we payed $26 to get THE DAY we left Kansas - so we just used the generic ones we had for any train. What a waste that little fiasco was.

                           Awake...eating my favorite licorice!                               Out cold.

You know what I don't get?! Why do we call it Munich?! No one we does! It's Munchen over here!

Anyways, Munich central station was CRAZY! Everyone was dressed up for Oktoberfest! I mean, EVERYone! It was hilarious to see! I have to get an outfit like that!! (Oh, and most of them were three sheets to the wind, too!  Very entertaining.) We started walking around, with really no idea where we were going, and stumbled upon a souvenir shop. Of course we couldn't leave without buying the official Oktoberfest 2012 beer mug!! I love it! Perfect souvenir for this part of the trip.

Next adventure was to find a bathroom. Matt had just warned me that he remembered it being hard to find a bathroom there, but I said no way. It's Munich central station. There have to be bathrooms all over the place.

I hate it when he's right. No bathroom. Anywhere. We finally asked, and there was a giant line, because its the only one around, AND you have to pay 1 euro to use it!! That's like $1.30!  What a crock! I really wished I had just listened and went on the train.

People dressed the line for the bathroom

We found some dirndl and lederhosen for sale right outside the train station. They weren't that outrageously priced - around 100 euros - but we decided we should ask Roman before buying anything like that. (He said it was a good price, but there was a shop near his house we should look for better quality ones.)

So we found our S4 train to Ebersberg, but it was leaving in 7 minutes and we didn't have time to wait in line and buy a ticket for it, so we just snuck down the platform and hopped on, hoping no one checked us for a ticket! Luckily, no one did. One free train in Germany! Hey, if they're going to me me pay 1 euro every time I pee, then I'm going to sneak on their trains! ;)

It was a 20-30 minute train out to Romans stop, just outside the city in a quiet little neighborhood. The train was packed the whole time, but we found some seats to squish into. As soon as we got off and walked out of the train station, Roman was right there walking in to meet us!

He walked with us back to his cute apartment, maybe 5 minutes away. It's a really nice place! Up on the second floor with views of a nice park and soccer field out back. Nice balcony with a grill, big bathroom with separate bath tubs and shower, really cool was all just so nice!

Walking up to their apartment building

Family room of their apartment (soccer field out the window)

Once we dropped our bags off in the guest room (with chocolates on top of the towels!) we sat down at the table that was already set with big soft pretzels, cheeses, spreads, and sausages. It was all delicious!

We have both developed some nice sore throats this week. Well, I actually had it first, but we both woke up feeling pretty rotten this morning (just head stuff). So we chugged down some fizzy vitamin c thing in our water AND a multi vitamin. Surely that will help...

Roman broke out the wine (I drank oj all night), even though he had said earlier he was a little under the weather and we would just take it easy tonight. Wine lead to a shot of awful Italian grappa, and then Swiss schnapps. Ha, I guess that is their version of taking it easy! ;)

It was just a great night of relaxing and telling stories. Some of the boys' college days, some from their wedding last weekend, some from our travels and theirs. (And some about us moving to Europe...someday!)

They really are great people.  Roman had us laughing all night long. He and Corinna have been together over 5 years now, and he said they waited so long to get married because he was "just checking it out for awhile." Ha! :) We talked more about our countries and government and healthcare, etc. I also got a history lesson on Germany and the Berlin Wall. It was actually really interesting! We went through pictures from their wedding, and had some good laughs. (Roman is very German, but at the same time, he's been Americanized from living in the US for 7 years!) Just a perfect night!

We are just now getting in bed at 11:30pm, and I am happy to say we did NOT blow a fuse tonight when we used our German adaptor! Hallelujah! ;)

Off to sleep now - after we shut our super cool blinds on the outside of the house via a rope on the inside! Tomorrow we will look for some German outfits and then hit Oktoberfest!! :)

You just pull on these straps on the INSIDE and the shutters come down on the OUTSIDE!

No comments:

Post a Comment