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Published: September 20th 2018
After a minimal breakfast, we headed towards the Tourist Information Office in the Hauptbahnhof railway station to see about a day pass for transport. When we told the lady there that we wanted to take the trian to the Uetliberg scenic overlook, take a short lake cruise, and ride the trams around town some, she was kind enough to explain the system and recommend a day transport pass for 17 CHFs that would cover all that at no additional cost. We bought the two passes and soon found the platform for the S10 train to Uetliberg and were on our way. The train passes underground a bit, then starts heading out of town and soon uphill. Half way there, when we stopped at a stop, about 10 or 12 little kids, like 5 or 6 years old, got on board with a couple of adults herding them along. They were so cute, all with their ball caps and little backpacks. The adults had them all sit on the floor near us until they reached a stop a bit further along, then they all got off the train. I'm not sure where they were going, but I assumed up the hill for
an outing of some sort.
The last stop on the S10 was Uetliberg, so we got off, looked around a bit and found the trail up to the overlook. It was a ways, and pretty much all uphill, but we've gotten used to that. We took a couple of photos along the way, especially when we encountered the "Elk" statues/lamp-poles, apparently designed by Bruno Weber Canton, a famous Swiss artist. Manoli didn't like them much, but I thought they were pretty cool. At the very top there is a fancy hotel with restaurant and cafe, and a metal tower/viewing platform. To go all the way up, and I mean up, you had to pay 2 Euros each, so we passed. The view from little park were awesome, giving you a good idea just how big Zurich, the lake, and the surrounding area really was.
After taking a good many photos, we walked back down to the train station and within a few minutes were back on the train heading down into Zurich. We decided to get off early so we'd be closer to the Burkliplatz where we planned on catching the short round trip boat cruise on Lake
Zurich. It took us a bit to get oriented properly, but we finally found the dock where the boat would be and verified that our tickets would work. By this time it was about 1pm and we hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast, so I bought the Swiss idea of a hotdog. They take a long Italian or French roll of bread, cut off the right lenght of it, stick it onto a pole to make a hole in the middle, short some mustard inside, then shove what looked like a foot-long hotdog into the hole. It wasn't cheap (nothing is in Zurich), but it was quite good. For the first time I can remember, Manoli actually liked the mustard.
Our boat pulled in and we along with a few dozen other folks got on board. The boat makes about 8 or 10 stops, 4 or so on each side of the lake, then returns to Burkliplatz. At each stop, some people got off and others got on. I think you can treat the ride like a hop-on-hop-off bus, but we just wanted to see the lake. We got off the boat and wandered towards the COOP Supermarket
near our hostel to pick a little something more for a late lunch. They have a pretty good selection of stuff, and even have a decent offering of hot food like strudels, pizza slices, and other stuff. After picking up a curry chicken strudel, some pasta salad, and a couple of Cokes, we headed back to the hostel to eat. After a short rest, I started trying to find a place to stay next, since I'd found out the Ramstein Inn on base was all booked up for the next two days. After some frustrating attempts at booking a place on booking.com, I tried AirBnB. It took some work, since you have to upload photos of both sides of a photo ID, then take a photo of yourself to verity the ID is of you. My stupid PC's camera didn't want to work, so I sort of gave up. We went out for a stroll and to try to find a bank to get some more Euros (two different ATMs would only give me CHFs, so I gave up), it dawned on me I could probably use my phone to make the reservation and its camera to verify my ID.
When I got back to the room, I was able to complete the process and soon after had a confirmed booking for a small apartment for two nights not too far outside the base at Ramstein.
Tomorrow we leave Switzerland and its ridiculously expensive economy and return to Germany. The drive is over 4 hours, but we are in no hurry now. By the way, the reason we booked the apartment is that the Ramstein Air Terminal website shows no flights to the U.S. until at least Sunday. That could change, but I'm not holding my breath. We have to turn the rental car in on Tuesday, and only have the apartment until Sunday, so we are going over all the possible scenarios. We might get lucky and a flight to Charleston will come up by Sunday or Monday. If not, maybe a flight to Rota where we can stay with my wife's family until we catch a flight. If not that, a flight to Delaware or New Jersey terminals might pop up. If all else fails, we could take a RyanAir flight from Frankfurt an Hahn to Jerez in Spain and try flying out of Rota that way.
Wish us luck! I'll keep posting blogs until we get home.
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