The Land of the Switzer

The Zurich airport was recently awarded some award having to do with “best airport ever”. Upon our arrival in Zurich on Wednesday, Tobias and I were especially alert for amenities that other airports were lacking. We found some gems:

Trains: It is remarkably easy to take the train from the airport to pretty much anywhere. Tobias explained that we were going to take the train to Andermatt, and that in fact we were going to take the airport train plus three additional trains to Andermatt because there was no direct train. I explained that he was fucking crazy, pointing to the mountain of kid-related luggage upon which Tobias` skis were balancing precariously. Tobias explained that it was Switzerland, and he was Tobias, so I shouldn`t worry. Tobias was right – the connections were intuitive, the conductors helpful, and Tobias can take two graceful trips up and down the train station stairs with luggage in the time that I can waddle down once.

Groceries: There is a pretty darned good grocery just past the airport baggage claim. It had a wide selection of prepared foods, a generous produce selection, and a dynamite location on the way to the commuter trains.

Imminent Disaster: Next to the grocery, there is a dry cleaner`s. Smart, right? There are lots of business travelers, presumably busy business travelers, who wear dry-clean-only ties and suits and scarves. But who wants to worry about a delayed flight making you too late for fresh suit pick-up? Not the Swiss, that`s who: the dry cleaner`s has a 24-hour automated kiosk. You scan your ticket, and the racks start whirring and deliver your cleaned clothes through a fancy electronic closet. My first thought was a kind one for the harried late-night travelers who had to watch the automated machine eat their ticket or deliver the wrong clothing or who had to retrieve their clothes by wading through the small lake of homeless person urine that surrounds 24-hour anythings, and then I remembered that it`s Switzerland. Malfunction is not permitted, and it`s way too expensive to be homeless here.

Things that are funny this week:

  • The on-train magazine explains that blah blah the train tracks are almost 100 years old, blah blah panoramic carraiges, and ends by saying, “when it comes to Glacier Express trains, you will find no hospitality infrastructure lacking.” The message: True? Yes. Sexy? Ah, no.
  • I remember someone, sometime, saying that a marketable idea was one that created its own product demand. With that in mind, I give you the tagline of my new footwear line: “Socks That Fit”.  Soon after reading that, you will find that you notice your current socks bunch uncomfortably in the toe, that the heel gets dragged underfoot more often than you would like, that your feet are itchy from your quite-possibly-too-tight socks. You want, no, you need, some Socks That Fit!
  • I ate cheese six meals in a row and was then surprised to find my guts turned to stone. What was I expecting, exactly?
  • Freaky Frida can walk up stairs. This is funny because she is so like her maternal grandfather in her approach: she watches other people do it while clearly taking notes on their form, she applies the best elements to her own form (like reaching ahead to the next rail before taking a step,) she is thrilled when she masters each skill, and she practices over and over until she is shaking with exhaustion. Yes, I think it`s funny when my one-year-old starts shaking her head and hanging onto the railing when I explain that I can see her legs shaking and it`s time to take a break. I love that little weirdo.
  • I have discovered that there is no need to even begin to try to zip up snowpants over a huge belly if said snowpants have stretchy suspenders. Big-bellied men the world over have known this fashion secret for years, but it is new, I think, to the maternity crowd. So, ladies, get some suspenders, ignore that zipper completely, and wear whatever pants you want!! Note: depending on the angle of the breeze, I would recommend a veeery long tucked-in shirt.
Things That I Have Yet To Come Up With A Rejoinder To Unless You Count Saying “Wow, Huh! Congratulations?”
  • The proprietress of the bed and breakfast where we are staying is roughly 72 years old. She told me this morning that every day upon waking she goes out to the porch and takes a bath in the snow, and that she has never had a cold or the flu.
  • Yesterday she reported that she fell down while shoveling the driveway, so she had to come inside to change from sneakers into boots with spikes.
  • She and many, many other locals in Andermatt, upon inquiring into Frida’s age (1 year and 1 week) and my due date (March 9) and doing some quick math (14 months apart), rush to tell us about the quadruplets born in a neighboring town last year. Most of these stories involve the retrieval of a newspaper clipping of the babies’ recent birthday.

Pictures pending…

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