Tuesday, July 28, 2009

a change of perspective

Travel changes your perspective on yourself and on life in general. It is really disconcerting to step into another country in which you look like a foreigner, sound like a foreigner and everyone knows it. Its an interesting mix of imprisonment and freedom all at once. Its also a giant leap out of your comfort zone. Realizing that you are going to have to look and sound like an idiot whether you like it or not can take you down a notch. It's funny and frustrating and an experience like none other.

Switzerland, is full of bikes and Alps and cathedrals, at least Zurich was. Since I was bumped to an earlier flight (and got a free plane ticket and to sit next to a very fat man who had lived in Athens many years ago) I ended up having over 8 hours in Zurich.

I caught a train out of the airport which took me straight to the city. I walked tentatively out of the train station since I thought I might be in the middle of nowhere, but I was right in the heart of Zurich!

A beautiful river runs through the middle of the city and there are cobblestone street running everywhere else.

Bikes are free for residents of Switzerland to use and they are everywhere. Non-citizens can also rent one for free, but they have to put a down payment first. The weather was rather crisp, I suppose because of the proxmity to the Alps.

I wandered in and out of a few cathedrals, including Fraum√ľnster Cathedral with stained glass windows by Chagall. I was so exhausted, it being about 3:00 am my time, that I fell asleep in Grossm√ľnster Cathedral. I felt pretty safe taking a nap since it was a church after all.

I ate lunch on a bridge overlooking the river and a little old Italian man took a photo for me.

After wandering up the cobblestone streets I found a park overlooking the city. There were a bunch of men playing a giant game of chess! Some of the streets seemed to go straight up, and almost all of the buildings had flower boxes outside of their windows.