Tuesday, June 14, 2016

To Zurich

Our main day of travel was a long one.
We left from Phoenix, of course . . . 

but we initially were concerned we'd never get to leave because of the huge long slow inefficient poorly managed lines at the TSA screening.

They decided to bring in a dog, but the lines were forced to wait outside the screening area (they wrapped around the escalators in the main part of the terminal) while the dog apparently went through other stuff inside the screening area.  They didn't tell anyone what was going on, they just told us we had to wait.

Greg and I are those crazy people who like being at the airport extremely early,
but we felt tense about the long wait and then the long lines and then the grumpy and inefficient staff . . . bossing everyone around and feeling powerful.  Grr.

Eventually we sat down at our gate, I got some bottled water, and took my traditional photo of the cute little planes in the carpet!

We flew first to Chicago, and we had a bit of time there, so we had lunch and explored the airport.
They had this cool hall of nations with flags from many other countries . . . 
 no Switzerland, though (?).

On the way over, I requested a gluten-free special meal.
It was really cool that I got my special lunch before everyone else and that it had my name on it!

Of course, I couldn't eat most of it.  Poo.
Crackers had quinoa (vegan, gluten-free, but is a trigger food for my digestive system),
salad with iceberg lettuce (ouchie!), and chicken.  Hmm.
I ate the tomato, carrots, and melon.  Drank the water.  Gave the crackers to Greg.  Sent the chicken back, sadly.  Hope they were able to give it to someone else, since it was unopened.

After a long stretch of time, we arrived in London at Heathrow!
I hadn't found a full-length mirror before this, so I hadn't been able to document my travelling outfit.
Here you go!
blouse: Target
pants: SoHo from Ross
shoes & socks: Target
bag: from Ross

We had to take a shuttle to another terminal - and we had to go through security again, but it was a BREEZE!  They had an amazing and well-thought-out system with people pointing which line to go to next, motorized conveyor belts bringing baskets from the front of the line to the back, better flow of bags, and a y-shaped belt through the x-ray so that bags that needed to be checked in more depth could go one direction and all other bags could go the other.  I was very impressed and wanted to congratulate the people who set it up.  Hooray for them!

The lifts were cool and see-through.

Here's me, walking with my stuff from the plane to baggage claim . . . 
and then through security again and to our gate.

Once we got to the appropriate terminal, we had to wait for quite a while (two + hours) before the gate was even announced.  
The electronic board had a list of flights, but for a long time, ours said, "Gate listed at 8:05".
They weren't right on time with the update at 8:05, either.

We had some food, and I got REALLY extra sleepy during this wait.

We sat by this multi-faith room, which was a very neat place.
I checked it out respectfully when no people were there.
There were shelves outside for shoes (I didn't remove mine because that's not my belief system) and there was a sign that said it was okay to keep shoes on.  There was a cupboard with holy books, alphabetized by faith.  Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Islam were all represented - and maybe even more than I can't remember.  There were prayer rugs and headcoverings, too.
I found it beautiful that in a busy and frantic place like an airport, there was a purposeful place of quiet and prayer.

After a short little snooze on an uncomfortable plastic chair, we were in the air again!
This flight was just a few hours long.

I don't remember much from this flight . . . 

Greg got breakfast, and the milk was in a tube!

And then we were there, in Switzerland!

I was already enthralled by the language change - it's like understanding a secret code!

In order to get to our hotel in Zurich, we needed to take the train for a little ways, then the bus, then walk for a few minutes.  It all worked fine (though it took us a while to navigate the main train station because it was pretty big and we had trouble finding where the bus would come.

Greg always seems to know when I'm taking a photo of him . . . 

There we are in the window!  That's not our luggage.

I took a lot of photos of signage on our trip because some of the German is just adorable.
This sign says, "Off on a hunt for schnitzel!"
It's cuter in German.

Here was the bus difficulty . . . Gleis means track.
But we were looking for a bus, not a train.  This train station was three or four floors high and took up about a block, so we wandered around a little, feeling strange, hungry, sweaty, and tired.
The coop in the background is one of the chain stores that ended up being our go-to grocery store while we were in Switzerland!

Here is inside the train station - it's like a big shopping mall!

When we got up to the surface, there was a huge blue woman with wings hanging from the ceiling.
She was by the main entrance.

And finally, we found our little apartment!
Here's the kitchen.

Then we headed out to have a peek at the city and get food.

There's the beautiful and unique Swiss flag.

I was under-impressed with the health-food stores (called Reformhaeuser) in Switzerland.
They had quite a few gluten-free options, but not much actual healthy food.
most of the gluten-free stuff had soy, which I try not to eat (it causes joint pain for me) or dairy (which I also don't consume).  So I stuck with simple whole foods (video will be posted soon!)

Big kiosk of unhealthy gluten-free food.

And then we made it back to our rental apartment!
Check it out here:

Here's what I ate for dinner! - Yum!

And then I showered and we fell into bed, excited about the days to come, but happy happy happy to be able to sleep FLAT!

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