500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hello Switzerland!

Well, we made it across the pond. A little tired, but excited to be here, so it's all good. Sitting in Zurich airport as I write this, waiting for our 11:55am flight to Bucharest.

The flight from Ottawa to Montreal was fine. I think we were only in the air for 20 minutes. You just get up there, and you start to come back down!

No problems in Montreal, except that I was a little upset with Air Canada. We had booked and paid for the flights through them, and the Ottawa to Montreal flight was with Air Canada...but the next two flights were codeshare flights with Swiss Air as the carrier.

The St. Lawrence River, and highway 401 on the right.

Our Swiss Air plane.

Good free airport wifi.

But with the exception of the very first flight, the Air Canada website wouldn't let me check in online. And the Swiss Air website recognized the confirmation number, but it wouldn't let me check in either.

So we didn't get our seats assigned to us until about two hours before the flight left. Not a big deal, but we would have preferred a window seat.

Swiss Air treated us well though. The seats are comfortable, and with my long legs I was still able to stretch them right out. And, our gluten free meal wasn't bad either.

Not bad.

It was supposed to be some kind of spicy jerk chicken. It actually tasted better than it looks in the picture!

Plus, they weren't shy about making sure your wine glass was topped up. They came around three times with those individual wine bottles. Nice!

The plane left on time, and arrived about five minutes early. They had a great selection of in flight movies, but Ruth and I decided to watch the classic 1960 version of Ocean's Eleven with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. It was a good movie!

After the movie, we tried to sleep, and I think we both dozed off, but then they were waking us up for breakfast! With a five hour time change, it was now just after 5:00am. So we ate again, but it was just a muffin and orange juice and an apple sauce cup.

And then we landed at 6:15am in Zurich.

It took us exactly one hour to get off the plane, go through customs, buy a train ticket to downtown, find the right track, get on the train, and end up in downtown. Wow!

Not cheap though...for the two of us it cost 26.40 swiss francs ($36.50 CAD, $27.50 USD) for the return trip from the airport to downtown and back. And it's only a 15 minute ride.

Quietest train we've ever been on. You almost didn't hear anything as you zipped along. Amazing.

The first thing we saw when we came out of the train station at 7:15am.

This river leads to Lake Zurich.

Ruth. Not many other people around at this hour.

The temperature was warmer than we expected it to be at that early hour. Maybe 7C or 8C (46F) but no wind. It was quite nice actually, except we couldn't get the sun to come out.

In Zurich, Switzerland. 

We didn't have a goal...we simply wandered around for two hours.

We were originally intending on having breakfast in Zurich. But we had eaten fairly well on the plane, and Ruth had made a quiche to take with us and we still had half left, plus a couple of cups of applesauce. So we found a park bench overlooking the water and had our own breakfast. 

These birds were funny!

Nice view.

There are dozens of fresh drinking water fountains around Zurich. 
No need to buy bottled water.

The Zurich Opera House.

A side street.

Old church. 

Kevin and Ruth in Zurich!

Really easy to take a trip into Zurich if you have a layover at Zurich airport. Just get on the train that says Zurich HB to get to the train station, and then the train that says Zurich Flughafen to get back to the airport. They leave every 15 minutes or so in both directions. And, it's easy to find someone who speaks English if you have any problems. 

And so, it's on to Bucharest...our plane is ready to board, so we have to go!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And in Canada...




26 comments:

  1. What a beautiful city. Love your header photo.
    I remember riding the train from the airport into Copenhagen, Denmark. We had just left Italy where everyone on the train is laughing, playing the accordion, etc. On the Denmark train, everyone was sitting up straight, reading a paper and not looking at anyone else. What a difference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We really enjoyed the bit of downtown Zurich that we saw but getting to the downtown on the train wasn't as pretty as we were expecting. Would sure love to see the city with clear skies and sunshine so we could make a better assessment. People were pretty quite on our train but it was really early in the morning!

      Sounds like the trains in Italy are fun. :-)

      Delete
  2. We are enjoying your trip right along with you great pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your new hoodies are nice. Temp. up to 15C in Ottawa today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were actually too warm for us yesterday.

      Figures, we leave Ottawa and the weather improves!

      Delete
  4. Kevin, for the short time in Zurich, did you just pick up a few Swiss Francs at the airport or did you use debit/credit card for the train? Looks like a very beautiful, neat and clean city. What else would one expect from the Swiss.

    Dee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No we didn't, we just used the credit card to buy the train tickets and were hoping that if we bought food we could use the card as well but it ended up that I still had leftover food that we finished up instead, picnic style.

      The city was quite picturesque in the downtown section but not quite as clean as we were expecting but fairly good overall and we saw a ton of graffiti (we hate graffiti) on the train ride from the airport to the downtown. We would really love to see more of the country but that will have to wait for another proper visit.

      Delete
  5. Did you bring your luggage with you or was it checked? I know you usually do carryon only. Just wondering if they have lockers at Zurich airport.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, we checked our luggage for this particular trip, just because we knew we were going to be going into Zurich. Not sure if there were lockers at the airport but I did notice a place that you could drop off luggage, don't know what the cost was and they also had a ton of lockers at the train station in downtown Zurich.

      Delete
  6. Voila - and just like that we're in Zurich - a magic carpet ride! Love the quietness of the photos where you have the whole place to yourselves!
    B&C

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, it was pretty quick to leave the airport and go into the city and back again. Would highly recommend this for anyone that as a longer layover there. Our layover was about 5 hours and we had not problem spending 2 hours downtown and still getting back the airport in plenty of time.

      Delete
  7. Nice pictures of Zürich. Where did you put all the people?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was still very early in the morning many of the stores still hadn't opened. We saw people waiting for buses and trams, walking their dogs along the lakeshore and biking to work but other than that they must all have been sleeping. ;-)

      Delete
  8. Why did you not call Air Canada or Swiss Air on the telephone as they would have made your seat assignment for you. I know that for a fact, I used to work for Air Canada.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too be totally honest we never even thought of it! We so rarely use a phone and our daughter doesn't have a regular phone that it just never crossed our minds. Air Canada wouldn't have been able to do anything about it because even at the airport they couldn't, they said we would have to check in with Swiss Air when we get to Montreal which is what we did and so did a lineup of other people who had the same problem.

      Delete
    2. I forgot to mention we have the same issue no matter what code share airline we use, westjet connecting to KLM was the same. I could checkin for KLM flights but not westjet, thankfully westjet always does advance seat selection even if you don't pay so we usually end up together

      Delete
    3. Our seats were actually booked as well for us with Swiss Air, we didn't have a choice in the matter but it was done in advance by Swiss Air so we were together as well when we checked in with Swiss Air in Montreal but we didn't know this ahead of time.

      Delete
  9. Lucky you that you did fly Swiss Air and not Air Canada. You made out much better when it came to the amenities, such as a drink with dinner and extra leg room. We try to avoid Air Canada at all costs. (sorry Contessa, but I'm not going to sugar coat it.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure you are correct Bob and we will get to see that on Air Canada's discount Rouge flight when we fly to Spain in January. We were very pleased with the service and the food on our Swiss Air flight, don't think it could have been made any better.

      Delete
  10. Thinking about the price of the rail fare, I did some checking. In Switzerland they too have issues with minimum wage and voted down an increase for the world's highest minimum wage. The proposal lost by 76% saying that it would raise production costs and increase unemployment. Interesting. Prices in Europe scare us off a bit but again, if you want to visit you need to pay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, that would be the problem, when you up the wage generally all the other costs of living go up as well.

      I think that higher prices are more in the Western part of Europe than in the Central and Eastern parts, we will soon find out and let you know.

      Delete
  11. We visited Zurich last year for three days. You are so right about the train. It's the best airport to city center train we have been on. Your pictures brought back so great memories! Thanks and enjoy your trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The train was amazing, it was a quick trip from the airport to downtown, as well as quiet and clean but not cheap! ;-)

      Glad that we could bring back some memories for you.

      Delete
  12. We flew Air Canada from Seattle, to Toronto, where we were supposed to get on Austrian Airlines to Vienna. Seattle could not check us through to our final destination, even though it was a code share. We had to leave the secured area, and go to a ticket counter to get seat assignments. Our luggage was not checked through to Vienna. It was just horrible. I will never fly Air Canada again. It was just as bad coming back - couldn't check through, had to leave secured area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We just found a arrivals/departure board and found where our gate would be for our next flight and then just went to the counter there to have them process the balance of our trip but our bags had been checked through right from Ottawa to Bucharest, it was just our boarding pass and seating assignments that we couldn't do. Not sure if this happens with all airlines that do code shares or just with Air Canada, anyway we were lucky that we didn't have to leave the secured area to do this.

      We also we still in Canada, you were coming from the States into Canada and we have found that they still make you go through security again, that has happened to us as well even when we are fully booked through but have to change flights, it's ridiculous but that is what has to be done no matter what flight you are on.

      Delete

We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...