Decided to one of these the old fashioned way on the Virgin Train to Crewe with Josh since it reminds me of the last trip up to see Chris last year, writing everything on my phone, transferring it to the mini and then touching things up from there.
We had a pretty uneventful night last night after getting back from Gstaad. We had picked up some more beer in town and went through it at warp speed. A little amusing actually because at one point I was looking at the litter of bottles in the kitchen with the horrifying discovery that we’d completely run out!
Not to worry, there’s wine in the cellar I’m told!
Ah, Dave and I stayed up until the wee hours discussing things like proper etiquette abroad and it got me thinking about traveling in countries where you can’t speak the local language…it can be quite and overwhelming experience. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the world speaks English, but the reality is that only seems to be fully accessible in touristy-type locations.
For the real experience I think you need to get into the local spots. Learn a little bit of the language to give the impression that you’re trying and try and interact with people as much as you can. Interaction is the best part about traveling out of your country. If you want to go to a themed resort and spend the entire time sitting by the pool or ocean, that’s fine too! But maybe consider having a wander through the real places around…I think you’ll find it to be tricky at times but full of lessons.
And for gods sake be nice to foreigners!
I think in the US we’ve developed a little bit of the one world our world kind of outlook. Being in non English speaking countries makes one reflect on being part of the negative experience in the past for people not from where we are. Help them out! I think that karma comes around. I know it has for me. Flash the person a smile, learn how to say please and thank you, and smile!
The one thing that is universal in non-verbal language is the smile.
Its a powerful tool! It disarms situations and it projects confidence. I won’t go on anymore about this as I’m not drunk enough to put myself in the same mindset I was in last night. 🙂
We woke up a bit late the next morning and Dave made a breakfast out of the remaining bits of German groceries we had purchased. It was a combination of potatoes and sausages with some coffee…which was exactly what I needed to be honest. I think the beer had done me in! 🙂
We sorted out the refuse and recycling, cleaned up the place, packed our luggage and got the hell out of there. I ripped down the mountain one last time in the Skoda. All was well on the A1 until we hit Lake Geneva.
I’ve seen very few things in my life that were this breathtaking. As we came up and over the hill this misty mountainous area appeared and as we turned right to go along the hill by its shore the view overcame me.
It was shortly punctuated by road works. Germany and Switzerland are a lot alike in their feverant love for random roadworks and speed restrictions!! 🙂 ah, fuck it I said to myself. I’ve simply got to get down there and take some pictures!!
I headed down a hill hoping to find a spot, and boy did we. There is this gorgeous hill that is filled with wine grapes and no one around. The sort of place that is adorned with million-dollar houses and cobblestone bridges. A fine mist covered the mountains behind the lake and a few clouds brought the composition together. One small sailboat far away in the frame completed the picture.
I took a few snaps and even got a quick snap of Cowzen (pronounced in lunky psuedo German as “cow-zehn”) enjoying the absolutely stunning views.
We headed down the road, which I’d later learn was a big mistake. I could have just headed back up to the A1, but I was trying to be efficient. We ended up winding up and down these intense hill roads that were littered with tiny French-influenced villages with barely enough room for my poor Skoda.
I have to admit, the first part was fun.
The second part started to suck completely. I couldn’t get back to the A1 so I ended up on some b-road that went along the coast. Street sweepers, slow pokes, sunday drivers, and delivery trucks constantly messing up my attempt to get us to the airport quickly.
We made it to near the airport ok, then it turned into a disaster. Having not left from Geneva, but driven across Munich I was completely lost. We found a “gas station” which was basically a “pay near the pump” type situation with some really unfriendly f’n Europcar people milling about. We then got a ticket to the garage and gave that ticket back to another ticket machine that ate it and let us in, by chabce we sorted out how to drop it off and headed through customs for our EasyJet flight.
EasyJet is a cheap version of Southwest in the states (ironic, I know). They charge for drinks of any kind and thanks to some medium turbulence and a mom having a panic attack the service was cut short. Josh tried to chat up a cute French girl next to him with no avail. It was a flight filled with failures.
We got a Southwest train to victoria for far too much money, got ourselves to Euston and made the train an hour before the one we booked. I’m glad I got open tickets now because it meant we wouldn’t have to sit around.
IPod blaring, Josh staring out the window. Soon we’ll be in Crewe for round 2.
More to come, my fine listening audience of 1 person, but you know I love ya!