Thurs 11th July.
Lucerne and Zürich.
A friend of mine had done an Erasmus scheme in Lucerne years ago. Whenever she talked about it, she mentioned about how they swam in the lakes before class and sometimes in the evenings with a barbecue. From this brief description I had built it up to be some kind of utopia for living and learning, but had no idea what it actually looked like.
I was woken up by some early morning walkers (with the sticks) who tripped up on my tent strings at about 6:30 in the morning. I apologised through the tent while they damned me in Swiss-German. I couldn’t help but be frustrated by these people who had such a strong burning desire to go walking this early in the morning.
I packed and made a break for the road. I went through a nice small and very old Swiss town that had an appealing clock on its town centre. It was 9am.
I kept moving along the Swiss road and got to Lucerne by midday. I didn’t have anything planned and there was nothing I knew I wanted to see there so I stopped on a bench by the river for a bit and took in the atmosphere and surroundings .
Cycling through the city-centre was chaotic. I was behind a guy on a bike with a homemade trailer. The guy manoeuvred around the traffic on it and I was surprised it had lasted as long as it had, as it looked like a death trap.
I got a few supplies from a ‘Co-op’ supermarket on the outskirts of town, had another Maxibon and left.
The day was slow and repetitive, with time I was at another lake, the last before Zürich and time was on my side. I followed the lake around the bottom part, up and around the east side and finally, I noticed signs for Zürich.
I took a break on the lake and enjoyed a few of the cheap supermarket’s own-brand chocolate bars I had grown to love and depend upon as a source of satisfaction and energy.
I took in the sights and felt the suns warmth on my face, knowing it would be one of the last Swiss lakes I would see on the trip.
I had to meet my host at 6, if I couldn’t make it I would meet him around 11 as he had an appointment he couldn’t break. I was set to meet him on time, but not knowing my way around the city or exactly which train station he wanted to meet in front of, I broke the meeting and he left for his appointment.
We agreed to meet later via text, meaning I had plenty of time spare to get to know the part of Zürich I found myself in, The neighbourhood of Langstrausse. I got a kebab from a decent street vendor and a beer from a shop and sat in a nice open area with benches, tables and chairs.
There was a young bohemian crowd out enjoying their evening, eating and drinking. I’d wondered into a very nice area of what I thought to be quite a conservative city and immediately felt very comfortable.
I went into a hostel/bar and sat down killing the next few hours with a popular local beer (6CHF) and did some writing. A young female singer came out and performed in two acts. Most of her songs sounded like the music of Regina Spektor and at the end of her set, she cited Spektor’s influence on her and played one of her songs. She was Italian.
When the time came, I went to meet my host René at the main train station. We cycled back to his apartment where he had prepared a bed for me. I had a shower and removed four days of grime which congealed on the bottom of the tub.
I settled and got ready for a day of exploring Zürich.