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  • Deborah Kade

Phoenix to Heathrow to Zürich to Interlaken


The flight to Switzerland started with a visit to the British Airways Business Lounge. When I looked out the windows, my plane was already at the gate waiting for me to board in an hour and 15 minutes. That is plenty of time to enjoy a few of the tasty snacks.

Most of the people I saw in the lounge today were foreigners. I could hear French, Italian and German spoken. Another clue: the color of their passports. There was one American reading a Rick Steve's London travel book. Someday, I might write a travel book on my favorite places in Switzerland. I watch the Rick Steve's programs on public television. The last series included Switzerland. He loves Gimmelwald. I love that area, too, but he really needs to expand his horizons. There is so much more to see than just Gimmelwald. Maybe I should play tour guide for him.

The first stop upon entering the lounge was to check the soup choices which were Tuscan bean and kale or corn chowder. I'm a soup girl so I loved the few spoonfuls of the tangy Tuscan bean.

Sandwich choices were Tuscan chicken salad, ham and cheese or veggie. The rolls squished to the touch so I knew they were fresh. I'm beginning to see a theme.

They had a very very large assortment of veggies for the salad bar. They also had a nice pasta salad and potato salad.

I could choose from different cheeses and crackers. I liked the medium cheddar the best. I did try all the other 5 tiny bite size cubes, though.

Michael, of course would have tried the brownies and fresh baked cookies: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar, and two others which I couldn't figure out. I could only tell they had nuts.

They also had packaged Lorna Doone's, Milano's and power bars. I was looking for Walkers shortbread but none to be found.

There were two types of Lay's potato chips and Miss Vickies sea salt and vinegar chips. I tried Miss Vickie's kettle baked ones as I never had them before. The salt raised the blood pressure and the vinegar made the lips pucker. It was good but I had to have a "cuppa tea" to wash out all the salt residue in my mouth.

Of course, they didn't serve plain popcorn. No, they had dill pickle (fantastic), cheddar, sea salt and cracked black pepper(yummy) and spicy queso (interesting). They also served pretzels and a trail mix.

There is a full bar, wine, beer, sodas, different waters, tea and coffee.

With all the traveling Michael does, we upgrade to business class because of his frequent flier miles. Love sitting in the "bubble section" upstairs close to where the pilots are. There were only 16 of us and two flight attendants.

Once the plane reaches 10,000 feet, the crew starts with the beverage service. "British Airways has won the coveted award of Best Overall Wine Cellar in the Business Traveller "Cellars in the Sky" competition which recognizes the best First and Business Class wines served by airlines worldwide. British Airways won a hatful of awards including the Silver Medals for Best Business Class Champagne and Best Business Class Cellar."

If you are wondering what they served tonight, it was:

White

Touraine Sauvignon 2016, Domaine de la Rochette AOC Touraine, Loire, France

Ideal with fish or as an apéritif. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians

Glen Carlos Chardonnay 2015, W.O. Paarl, South Africa

While it is 100% barrel fermented in French oak, it retains a fresh lemony crispness to go with the rounded notes of tropical fruit, ripe peach, poached pear and vanilla.

Red

Abadia de Acón 2016, Ribera del Dueto, Spain

It is full and juicy with blackberry and vanilla characters. Not suitable for vegans and vegetarians

Indómita Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Gran Reserve, Maipo Valley, Chile

It has hints of cassis, stewed fruit, smoke and vanilla.

I just had to giggle to myself when I read the descriptions!! And... I only gave a sentence or two. They wrote a lengthy paragraph describing each.

Champagne

Champagne Cocktails

Kirk Royale

Buck's Fizz

Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain NV

Rich brioche notes, floral tones and hints of dried pear, citrus and Praliné

Champagne de Castelnau Brut Réserve NN

It is a salmon pink color with a subtle nose of wild strawberries and cherries, with flavors of fruit eau-de-vie, cherry kernel and tobacco

The lady across from me had three glasses. It was a hit with her!!!!

With the flight taking off at 7:40, dinner wasn't served until just before 9 PM. Yes, they were getting me ready to eat like Europeans- sometime after 7, 8 or 9. Michael and our friends are the 5 to 6 o'clock type.

For my dining pleasure, I could choose from the following.

Starters

Hickory smoked shrimp with Puy lentils and dill

Mini Mediterranean vegetables with pan seared Bijou goat's cheese and lemon

Salad

Fresh seasonal salad

Main

Pan roasted fillet of beef with creamy spinach risotto, baby roasted vegetables and roasted pepper demi-glace

Andouille crusted haddock with bacon dirty rice, baby courgette and Louisiana court bouillon

Tomato, basil and mozzarella ravioli with sautéed spinach and tomato sauce

Chilled main course Niçoise salad of herb roasted chicken with hard boiled egg, haricots verts, roasted tomatoes, Kalamata olives and a creamy garlic dressing

Dessert

Triple mousse cake. This was the dessert of choice with all the people I could see.

Krystal Cheddar and Wisconsin Blue cheese served with crackers

Selection of whole fresh fruit

Tea, coffee, chocolates One of the chocolates was a pink Himalayan salt caramel.

"Then during the flight, if you're peckish between meals, the Club Kitchen is always open for you to tuck into a range of healthy snacks or naughty treats".

After a few hours sleep, it is breakfast time.

Oh, no!!! More food!!!!!!

Starters

Chilled fruit juice

An energizing fruit smoothie of raspberry and mint

Fresh seasonal fruit (slices of pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, melon, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries) I found this to be quite delicious! The description was spot on when they said fresh. No squishy fruit. Firm, fresh, juicy...

Special K or muesli

Bakery

Warm breads and breakfast pastries

Main

Traditional English breakfast which consists of eggs, sausage, beans (a recurring theme) and grilled tomato

Omelette with sweet potato hash and sautéed spinach

Smoked turkey, smoked Gouda and fig jam on a whole wheat ciabatta

For the most part, I would say we had a smooth ride. It got a little bumpy when I first closed my eyes to sleep. For those of you whom watch The Big Bang Theory, I thought of Sheldon and the song "Soft Kitty". That song can make me yawn and go to sleep quickly.

Up until a year ago, we would fly into and out of terminal 5 at Heathrow. Unfortunately, all flights from the western U.S. go in and out of terminal 3. Of course, Zürich is out of terminal 5 so I had to take a bus from 3 to 5.

You really get to see the elaborate luggage shoots and ramps and conveyor belts.

They have changed border control if you are transferring to another flight. It was fast and simple! I think it took all of 3 minutes. Because I flew Business, I could also use the Fast Track. Today, even people in coach moved quickly along.

Since I had time between flights, I went to the lounge on the south side. I think it is nicer than the one on the north.

I love their soups!!! I think they should write a soup cookbook. Today, they served organic broccoli with Stilton and red pepper and squash. I really wasn't hungry but I did try a very little bit of each. Neither was disappointing.

They have a variety of pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads, cookies etc., etc., etc..... but I just couldn't eat another thing. Plus, I knew I would be served another meal from Heathrow to Zürich.

I was only planning on having a drink but they were serving afternoon tea. There were three finger sandwiches (cheese, egg salad and salami with pickles) each about the size of my index finger and as wide as my thumb. What caught my attention was when she said the sandwiches were served with a Victoria sponge. Michael and I watched the British Bake Off show and one of the challenges was to make a Victoria sponge. Michael, if they have this when you come in a few weeks, make sure you try it!! The sponge was so light. Mary Berry would have been delighted. It was cut in a circle. There was the thin layer of strawberry jelly and the layer of cream between the two sponges. Wow, it was amazing!!

We were ten minutes early landing in Zürich.

Getting my Swiss Pass was a little more complicated than Michael told me it would be but the two agents helping me found the cheapest option. All three of us were very patient.

I shipped my two large suitcases to be delivered at the train station in Interlaken. At least I don't have to schlep them on and off the train as I have to transfer to another train in Bern.

It is dark as I travel to Interlaken.

The streets were empty of people as I walked to Sunny Days. The lady at the corner of Helvetia Strasse and Baumgartem still has her large lavender blooming, though. What a welcome site!!!! It is strange not to turn on Baumgarten and go to the holiday flat but Tanja doesn't have it as a rental anymore.

I'm in room 4 for 4 day and then I move up to room 9 until the end of our stay.

Not tired but since it is midnight I will end my writing for today. More to come tomorrow.


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