Finally back in Switzerland after a 2 year hiatus
And so the adventure begins in the new age of travel……. Michael and I brought along our own airplane traveling kit.
After two years, we are off to Switzerland which is our home away from home as Michael and I like to say. While we are gone, Izzy and Jellie Beanie are on vacation at Hopi Animal Hospital. Our vet, Dr. Schloten, has boarding facilities, too. He has a wonderful staff and I know the girls are well taken care of so I don’t need to worry. We usually fly British Airways but they are not flying to and from Phoenix this year. Michael instead booked us on Swiss. Unfortunately, Phoenix isn’t a city Swiss flies directly to so we had to fly United, a partner airline of Lufthansa, to Chicago. Swiss is owned by Lufthansa. Masks must be worn from the moment you enter the terminal until you exit the terminal at your final destination. We have brought many masks to change during our travel time. It is a long time to have a mask on!!!! Since we were flying first class we hoped to take advantage of United’s club facility. Unfortunately, due to Covid, they never finished building the facility at Phoenix’s remodeled terminal 3. When we flew British Airways, we would fly to London and then change planes to travel on to Zürich. Our flight would take off around 7:30 PM. We would be served dinner as soon as the plane reached cruising altitude. I would watch a movie and then sleep until I was awaken to have breakfast. I knew London was then only an hour or so away. I will miss shopping at Fortnum and Mason’s tea shop. I so love Heathrow’s terminal 5. I feel like I’m part of the movie, “Love Actually”. Once arriving in Zürich, I knew it was a 2 hour train ride to Interlaken and then a ten minute walk to Unterseen and Sunny Days Bed and Breakfast. Tanja sold Sunny Days a few years back and it is now Adventure Guesthouse. The new owner and staff treat us just as special as we were treated by Tanja and her parents. We have called this Swiss chalet home for way over 20 years. Our United flight today started at 11:35 AM from Phoenix. We arrived in Chicago at 5:02 and the flight to Zürich took off at 7:15. Not sure if we will experience the same type jet lag as we did when flying British Airways. We will wait and see. Before boarding, they announced the plane had been cleaned and sanitized. As soon as you board the plane, the flight attendant hands you a sanitizing wipe to wipe down your seat area. So many announcements to keep your mask over your nose and mouth if you are not actively eating and drinking. While we taxied out, I quickly photographed the tail of the Phoenix Coyote’s team plane.
If you are a baseball fan you might recognize the stadium where the Diamondbacks play.
The Phoenix skyline.
The wheels lifted off and Arizona State University came into view.
We have had a very active monsoon season this year and the rain has been plentiful. Well, we are in the desert and we don’t receive that much rain so every inch or two of water is precious. The mountain slopes have greened. We are still experiencing drought conditions but every little bit of rain counts. I worry that green I see will eventually turn to brown and we will have to worry about wildfires.
Passing over our lakes.
I love to watch clouds. Sometimes Michael can recognize a figure I point out and at times I think he doesn’t have as vivid of an imagination as I do.
We were sitting in the front row which meant we had extra leg room. Michael liked having a place to hold his iPad.
There is the constant reminder to keep your mask on and it have it cover your nose and mouth.
The fight attendants were constantly making announcements about masks. Even the napkins reminded you.
Lunch was served. It was “interesting” to look at what was on the plate the attendant put in front of me. Remember we are flying first class. I chose the tomato mozzarella focaccia while Michael chose the chicken salad sandwich. Quite tasty which surprised me as the first look wasn’t as pleasing.
Nice variety of snacks: I had the Stroopwafel. This was a favorite snack when we visited Amsterdam a few years ago.
Interesting how the roads curve around towns or cities the closer we get to Chicago.
Michael snoozed on the leg from Phoenix to Chicago. Once that cabin is pressurized, he can quickly fall asleep. Some scenery and clouds along the way.
As we descend into O"Hare.
Very smooth flight to Chicago. We even arrived 15 minutes early. I will have to say we are not very pleased with United’s booking . Even though MIchael filled out all our information at home, they forgot to add our Global Entry TSA precheck on the boarding pass. This had to be changed at the airport. No wonder they want you at the airport three hours ahead of time. If you fly frequently, you know all the benefits of that precheck status. Michael also enrolled in the “Clear” program since he travels more than I do. United also did not include the Covid information required to board the international flight. The Swiss attendant at O’Hare check in said United always gets it wrong. And… Swiss and United are part of Star Alliance. They coshare flights. I have never enjoyed flying through O’Hare. It’s too large in size and there are too many people! No wonder Kevin Mcalister was always getting lost in those “Home Alone” movies when his parents traveled.
Liked this sign, though.
Boarding our flight to Zurich was so simple.
The tail of our plane
Some of our crew
Huge Chicago police presence when we boarded the plane. Here some of them are leaving. Wonder if all international flights have this.
I enjoyed a mimosa and warm nuts while we waited for boarding to be completed.
There are 8 of us in first class. We each have our own individual enclosed area. There are 2 flight attendants assigned for the 8 of us. Our flight attendant serving us is so attentive!! She said she is from the Swiss French section. She lives up in the mountains.
There have been five people greet us and ask if there was anything they could do to make the trip more enjoyable. Even the head flight attendant came by to talk. I talked to the copilot when he came out to get something to drink. I can’t think of anything else they could have done for us. Lights have dimmed in the cabin and we are taxiing out! Yeah!!
We know people living in Appleton and Sheboygan.
Michael watching a movie
I have always enjoyed business and first class on British Airways but Swiss has them beat hands down. The personal attention you receive is ridiculous!!!!
Instead of writing what we had to eat, I took pictures of the menu. It saves time writing.
Could those crisp sticks come from Kambly?
I had the poached prawn and scallop with tiger’s milk. Sweet potato purée, fried cuzco corn
Michael chose the prosciutto ham
We both had the rib eye steak cooked perfectly- medium rare with Café de Paris butter
Potato gratin with thyme and garlic confit, cream spinach. They also came around and offered cauliflower and zucchini.
We both skipped dessert
Well, I had a salted chocolate truffle when they came around later. Swiss chocolate, my favorite.
Our choice was the Swiss white from the Ticino section of the country.
After dinner, they made up our beds and offered PJ’s. The toilets, WC’s, are large. It makes for a nice changing room.
Comfortable pad, comforter and pillow.
Nice to have our own little private space.
I will try and sleep for a couple hours.
Slept for quite some time. I thought sleeping with a mask on would be difficult but it wasn’t as bad as I expected.
The smell of coffee awakened me. Breakfast was served an hour before landing. We could choose an omelette, muesli, a variety of breads and meat, cheeses, yoghurt, fresh fruit and a couple other things I forgot.
Recognized some locations as we descended into the Zürich airport.
We had a wonderful experience flying Swiss! Highly recommended!!
Going through passport control was quite simple. We had the necessary documents: passport, Covid vaccination card and the Swiss health ministry contact tracing form.
Baggage claim was our next stop. Our bags were tagged priority because of first class and they were already loaded on carts ready to go. Now that is extra special service!
We went across the street and down to the train station where we purchased our train tickets. They changed the plans and we saved money. We shipped our large bags and will pick them up in Interlaken on Sunday. We packed a small overnight bag with a few days change of clothes. It is perfect because we have to switch trains in Bern and it is difficult schlepping all those bags from to train to train.
It is fantastic to finally be on a train heading to Interlaken. Just passed the IKEA store. This is not Michael’s favorite store except for when he wants to get a new duvet. Every year we have some bet about going to IKEA. He always loses the bet but we haven’t gone any of the years. Maybe, this will be the year we go.
In Bern, we came in on track 5 and had to go down and across to track 4. We had 6 minutes which is plenty of time if you only have a bag or two. Oh, we are going to be on the German ICE train which started in Berlin this morning and will terminate in Interlaken. It is my least favorite train as it can be late which really screws up schedules.
I know it will take 50 minutes to get from Bern to Interlaken West.
It is quite humid which makes it difficult for us to breathe as we are not used to this high humidity. It is quite a hazy and hot day, too.
The boats that crisscross Lake Thun are operating.
We are leaving Spiez and I know Interlaken West is the next stop.
We are on the German ICE which originated in Berlin and will terminate at Interlaken Ost. This is not my favorite train as it has a history of being late which screws up the train schedules. Both the Germans and the Swiss like to be punctual.
This will be the first year Twisty the cat will not greet us upon our arrival at the chalet. He was such a great cat! How he loved licking butter off the butter pads. He also was great friends with Frau Meier, whom is 101 years old. She will be 102 in December. Frau Meier is a remarkable woman. Loved listening to her talk about history and all the events and changes she has seen in her life. She would invite us over for tea and a plum tart which she always made from scratch. These were special plums which can only be found this time of year. Of course, she always put a dollop of whipped cream on top. Twisty had to have finished all his food in the bowl before she gave him some whipped cream, too.
What a nice surprise greeted us.
Note from Sylvia, flowers and homemade decorations from Tanja, Syrena and Manuel. Flowers and chocolate from Joli.
We were tired so we thought we would take an hour nap. Well, that turned into a three hour nap. We did manage to go to Citta Vecchia for dinner. Jose, the new owner, recognized us immediately as we walked up to the door. No menus needed for us. He knew our drink order and that we wanted the Rusticana pizza.
Glad the restaurant was full with diners on this Friday evening. Jose did not have much time to talk but we told him we would come during the week when he would have more time to talk. We are happy for him and his new partner: nice people and delicious food.
The hot oil gives it that extra zing. In the states, they would never put this oil on the table; we only have red pepper flakes.
Off to bed for us. More adventures await us tomorrow.