September 23, 2009
I had a pretty uneventful flight to Zurich, minus the part of not getting an ounce of sleep. I’m beginning to think I must have ADD, as I took some sleeping pills hoping to knock myself out for my flight from Detroit to Amsterdam, but instead of passing out, I was WIDE awake. I got into Zurich around 8 am and headed straight to baggage claim. Before any bags started to make their way around the luggage track, I hear an announcement made in German, including what sounds like my name. I turn to the guy next to me and ask if he speaks English and if he could tell me what the announcement was. He informed me that some luggage failed to make the flight with us, so if your name was called you have to report to the lost luggage counter. Great, I can’t wait to hear why they know ahead of time as to why some luggage failed to make it to Zurich.
Apparently, they have been having issues with getting luggage on the respectful departing planes in Amsterdam for the past week, and a few of us on this flight fell victim to that. The lady at Lost Luggage was very helpful and said that she expected my bag to be on the next flight to Zurich to arrive around 10:30. I let her know that I was staying at an apartment in Zurich, but that I would not be going there until 9 pm that evening (I was Couchsurfing, and this was the pre-arranged setup I had with the guy I was crashing with), so I preferred to pick up my luggage, rather than have them deliver it. She said that was fine and made a note that I would pick it up in person.
So here I was in Zurich, sans luggage and extremely tired. I was hoping I could just crash at the airport for a couple hours waiting for my luggage, but I was restricted to baggage claim and the arrivals terminal, so there was no place that I could sleep without getting kicked out. I didn’t want to head into the city, just to have to turn around and come back for my bag, so I was given the tip about a massive hill across the street from the airport with a bunch of benches that would be nice and quiet for a quick nap. I should probably mention that my last European vacation saw me sleeping on park benches, in churches, under carnival rides, apartment lobbies and essentially any place that wouldn’t require money, so my family was kind enough to give me money the day I left, and my Grandmother clearly expressed an interest that I not sleep on any benches this trip, and to use the money for accommodation if need be. So here I was, less than an hour into my vacation, and I found myself scoping out the best bench to take a nap on. It’s a pretty big hill across from the airport with a nice little trail leading to the top. I decided that I would feel safer being higher up and away from public view, so to the top I went. It was pretty cool atop the hill, they had a couple benches and a fire pit with a sign indicating that it was intended for backpackers and to be sure that all fires got put out when finished. I was pretty stoked for the prime sleeping spot when I suddenly got the scent of cow manure, and then I heard the mooing. Turns out that this hill must serve as a grazing spot for farmers, as I noticed a bunch of cows making their way up from the opposite side of the hill, led on by some farmers. I backed up in shock and discovered the electrical fence surrounding the benches and pit. WTF!?!?! So I headed a bit further down the hill, as I wasn’t comfy sleeping surrounded by cows and farmers (which is surprising, considering I’m from Wisconsin) to find a bench. I found one, laid down and got in a couple hours of sleep.
I awoke a bit more refreshed and headed back to the airport. I went back to lost luggage only to get the news that my bags yet again failed to make it from Amsterdam, so I made arrangements to have them deliver my bags that evening, after 9pm. I headed off to the train station to make my way into the city to start my vacation…
P.S…they attempted to deliver my luggage around 6 pm that night, and since no one was there as I told them, they took it back to the airport. I finally got my luggage the next morning.