As I begin to write this, I’m not at my usual place: bedroom, laptop on desk, seated in from of a window onlooking my backyard of swamp trees looming over the house and garage. This blog finds me situated in my own apartment far, far away across the world in a small town of Switzerland. Right now, I can hear the church bells echoing throughout the town of Zizers. It’s a wonder they don’t wake me early each morning! Looking outside the windows, I have a new view. A view much different from the familiar one back at home.
If I part the green curtains, there is another house, though entirely separate, that joins my apartment. The brown window shutters are open, and there are four flowerbeds which hang from their small, wooden balcony, but they’ve yet to display any forthcoming blossoms. Perhaps it’s still too cold. Across the small street is the Town Hall. There are eight windows in front, and a green bicycle sits parked beside the stair’s entrance to the doors of the building. There is a fountain off to the side, which is actually where a bus stops. About every twenty minutes or so a bus makes its routinely stop to pick-up anyone waiting for a ride. I had gotten off there Tuesday, when I returned from Luzern. (such a beautiful city!)
Today the sky is overcast. It looks cold and gray, unlike the bright blue of yesterday. The mountains even look colder today. Their snow-capped peaks touch against the gray sky, while the rest of the mountains are covered with forests of green trees.
There goes the bus again.
Children are shouting in the distance, loud and audible though I can’t make out a word they’re saying. My German vocabulary is pitiful.
I still can’t believe I’m here. Every time I look outside my window, be it in the train or bedroom apartment, …heck, everywhere I look I just can’t believe I actually took the plunge of setting off to explore the world! It has been such an accomplishment for me, and I still can’t believe it’s all real. I’m here! I’m in Switzerland! I now watch Swiss television or listen to the radio (Swiss music is hilarious!) and ride the trains just like the locals do! I walk around in these cities and just marvel at all the architecture and people and scenery…. it’s so different from just looking at photos online or videos from Youtube. You have to be there! You have to see everything for yourself! You’ll never really know until you do!
Speaking of trains, the travel system is excellent and I’m astounded/impressed at how it works. See, as a first-time newbie at traveling, I had my concerns (worries is probably a better word) about getting around on a train. (Understand that I speak as an American. There are no trains to take you to the grocery store or university. You drive yourself with your own car). Because Switzerland is a rather expensive, it’s cheaper to purchase one of those Swiss passes. Though it’s pretty-laid out on their website, I still wondered, ‘who do I show it to when I board the train?’, ‘what if I miss a train?’, ‘how do I know where to sit, get on, get off?’ , ‘how do you find a particular platform that leaves for your next destination?’ ….and on and on…. Now that I’ve actually had the experience, I can say : NO BIG DEAL.
With a Swiss pass, you just board a train. Just hop on. That simple. During your ride, the ‘ticketman’ might come around. He doesn’t always come to check. When I first arrived dashing from train to train, I accidentally rode first class because I didn’t know where to go and just followed a lady who seemed to know where to go. She didn’t speak any English, but was able to understand my concern for the ‘ticketman’. She said in broken English that they were lazy sometimes, and didn’t have anything to worry about.
And she was right.
I’m sure there will be much more for me to learn during my stay here. I’ve learned so much already. But for now I must end my writing and begin the day – it’s already noon and I’d like to get out and explore around town.