Zurich and on to the mountains...
After our amazing train ride we arrived in Zurich. Switzerland is such a different place than France. It’s much more multi-national. A lot of different languages; almost all signs were in four different languages. We spent some time at the train station getting Euros changed to Swiss Francs and checking our luggage at the rail station since we were taking a train the next morning, no need to lug it all over the place. It’s nice to be in a currency that is less than one on the dollar, however things are pretty expensive so far.
Zurich is a nice town. Seemed very orderly, similar to the train station itself. We got a pass for the city rail system to get to our hotel but I don’t know that we really needed it since nobody ever looked at it and there was no device to run it through. Guess it was the honor system at work.
The Hotel Rigihof in Zurich was fine. Tammy observed it was the dirtiest of all the hotels we had stayed at so far, but it seemed fine to me. On the plus side it had relatively fast WiFi so I was able to send all my digital photos taken so far to the server at our house for safe storage (took about 10 hours while we slept!).
Some other items of interest…
Train Update - I went on and on earlier about how great the Paris to Zurich train was. I now know that not all rail travel in Europe is so great. Our train today from Zurich to Scuol was perhaps 1/2 of a step up from a Greyhound bus! Plus, we made the mistake of getting in a smoking car and not realizing it and then having to move. Did I mention that we have too much luggage? We do. We plan on sending some back to Zurich on the train tomorrow if possible. We are new to packing for a three week trip and definitely have more than we should.
Language - Switzerland is all German. Leave your French at the border. Zurich was very good with English as well, but so far the mountains are pretty sparse on English. For some reason I’m finding this easier to deal with but Tammy is finding it much harder.
Technology - I’m having terrible luck tech-wise. I brought three compact flash cards for our cameras along. Of the cards only the 1 gig card (thankfully!) is still working. The 512 mb and 256 mb cards have both decided to stop working in different ways. The 256 mb just corrupts anything you put on it. And the 512 mb won’t format and just gives an E50 error when I put it in the camera. This sucks and we’ve left Zurich now so I doubt I’ll be able to get anymore cards. Hope the 1G holds out. I even had to get a new card reader since my PCMCIA reader seems to have gotten loopy as well and freezes the laptop whenever inserted! I think this is what killed the 256 mb card. Argh! Tammy’s theory is that it has something to do with the power differences, who knows.
As you may have figured out by now we are in Scuol, Switzerland. This is a fairly small mountain town near the border of Austria on the upper side of the Engadine Valley. We meet our hiking group in a little over an hour for dinner and orientation. We hike 13 miles tomorrow on a fairly flat route only ascending 1,000 feet of elevation. The mountains are all around us. I’m looking to my left out my window right now in this converted Engadine hotel and can see two peaks well above the tree line with a saddle in the middle. Great stuff.