Friday, September 4, 2009

A Return to Hinterzarten, Zurich and Home (July 2005)

The day we left Berlin, we did so with mixed feelings. It had been cold, gray and rainy the entire time we were there. Yet, there was something very special is watching Doug as he revisited a youthful time of his past. I hadn't been around then, so I could imagine and dream right along with him. We were wondering if we should have stayed a bit longer, but with the entourage of police flooding into Berlin from outer areas, we were happy to be on the way out.

As we moved away from Berlin the rains intensified and driving at such high speeds was treacherous. We chose to stay in the slower right lane as much as possible and to maintain a bit slower speed. Yet those fast black Audi sedans raced by us so fast that at times it was impossible to tell the make of the car--but you just knew!

We had eight hours to talk about our trip and about leaving Hinterzarten. We actually dreaded the prospect of staying two more days there. Not that it isn't a beautiful place and worth seeing, but we hadn't anticipated a hiking venue and we were ill prepared for such activity. By the time we got home, we were certain that we would do our laundry, pack our clothes and leave for Zurich a day earlier than expected. Doug contacted the Moevenpick Hotel in Zurich and they had a nice room available for us, so we washed, ironed, cleaned the apartment, packed and loaded up the car. We arrived late afternoon and rested a bit before confirming our next flight which would take us from Zurich to Belgium and then on to New York City's JFK Airport.

We had a nice room at the Moevenpick. It was extremely clean and well appointed in contemporary styling and even had a small gym in the room to keep in shape for mountain climbing. We also found a fabulous restaurant on the first level and enjoyed the best food we'd had in Europe--notwithstanding the fabulous cuisine of France. We had a very comfortable bed, slept well and were well rested by the time we drove to the airport, turned in the car and checked in for our boarding passes.

We were actually looking forward to going back to the Zurich airport. We found the lower level shopping center to be filled with travelers grabbing an early bite before setting off on summer vacation or business trips. The food was of high quality and the coffee as good as we enjoyed in France. We ate a light breakfast to tide us over until the flight from Belgium to New York, then walked around enjoying the orderliness of the space surrounding us. We had to laugh when we saw one of the Swiss mascot bears dressed in a Hawaiian costume. It's amazing how the Hawaiian culture pops up all around the world. We couldn't resist taking a picture.

We weren't at all certain as to what the terrorist threats might have been in Switzerland, but the Swiss clearly were not taking any chances as we saw military artillery tanks on the tarmac, poised and ready to take action and several military police heavily armed and patrolling the interior of the airport. It was quite unnerving for a couple of Americans who were unaccustomed to such a show of force. However, we did feel safe.

We arrived in Belgium with little time to spare for catching our connecting flight. We had to run a long distance as it seemed as though the gate was on the other end of a very long (at least three-mile it seemed) terminal. We barely got there just in time, they were already nearly finished with boarding. Whew!

When we finally touched down in New York, we stayed near the airport (won't do that again, Jamaica NY is pretty rough) and went right to bed. It had been a very long day of travel and we were very tired. We ordered some fruit and cottage cheese and a burger and ate a bit, then showered, uploaded some shots from the camera to the laptop then both dropped into bed, leaving an early morning wake up call so that we'd have plenty of time to get showered, dressed and off to the airport. We'd ordered a taxi the night before.

The only mistake we made was in thinking that the airport would have a place for us to sit and have some breakfast. Wrong! JFK is so old and void of amenities and we were shocked to learn that they didn't even have so much as a McDonald's (believe it or not) for people to eat something if necessary (not that I would have gone to a McDonald's...but you get my point, right?). Not even a coffee shop. Consequently, by the time our flight took off and the flight attendants settled down, we were ravenous. Of course, there's nothing worse than airline food, but when you are hungry you ignore the taste and eat just to make sure that you get a bit of nourishment. Such was the case on this flight.

We landed in Honolulu while it was still bright and hot outside. Once our taxi dropped us at our home, we parked our suitcases, washed up, shed our traveling clothing in favor of shorts and Doug pulled out two martini glasses, the Tangueray and some olives while I opened some smoked oysters and some crackers. We headed out to our lanai, plopped down and toasted to one of the most exciting vacations of our young marriage. More importantly, we vowed to do it again as soon as possible!

We've attached a few photos of our waning vacation below. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home....well, at least when you live in Hawaii where the sun shines 365 days a year!

Aloha until our next voyage!

At Last A Homecoming Martini On The Lanai,
Au Revoir et À bientôt !

And There She Is: New York City! An Overnighter
To Prepare For A Long Flight To Hawaii The Next Day

The Unending Corridor at the Belgium Airport Leading To Our Connection
We Thought We'd Never Make It In Time!

The Famous Bear Mascot Goes Hawaiian?

Back At The Fabulous Zurich Airport, Lower Lobby Shopping Area
Our Last Delicious Café Espress and Petite Dejeuner

Our First Glimpse of Switzerland At The End Of Our Trip, Just Across The River
Where a Huge Nuclear Power Plant Looms

Good-bye Hinterzarten, Hello Blue Hawaii!

We Wind Our Way Back to Hinterzarten. Oh no! More Rain!

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