Sunday, 1 December
I can’t remember if the reason for my stop in Zurich. There may not have been a nonstop home or it may have been much more expensive. In any case, I will get to kind of add a new country to my list. I did not sleep well last night. I never do when I have an early morning appointment. I was up at four fifteen to finish packing and get a five o’clock train to the airport. Hardly anyone other than the police were out when I took the short walk to the train. The Marienplatz station is a maze with about five levels. Everything is well marked though. I found my platform and asked someone if this was the right place just to be sure.
I am not sure if it is because it is Sunday or so early but there are no lines here at the airport. I checked in and was lucky enough to score an exit seat! The exit seats have no seats in front of them so you can stretch your legs. I checked my suitcase through to Washington and had to pay extra for that. At least that reduced the extra Euros I am returning with. The Lufthansa terminal is quite luxurious compared to what I am used to. Lufthansa has Nespresso machines for coffee at 2 Euros and free newspapers and magazines, all unfortunately in German. The coffee is half the price at the airport cafes. There is a working area that has tables and power connections. It also has an area with lounge chairs and pillows and blankets are nearby. I took advantage of the recliners for a while since I arrived early.
It took longer from boarding a bus to the plane and taxiing to the runway than for the flight to Zurich which was about thirty five minutes. The view of the snow covered Swiss Alps as we landed was a contrast to the brown dirt and rocks of Egypt. I received a Swiss stamp on my passport. You can travel all around Europe, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, etc., without having to go through passport control since they are members of the European Union (EU). You only go through passport control when you first land from the US. Switzerland is not a member of the EU, so you go through passport control and they do not use Euros. I did not go through passport control when we landed but on the way to the gate for my connecting flight??? I did pick up some Swiss chocolate. Prices were the same in the Duty Free and shops. I found it interesting that they sell Victorinox Swiss Army knives in the airport. I asked and was told that I could not take it on a US carrier.
The flight time from Zurich to Washington was over eight hours. This seemed really long and then I remembered that my flight to Munich was at night and I slept for part of the flight. I did not want to sleep on the return flight to help me adjust to the six hour change in time zones. Arrived at Dulles and Dolora was there to meet me. It was nice to see her after almost three weeks, I was met with forty degree temperature and light rain. Not much different than Munich but a stark contrast to my two weeks in Egypt. There are tentative plans to dive in Egypt next year if schedules work out.
While in Egypt and Germany, I noticed the focus on reuse and recycling. I never saw a paper plate or a plastic fork. The glühwein at the Christmas market was served in a ceramic mug with a four Euro “mortgage” that was refunded when you returned the mug. There was no take away option, unless you wanted the mug. When my food was on a platter at the market, it was served on a ceramic plate that you returned. Many of the bathrooms have a reusable towel on a roll that you use instead of paper. When you buy something, bags are usually extra. We generate much more waste in the US.