|Europe adventure, back from Switzerland
||[Sep. 22nd, 2010|03:27 pm]
Ok, time for another update...|
Written on train from Zurich to Paris, wed 9/22, 12:59pm
Just settled into the last train for today. My first train was late so I had to run to make my second train, but this one was super easy to make up for it. I thought at first that I only had a few minutes for my connection, but it was actually 40 minutes (in Zurich). I had managed to buy my Zurich -> Paris ticket in Ilanz, so I didn't need the time for that. So, it was really nice to have time to grab some lunch and avoid paying for it on the train.
There was a little cafe with a few tables, so I grabbed a panini and espresso and had a pleasant meal. Now I'm on a comfy seat, settled in for my 4.5 hour trip to Paris.
The plan is to go by some hotels when I get there and hope one of them has a room for tonight. That worked out for me when I decided to leave my hostel last Thursday to find a private room, so crossing fingers that it'll work again. Homeless overnight wouldn't be fun. :) But worst case I suppose I'd likely find a shared room somewhere.
After the hotel I'll grab some dinner, if I have time, then head to the Eiffel tower, once more. To try to make it to the top. I am so sad I didn't try to buy a ticket online for access as soon as I decided to go back to Paris. By the time I tried that there were no more tickets to the top available. Online is totally the way to go, the line to get in to the online pass holders was nothing compared to the need to buy a ticket line, and I would have had a time to be there and guarantee to the top. Oh well, live and learn.
I find that on these trips, here and the same with Japan in 06, that I sort of learn how to more easily be in that place. So I'm just that much more prepared for the next visit. I'd like to try to make it back to Europe for Essen (huge game conference) next year. I would have to figure out how to fit it into my work vacation schedule, which is usually pretty packed by gencon, bgg.con (other board game conferences), and travel to improv events and festivals. But, we'll see...
Backwards to the rest of the spa time...
I think ideally I would have stayed there one night only, had a really fancy meal, experienced the baths at night, gotten a massage in the morning, then gone somewhere else. The next couple of days were a little redundant, but without access to the baths during the evening. I was tired a lot, not sleeping well, and at other times feeling restless. My back also started really, really bothering me again.
I really don't know at all what's up with my back. I've never really had it behave like this before. Maybe one day of non-awesomeness after sleeping in a bad bed or something, but not as severe as this, and never lasting that long. Every step I take on concrete kind of sends a jolt of pain up my spine. If I can step really slowly it's mostly ok, but quickly going up or down stairs with luggage, for example, has me on the verge of tears. Just sitting around I'm usually pretty good.
I think I remember Kaci experiencing free health care in London? If that's the case maybe I should consider getting it checked out. Marc is going to bring me my drugs from when I had the shoulder strain a while back. Maybe I'll try those and if they don't work, check into seeing a doctor in London (if it's free/cheap) and get some other meds to try to help out.
Back to the spa, the other thing about it was that it was a little bit hard to communicate since I don't speak any German. The front desk lady was pretty good at English, but she was the only one. So there were a few silly things. On the first night I got charged for water that I thought was free. I asked for tap water, and got brought a bottle of Valser "Silence". They have bottles of Valser for free in the rooms, so I thought it was included, but it wasn't.
The other largest embarrassing language barrier moment was after the exfoliation/massage. I wasn't really sure what I should be wearing or bring with me ahead of time. I tried asking at the spa reception about what I needed with me, and she said I could change there, so I guess I thought they'd have robes? Anyway, that was silly of me. So after my massage where I was all scented oiled up, I didn't have a robe to wear, and I didn't want to put on the skirt and tank top I had just dressed in to come down in. (Limited amount of clothing with me.) I asked the masseuse about a robe and he didn't really understand what I was saying. I ended up back at the spa reception desk, wearing only a towel, and the girl working there was quite alarmed by my presence in just a towel. :) She stopped talking to the man she had been serving and looked at me frantically. So I asked for a robe from her and got one. So not devastating or anything, but embarrasing...
So yeah, not huge things, and it could have been much worse in a foreign country, of course.
On the more positive side of things, the bed pillows and blankets were really comfortable. Big and fluffy, might have been feathers? The shower was great and they had huge towels. The special Thalasso bath (individual bath, with a pile of jets) I got as part of my package deal was the best. I'd do that again. The scenery was amazing. All the travel was very smooth.
Now Paris for one night. Then London where I get to meet up with Marc! I wanted him to be able to come with me for the whole trip. I had enough miles to cover flights for both of us, but he couldn't take the time off of work. But his contract is wrapping up now, and we were chatting on Monday night, missing eachother, and on a whim I looked up flights again. I still had enough miles and there were planes available to be booked with miles to London. So after some skype-ing about it time Marc decided to come. It's going to be really fun being with somebody to experience London with. Yay!
I guess that's it for now. I downloaded some audiobooks to my phone so I think I'll gaze out the train window and listen to something for awhile...
written now, on netbook, wed 9/22, 10:15pm
So I must have gone into at least a dozen hotels if not more. Before the one I ended up in only one had a room available, it had a shared toilet, and no access to any shower. As I was hearing this I was all sweaty from walking around with all my bags and anticipating meeting up with my boyfriend tomorrow, so I really wanted a shower. :)
I ended up back to where my hotel was last week, two doors down. They had a room with no attached bathroom, but a shared toilet and shower. There's a toilet room across the hall from my bedroom. And there's one shower for the building, on the third floor. Adventure!
Such a drastic comparison to my lovely hotel room the past few nights... But, about 1/5th of the cost...
So..... after checking in.... *drum roll* I made it up to the top of the Eiffel Tower!!
I didn't want to risk missing the top again so I didn't stop for a nice dinner, I just picked up a ham and cheese crepe again at the place from across the street, and ate it while in line.
It took absolutely forever. Lines to pay, lines to get in, waiting for the first elevator, line for the second elevator, wait for that one, up the stairs, top!! It was really good timing though. It was pretty light was in line, then it basically turned darker and darker as I was waiting to go upstairs. So that was neat to see. And by the time I was at the top it was nice and dark and I could see the city lights forever. Very beautiful.
I paid two euros to use the telescope like device. I pointed it to the moon, which I don't think was the point, but man was it fun to look at. Then... more lines, each elevator, back down. Crowds don't usually bother me too much but I sure was ready to be away from people for a little bit once I got off.
I got some pictures that will remind me of more stuff probably. I really need to get around to uploading those sometime...
Back at my hotel I got a towel. It was damp but promised to be clean. Dropped it off in my room. Confirmed there wasn't any internet in the hotel. Then I walked two doors down to my hotel from last week, and came into the lobby/tabled area, and got out my laptop. I still have my internet code from last week, the dude put a ton of hours on it. Stolen internet! Sort of...
It's also way nicer and smells better here. So I think I'll hang out until my netbook is about ready to run out of battery power then head back to my real room to sleep.
Then: morning, adventure shower, quick breakfast on the way to the train station, Eurostar train to London, meet up with Marc in the train station, go from there.