17 May 2007
oh to travel
since i'm backlogged with stories and now wishing i were asleep, i thought i'd post two random travel tidbits from a few days ago. (i'm currently in germany, staying with my friend taryn - fabulous thus far!)
so i was supposed to fly out of madrid on monday (the 14th) at 19:15 and arrive in basel, switzerland by 21:25. i'd already booked my hotel which was a bus ride and a tram ride from the airport. this would be accomplished of course, only after i'd gotten some swiss francs (& quickly acclimated myself to the look of my new money). so kate kindly rides the buses with me to the airport in madrid and makes sure i get checked in okay. we sit and chat for a bit and then, she goes on her merry way. i sit and read for a while and finally head off to my gate to wait some more. i had to check my main bag this time, which always makes me a little nervous - but it's kind of nice not having to haul two bags around. long story shorter - right before we should've started boarding, they announced (in spanish, of course) that the flight was delayed TWO HOURS. that meant i wouldn't get into basel until midnight. a place i've never been, and a language that i can only say hi, bye, please & thank you. yippee. i call the hotel and they're open 24 hrs, so no worries there; however, the buses only run until 12:30 - so depending on if there's any hassle with the flight or airport, i may have to take a taxi or figure something else out. we ended up flying in after midnight, which the airport apparently normally closes at midnight (do airports really close??). thankfully my bag made it safely and i got some francs, but only got two 50 franc bills. there was a bus outside and i was trying to buy a ticket from the machine and this guy was staring at me that seemed to have some connection with the bus but didn't speak english. i thought he understood i was trying to get a ticket for the bus but the next thing i knew, the bus and the guy were gone. thankfully i could cancel the ticket purchase. and i knew that was the last bus - so i walked over to the remaining taxi and asked the guy if he spoke english, but he didn't so i took out my handy piece of paper where i'd written out how to get a taxi ride somewhere and dove in. he said it'd cost between 28-40 francs and i said fine (what else was i going to do?). he seemed really nice and could speak some spanish, so we conversed a bit that way. when he stopped in front of my hotel, i'm pretty sure he said something about 14. i pulled out my 50 and asked if it was okay (as in, do you have change for this) and he nodded. apparently it cost 37 francs - so i'm not sure if i got scammed or the 14 was just miles and not cost, but by that point i didn't care and wanted to pretend that everything was just great. whew.
the next day (my one full day in basel) i got to help a british man & his mother find a museum they were looking for even though i had no previous knowledge - i had a map and figured it out quickly enough to actually be helpful; and it was such a relief to hear english and with such a great accent. :) shortly after that i stopped for lunch at a little cafe and ended up having a waitress who was from california - so i was able to have a swiss experience but actually know what i was ordering. it was the best quiche/pastry i've ever had.
there's always more, but for now i'll leave you with two photos. the first is in one of the main platzes in basel, taken with my phone. the second is a typical delightful little bavarian cafe in munich.