Saturday, January 31, 2009

One Train Ride Not Worth Sleeping Through

After two lovely nights in Como, Martello and Trofie Wife geared up for our first trip out of Italy since we had arrived in late October. Our destination? Switzerland. After sprinting back (well, just Martello) to the hotel when we realized we still had the room key and wanted to avoid transporting it across the border, we hopped on the bus and found our way back to the Como station. Thanks to the extra sleep afforded by our early turn-in the prior evening, we were able to (mostly) stay awake during the journey. We passed from the Como to Lugano region, veering into Ticino (the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland) through a veritable winter wonderland that won over Martello’s vision (which is doubly better than mine on the contacts scale) and made him so bold as to say that this snowy journey was “the most gorgeous train ride ever.

Gradually, the mountain landscape starting giving way to Starbucks cafes. One after the other. It was definitely a rude awakening. Now, don’t get Trofie Wife wrong: I love Starbucks (and am grateful to the Palisades Avenue branch for always being so welcoming during interview season; I’m sure they miss me and my little Columbia banner). And having visited Switzerland twice before (and hearing of my nephew’s love for their muffins), I knew that Starbucks had made their mark there, but Italy holds the proud distinction of barring the chain from opening a single store in its country, citing the possible loss of its distinct cafĂ© culture (for some reason, France has let in the Green Mermaid). The bold white-on-green lettering coupled with the brusque sounds of German made it clear that we had entered a new dimension. 

We soon arrived at Zurich’s central station and navigated our way to a payphone (how quaint!), and announced our presence (we were somewhat noncommittal as to the exact date/time of our arrival, something that Trofie Wife’s sister was totally cool with). We hopped on a tram and landed at the red door on Freiestrasse just prior to kiddie bedtime and adult dinner. We quickly made ourselves at home and prepped for the limited adventuring that would be available to us the next day (Switzerland is essentially closed on Sunday).

Baci e gelato,

Martello e Trofie Wife

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