Friends and Followers of Ann

Friday, June 7, 2013

Travel – June 3rd – Zurich, Switzerland to Seattle, Washington, through Newark, New Jersey. 

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Rick Steves

All good trips must come to an end, and all tired travelers must return home.  It is so for John and me as well as Rick Steves, well known Pacific Northwest author, television personality and travel guide, who returned on the plane with us from Newark to Seattle today.  It was a long ride, but not an unpleasant one.

 John and I were up before the crack of dawn.  The hotel wake-up call service didn’t work, but the nice lady with our breakfast at the door sure did.  I’m sure glad John heard her knock or we would still be in Zurich.  A quick bite, a quick dressing and we were off to the airport. 

Zurich Airport is located just 10 km north of the Swiss city of Zurich. In January this year the airport handled just over 1.7 million passengers, which represented a gain of 1.3% in a year-on-year comparison. With domestic and international connections to Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Copenhagen, Vienna, Warsaw and Singapore for example the Swiss airport is in ever increasing demand as an aviation hub for this part of Europe.


We checked in our luggage, barely under weight, thank God!  We went through security and they let us keep our shoes on, YEA!!  I still got stopped because they always like to look at either my computer bag or my purse.  That is what happens when you carry knitting needles with you.  Yes, knitting needles; they let you carry knitting needles on the plane.  

No knives allowed

No knives on board, but you can carry nice long straight shafts of metal or plastic.  

SHHUUUuussssshhhhhh, don’t make a fuss; it’s my salvation when sitting for hours in a small chair with no place to go.

Knitting needles allowed

We had to catch an airport tram to our gate, and we knew we were still in Switzerland when over the loud speaker of the tram came soothing music, then the birds began chirping, and then….a cow moooooowwwwwed.  John and I looked at each other and said, “This has to go in the blog; no one will ever believe it!”  What an unusual background sound to have in an airport tram system.  We just laughed!

We flew United Airlines.  I have a United credit card and have racked up a fair amount of frequent flier miles over the years.  One way tickets are usually the most expensive, so we decided to trade in some of my miles for our return tickets from Zurich.  It was a very good use of the miles.  Our seats, for being cattle car passengers’, were mid-section, right side of the plane so we sat by ourselves.  There was lots of leg room, and we had unlimited movies all the way across the ocean.  John read and slept.  I watched three movies and crocheted a complete jewelry bag during the flight.  Eight plus hours and two meals later we were on the ground; fairly painless and uneventful.

 Then there was US Immigration and Customs, always the first stop.  We seem to get in the line where everyone in front of us is a suspected terrorist.  A million questions are asked, records checked twice, pictures and handprints taken, and delays continue as the inspector calls his boss on the phone.  More papers are filled out.  Finally the person or family is let into the US.  This happened in front of us at least four times.  The inspector was so happy to see us it took him two seconds to pass us through immigration.  We must have looked like we were upstanding citizens.  YEA!!!  After such a long flight I was really getting tired of standing.

I'm never tired of returning to the USA
 and seeing my flag waving in the distance

 We found our bags and went through Customs.  They asked us if we had purchased anything that was food of plant oriented.  We indicated we had purchased some Swiss chocolate and some olive wood items.  We were sent to the x-ray line, while everyone else, probably having Swiss candy in their luggage, walked free; so much for being honest.  Having all our items x-rayed, we were on our way with everything intact.  WHEW!  

 Now, getting our bags transferred to the Seattle flight was the tricky part.  If any of you have ever been to the Newark airport you probably know that it’s not well set up and the signage stinks.  It’s that way on the international side of the terminal, too.  We wandered around for at least twenty minutes trying to find someone to take our bags for our flight to Seattle.  We finally had to take our bags all the way out to the front departure desk and have them accepted just like we were newly arriving passengers.  If it wasn’t for the kindness of a United host working the Premium passenger line, it would have taken much longer.  United and Newark Airport….you get a D- grade from me for this.  In all my international flying between major hubs, I’ve never had to go all the way to the beginning of the process to get my bags in the system after customs; SHAMEFUL!

We knew we were back in the US when we went through security again, took our shoes off, went through my bag again, pulled everything out and put it back.  Then we walked to the very end of the longest terminal to get to our plane.  Everyone was either on their lap tops or smart phones.  The price for a cup of coffee was $3.00 and to watch a movie and TV shows on the plane all the way back to Seattle cost $7.95.  (Just slide your credit card here please.)  There are no movies on the plane any more where you can rent head sets for small sum; the media is controlled by Direct TV.  The US overall is a lot less expensive than Europe, but everyone has figured out how to get their pound of flesh.  In the long run, “outsourcing” may be the bane of our existence; just ask Boeing.

 We have a wonderful local limousine company that picks us up when we go on long trips.  The owner was sitting in the cell phone lot waiting for us.  We arrived home, opened all the windows to air out the house and unpacked.  We are headed for our own bed tonight; I can’t wait.  Wait….is this Monday or Tuesday night?  This European adventure may be over, but Ann has many more adventures to follow.  It is never boring when Ann is around!  

AHHHH  we are home......       Good Night!

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