For the first time ever, I missed a flight. I was out late at a gay bar creatively named ‘Gay Late’. The drinks were cheap, and I was dancing the night away with some of London’s hottest queens. I had a big dinner, and I was trying to work up my appetite for a late night kebab in London as I hadn’t had one yet; yes that’s my excuse.
When I went to bed, the many mixed beverages were clouding my judgement on how much time I should allow myself to get to the airport to make my flight. By the time I got to the bus station to catch a bus to the airport, I learned that the next bus would get me to the airport at the same time my flight would be speeding down the run-way. So, I went to McDonald’s for a much needed Big Mac and some wifi. I used my favourite free call application, Magic Jack, and called Easy Jet to see what my next move would be. They told me the best thing to do was continue to the airport and pay the 80 GBP rescue fee which would get me on the next flight to Zurich. This was pretty much the same price as my initial flight, but far cheaper than booking a flight last minute, so I continued onto Luton airport. Turns out the next flight was the following day which had me standing at the counter a little miffed that they lady didn’t tell me this on the phone. Now on top of my 80 GBP rescue fee, I had to pay for a hotel because heading three hours back into London to trek out to the airport again the following day was just not an option. This turned out to be a 160 GBP hangover. It was almost ten quid more, but I kindly asked the receptionist at the hotel if I could have a discount. Never hurts to ask people.
I finally do arrive in Zurich, a day late, but I’ve still made it. It suddenly hits me that for the first time ever that I’m in a country where I don’t speak the language. All of a sudden I feel like I have to resort to miming and body language to communicate, and I feel like a complete ass because I haven’t bothered to learn any of the pleasantries ahead of time. Now, I’m one of those tourists I hate! To make matters even worse, the Swiss are incredibly sweet and helpful, and I’m more of an ass. I ask someone for directions and a lady actually takes me by my arm, leads me to the ticket machine and pushes all the buttons for me because of course they are in Swiss-German and considering I can’t even say hello, I won’t understand. We manage to get me a ticket and off I go to catch my train. Upon boarding, I immediately notice someone is drinking a beer on the train. Two points for Switzerland!
I arrive at the bus station and once again, I need help purchasing a bus ticket. Another generous local again physically helps me buy my ticket. She even tops me up with the coins I was lacking. Three points Switzerland! She also chats to me in English about her travels in Belize for the duration of the bus journey. Before she gets off at her stop, she tells me I need to go two more stops before arriving at my destination. Four points!
Finally I am at my friends apartment and have yet another strong feeling of surrealism. To be honest, Switzerland was not part of my original plan, and I didn’t think I would ever be sitting in Nadine’s apartment, but I’m sure glad I was.
Switzerland is not only beautiful for its extreme landscapes but for its people, and I am so excited for the days to come.
Have you been to Switzerland?
Did you find the people to be caring and helpful?
Also, be sure to check out Allie’s last post in her Adventures With Allie G series.
This post was written by Allie G who is an adventure traveller, cultural enthusiast and sustainable tourism activist.