The really neat thing about this trip is that I am living on the edge -- sometimes not knowing where I might arrive or when I might spend the night.
So with 24 hours to kill before my Air Mobility Command (AMC) flight from Ramstein, I decided to take an overnight train into Basel, Switzerland, my 10th country on this unbelievable trek from one corner of the southeast fringes of Europe where the Bosphorus Strait, strong and salty flowed into the Black Sea to the mouth of the brackish Baltic Sea in Poland.
On the Deutsche Bahn train, I ran into a girl named Carina who called Zurich home. I informed her that I was traveling to Basel just to have a look. She seemed rather surprised, a tad bit disapointed.
"My first time to Switzerland," I said.
"You should go to Zurich," she asserted. "It's better --- way better."
So there you have it. As usual, I don't like to wait for a flight, and now my trip takes another last minute exciting turn for the next adventure in this European trek.
That's why it's normally a good idea to talk to the locals (who are experts in their community) and to be agile -- stay on your toes and be as flexible as a rubber band.
You'll bounce around a lot, but you'll also stick around to hear that tale and to catch that story.
I would argue that Switzerland has the best tasting water in Europe. Water from the tap is probably just as pure as bottled spring water, and nothing beats the taste except probably Swiss chocolate.
Rock formations along the banks of Lake Zurich -- a difficult undertaking that only lasts until the tide comes in
Roasting Lobsters by the Lake and not worried about a thing. Everyone seems so relaxed and affable here. Here by the lake, the world's problems just wash away and everyone ebbs and flows and are cordial to come and chat with you or even share a bite. Here in Lake Zurich, even the swans are friendly and social.
Beautiful model along the Lake. In Zurich, these statues are everywhere -- at the park, by the playground, near a busy street. Since these statutes are life size and represent real-life expressions, one can be easily fooled to think they will any minute get up and move.
Sauna Am See, the public pool where I went swimming in the Zurich Lake
Zurich is the cultural capital of Switzerland. Filled with museums, arts and film, Zurich is a progressive, cosmopolitan city on the same level as Tokyo and Montreal.
So, I am so glad I decided (at the last minute) to go to Zurich. This charming, peaceful and elegant city on the Lake, turned out to be one of my favorite cities in my 10-country trip.
Life is full of surprises -- I'm glad I stumbled upon this one.