Welcome back! Check out previous parts of my journey here!
My couchsurfing host was unfortunately in a foul mood, initially I presumed that it was because my arrival was a bit later than initially expected as there were some delays with the trains in Italy, suprise suprise… But this was not the case.
Accompanying him was a young Chinese man child, this was the actual source of my Swiss hosts displeasure. It was actually a bit of a relief as I was really hoping to not get on the bad side of my first couchsurf. These two people couldn’t be more polarly opposite, they endlessly tormented each other to the point of hilarity. For those familiar with Jim and Dwight from the TV show The Office, it was that kind of relationship. In other words caustic. The Chinese fella who’s name slips the brain was one of the most irritating people I’ve ever met in my whole life. He never stopped talking, and on top of that it was always nonsense. Just to top it off as well he was often intentionally rude, insulting the local customs and culture. After some time driving through Zurich to Markus’ home he informed the other guest that he would be leaving tomorrow morning. He asked why when there was a bunk bed? Markus quickly replied with a grin, “Times up”. Later I would find out that he had been staying for about a week when he had only planned on a day or two. This is much more the norm for a couch surf unless the host is extremely gracious.
After a 20 min drive we arrived to Markus’ apartment that laid right on the lake. With a little help we got my bike unpacked. Markus showed me where everything was in the house and I remained on my best manners. He informed me that “Xi” slept in the nude and wished me luck.
It was already late at this point around 11pm. Xi decided to pack around this point and continued talking at me in his bathrobe even though I made no indication that I was in the mood to converse. He was also just throwing away clothing, this kid must have had wealthy parents. He did offer me a few things but at about 5ft 4′ there wasn’t much he had that would fit my 6ft 1′ frame. It was nice to know though that he wasn’t all bad.
I woke the next morning with “Xi” gone and a message on my phone from Markus inviting me to stay one more evening if I cared to. Quickly I replied that It would be a pleasure before whisking away to the town square for some food. After doing a little shopping which is one of my favorite things to do in a new place I paused to collect and orient myself. Whilst doing so there was a rather upset little girl being dragged by her mother over to a kind looking old man with a music box. Almost immediately after he turned the crank, winding the spring soothing music began to play from his ornate little box almost immediately calming the little girl’s temper.
Switzerland is every bit as beautiful as the photos and videos make it out to be. It’s like a fairytale land with all of the tall spires, gothic architecture and traditional Swiss housing. The only real downside is the cost of living. Its high, for my American friends it’s about the same exchange from the Dollar to the Pound. Still though I economized picking up a little pasta and a sandwich to munch on for my walk back.
After eating and resting I decided that a little adventure was brewing and left the house to make my way down the lake side. After a long day of sitting on trains it was nice to stretch my legs. The lake Zürichsee is just beautiful, A local train followed its shores and every so often the sound of it would whoosh past me. There were also dairy farms which housed some hilariously shaggy cattle which mooed at me grumpily in passing. As I made my way into the next village I stumbled upon a small Saltwater aquarium shop that held all the little wonders they can. If you’re looking for some intense color inspiration look no further then this type of shop!
This little town also held a small but beautiful church and the urge came over me to walk to it and see if I could enter its halls. The old wooden doors swung open with a well oiled feeling to a large white room with ornately carved wood work covering the ceiling.
It was extremely peaceful inside and I welcomed the isolation in this beautiful little gem of swiss architecture. After sitting in the pews for a moment my time felt up in this place and I left to continue my walk.
After continuing to the bottom of a curve in the lake I took a respite and sat on a little bench gazing out over the lake and then up at the mountains that served as a backdrop with all the little houses stippled upon its foothills. The world’s wonders never really end.
I returned home to find my host relaxing and eating a late lunch. He invited me to sit down and chat. He asked me about my adventure and all of my he happily listened to my little tale of adventure thus far asking questions here and there about why I decided to go on bike and how did I pick where to travel to. I asked him if he had done a lot of traveling, and unwittingly opened pandora’s box. This guy was the swiss version of the most interesting man in the world. He began his story by telling me that one day he just realized he was wasting his life sitting in a office so he quit, bought a one way ticket to southern argentina. proceeded to purchase a Land Rover and then drove from Argentina all the way to Alaska over the course of a year. He had also visited various asian countries, exploring and enjoying what each place had to offer.
I was really surprised to have such a well traveled host but he like many other travelers was just looking to pay forward all of the free places he had to rest his weary head during his travels. He told me he was honestly happy to have a calmer individual after dealing with Xi rudeness and energy for so long.
It we had been chatting from the afternoon into the evening and Markus offered to make a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. A hot meal after a day of hiking around the hills was more than welcome. In the mood for a movie we decided to watch the Bourne Identity both of us were quite after chatting so much. Before heading to bed we made plans for the next day before going to bed.
The next morning we arose and drank a little coffee. My bags had been packed the night before and we loaded up Markus’ car before heading to his job of unlocking a local church that was about half way between his house and downtown zurich. I hopped out with him and explored the little church before having to leave.
We arrived at the train station in the mid morning, unloaded on the side of the Road and shook hands bidding each other farewell.
My time in switzerland was very short but very memorable. Interesting people always make for the best of stories but in this case I had encountered two people on the extremes of calm and … well weird.
As always thanks for stopping by!