After three plane rides, a few long layovers, and an hour wait in the Zurich airport waiting for our entire group to meet up, we were finally walking through the streets of Zurich. The next ten days would be filled with adventures throughout Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Germany. Traveling on this trip were my brother and sister, Matt and Julie, and my cousin, Katie. The four of us had no idea how much fun we were about to have.
It was early morning, around 10 am, in Switzerland. Our guesthouse wouldn’t be open for another four hours. We were tired, had luggage, and needed breakfast. We decided it would be best to find the guesthouse and then search for the nearest cafe. After a 30-40 minute walk, we found ourselves in a quaint part of town standing outside our guesthouse. There was a pub right around the corner with free WiFi. Perfect!
We found ourselves seated around a table just moments later – laptops, chargers, and big breakfast beers filling the tabletop. We had been traveling for 22 hours, but somehow the energy of Europe began feeding us massive quantities of energy. We laughed and laughed, planned out the next few days in Switzerland, and got to know the locals. The pub, which could hold up to maybe 20 people, was owned by a local couple who appeared to be in their mid-40s. They spoke very little English but somehow we managed to make a few jokes together. Seated alongside the bar were three older men, likely bachelors, who appeared to be regular barflies at this pub. And since they were the only other people in the pub at 10 am, we also got to know them well. So well that for the next few hours they welcomed us to their country with free beers.
So here we are, in a pub in Switzerland, unshowered, luggage crowding the floor, and a jukebox playing over and over as we fed it Euros. Before we knew it, we were dancing in the middle of the pub, just the four of us and the owner, at 10 am on a weekday, three middle aged men cheering us on. It was an excellent start to our trip!
As 3 pm approached, our eyes became heavy and we started craving beds. We paid the owner (what little we owed), promised her we would be back, gathered our things, and walked the half of a block to our guesthouse. There wasn’t staff onsite, but rather a lock box. We entered the four digit code that provided nothing hours earlier. Clittiky clank…dropping to the bottom of the box were our keys. We all smiled, thankful that we would soon be asleep.
There were three steps into the building. Matt suggested that he bring our bags into the room before helping me up. But as soon as he opened the door to the building, he said, “Uh…Renee. There’s a whole flight of stairs.”
“Crap!” I thought. And I told him to grab the bags and the wheelchair as I started scooting up the stairs on my butt. I was so tired I didn’t even care if I got dirty. And besides, I was still covered in airplane funk. So up I went, on my bottom, one step at a time. At the top of the stairs there were four rooms, two of which we would occupy. Matt and I found the room we would be sharing, plugged our cell phones in so we would have an alarm, and were asleep in minutes.
Several hours later, we woke up, confused. It was pitch black outside. “What time is it?” I mumbled to Matt as I rolled over, feeling refreshed as the cool night air drifted into our slightly cracked window.
“Um, my cell phone says it’s 8 pm,” He said, squinting his eyes at the bright screen shining into his eyes.
“We should check on the other girls to see if they’re awake,” I commented. And as we opened our door into the hallway, we heard giggling and knew they were awake. “What do you guys want to do tonight?”
“Can we go back to the pub?”
“Sure!” And we spent the next few hours in a tiny, rundown, local pub in an alley somewhere in Zurich. To this day, it’s one of my most favorite pubs. I don’t remember what it was called, but it holds a special place in my heart.