Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Swiss Diaries - VIII

In Switzerland I have seen...

•No obese Swiss. The only grossly overweight have been American - judging by their accent. Sad.

• No money on the street - not a single coin. Perhaps because smallest common coin is 5, and the smallest still made is 10.

• Less litter, but more cigarette butts than USA. Smoking is very popular.

•A girl at Lucern Backpackers say "geography" saying both G's like the second one. She said "accurate" with emphasis on the second syllable, and said "Zürich" - "Tsurii".

• Lots of Asians - in Lucerne especially. Few other Europeans, besides Swiss and German or French, but a number of Aussies.

• Toilets that do not allow vertical urination; also, ones that empty onto the ground, and ones that cost up to Chf1.50 to make use of.

• I have met Italian, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, English, and Dutch, Danish, Scandinavian (one of the peninsular countries), Finnish, and Polish speakers. Probably more.

J. William English

Monday, 27 December 2010

Storybook Love

A new blog has just been launched for the publishing of prose and other stories, long-finished or in progress. Follow it to keep up to date on this author's comings and goings in the literary field, for a laugh, or an occasional enjoyable read.

Swiss Diaries - VII

Luzern/Lucerne - Backpacker Hostel 21.40
4, Dec 2010

Today was good; but I spent too much money. The thing is, I don't regret any of it. Food,souvenirs - I must try to be more careful. Perhaps I am running out. I don't know.
There's a chance I'll stay in Patrick Surrat's sister's house Wednesday. That would be really great. Tuesday I'm still working out, but perhaps I'll just be in Zürich anyway. Pass runs out by midnight. I'll need to be at a place before then. That way, Zürich all day, and airport in the morning.

So, today: 1. I was in the WC in a train, and went to [make use of the facilities] and saw the ground moving beneath me. Straight down to the middle of the tracks it all goes. Heavens.
Usual, or malfunction? Not sure.

I woke late again. That stunk, but oh well. 7.57 I was out of bed and on my way to the station soon after. Grindelwald by 10.00 or so, a couple hours there and then to Interlaken for an hour. Bought souvenirs, took pictures, lots of walking - both places. In Grindelwald, there was a place you could see, 3 mountains, and the middle one was sunny while the others were not. It looked very cool. Interlaken was good; things aren't so stressful. I picked up some grapefruit soda at
Coop - so good. Also, breads along the way. Amazing.

Took Golden Pass to Lucerne after Interlaken.
Very beautiful drive, indeed. I found it
stimulating - 2 hours or so from Ost to HB. Once
in Lucerne I headed to the hostel after finding
tourist info on it, church services, etc.

(McDonald's and Burger King are somewhat frequent, but they are not cheap food; if you eat there, it is primarily for the taste, not convenience.)

Lucerne Packpackers is amazing. Great stuff here, for sure. After I booked a room, I headed to the Old Town. An old fortified wall is still standing in parts of the city, and I got to walk along it at dusk. Enjoyable, quite. The town is beautiful and the bridges are amazing - one a covered relic of 1453, it spans the river and looks out on swans, ducks, and water fowl of every sort. Heard a cellist and threw some money at
her; she was cute. Heard some trumpeters playing classical and took a video. Didn't throw money as they were not cute.

After dark, I headed back, got a beer and yoghurt at Coop, breads at somewhere else - in the Bahnof - and returned to
eat. When I sat down, a woman joined my table and we got to talking. She is from New England, and on a two-month trip in Europe. We discussed everything from experiences to life, occupations, etc. She gave me some of her extra food, and a calling card for Chf5 - to book some hostels. Yippee! Anyway, that was a highlight. Well then, (Name, by the way, Leslie) I was talking to the girl in charge of the hostel, about Switzerland, and boat rides, and life, and English, and school - she is quite funny.

Other titbits: saw green fields (blood was cloddily warm; kudos if you get that joke) on way to Lucerne - that was cool. Got cold on walk, but felt good not to have pack. Forgot extra batteries so mine died while 22 sat in my backpack at hostel and site after site of Old Lucerne went unphotographed. Dash.

Now it's 10.02 - my bag needs packing, and I should sleep. Church at 10.00. Protestant. Then boat ride, then to Lugano for the night. Should be good.

Guess that's it. From my window I see snowy trees, a moon-shimmering Lake Lucerne, and the city across the water. I am beginning to be okay. Still, be ready for home when Thursday comes.

J. William English

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

A Pause

Before continuing the previous series of diary entries...I'd like to spill some words not directly related.

I watch as the wild of the world wrestles with winter's wondrous weather white. I feel the freezing, foul frost on fiery fingers filled with frightful frenzy. I taste the tortured tomb of tree and time on tongue. I sense the sweet smell of seeping sap slowly slaughtered by the slice of sorrow's season. Hark, I hear the hollow, horrid howl honing the hours till Hell's havoc heaps on home and homme. Winter, this freezing tomb of slaughtered hours - where fear tears at the sap of our hearts, from end to end, till as all it touches, winter at last kills itself, a white and frightful taste of seasonal, suicidal Hell. Romanticised, dreaded, loved, mourned: for ninety days, perhaps a little more, our world wishes it were wrested from this winter, white wonderland.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Swiss Diaries - VI

Lauterbrunnen - B&B essentially
3 December 2010

The place I'm staying at is Chf28 a night, single room. Even though I was alone last night, this is the first time with real privacy. I like it. It's not the same as being alone. Alone is purely psychological. Privacy - well, maybe that's psychological too. Who knows.

Today has been long, but a good day. I'm sitting here eating PB-bar and drinking Passion Fruit beer, the first chance I've had to write all day.

For starters I slept in. My alarm went off, but I was too tired and set it again. The next time, I was going to get up after just a minute - and then it was 8:42. Two hours later.

An odd note: Shirts and calendars are super expensive here - whilst mugs, shot glasses, and spoons are fairly reasonable. In any case, as I was saying, I got up late, ate breakfast, and was on my way about 9 half. First to Wilderswil, then to Wengen - both of which are very small and very nice. Wengen is where Nelly lives, but I didn't see her, though I did see a lot of shops, streets, and snow. The churches are wonderfully built. Oh, and Wengen is only accessible by train.

After Wengen I booked a room at Lauterbrunnen, and headed to Thun. Thun was fun, with old streets, shops, and a castle/museum. Only open on Sunday, though. It's another town - 41,000 - situated on the River Aare. Beautiful views from up high. I found this delightful staircase leading many steps to the elevated portion that looks down on everyone else. It's great.

Then I decided to go to Visp. I took the train there and wandered about for about 20 minutes - time to buy some bread-things (delicious) from Coop Pronto, and something (yes, alas) from McDonald's. Just to see what it was like. Better than usual, honestly.

I decided to take a bus to Brig, so I hopped on and took off. That was enjoyable and I walked around the old "Platz" where booths and pubs and a skating rink were set up. I want to find out what Rathaus means, because I see it everywhere in almost every city, like "Rathausstrasse" or "Rathausplatz".

(A side note: Nelly refers to Asians by frowning and pulling at her eyes. It is quite amusing.)

The most interesting thing all night is perhaps what happened as I was heading around a corner in Brig. I heard bells long and loud, and followed the noise to a Catholic church. I went in and found them beginning a service. I sat down to participate - knowing I had 20 minutes to catch the train.

There was chanting first - with nobody visible leading. Then the organ played after people trickled further in - over 100 of them - and then a woman came out, put two big heavy books on two tables/podiums and sat down. A few moments later a man, followed by two girls and one boy, entered from a door and the man began to read from the Bible. There was chanting and then I had to go catch my train - but it was fascinating, if French, so rather hard to understand.

I know the feeling of running for a bus, or a train, or several - on ice, snow, anything. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes it's bad luck instead of good. Toward Interlaken train to Lauterbrunnen, I jumped off the arriving train (From Thun, 8:00, 6m late) and tried to run but fell smack on my palms. The ice was invisible in the bad light, and I didn't even notice it. They smart still.

Outside there is snow, high cliffs, Christmas lights, cars, a tall waterfall, a river, snow, ice - more snow, mountains, Alpine forests, people sleeping, a church steeple lit by moonlight...and on, and on. Soon I'm for bed and then at 6:45 depart for Grindelwald and then on to Lucerne.

Here is the current plan. We'll see how I stick to it: Lucerne at night, see it during the day. Sunday night, Lugano. Church at Lucerne if possible. Ticino by train Sunday, then on foot Monday. Andreotti's Monday night, Graubunden & Liechtenstein Tuesday. Zürich Hostel Tuesday, or possibly no sleep. Zürich Wednesday, and home Thursday. There you go. Whoever "you" is. Probably some descendant who doesn't even know me.

That's it for now. Night,

J. William English

P.S. The passion fruit was amazing. Now I'm so ready for bed. 11:00pm

Monday, 20 December 2010

Swiss Diaries - V

Interlaken - Balmer's Hostel 2 December 21:43

It's been a long night. Sort of. The scenic train was beautiful. You ride, and then all at once a flash of blue-grey and you're there - in front of a lake, and a falcon soars by, and the mountains are higher than you can follow. Brids, and snow; life - in the Swiss Alps.

Did some souvenir shopping in Interlaken. First things first, though, I went and booked my room. Free of my pack I left it at the hostel and journeyed into the town. Bought spoons, shot glasses, etc. Saw the mountains, took pictures, went wherever my fancy led me.

For supper, I got butter and tomatoes and Swiss Drink - something like that - that tasted like hard lemonade but was non-alcoholic. I grilled 2 sandwiches and ate supper, then went to watch some pool. Met three people: Allie, a 23-year-old from Canada, on a 6-month trip, who talks and swears, works at a bar, and gets drunk frequently - though not always in that order.

As well, a man, I've forgotten already the name [Steve] and Jango his son, who are staying here. Everyone swears a lot. It's annoying, and sickening to be honest, but perhaps it's good to be exposed to it. Part of fleeing it - seeing what it does when it's unleashed and let go. I called the Andreotti's (sp?) and set up Monday to go to their house. That will be good.

After waiting and talking, everyone went to the bar downstairs and I had half a litre of cidre, and am dizzy. Allie is just getting started. She'll be stoned when she finishes emailing her resume. Jango is well on his way. Me? I had enough to give me a pleasant evening, and a good night's rest before an early start tomorrow. Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Thun—maybe Lucerne.

That's about it. I know I promised more description but the Alps are themselves. My words will do as well as all the others; largely nothing. My bed will come soon. I feel a little nervous. In a way, Thursday still cannot come soon enough. I do miss home, and family, friends. It's not the same - non-Christians who don't share a common bond. It makes me sad.

Snow here - a little. But forecast is sunny for a few days. Works for me. Goodnight, then.

J. William English

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Swiss Diaries - IV

Bonjour! Pardon moi, monsieur - Au revoir

I am on the Golden Pass Train for Interlaken/Lucerne. It looks quite delightful. I have to say, the past few hours are a mixture of haze and blur. I'll go over what's happened.

The plan was to go to Winterthur. As fortune would have it, it stopped in Berne. At 1:13. I woke up, unsure what to do. The next train was bound for Zürich Airport (Flughafen). At 4:21. I decided to wait it out. I sheltered in the train station, but it was still cold. There were people up and walking around, but just a handful. I waited on a bench at first, until I was cold - and stiff. Then I got up and wandered about the train station to get warm. Police came and went, once in a while.

After 2:05, I went back to my place. It was cold. I got in my sleeping bag and put my blanket on. All my available wrappings encased me and I crouched on the bench, blind, wanting sleep. Moments later, I glimpsed through my eyelids a fellow approaching. He crouched by my "bed" and screamed as loud as he could. I did not jump as he had expected, and he began to swear. I sat up and told him to go away. He told me, "I speak the English too - I lived in your Los Angeles!" "Very nice, I'm almost quite sure," was my dry reply, and cursing happily, he went his way, following his cronies.

After that, I did not sleep, but waited. Presently a cold fellow wandered over and I asked him a question - in English. As it happens, he was Vince from Seattle, on a business trip in Bern. He has two high-schoolers and a college grad for family. We struck up a lively conversation all the way to Zürich.

Then I made my way to another train, which took me to HB, and I bought a delicious delicacy while waiting for Lausanne train. At Lausanne, I grabbed some chap stick for my desperate lips and more water. Then it was Montreux and 10:00. At Montreux, I had an hour and a half until the Golden Pass, so I made use of the facilities and headed to town.

Montreux is beautiful. My French gets better as I greet shopkeepers and walkers with a cheerful "Bonjour" wherever I go. After a stroll down the lakeside, I walked to the Christmas Market, just opening, where I got a few souvenirs. More walking and I came time to board, where I am now and will be for some time. It is beautiful; more description later though quickly I will say: It is bright and fairly cloudless with some good sky. Perfect for a scenic train.

J. William English

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Swiss Diaries - III cont'd

What A Night! What a night it has been and will be.

I went to Sion in search of "Les Simples." What irony, then, that it becomes of all things, most complex! The first clue I had should have warned me. Never again will I ignore the signs.

Those at the train station had never heard of the place. How silly of them, I thought. How naive, not to know their own city. Or, how stupid of me to think "Lonely Planet" was unfailing.

Sion is a French town. They do not speak German. They do not speak English. French - and only. To my chagrin, I became quickly lost, after asking more than a dozen persons for directions to the cursed "Chemin des Gardes de Nuit". I continued to bumble past post office workers, bus drivers, pedestrians and motorists, each time thwarted in my efforts. Even when they knew what it was, or where, the B&B "Les Simples" was never recognised. And so it went, until I met Jessica.

Jessica is an angel. Not only does she have the fact of one, she is through and through my greatest moment in Switzerland now, or ever I think. I met her when she noticed me, lost and confused, on a street corner. After offering directions, and translation, she led me back to the train station to get more information.

The bus I needed would leave in an hour. She offered to wait with me. I tried not to beg. At last, my loneliness was abated for a moment. We walked to a café, ordered coffee for her and a beer for me, and conversed.

Jessica is 24; she could pass for 16. She was born in Spain, but her parents split and she went with her Spanish father to Lausanne. She will go to South Korea soon for a year and a half to study the language so she can be a translator in Geneva. Amazing! German, English, French, Spanish - now Korean.

I told her my story, a little, and then it was time to go. I paid, she led me to the bus station, and we parted. In an hour, I've never had such delight after such despair. Wonderful.

But the evening is only just begun. I got off at my stop. The bus disappeared and I started walking. There was no sign of the B&B. Only a Heineken Sleazy Bar. I went inside. The waitress was attractive - "tu es tres belle" - but lacking in English. I hardly can bear to cut a long story so short, but in an hour, we both knew "Les Simples" was not in existence, camping was for summer, and cheap accommodation was ChF102. Too much.

After two smoke breaks, some strained smiles, and an offer by her to take me back to the train station, we knew only bare details of each other, but the loneliness was lessened. We went back in her boyfriend's/brother's/husband's/whoever's car, just in time. I jumped on the train to Vevey, knowing there was a hostel there.

Alas, for it was 10:00 and they were closed. An unsuccessful attempt to use a pay phone, break into the hostel, fruitless search for cheap accommodation, and I was nearly despairing. Then I had an idea. The train left from Lausanne at 11:45 - ending 2:30 in Winterthur. I could take it, wait for two hours and take it back. My night was stressful, long, but secure in a way. That's where I am now and we'll see what happens. As always - you never know.

J. William English

P.S. I got to a pay phone and dialled home. That helped a little.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Swiss Diaries - III

Train to Delamont Via Biel - 11:00; 1 December

It is snowing heavily right now. Heading out of Bern for the day; maybe a good while. Perhaps forever.

Last night was a nightmare. So stressed, so afraid and so wishing to be home, in my own room. For now, it's a little better. But I'm quite biPolar today. Took a great many long walks, and tried sleeping in a shelter. Lasted an hour and a half. Succumbed, at last, to a hostel. Tossed and turned for days - minutes it was, days it seemed anyway. Fell asleep, woke at 7:45. Ate as much as I could, and went to Parliament. After a walk around, I went out into the snow and did another pile of walking. Jumped on the first bus I saw; surprisingly, it took me to a train station. Then I decided to go to Delemont. St. Ursanne to be precise; I change trains soon here, at Biel.

We're passing some cows; everything is bright, brilliant white. The loneliness I feel is incomprehensibly acute. I might go mad. Very soon. I'll try to hold out. I want to stop writing and just watch. But I don't know when else I'll get a chance. I want my memories of this place to be good ones. I'm afraid they'll haunt me for a long time. I never understood how alone it feels - being actually alone. I've taken the opportunity to draw as near as I can to God.

My lips are chapped, my eyes haggard. I look like an animal. A wild, frightened animal. I see an Aldi at Lyss. I wonder what the prices are like. No time to check, though. Tonight, I might stay in Geneva. I don't know. Anywhere cheap, and safe. I just want to be safe. It's the alone thing. What if I died? God's here - but I'm trying to do this on my own. Help me, to let go.

Again. 1 December.

It's so blasted snowy here! I like snow, but it makes it hard to see things, and there must be over a foot of it. Everywhere; and it grows by the minute. Plans change on this trip like the wind. Missed the Delemont train because mine was late, so I hopped on one to Lausanne.

In Lausanne, I went to the Cathedral; very impressive. In fact, it was quite a pleasant time spent altogether. Wandered around for quite some time, till I stumbled into the Museum of Lausanne History. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have parted with the 9 francs it costs. But mine was covered by my pass, so I took a peek. I got to lose the pack for a bit, not the worst of it anyway, and the Museum was quaint, interesting, and full of windows for picture opportunities.

The Metro is like a Subway, but less frequent and less extensive. I used it to get from the Train Station to Cathedral, and then Lac Léman - Lake Geneva. It is like an ocean. I can't be sure but with the fog, cold, snow, and clouds it reminded me of Loch Ness.

It goes on and on. Even now, heading toward Sion, I am amazed to see it leering at every opening from the buildings or trees. Black water in winter; black and beautiful. It ripples and waves crash and the clouds descend. Astonishing. Swans, ducks, crows - they were everywhere when I walked across the pier. A boy and girl, 17 or so, were building a snow man. It looked pretty good. Earlier, trying to get to the Cathedral, I had to ask some non-English speakers for directions. We worked it out. They were very nice & friendly. The people are generally pretty helpful. It's funny, though; I listen to them talk and laugh, but I don't know what they're saying. I do pick up a lot more French than German, however.

Got on the wrong train. Or rather, I got on but didn't change at Montreux as I should have. So now I'm waiting to go back. I'd like the B&B to be available. Honestly, it might not be open. Les Simples it is. If only this were simple. I like being by myself, 25%-50% of the time, sleeping not included. Other than that, people would be nice - to talk to, to see things with. I thank God for Nelly even more, as perhaps I would already be mad without her.

Next step, if I can find a room, is to walk, without my pack. I need an ATM, and I'd like a beer or a pizza in a pub - or both. Preferably both. The accommodation is a deciding factor in where I go. For now, Sion - as I was let to believe there's something there. We will see.

J. William English

Monday, 13 December 2010

Swiss Diaries - II

Zürich - 30 November 12.00

My first glimpse of Switzerland. Beautiful, but still in the city. Waiting for train to Bern right now. Tried to call, but no answer/didn't work. Need to work on my German. It's all very European here, and the people are wonderful. But till Bern I won't have a good idea of what to expect the rest of the time.

Zürich: activated train pass; got times table; got to HB (main station), got on platform to Bern. Said goodbye to Nelly, and started to get cold. Tonight will be chilly at best. It will determine rest of trip, I think. Hopefully I can get to a grocery store in Bern. I want to eat, but don't want to pay. Have 2 Fr50 notes, which I'd like to make change of soon too. My hands are cold. More in Bern.

Bern. Berne. It's dark, so this will be messy. The Old Town is quite lovely. I enjoy the night and day aspect, each way. It does get dark very early though. Too early for me. If I remember I'll try to write when it is light out. So far I've wandered, got bread and cheese and water at Coop, and ate some of it near the Bear Pits. I would love a warm bed but for now I must do without. Tomorrow I must find Parliament, the Hotel, and do some reading and more walking. We'll see how it goes. One day gone already.

Still Night, Bern, Starbucks, with cheapest item on menu

My nerve for sleeping outside comes and goes. Directly with my body temperature, I think. It is warm here; I have done much walking and am sore. Perhaps I will sleep at hotel later in the week.

Saw Bellevue Palace, Parliament Building, lots of lighted streets. There's music and voices here in Starbucks where the cheapest drink is tea at Fr4,40 and the cheapest overall is walnut bread for Fr2,20.

Perhaps I will head back toward the church to sleep. They cannot turn me away surely. If only I can find it, or another one. It's the sleeping that worries me. The wondering what will happen, how long the night will be, how cold. And the uncertainty, with no schedule, no one to travel with. I am frightened inside. It will pass, tonight or tomorrow; for now, it grows.

There are many Christmas lights in Bern. It is beautiful. But they do not comfort me. I tried to call home again, but could not. I am alone. Completely alone.

J. William English

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Swiss Diaries

29 November 2010, Day 1 - CLT Douglas International Airport

Waiting at airport; power out on B concourse ATL AIrport. Plane delayed - that's okay as long as I can get to my other airport/airplane on time. I can overhear worried passengers asking questions of the Delta People. It should all be fine, everyone is delayed; just sit down and stay calm.

I am excited for Switzerland. No cell phone - all I have are my books, thoughts, prayers, and - well, my map I guess. I'm trying to write legibly. Never a strong point of mine. Why so much context? I guess the vain hope someone will read this and need it. It's a grey day here; my pack is full; I could eat a couple of my granola bars, but I'll wait.

I have minor plans where to go when I arrive. Bern first. Looking forward to the flight. I'll go ask if the plane will be in time. More another time, perhaps.

J. William English

Night. On the Plane. 29/30 November 2010

Have had an adventurous time so far. The plane was delayed so we didn't leave till almost 4:00. On the plane, I was next to a woman who is from Interlaken, flying to Zürich with me. We discussed USA, Switzerland, Zürich, Charlotte, shared travel stories, and had a good time.

Because our plane was late, we didn't arrive at ATL till 4:47. What do you know, but the flight was already gone. So we got re-routed to Zürich via Brussels. At the check-in we almost didn't make it in, and after much wrangling with the attendants, found a seat. I have no boarding pass for CHF, but they said I would not need one. I am sceptical.

Woe of woes, but there is no movie - only overhead and currently they are playing "EAT PRAY LOVE". Not a big fan; it's okay so far. There was turbulence, and so no moving or bathroom or food or movie for an hour. It is bearable; I'm just not sure about when we land. Will be glad when we land in Zürich.

Food being served now. 1:32 local time. Landing in 7 hours. Zürich by 11:00 or so. And on the way back? We'll see.

J. William English

Again - Plane Ride. To Brussels. Late.

Food was okay. Chicken, green beans, sweet, sweet potatoes, salad, cheese, nasty bread, margarine, club crackers, and triple chocolate brownie - with cran-apple juice.

Movie's nearly done. It's cold; not sure if I'll sleep much or not. I want another drink. Maybe Switzerland will be awesome enough to make up for lost time. Strewth, it's annoying not having a cell phone. Frightening, in a way. More later.

Morning. 30 November 7:22 local time, hour and some till arrival.

They brought breakfast a little while ago: orange juice and banana, with a croissant-egg thing. Not horrible. Had worse anyway. TV is playing adverts; what a waste, eh? Oh well. Mornings are always odd on International Flights. Sleep at midnight, wake two hours later and it's 7:30, 8:30, whatever. It feels like you've sleep all night, but it's only been a few hours maximum.

I like mornings though. You don't get much sleep, but they're col. Brussels - Zürich. I just hope it goes smoothly. They haven't issued cards for filling out. That's good, maybe? I just want to be in Switzerland.

J. William English

A Red Horizon, and white clouds. Streaks of grey, rows of stars fading, while the light grows. A moon sliver, above us. Morning begins. My ears close, my skin trembles with cold. Orange and yellow find us, and the band of light that is the rising sun grows larger. Blue, now, and more dense clouds. Below, only clouds, and I wonder what does it look like? Brussels, Belgium, Europe, any of it. All of it. Just a question, and soon, answered. We begin a descent into the vapour.

Brussels, Belgium Airport

Nothing to worry about. The French-Belgian attendants are not only amazingly cute - they're quite helpful as well. Nellie, my travelling companion, has been with me the whole way. When we got to Belgium, she said she would stick with me till we arrived - as, what do you call it, a witness? Yes, I said, witness for our delayed flight. When we went through security a second time, she lifted her foot and showed me her sock saying, "See? I have bought Christmas socks. If they want to make me take off my shoes so they can see my Christmas socks, then oh well."

We went through twice, and the second time they made me squirt saline solution on my arm to test it, make sure it was safe, etc, and then I was through. Nellie is a wonderful and unaccountably God-given blessing. She seems to be the only one on our flight going to Zürich, and we happened to be next to each other. We happened to get talking, and happened to take a liking to each other. Time to board. Later, more.

On Swiss Airplane

More delays, but here. 11:30 arrival they say. Chocolate was passed out. Amazing stuff. Am getting more excited for Switzerland. Planning a route of sorts. It will be very cold, but I think bearable. Nelly (not sure how it is spelt) has been giving me good ideas for things to do. I'll head to Bern and take it from there I suppose.

Plane is running; I'm going to try to keep up my journalling whilst I travel, trains, etc, to get it all down. But I don't know how I'll do. Here we go - next stop ZÜRICH!

Will say bye to Nelly soon. Sad, but a good reminder of God giving what we need for as long as we need it.

J. William English