So I decided to leave Rotterdam and instead of going home as planned I thought I'd take a detour and go to Zürich with Casey. We left Rotterdam, taking the 1049 bus to Rotterdam Alexander station. We go to Rotterdam Centraal at about 1116. We took the train to Amsterdam Airport, arriving there at 1216, giving me just enough time to buy a ticket for the 1310 flight to Basel, Switzerland, and was lucky enough to be able to organize a seat next to him for the flight. After arriving in Basel, we found a train to Zürich which took about an hour. When we got to the Zürich station, we were met by Jelena, Casey's girlfriend, who took us on a tram back to her house. After the mad dash across Europe, we were quite worn out, so we sat down for a while talking to Jelena and her mother.
They made dinner for us, a delicious vegetarian spaghetti bolognaise, after which we sat down, chatted and recuperated. I took a shower before we headed out for our guided tour of Zürich by night. We walked around some very quiet surburban streets on our way to the action and on the way we came across a bit of an obstacle in the form of a construction site that blocked the walking route that Jelena usually takes to the city. So, like the socially irresponsible rebels that we are, instead of going around it we jumped the fences. Once we got to the city proper, Jelena showed us the night spots where the locals sat drinking coffee and eating ice cream at trendy cafés while watching people go by. I have many photos of Zürich by night, so be sure to check out the Europe 2007 album in my gallery.
After enjoying a great cup of coffee and a banana split with Swiss ice cream, we moved on to a typical European bar, small and intimate where you can tell the barman knew everyone there by name and what they liked to drink. We spent a few minutes and then moved on to another bar where Jelena's friend, as chance would have it, was meeting her after for the first time in 2 years after spending a long time in Australia. We stayed there for a few hours while they caught up on all the developments in each others' lives. By the time we were ready to go, we were all too tired to walk the distance home, so we took a taxi for 15 Swiss francs. Jelena's brother was nice enough to sleep on the couch, so when we walked in at 2am I found that I had a nice comfy bed to stay in. I must remember to send a big thanks to Jelena and her family for their generous last minute hospitality.
Which brings me to this morning. The mad dash back across Europe. Right now, I am sitting on a train from Basel, Switzerland to Frankfurt, Germany. I left Jelena's house at 1529 hoping to make it to the station in time for the 1602 train from Zürich to Basel. I got to the station at 1551, but got stuck in the ticket queue behind an old German idiot trying to pick up the cute ticket clerk. I got a ticket and ran to the platform just in time to see the train pulling away. It was just like in the movies, the train slowly starting to move and there's this guy (me) weighted down with bags running next to it yelling "Nooo! Stoooop!" only to get to the end of the platform and fall off looking very comical and stupid. Well, that last bit didn't actually happen, but you get the picture. So I went downstairs to the pay per use bathroom, freshened up and got ready for the next train in an hour. Because of that extra hour, however, there is no way that I will make the 2115 flight out of Frankfurt, so I'm going to have to find a place to spend the night in Frankfurt and take the 1500 flight tomorrow. I got on the train to Basel, where I met a bunch of Australian teachers living in Basel, who were nice enough to give me a pointer to the next train, the one to Frankfurt, which saved me a few minutes of running around trying to find my bearing. Thanks guys! Right now I am on the train from Basel to Frankfurt. I have no idea what I'm going to do when I get to Frankfurt, but I'll work something out. Don't worry, I'll keep you all posted!
So it's time to leave Rotterdam. The CouchSurfing Collective was a HUGE success for me. I have definitely decided that CouchSurfing is the way to travel, and I doubt that I will travel and stay in hotels any more, at least most of the time. Make sure to check out the album!
We were a very mixed bunch, Me from Australia, Chris, Casey and Jim from the USA, Duke and Weston from Mexico, Tiina from Finland and Walter from... err... I don't know where Walter's from but he speaks Dutch so I guess he's from Holland. He lives there in any case. Big thanks guys, you all made me feel very welcome and comfortable and I wish you all the very best. Big hugs and thanks also go to some people who didn't stay there but still helped me have a great time and were generally awesome. Aldo, Paul, Diederik, Nicco and Femke, you will all be missed. Oh, and everyone make sure you keep a couch spare, because I travel a lot and if I'm ever in your area you can expect me to show up and ask for a couch to surf! Special thanks go to Chris, without whose encouragement and nagging I probably wouldn't have ended up coming to the collective. Thanks mate! I'll miss our daily strolls around Rotterdam.
I was supposed to be heading home, however Casey is heading to Switzerland, and has invited me to come along. It didn't require much arm twisting to convince me, I will be joining him. Thanks for the invite mate, this should be a fun trip!
So that's where I'm up to, dear readers. Be sure to stay tuned for more exciting new from the world of Naz. I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next! Until next time, peace!