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Sunday, July 3, 2011

To Bilbao

I forgot to mention in my last post that at dinner last night it was someone's birthday and the staff did the birthday celebration song using Swiss cowbells. First time I had heard it done that way.

After crashing last night, I woke up this morning and discovered that I had muscles hurting that I never knew existed before this trip. I have no one to thank except Jimmy for that...the hiking in Murren was a great workout, and I'm glad we did it. Despite the blisters on both heels, I managed to hobble around ok today. Once breakfast was done, we had some time before our flight left Zurich so we went to the University and then headed down toward the Hauptbahnhoff. Couldn't have asked for better weather so far...clear and sunny again today. I hope that holds up for Mondragon.

After grabbing our luggage we were off down the hill to the train and airport. We ran into a guy on the walk that heard us talking about things to do in Zurich, and he mentioned that one thing of local interest in summer is swimming the river down a mile starting from city center. The water is clear and clean, and when you get down there you can shop or drink. First time I had heard that as an option. I think Jimmy is officially going to come back and try that on his next trip.

The first flight was fast...only an hour or so to Dusseldorf. Air Berlin is an efficient airline...I'd fly them again. The only hiccup was the landing...did one of those "land on one wheel then bounce another time" landings. I also thought it was interesting that we didn't have any sort of passport control leaving Zurich. Maybe it was because we were flying intra-Europe and not leaving the continent?

Flight #2 went just as quick to Bilbao - I sat next to a seat crowder, but otherwise it was good. The landing was much better this time, and then it was time to get luggage. The only drama per say were the two Asian girls that decided the best time to stand up and move seats was 200 feet from landing...the attendant was hollering at them to sit...what might possess someone to want to do that as the plane is landing? Ok back to luggage.

Now, I usually will try my best not to check luggage unless I have to, but since my bag was 6kg over weight I had no choice. Just my luck would be that the luggage wouldn't make it, right? We stood waiting for our bags and eventually everyone got their luggage and the belt stopped...we had no bags. (sigh). Not again. No worries though...we come to find out that international passengers pick up their luggage on a separate line. Ahhhh. Good to know. (aren't all of us coming from Dusseldorf to Spain international? Nevermind...). Our bags did make it...whew. We also found it odd there was no passport control leaving the terminal - no one to stamp or stop us for any reason. Are all places in Spain this way?

Next it was time to find a taxi. The first six told us 'no' to go to Mondragon, but the 7th agreed. Small language barrier with the guy driving (no English) but off we went. He had a cool GPS he used once we figured out what the hotel address was. After a quick 45 minutes we were here!

I didn't eat much today, so after dropping my stuff in the room i needed to find something. Crys from my cohort came walking down the hall and was kind to come along and show me where some options were. We ended up coming back to the hotel for food since it was so late, and I had an egg sandwich and some wine. It was good, but now I'm pretty beat. We'll start up with a class meeting tomorrow morning as a group.

Here we go...

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