Switzerland: Skydiving The Alps & Plates of Lies

Continuing our journey, our next step was in Zurich, Switzerland. We took a 4 hour or so train from Munich to Zurich. Getting around Zurich is really easy as long as you can get to the main station. Everything feeds out of there and made getting to and from our hotel and the city center a breeze. We set up shop at the Hotel Allegra which was about 15 minutes by train from the main station.  Overall, I found Zurich to be a really nice, clean and accessible city. People spoke english just about every where you would need them to and it made getting around really easy. The one thing I was looking forward to most on this entire trip (along with Oktoberfest) was skydiving over the swiss alps.

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For our first day we didn’t have anything planned and instead just grabbed dinner in the city. Our ‘group leaders’ are vegan and found a place (Hiltl) that worked for them which actually ended up being the oldest vegan restaurant in Switzerland (or maybe just Zurich). I don’t think everyone knew that it was a fully vegan place and seeing things at the buffet like calzones with ham and cheese, or chicken nuggets, was misleading. As my buddy Kevin said after learning of the full vegan menu… “this is a plate of lies”. I don’t mind eating vegan foods, I can eat veggies and fruits… it’s when they try to pass things off for meat that I get sad :(.

The vegan restaurant would actually end up being one of, if not THE most, expensive meals of the trip. The buffet was weight based and it was not cheap. I think the modest filling on my plate cost around 27 euros. I didn’t opt for a second trip, nor did I get desert. The rest of the group had desert and some of them had second ‘courses’ so it turned out to be expensive.

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Kevin upset with the “plate of lies”switzerland-kevin-plate-of-lies

For our second day the youtubers in the group had a meetup planned with their fans. I decided to explore a bit and chose to just wander around the city center.

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Before I did, though, I had to get the sim card I had gotten the day before fixed. I have to say that about 95% of the time a card isn’t activated instantly (this happens with some carriers) it means it wont work. It’s a totally normal procedure for a lot of companies but they just can’t seem to get it right. I’ve been quoted as little as 15 minutes and as long as 6 hours for sim cards in some countries to activate. Every time I make the mistake of leaving the store before I know it’s working, I have to go back. Anyway, I got it fixed and went out to grab some lunch.

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Zurich restaurants are pretty expensive. At Commihalle for lunch I got a salad and a bruschetta on toast, and it cost me 25 euros. After wandering around a bit I decided it was simply to bright to photograph and opted to head back to the hotel for a bit to kill some time and get my tripod. I went back out and found Zurich around sunset a much pretty place. Less tourists, better lighting and a more romantic (yea I was alone… so what) feel.

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For dinner I found a Moroccan place about a 20 minute walk from the main station called Maison Blunt. I got a warm mezze, which is essentially a sample platter, including falafel, hummus, some kind of samosa or empenada or something, some yogurt sauce, etc. I just wanted something light so it was good enough. I got back to the hotel and prepped for my trip to Interlocken/Spiers for skydiving the next day.

We had a 2+ hour train ride to the jump site. The ride out was beautiful and the little town we stopped at to get picked up was beautiful. A van from Skydive Switzerland picked all of us up and took us the 10 minutes or so to the jump site. We signed a one page waiver in the car and unloaded to get our prep. I was expecting an hour video about all the dangers of skydiving, and lots of warnings and stuff. We got none of that. Here is your gear, here is the position you take when jumping out of the plane… OK, let’s go. It wasn’t until we were pushing out of the plane that I realized we had zero training on what to do if something went wrong.

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O well, nothing did go wrong. In fact, it was the exact opposite. It was INCREDIBLE. For my first skydive experience I could NOT have chosen a better location. The weather was PERFECT, the alps were beautiful, the lake we jumped out over was crystal clear… what an AMAZING experience.

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The cost of the jump was around $350 (jump) + $70 (video). The owner of the place was nice enough to let us use our own memory cards and thereby get the full, raw footage. He also reduced our price for the group with promises of shares and mentions on social media by the youtube celebs.

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After our jumps were over we got the shuttle back into town and had dinner at a little lakeside restaurant with, by far, the MOST RUDE waitresses ever. I don’t know if there was some kind of “lost in translation” thing going on or what, but they were dicks! If I wasn’t with a big group, and this wasn’t one of the only restaurants around, I would have left. We got back to the train and back off to Zurich.

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The day was long and it was about to get longer. We had 4+ hours on the train already and around 830 we hopped the overnight train to Amsterdam. Most of the group had a first class “cabin” while me and one of the guys had second class seats. The second class seats were essentially bigger, more spacious, more comfortable airplane seats while the cabins were about a 5×7 room for 6 people in bunk beds. The crew was NOT pleased with that. I had a feeling after seeing the pics while booking my ticket that those bunks would be too small. We all found a car with regular seats and power outlets and hung out there until bed time. We almost had a big problem but were luckily alerted by one of the conductors that the car we were in would break off at a station around 1am and go to Munich (remember, we were going to Amsterdam). I had been planning on sleeping in that car as were some of the others, so it’s a good thing we got the heads up.

We arrived to Amsterdam right around 845am the next morning. All in all, I was able to get some sleep (with the use of some ambien) and was generally comfortable. I was a little creeped out by the thought that someone could grab one of my bags and get off at a stop while I was sleeping (as opposed to a plane where they wouldn’t have anywhere to go). I made sure to secure my ‘gear’ bag to the bottom of my seat, under my feet, with the hope that if someone DID try to grab it that I would be woken up by the struggle to get it undone.

That’s all for Switzerland. A beautiful place, easily accessible, generally friendly and not as expensive as I had thought. If you like winter sports, I would think this would be a great place to visit as well.

 

 

 

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