08.04.2009 - 08.04.2009 20 °C
When I awoke this morning I was greeted by intense rainfall outside my window. It wasn't that I was surprised as it had been raining heavily yesterday but I was frustrated that I had to wear my ridiculous 2-euro rain poncho thing that I bought all the way to the Salzburg train station.
Anyway, I arrived at the train station physically okay but feeling a little out-of-touch style-wise, discovered I had to pay .50euro for the toilet, discovered that I had only .29euro and resigned myself to sitting in mild discomfort while I waited for my train. After a few minutes it arrived from Vienna and I boarded, thankful to be able to relieve myself.
The train was much a degree nicer than what one typically encounters in the former-Communist countries and I guess that's to be expected because Austria is a good deal wealthier and invests a good deal more than the average country in its rail system. Of course leave it to a German speaking people to leave and arrive on the exact minute printed on my ticket (depart at 10:31, arrive at 4:20 ON ZE MINUTEN!).
Arrival in Switzerland was strange. It was very pretty from my window with impossibly beautiful lakes surrounded by impossibly tall mountains everywhere but unfortunately, because of windows, I declined to take photographs. Oh well, photos abound of Swiss nature. Anyway, on to the odd part - I switched trains in Zurich for Lucerne and upon arrival in Lucerne I stepped out into a train station that appeared to be IDENTICAL to the one I left in Zurich. Never have a I seen such a phenomenon. Anyway, not THAT weird but the rest of Lucerne is quite strange. It's the most sterile city I've ever visited. It's painfully clean. However, there seems to be no coherence to the city. It doesn't caress the soul in the least. It has some very pretty architecture, yes, but that architecture also seems freakishly sterile. It's like I stepped into some hyper-modern late 1970's sci-fi film. That feeling was augmented by the fact that there are very strange cars here - while walking back to the hostel from the grocery store I was passed by a woman driving a white angular... something. It had all the grace of a stretched out toasted. It appeared to be a one seater though there may have been "room" for two and it had three wheels situated as one might imagine they would be. The woman was wearing aviator goggles - this despite the fact that the vehicle was entirely enclosed - and other than that appeared to be wearing sharp business attire. Moment after this spectacle passed me I was passed by some great roaring hot-rod thing that I had never seen before and then by a LADA NIVA which I've never seen outside of a former-Communist country.
Then there's the architecture. Most of the architecture that isn't old looks like all of the sketches I've seen of to-be-built Seattle structures. What's the deal Seattle? Where's the originality? Most of these buildings I'm assuming aren't brand new and many might date back 10 years (though they may have originated in the future). Really freaky place, Lucerne. Tomorrow I will photograph but I'm not sure if my photos will do justice and perhaps it's just me.
Lastly - Switzerland, or maybe just Lucerne, is PAINFULLY expensive. I tried to find a restaurant and after finding nothing of (what I considered) reasonable value decided that I might as well stop off at the Burger King next to the grocery store (I would have just gotten groceries but was really hungry from 7 hours of train travel and another hour of hostel business plus I didn't get on the train until 2 hours after I ate breakfast!). I canceled that idea as soon as I saw the price of a meal: ~$12. At Burger King. No force on earth would get me to pay that much for a crappy burger. So I bought a $9.50 kebab roll. What a rip-off. But it was good. Tomorrow I'm going to eat some legit Swiss food regardless of the cost. I just couldn't justify it tonight. I bought some groceries too so, despite their ridiculous cost too, I can save some cash.
See (some of) you all soon!