Ah Switzerland, the land of cheese, chocolate and cute guys. Those aren't the
main only attractions of course. There's all the glorious scenery, mountains, culture and glorious snow. Those who know me better know I've never been the kind of person who absolutely must travel somewhere every year. I'll be quite happy staying at home too, slacking and chilling out, cognizant of the fact of just how much moola I'm saving by not travelling.
It's not that I dislike travelling mind you, it just never ranked very high up on my list of priorities which often included stuff like get a house, have more sex, get a car, party into the night. Did I mention more sex? Plus the fact that travelling often does involve spending a significant amount of money.
I guess working has changed my perspective somewhat. I'm still equally happy staying at home, luxuriating in the fact that I can wake up at noon and not give a damn about work. But going on a holiday and actually flying somewhere helps one to unwind fully. Even if it is a little pricey.
I'd always wanted to go to Switzerland. The land of the eternally snow-capped Alps, quaint buildings and refreshingly cold weather. Ever since I was a small tyke and the Mother went, "You know you were actually due later but I had them induce an earlier pregnancy so that I could give birth to you and go to Switzerland with your father." Yes and she went ahead for the said trip with my sister in tow while the baby was dumped with granny. So yes, it was what you would also call a childhood goal to 'visit Switzerland one day dammnit'.
But the decision to go to Switzerland was truly a last minute one. Originally Kate and I decided on Tokyo, Japan. Japan is another one of those 'must visit' places. Spend 6 or 7 nights in Tokyo and experience New Year there. However, that soon fell through when I realised just how prohibitively expensive a trip to Tokyo would be with the sky high Yen and the extremely expensive stuff in Tokyo in general.
Plus Kate was dragging her feet on the confirmation of her schedule as to when she could fly there from New York and the thought of spending almost $5,000 on a relatively short trip just to Tokyo wasn't very appealing. After all, cosmopolitan as Tokyo was, I was in the mood for some scenery and life outside the city.
So I figured why not Switzerland. To be honest I knew it wouldn't be cheap, probably another $5,000 but it was the variety, the location and the (slightly) longer duration that clinched it for me. But I knew Kate was dead set against Europe, having to spend a couple of weeks there on a business trip in November, so I would be winging it on my own if I went.
The conclusive 'Ah fuck it I'm going' mentality only set it on Sunday whereupon I decided it's gotta be Switzerland even if it's on my own. What followed was a veritable nightmare of checking and comparing the various airfares, reading the reviews for the various hotels for the least painful (yet acceptable) deals and scouring the numerous websites for best deals on room rates.
In fact, I'd no clear idea of just where I wanted to stay when I started though I promptly settled on Zurich, Interlaken and Bern for the stay. Transportation would be taken care of by the exhaustively comprehensive (and expensive) Swiss Pass which basically allows unlimited rides on all forms of public transport for a certain number of days.
I must say that planning a trip and all the necessary itinerary is damn bloody exhausting. I took an entire day and I only settled the flight package (which incidentally increased by $110 from the time I first checked it out to the time I finally settled on it 8 hours later), deciding on the check in dates and booking the hotels. Nothing planned yet for just what to do on various days, it was exhausting but fun in a way I guess.
I still need to plan just what I intend to do. I kind of have a general idea of what I have in mind, visit the sights and museums at Bern, attempt to ski (and not fail too miserably) at Jungfrau and check out the sights and the famous gay dance/theme/sex? club in Zurich, the gay capital of Switzerland. Especially since the days are short and the weather can be ball-shrinkingly frigid... Zurich is around a freezing -3 c to 5 c end December while Jungfrau is a mind numbing -15 c to -5 c.
Which makes you wonder how they go clubbing or for those themed gay parties where I hear the dress code is rigidly enforced... some of which involving little more than strips of leather and rubber bits with shoes and/or caps. The kind of attire which would probably cause your average parent to hyper-ventilate and suffer a heart attack. I dunno. Come to the club all dressed in their leather bits with only a huge winter coat and risk severe frostbite to their netherbits? Though perhaps with the amount of blood in their netherbits, it's the last body part to suffer from frostbite. It's interesting.
So I'll definitely be checking out Rage though it is not without some trepidation. After all, the well documented wild 'parties' are certainly not something you'll ever see or experience in the local gay clubs. And it's not even a sex club... but apparently it's accepted and almost expected for club goers to shed pieces of their clothing if not all when clubbing. And no, I will be giving Sector C (the themed gay dance floor) within Rage a miss. Not at the expense of my netherbits.
While I was telling a friend it would be nice to have someone come along for the trip even if only to help alleviate the substantial accommodation charges and to help you take photos (of yourself damnit). But you make do with what you have I guess. And this is one trip I am looking forward to, even though I'm going to be positively broke after this.
Now will anyone be in Switzerland from 26 December to 3 January 2009? Drop me a line if you are! Of course it'd help if you're cute, gay and can speak english. Though the last is optional I guess, love (or lust rather) transcends all languages. ^^ And if you're swiss and all of the above, you can even have half of my
tiny cozy single bed for free. Hur hur.
N/B: I just checked. The flight package I booked at Zuji.com is no longer available. That so justifies my paying $2139 for a return ticket to Zurich on 17 hours flights! Wooohoo Jet lag here I come.