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The trip to Switzerland began on a flat note as our travel struggles opened with the four of us (Lisa, her mom, dad and myself) driving – or as it were “parked” — amidst a shut-down turnpike near Newark Airport. The unfortunate accident was caused by a tractor trailer truck colliding with an overpass on the New Jersey Turnpike and causing hours and hours of stopped traffic. We didn’t have hours to wait. We needed to get to the airport to catch our flight to Switzerland. (I have included a link to the full story if anyone is interested)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/nyregion/truck-crash-kills-one-and-snarls-new-jersey-turnpike-for-hours.html?_r=0

Without thinking twice, Lisa whipped out her iPhone and recruited the Waze app to navigate us around the Turnpike through the side-streets of other travelers doing the same thing. As I recall, the ride felt like a rollercoaster taking hard lefts and rights as we weaved in and out of traffic narrowly avoiding other vehicles in our rapid pursuit of the parking lot where we would catch a shuttle to the airport.

When it was all said and done we made it to check-in and security with time to spare and were just looking forward to bringing our heart rate and blood pressure back down to an acceptable level as we waited to board the Boeing 767.

I’ll spare you the long, drawn-out story…We boarded, found out the plane had one cockpit monitor working while the other was malfunctioning and were asked to deplane and wait while a replacement was found. After several trials and tribulations, all was repaired and tested and we were off the ground and over the Atlantic en-route to our Geneva destination.

Upon arrival two hours later than expected, we gathered our belongings from baggage claim, went through customs and approached the rental car company where Lisa’s parents had reserved a car for us to get around with whilst in the country.

Apparently, Alamo does things a little differently abroad than we have come to expect in the United States. According to the less-than-accommodating agent on duty, it is customary for the company to “give away” your car that you have reserved 3 months in advance if you do not pick it up within two hours of the scheduled time. After several attempts to comprehend this behavior, I simply chalked it up to bad business decisions on the company’s part. Needless to say, they made no effort to check on the status of our flight and realize that we were behind schedule and by no fault of our own-doing. Not even saying sorry, she exclaimed that she could do nothing to help us and put her head down in an effort to end the conversation.

After giving up with Alamo, we tried our luck at the other rental car places in the airport only to find that they were all booked as well. We did get some solace from the other companies when they stated that they would never think of giving away a vehicle that was reserved (by credit card mind you) to someone else.

After this debacle of a 12 hour time span, we opted to forego waiting around for a miracle rental car to become available and instead decided to schlep our belongings to the train station to get to Nyon which was our final destination. Keep in mind we had no less then 10 pieces of luggage between the four of us to get from here to there. All complaining aside, we arrived at Daina and Marcus’ apartment midday and pretty much crashed on the bed after formalities and meeting the baby, Maya.

Early next morning, we were able to get a ride back to the airport from Marcus in order to secure a different rental car from Hertz. The white “7-seater” Kia was slightly larger than a Toyota Prius and could fit four adults under 6 feet tall within the first two rows of seating. The third row “seating” would be reserved for a ten year old napping lengthwise during a drive-in movie which he was forcibly brought to. Outside of that, I am not sure how one would even get back there to the third row as I am fairly certain the second row was locked in place. The climb and tumble maneuver would be necessary for this feat. Regardless of my joking, the car worked out perfectly for the duration of the trip and the people at Hertz were a gem to deal with.

Later that afternoon, Lisa thought it would be nice to take a walk to downtown Nyon and check out Lake Geneva, the largest body of water in Switzerland and one of the largest lakes in western Europe. I agreed and we weaved our way downhill through cobblestone streets and a mix of historic and modern architecture as we neared the lake view.

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As you may see from the picture, the water is a cool blue-green and mountains abound which gives you a sense of how small a creature you are in the grand scheme. This is true unadulterated natural beauty at its core. If you love to hike, Switzerland should be on your bucket list, hands down.

Since the weather was not exactly cooperating with a ‘sit and mingle’ style of tourism — 90+ degrees and humid to boot — I snapped a few more pictures and we trudged our way back up the hill to the apartment which wasn’t necessarily a better place to be. Switzerland is a seemingly ‘green’ country and opts to forego central air conditioning and insists on powering down optional appliances like washers and dryers during the heat of the day. I applaud the thinking even if, at times, the heat and humidity inside the house were less-than-comfortable. That being said, the fans did help out and after a couple of days, it wasn’t so bad really. Many of the nights were much cooler than the day and having the windows open and fans going made sleeping much easier.

Tomorrow (August 27th) I will be posting the next series of our trip abroad covering roughly the first entire week of Switzerland before we talk about the trip to Paris, France.

I hope you enjoyed and come back tomorrow for the next installment with many more pictures to be included.

Thanks for following me and just as a quick FYI, I have been going all out on golf since the return from Europe including fitness, nutrition and of course practicing and lots of playing. I am feeling great and can’t wait to get back to competition!

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Travel to Switzerland (Days 1 and 2)

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