The American Douchebag’s Guide to Europe: Switzerland

Julie is the Swiss Miss.

Overview

For a country that calls itself neutral, it’s pretty badass and not one to be fucked with.  Where the country is situated makes them insanely difficult to invade. If you don’t believe me, just ask Napoleon or Napoleon II, Hitler. Switzerland is essentially situated right in the goddamn center of the Alpine mountain range, which are decidedly difficult to pass. Conbine this with the fact that all able bodied men of age must join the military (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_in_Switzerland), and you get a nation that you probably don’t want to fuck with.

You know an army’s hardcore if they have something this bat-shit crazy named after them.

Initial Thoughts

This time around, I’m not going to give you my initial thoughts, but the thoughts of my fellow traveler, Paul. I acquired these thoughts through my standard methods (see: torture) and I found his thoughts as we entered Switzerland much more entertaining than my own. Here they are:

This is Paul. He is afraid to look me directly in the eyes, and for good reason.

“Okay everyone,” Andy called over the loudspeaker,” We are about to cross the border into Switzerland. We might get stopped by border control, and if we do, they will check our bags and stamp our passports, and then we can continue.”

I, Paul Khoo, fitness badass and the man who was “winning” before that drug powered Charlie Sheen made “winning” a thing, raised my hand and asked, “Andy, why are they going to check our bags? Aren’t we already in the European Union?”

Andy swaggered back, careful not to look Minigan directly in the eyes (he goes crazy when someone does that) and replied with, “Well, the Swiss are part of the European Union, but they set up terms that gave them the right to use their own currency and control what comes in and goes out of their borders. It is nothing to worry about, just as long as you don’t have any drugs with you. Because then you would get arrested, we would have to leave you here, and you would have to find your own way back to the United States. Of course, no one on this bus would be so thoughtless as to try to smuggle drugs across Europe… Well, almost no one.”

We both looked at Minigan who was absentmindedly gnawing on the headrest of the empty chair in front of him while making disturbing growling sounds. Brennen used to sit in that seat, but ever since Minigan started chewing on it, he had been too weirded out to sit there and decided to move one row ahead and sit with Brita, the hot blonde from Texas. Andy gave me a weak smile, which I assumed was his way of wishing me good luck with sitting next to Minigan, regained his composure, and swaggered back up to the front.

Well, shit. I thought, I know I didn’t bring any drugs with me, and I’m pretty sure Jon didn’t either, but I’m pretty sure that Minigan is trying to smuggle drugs across the border. After all, he was practically trick-or-treating for narcotics and hookers in Amsterdam’s red light district. There’s no way even he could do that much drugs in the two days since we left The Netherlands. I should probably ask him about it. But I need to make sure he doesn’t have anything stashed. Sure, I think the guy is a crazy bastard and we’d be better off without him, but he is the only person here that makes me seem level headed, so he needs to get through the checkpoint. The last thing I want to hear said about me is, “Now that Minigan’s gone, Paul seems much more shit-house rat insane.

“Minigan,” I called slowly, as not to alarm him. His teeth had penetrated the red and grey fabric covering the chairs, and he seemed to be attempting to bite his way through the foam padding. He didn’t reply. I called his name again, and this time he stopped gnawing and looked my direction, his mouth still firmly attached to the seat.

“Wub boo bah bee?” he asked… it think. I stared at him blankly (it’s OK to look him in the eyes if you address him first) for a few seconds before he finally released the head rest from his vice like jaws and asked, “What do you need?”

“I was just wondering how much drugs we would need to have in our luggage for border control to detect it,” I said while making myself sound nervous, “I mean you don’t think that I could get in trouble if I have just a small bit of weed on my clothes from Amsterdam, do you?”

“Nah,” Minigan replied, his breath smelling strongly of sour cream and onion Pringles and public transit upholstery, “You’d need to have more than just a trace amount on you for the drug dogs to notice. Trust me.”

“So you’re not worried?”

“Nope,” he said, his attention back to the shredded seat in front of him, “If I was going to try and smuggle drugs in a suitcase, I wouldn’t be so stupid to keep it in my suitcase. I would probably put them in other people’s bags, as to divert suspicion away from myself.”

Oh shit. Would he plant his stash on me?

As if he knew what I was thinking, Minigan continued, “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t put the stuff in your bag, and I would definitely put drugs in you bag and then tell you my plan. Besides, I would only stash drugs on someone whom I don’t like.” He gave cast a venomous look towards Natalie, and then with an animalistic snarl, he dove face first back into the headrest in front of him, and began to tug at the foam padding with his teeth. His lips had wrapped themselves over the edges of the loosened foam, making him look like he had lumpy growths on his gums.  With a swift and strong tug, Minigan managed to tear a rather large chunk of foam from the seat , leaving a sizeable hole in its place.

Natalie (in the red) had just cut April (in the grey) in line. What a bitch. Also, April was clearly affronted.

“Why are you doing that anyway?” I asked once he spit the slimy ball of foam into his lap.

“What, this?” he asked casually as if he gets asked that question all the time, “You’ll see.”

He bent over and pulled several small bags of marijuana out of a compartment in his book bag.  He stuck the bags into the newly made pocket in the head rest and returned the soaked foam to its original place. He then pulled from his book bag a sewing kit that he had borrowed from April as we left Heidelberg, and began to sew the seat back together. When he was finished,  the tear along the top of the head rest was hardly noticeable.

“I ate an entire can of sourcream and onion Pringles before I began to bite the head rest,” he said to me rather randomly, “The smell from those Pringles should cover up the smell of the drugs. And as long as no one rats me out,” he continued, while casting a highly suspicious look in my direction, “ I should be able to get these drugs through whatever checkpoint we are stopped at.”

 This dude is fucking insane, I thought to myself as Minigan turned back to the head rest to admire his handy work, I really need to stop hanging out people like him. It is only going to get me arrested or murdered one day.

“But people like me make things so much fun,” he said to me in a bright tone. And before I could react to what he just said with a thought, he murmered, “And yes, I can read minds. Keep it on the D.L.”

___________

Why did I have to torture Paul if I can read minds, you ask? Because sometimes getting things the old fashioned way is more fun.

Accommodations

We stayed at the Globe Hotel in Luzern, Switzerland. There were only two downsides to this hotel that I can think of. #1. We had no air conditioning in our room, but a fan. #2. Everyone else had their sink in their living space while Sammy and I only had ours in our bathroom. What a jip. Actually, the no air conditioning thing turned in our favor after the first night when a large group of us (including Sammy, Paul, and I) ran across town to our hotel in the middle of the pouring rain. When Sammy and I got back to our room, we aimed our fan at our wet clothes and let them dry overnight. So other than those two setbacks, the hotel was pretty nice. It was (as I just mentioned) within walking distance to the center of Luzern, and literally across the street from the lake. Our room was pretty big and had a nice view of the courtyard. Also, we could climb out the window and party on the roof. We didn’t, but it was an option.

This is the group of us who ran to the hotel in the rain. We found Andy and gave him a wet group hug so that he wouldn't feel left out.

Sites

According to our tour guide, Andy, There are only 2 sites to see in all of Switzerland: Mount Pilatus and The Rhine Falls. The Rhine Falls was the first site on our tour through Switzerland. It was an impressive waterfall, don’t get me wrong, but it cannot compare to the magnitude, majesty, and several other words that begin with M of Niagara Falls (Go America and, to a lesser extent, Canada!). But none the less, the Rhine Falls were pretty cool. It was a nice place to stop for a minute and stretch your legs and it’s impressive to see the power of that much water tumbling over rocks. Also, if you’re in to this kind of thing, you can take a boat ride to the falls and walk up an island right in the middle of the goddamn falls. That’s pretty badass.

No one wanted to be in the picture with me. Pfsh, haters.

While we were there, I tried to convince Sammy to go over the falls in a barrel, but we ran out of time, and he didn’t want to because not enough chicks would be watching.

Mt. Pilatus was much cooler than the Rheinfalls, partially because of the hiking opportunities and the amazing views, but mostly because if you’ve seen one waterfall, you’ve seen them all.

Awesome! Proof that Gravity exists! Can we go now?

Mt. Pilatus was amazing because it was 7,000 feet high, and towered over Luzern like a Swiss Giant. You get to the top by an enclosed ski lift and then by hanging tram car. Once at the top, you can go hiking one of the several trails, eat in their cafeteria, or take your luggage to your room. Yes, there’s a hotel on the top of this mountain. Why AESU didn’t book that for us is beyond me, but they will be hearing from me about it via a brick with a note attached being thrown through one of their windows. The trails on the top of the mountain ranged from easy to difficult, or, to my low altitude lovin’ lungs, “Dear God, can we rest for, like one damn second? Does anyone have any water?” The hike to the peak was worth it though, because once the clouds cleared, you could see for miles. I absolutely decided that I am going to go back to Luzern just to go back to the peak of Mt. Pilatus and jump off it while wearing one of those wing suits.

See that building way at the top of the slope? Yeah, that isn't even a third of the way up.

Both April and Sammy were uncomfortable in this picture. Sammy because he's afraid of heights, and April because she's sitting next to Sammy.

To the summit, or our deaths. It's gotta be one of those two.

I reached the peak of Pilatus... That sounds like that could be a good name for a hiking themed porno.

Food

One of the nights in Switzerland we traveled into the Swiss Countryside for a Swiss folklore dinner.  There, our first course was fondue, which made me incredibly happy, not because I am a huge fan of fondue that isn’t chocolate, but because I had forgotten that fondue was Swiss to begin with. As for next few courses, I don’t remember them all too well, so let’s hope Julie got pictures of them.

She did!

Let’s see. Well we definitely had some vegetables. I’m guessing that the stuff covered in gravy is pork… or maybe chicken. And that stuff in the back I think was shredded potatoes. Hmm, that actually sounds pretty good. I wish I could remember eating it. And I wasn’t even drunk at this meal, it’s just that so much happened at the Swiss folklore dinner that the meal must have been pushed from my memory…

What I’m getting at is that it wasn’t all that memorable. Just sayin’.

Then there is Swiss chocolate which was delicious. I bought a 8 pack of candy bars which I proceeded to share with my fellow travelers. Of course I spiked the candy bars with amphetamines. Pfsh, what a stupid question that I assumed you asked.

Alcohol

Honestly, I do not remember much about Swiss alcohol. I might have had some of their beer, but I’m not sure. Euro friends, help me out on this one.

People

As I mentioned above, during our second night in Switzerland we had a Swiss folklore dinner. This was where we mingled with the Swiss people. And seeing as though most of my group was pretty drunk and most of the people we met were starting their march through puberty, things got a little weird. Paul snorted some tobacco with some of the Swiss boys, Lauren, Julie, and Anna got hit on by those same Swiss boys and then almost killed said boys with whips, Brennen and CJ almost killed their fellow Americans with the whips, and Lea really pissed off my roommate by being  drunk and unintentionally cock blocking him. That’s not even mentioning the fact that we Ohio State alumni saw to it that everyone from UCLA absolutely hated us and we saw to it that we kept the OSU- Michigan rivalry alive via heckling the lone Michigan supporter from the other group. It’s funny that it took us this long to finally show Europeans how drunk and annoying Americans can really be.

Weird Al was mysteriously absent

Attempted murder has never looked so pretty.

I honestly thought I was going to die when Brennen got the whip.

Cj was hammered at this point in the night.

Overall Atmosphere

With it being the county with the highest rate of living in Europe, you just know that Switzerland is going to be one of the more expensive countries on the trip and also one of the most business like. While many of the other countries we had played up their history, The Swiss seemed more focused on business. Luzern did keep most the historical buildings, but the city still felt like something that belonged in the 21st century.

However, my body had a negative physical reaction to something in Switzerland. I have no clue what caused it, but I can venture to guess that it was the Swiss’s damn neutrality that caused the blotches on my skin.

Gross Switzerland, gross.

OK- Pictures

This is Anna eating a Clif bar at the edge of a cliff.

This bird followed us to the top of the mountain. I'm pretty sure it wanted us dead so that it could feast on our flesh.

There it is again!

Group pic sans non Ohio people

If you would like to read a more accurate description of my exploits in Europe, check out April’s blog.

Peace

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3 Comments

  1. […] at Venice. Andy-And you killed that poor Hüttediener. Zack- And you released the Kraken. Paul- And you smuggled drugs into Switzerland! Brennen- And you made me fall in love with you! Therapist- What?! Brennen- Well, It was actually […]

  2. FYI, Switzerland is not at all a part of the EU. Just sayin…


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