Switzerland Top Five

Theses are listed in the order in which they took place, not by rank/how much fun they were.

1. Partying Sunday Night – The first night that we went out as a group was so much fun. Getting flaming shots at the shot bar, singing karaoke and dancing with Italian women; what more could you want.

2. Rinerhorn Powder Day – The second day of snowboarding was by far the best. There was excellent powder and despite the fact I only did maybe 10 runs, it was so much fun and reminded me of what I love about snowboarding.

3. St. Moritz – It was cool to get to visit a place that I’ve heard about in books, movies and music. I wish I could have spent a bit more time exploring the actual city part, but, we got to see live up close bob sledding. My younger self was super excited about that.

4. Sledding at Rinerhorn – The first time we went as a group at night, I simultaneously loved it and hated it. However, when I went again by myself in the daytime, it was a lot of fun.

5. Zürich – This was never a city on my “places to visit” list. However, after checking it out, I’m glad I went. The city itself is clean and charming. There is beautiful architecture and design everywhere you look.

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Davos to Zürich to Boston

Switzerland Day 8 – Saturday February 16th

I slept in for a bit due to the fact I was out late the night before and had gotten kind of drunk. After getting ready for the day I grabbed my stuff and brought it down to the lobby. I then got a light breakfast before beginning the long wait for the bus to arrive. I did at one point leave the lobby to grab a souvenir postcard for Kyra.

Davos to Zürich Airport via Bus (2 hrs 30 min)

We left Davos at ~10:30 and I sat in the back of the bus with Jim and Jim. Trying to conserved my entertainment, I read the rest of Time Out magazine and some of the Road and Track I had with me. We arrive at Zü rich Airport a little after 13:00.

The fist this we did was to check our bags. Because we were a decent sized group this process to quite a while but we were super early for our flight so it didn’t matter. After checking my suitcase and dropping off my snowboard at the oversized luggage area I hung around for a bit to find the others and gauge what everyone was doing.

Soon after I made my way through security with some of the other people in the group. Once through, I took a little time to explore the terminal. One thing that I had noticed right away about the airport was just how well designed everything was. It was very clean, the signage was clear and it used a fair amount of wood in different elements of the design.

On the second floor of the terminal I found the Sprüngli chocolate shop and bought myself a few pieces to have on or before the flight. I then made my way back downstairs and sat with some of the people from our group who were at one of the restaurants/bars.

I sat with them until Dad showed up, at which point we moved over to the bar and ordered together. He had a burger and I had a turkey club. Afterwards we went on a fruitless journey to find the observation deck, only to be told that it is inaccessible airside (past security).

With the wind out of my sails, I did a bit more exploring before taking the shuttle train to Terminal E. There we went through passport control. Because the terminal was pretty barren, I basically milled about and took pictures of planes until it was time to board. I was again impressed with the cleanliness and beautiful design of the airport. It’s small but charming.

Boarding began by 17:00 or 17:30 and, as usual, I played the game of trying to be the last one to board. I’ve really come to enjoy this strategy.

Zürich Airport (ZRH) to Logan Airport (BOS) via SWISS A340-300 (8 hrs 30 min)

I had checked in on the SWISS app the day before and picked a window seat in front of the bathroom. This ensured a close proximity to the restroom if I needed to go, and guaranteed there was no one behind me to kick my seat.

When I arrived at my seat I was pleased to see that Jess (from my group) was sitting in front of me and that that man in the aisle (the seat next to me; the layout is 2-4-2) was also from our group. It’s nice to know the people around you aren’t shitty people.

However, almost immediately after takeoff Jess fully reclined her chair. This really bummed me out because, though leg room is not a problem for me and she technically has every right to do so, it made difficult my ability to see the IFE screen.

Thankfully it was the type of screen that tilts but it was still a bit too close and difficult to see. Plus, the plane was clearly older and the IFE was quite dated and slow. The first thing I watched was a documentary or recap rather of the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

This was interrupted by a snack and drink offering which, by the time I was done with the doc was follow by dinner. I chose the chicken and opted for a beer. After dinner I began Mission Impossible: Fallout. I was no more than a minute in before it was interrupted by an IFE reset.

It was at the point (19:30) that I wrote about my day this far in my Field Notes. I then read more of Motor Trend and started a podcast before the IFE was finally restored. It was at that point that I restarted MI: Fallout. I ended up liking it. There are a few bits of dialogue that could use work but the action was unbelievable and the overall story was solid.

I followed Mission Impossible by watching this transportation technology documentary which was mostly focused on the hyperloop. I was interrupted towards the end when the crew came around with this pizza type thing and ice cream.

Following that I started watching this Swiss tourism video but it was so boring that U quickly bailed. I ended up watching this Business Traveler Artificial Intelligence documentary that only briefly discussed AI. It was more about travel in general, which I liked. Soon thereafter it was time for us to land.

Logan Airport to Melrose, MA via Car (30 min)

After going through customs I thought there might be a final meet up of the group to hug and say goodbye to each other. Alas, we all separately grabbed our bags and got the hell out of dodge.

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Madrisa/Rinerhorn

Switzerland Day 7 – Friday February 15th

After grabbing breakfast, I went up to the room to figure out how to get to Pischa. I was not able to find out anything online so I went to the front desk. They explained that I needed to take one bus to another bus. However, they told me that the second bus leaves every hour so you need to time it right.

Not wanting to put that much work into my planning, I grabbed my board with it’s busted bindings and hopped on the train to Madrisa. I was a little bummed because my plan was to ride the Fat Bikes at Pischa but ultimately it was whatever.

Madrisa

After taking the train and the bus, I waited in a super long line to get onto the gondola. At the top I rode the short way down to the 6 chair and rode it to the top. There was this line that I’d spotted from the chair the other day and I was determined to ride it.

At the top I hiked along the ridge of the bowl and to the starting point of the line I’d spotted. Along the way, I noticed that what I thought was powder was a fair bit crunchier. However, I’d already hiked all the over so I might as well drop in.

I was hoping that when I dropped in, I’d break through the crust and find powder right below. Instead it was essentially a steep sheet of somewhat grippy ice. I was alreadry dedicated to the line so I essentially side slip down the slope like a nube… unless I wanted to go straight down on ice… yeah, eff that.

Thankfully I made it to the bottom without really falling. When I got out to the main trail, I cut across to the “powder” to other side. However, it too was more crusty than it was soft. Eventually I lost an edge and fell and had to trudge through snow for a bit before strapping in again.

I could tell how loose my binding felt with the toe support gone. So, I took one more run before taking the gondola back down to the bottom. From there I took the bus to the train. I dropped my board off at the hotel and hopped a bus for Rinerhorn.

Rinerhorn

Since I wasn’t able to do the Fat Bike and the conditions weren’t very good (on top of my ill-fitting bindings) I decided to go back and try sledding in the day time. I rented a sled and headed to the top.

On my first run I ran into the same problem I had the first time which was that whenever I tried to stop or slow down, the snow kicked up right in my face. At least this time I had the proper accessories to avoid getting it on my skin. However, by the second run I figured out that if I dragged my feet to the side, rather than right in front, the spray wouldn’t hit me.

I ended up doing about six or seven runs, each one better than the last. After three runs I grabbed a burger and fries at the lodge at the top. The toboggan was much more fun this time, partially because it was daytime and I could see where I was going and partially because I figured out how to properly slowdown.

I rode until around 15:30 before returning my sled and grabbing the bus back to the hotel.

Hotel

Once back I showered, shaved, changed, packed and wrote this.

That Night

After dinner, Jess, Owen, Ryan and myself made our way into town for a final night of partying in Davos. The fist place we went into was the Casino because Ryan wanted to check it out. Unfortunately Jess didn’t have any ID on her and so they wouldn’t let her in.

Thus, we decided to all bail and ended up a bar just down the street. As we did the other night, we regaled one another with stories from our lives over a round of beer that Owen bought for us. Because we hadn’t left until 21:00, by the time we were finishing up it was was 22:00 and we were late for the show we were going to.

We continued walking up the street and at the next bus stop, waited for the bus. We then got off a few stops later and made our way in to The Montana (a bar). There we hung around for a Scottish band that was playing traditional Scottish music. We stomped and clapped and danced and took shots and drank beer until I don’t know when.

On the bus ride back to the hotel we each went around talking shit about different people on the trip. You know, that fun drunken past time. Once back at the hotel we found a handful of people from our group hanging out drinking in the lobby. Since I already had a solid buzz going, I decided to stay up a while longer.

I tried some of Jim’s Schnapps and he ended up buying a glass for me. Between Owen, Jess (who had got the rounds at The Montana) and now Jim, I didn’t pay for drinks all night. I ended up hanging out until 1:15 before calling it a night.

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Zürich

Switzerland Day 6 – Thursday February 14th

After sleeping in until around 7:30 and grabbing a quick breakfast, Dad and I headed over to the Davos Platz station and bought round tickets to Zürich.

Davos Platz to Zürich HB via Train (~2.5 hours)

We first took the 9:02 train to Landquart and from there switched to a second train that took us to Zürich.

Zürich

In classic Kyle fashion I had not only made an itinerary, but had written detailed walking directions in case my LTE didn’t work. My pre-trip Google mapping paid off as I knew exactly where to go once we arrived at 11:23.

Rather than mess with the ticket machine, Dad and I went to the booth an purchased a full day pass good for unlimited rides on all busses and trains. We took the 4 tram to Feldeggstrasse and walked the short distance to our first destination.

Monocle Shop & Cafe

Despite having looked at the pics online I was so happy to see all the beautiful, clean, minimalist design. I grabbed a sandwich and a hot cocoa and Dad got a coffee and a slice of pie. We sat and ate and drank, then looked at all the items we weren’t going to buy before making our way to stop number 2.

Sternen Grill

While on our way to the Sternen Grill, we came upon the Opernhaus Zürich. There we stopped and took pictures before continuing on.

I had heard about this restaurant through an episode of Attache. Sternen Grill is mainly known for their sausages and bier. As we walked past the restaurant, there was literally a line out the door and onto the sidewalk. Since we’d just eaten, we decided to skip it for now.

Grossmünster

While on our way to the Grossmünster church, we headed up a side rode and walked through a quaint area with little shops. We stopped in at one place so Dad could look at watches. Shortly after we came up to the back side of the church. We walked around to the front to get some better pictures of it.

We then made our way down to the made rode where we got a view of the Münsterbrücke Bridge and the Kirch Fraumünster. Before taking the time to really take them in, we made our way to a destination I added the night before.

Burton Store

We stopped into the Burton store because I wanted to see if I could get new bindings for my board since the ones on my board had broken the day before. However, after seeing the price and not know the size I needed, I decided to pass for now.

Münsterbrücke Bridge

We doubled back to the bridge where I kept taking pictures of it and the church in an attempt to get something Instagrammable. While walking over, we took note of how clear the water was in the river. We then walked across the bridge to get a better view of the church.

Kirch Fraumünster

The church is situated in the side of a square that is surrounded by cool shops and restaurants. At the far end is a fountain. We zig-zagged through a back alley to exit out to the Bahnhofstrasse.

Bahnhofstrasse

This is essentially Switzerland’s Rodeo Drive. Their Regent’s Street (London) or their Newbury/Boylston Street (Boston). Every high end fashion and jewelry brands have locations in and around this area. We stopped into Sprüngli, a chocolate brand I’d heard about through a YouTube video. The variety pack I bought was not cheap so this better be the best chocolate we’ve ever had.

After that we stopped into the Apple store to steal some internet and try to find the watch shop I’d added to the list the night before. Despite going to exactly where Google maps said it should be, we couldn’t find it.

We then ventured down a side street to look at some other watches. Realizing that I didn’t have much else on my list, we decided to wander. Our wandering led us to the casino where I tied to use their restroom, but was shut down.

We regrouped at a little square and started to head back to the other side of the river when Dad spotted a gem. He asked if the sign he saw was for the Deus store I’d been to in Sydney and Tokyo. I was certain that Deus did not have any stores in Europe but low and behold, there it was.

Deus Ex Machina Pop Up Shop

This little (actually not so little) shop followed the same style as the other two, half cafe, half motorcycle gear. To make things better, the woman working there let me use the restroom.

Right as we were leaving, the song Harmony Hall by Vampire Weekend was playing. This was kind of funny because I was playing it for Mom and Dad right before we left for the airport. Once done exploring, we headed back to the Sternen Grill, along the way stopping into a gift shop where Dad bought a watch.

Sternen Grill

At the grill, Dad and I both got the sausage, bread, mustard and scalloped potatos combo. I picked it because I thought it came with a bier but I was wrong. We sat and ate and decided to how to end the day.

UBS Polybahn

We walked over to the UBS Polybahn funicular. I wasn’t sure I needed to ride it, especially where I didn’t know where it went or how much it cost. But I did get to see it go by. We then tried to follow side streets to try and find the top of it unsuccessfully.

Instead what we found was Universität Zürich. It was located at the top of a hill that overlooked the entire city and had great panoramic views. After getting some shots, we stopped into the University Museum which had a bunch of taxidermy animals and animal bones. It was seemingly free.

We strolled around it for a bit before moving on to the next thing. It would have been cool to explore in more detail if we’d had more time. We then went into the campus building which had some cool architecture. Eventually we made our way out and around to the Central Square having never found the top of the Polybahn.

After that we walked to the Zürich HB station so I could use the restroom, look at Mondaine watches (they had a shop there), figure out the next train back to Davos and check out the tourist info booth to see if there were any worthwhile brochures to look at.

But the time we found out when the next train was, there was only time to look at the watches, not buy one and make our way to the platform. Luckily there is a restroom on the train and from there it was a smooth ride back to Davos where I wrote yesterday and today’s posts.

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Parsenn/Madrisa

Switzerland Day 5 – Wednesday February 13th

Dad and I took the bus to the base of Parsenn to meet up with the guide who would be taking us on the “Safari”. While we were waiting for the rest of the group to show up, I saw the dentist we’d met and made friends with while at Ex bar on Sunday night. I said hi to him and yelled “karaoke” and he seemed to recognize me.

When we got onto the funicular, the dentist ended up standing right near me. We got to chatting and as we left to make our way to the mountain he said, “May the force be with you.” “And also with you!” I replied. It wasn’t until much later that I realize he may have made the Star Wars reference due to the rebel alliance sticker on my helmet.

Parsenn

When we got to the top, Dad decided to bail due to the fact that 1) there were a number of flat or slightly uphill areas along the “Safari” which cane be difficult for snowboarders since we don’t have poles. The second reason was because he found out that there was one T-bar involved. He does not like using T-bars and so he decided to do his own thing.

I’ll be honest, the day was too much of a blur to really get into a detailed account. We did a bunch of runs at Parsenn and took lifts, gondolas and a T-bar that seemed to get to all these different sides of the mountain. I had no idea where I was or what what going on. However, it meant that I was seeing things that I may not have found on my own.

Eventually we went on this long windy run that took us over to Klosters (another ski area). By this point the group had been whittled down to myself, a German couple and the guide. When we got to the bottom of Klosters, we had to walk through this village to get to a bus stop that would take us to Madrisa, the next mountain.

Along the way, the guide brought me over to a water fountain and told me that all of the water in all of the fountains is drinkable. We both leaned in a drank from different parts of the fountain. The water was ice cold and tasted fantastic.

We then took the bus to Madrisa where, upon our arrival, we took the gondola.

Madrisa

From the gondola we rode a short distance down to the 6 person chair. From there we rode down to the mid-mountain lodge where we grabbed lunch. The temperature was perfect so we sat outside to drink our beer and eat our sausages.

I offered to buy the guide and the German couple drinks because they had been so helpful, offering to tow me with their ski poles on the flat parts. However, Stefan refused and in fact, ended paying for my beer and my sausage! I was please but pissed.

He said it was because I was there American guest but he didn’t realize he missed a very rare opportunity. I’m super cheap and I never offer to pay for other people but oh well, it worked for me.

After lunch we continued to ride Madrisa for a bit before taking another bus back to Klosters. From there we took two gondolas to get to the top. We took a few trails to make our way back to Parsenn. Along the way, the two supports on the base of both my bindings broke.

At 16:05 we ended up at this gondola that was, I think, supposed to have closed at 16:00 but took us anyway. From the top we made our way over to the funicular. I was so determined to finish out the day with the group but with the toe supports completely broken and conditions on the trail getting choppy, I bailed and took the funicular back down.

It was 16:40 by the time I was done, a long day of almost nonstop riding. While waiting for the bus back to the hotel I noticed a Tesla Pop Up shop.

Rinerhorn/Toboggan

Fast-forward to after dinner and the BSSC group decided to go to Rinerhorn for a bit of night tobogganing. Not only was this something a bunch of people wanted to do, it was also Lise’s birthday so we had to do something fun.

Cut to a montage of being told when people were leaving and Dad and I waiting for the bus to Rinerhorn alone together. Then taking the wrong bus and having to walk back to the bus stop we started at to find the group all waiting for the bus.

We ended up all riding together and when we arrived a little after 21:30, 19 of us rented sleds using my drives license as collateral if not all 19 came back. The rental cost 13 CHF. However, we found out that our ski pass for Rinerhorn was only good from 8:00 to 16:00. So, on top of the rental, we had to pay another 12 CHF to take the gondola to the top.

It was at that point that Dad bailed and took the bus back to the hotel. The other kicker was that the 12 CHF was only for one run. If we wanted to do more than one it would have cost 24 CHF! We all agreed to do just one but to make it count.

I rode up the gondola with Jess and we got pumped up for our run. I had literally been looking forward to this all day. After grouping up and singing happy birthday to Lise, we all began to make our way down the course.

I was told it was sketchy but I was not prepared for how treacherous it was. The course was mainly ice with a bit of snow on it. Stopping was nearly impossible and turning was basically futile. Not to mention that every time you did drag your heels, the snow kicking up flew in your face.

On top of that, there were these rhythm section rollers in the middle of the trail, I think meant to slow you down but basically just were a bunch of bumps and jumps, which sucked. Three fourths of the way down there was a section with a barrier where you had to stop, cross a road and then start again.

I was the third to the bottom and my face and ears and hands were frozen. I think with proper accessories (bandanna, thicker gloves, goggles) and during the day it would haven been better. That said, ultimately, everyone had fun.

Afterwards we grabbed drinks at the bar at the bottom of Rinerhorn before taking the 23:22 bus back to the hotel.

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St. Moritz

Switzerland Day 4 – Tuesday February 12th

I woke up at 7:30 to the sound of Dad getting ready for the day. After he was done I hopped in the shower and then we headed down to the lobby. We got breakfast by around 8:00 and at 8:30-ish Jim Sr. joined us and asked if he could come with us to St. Moritz.

We said that we were happy to have him and met in lobby by 8:55. From there we walked to train station and got tickets. I was surprised that the price was $43 instead of $30 which was the price I’d seen online. However, the woman at the ticket booth explained that it is cheaper to buy online.

Once we were settled, we popped into the gift shop and explored for a bit before making our way out to the platform and onto the train.

Train to St. Moritz (1 hr 30 min)

We took the 9:31 train from Davos Platz to Filisur which took about half an hour. At Filisur we transferred to a different platform where a few minutes later, we boarded a train to St. Moritz.

The view was very scenic, zig-zagging back and forth across a valley and through mountains. We arrived at St. Mortiz station by ~11:00.

St. Moritz

We started off by crossing the street to look out over Lake St. Moritz. There were a few cool sculptures at the nearby hotel so we walked up to look at them and get an elevated view of the lake.

After that we walked up to the city and stopped in at a gift shop as Jim and I were in search of sunglasses. Unable to find a cheap pair, we continued through the town in search of the Tourism Information Center. We ended up finding it after going the wrong way and stopped into another gift shop as well. We also took a picture in a bobsled that was on display.

After getting some very useful maps from the Tourist Center, we stopped into Bucherer to look at watches we couldn’t afford. We then continued on our way to Cresta Run, passing the famous Hotel Kulm as we did. Once at the Cresta Run, we walked up to the top of the observation section and hung out with all the riders and watched some of the runs.

We then made our way to the Olympia Bob Run. However, we quickly realized we were headed the wrong way so we got directions back to the entrance. Once at the St. Moritz Bobsleigh Club, we got to an elevated observation point and watch some of the women push start their run.

[mention the fact that we were considering doing a ride along bobsled run but it was ~$250 and it ended up not gelling with how the day ended up going]

Soon thereafter, Jim noticed that there was a narrow path that went through the woods alongside the track. We followed it and ended up being able to get very close to the track at some points. We continued on the path and eventually made our way to the horseshoe turn.

We then decided to try and wait for a bus to take us to Muottas Muragl base. However, we accidentally waited at the wrong bus stop and when we found the correct one, realized there wasn’t another one coming for about a half an hour. My feet were starting to get cold from standing still, in the shade, on snow. So, we decided to keep walking the path along the rest of the track.

Once out at the main road, we got directions at a restaurant that was right in front of us and went to yet a third bus stop to wait for a #2 bus. Eventually it came and I paid the fare for the three of us. The bus took us right to the base of Muottas Muragl as promised.

From there we bought tickets at the nearby ticket counter (tickets were $30 round trip) for funicular which would take us to the top of the mountain and back down. Once at the top there were panoramic views of the city below and the surrounding mountains.

After getting a few pictures we went into the gift shop/small cafeteria at Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl. We met up with Jim (who had been out getting more pics) and popped into the legit restaurant. We all decided it looked too expensive.

Then Jim wanted to see if we could get into the cabin that was right next to the hotel. So, we all trekked out into the wind to see if this cabin was worth it but discovered it was closed. We then doubled back and ended up eating at cafeteria. We had a solid lunch there and ended up leaving at 16:00.

We to the funicular back to planet earth and took the to base 16:28 bus to Samedan Bahnhofstrasse. His reasoning was that he though taking the bus to St. Moritz station would cause us to miss the 17:05 train.

Ultimately this was a good decision because we were able to catch the 17:16 which is the exact train we would have been on, we just got it a the next station than we would have.

Train back to Davos Platz (1 hr 30 min)

We took the train back to Filisur and then swiched platforms to grab the 18:05 from Filisur to Davos Platz. We got back to Davos by 18:29 and were at dinner by 18:35.

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Rinerhorn

Switzerland Day 3 – Monday February 11th

Last night, while we were eating dinner, it began to dump snow. This was good news as I had been looking forward to riding power and so far I hadn’t gotten any.

Breakfast/Figure Out

Come morning time I made my way to breakfast a little late after having a late night the night before. What I found was that everyone was scrambling and deciding where to ride because apparently several of the mountains were had a bunch of their lifts closed due to high winds.

After chatting with Jess and some of the other women, we decided to reconvene in the lobby in 15 minutes. Basically everyone agreed to go to Jakobshorn. Since I had just gone there the day before and, for whatever reason had it in my mind to go to Rinerhorn, I decide to break off and go there by myself. (Dad had already left to go to Parsenn since he woke up earlier than me).

I walked to the train station and took the 10:30am train two stops to the Davos Glaris station. The train took about 10 minutes and when I got off, the gondola was literally across the street.

Rinerhorn

I walked up to the gondola and rode it to mid-mountain, or however far it goes. I decided to ride down from there. The problem was, since I’d never been there before and since the snow was blowing fairly hard, it made it difficult to see. On top of that, Rinerhorn also has toboggan runs that run near, alongside, or criss cross through the ski runs.

So, when I dropped in for my first run, despite trying to avoid it, I accidentally ended up on the toboggan run. I got out of it as quick as I could and ended up back on the trail. While riding down, I was happy to find that the trails were packed powder. These were closer to the conditions I was expecting.

To make things better, on the sides of the trail, just before the tree line was unpacked, fresh powder. This was knee deep in some spots and floaty and a lot of fun to ride through. I was pumped for the day. On my next gondola ride I rode up with a native Swiss and, randomly, a guy from Boston (who was not part of our group).

The Swiss guy told us to not bother with the T-bars that took you to the top because it was windy and snowy and there was bad visibility. This made me feel good for not wanting to use them. The other guy gave me a pointer to ride down the right side rather than the left.

This was good because it meant I wouldn’t accidentally end up on the toboggan run. Also, once I realized that the drop off at the beginning, though very step was covered in powder and was much more fun to ride down than the actual trail.

The only other moment that I’ll highlight is the run I did where I was ripping through the powder and was leaning back on the tail of the board and suddenly the board was up at about a 55 degree angle. It was scary and fun all at the same time.

I ended up stopping at 15:00. I walked across the street to the train station and took the 15:20 train back to Davos Platz station.

Hotel

When I got back to the hotel, no one was in the room but then soon Dad came in. We compared notes about our days and then he went down to the lobby and I got showered and changed.

A little after that I FaceTime with mom then finished writing yesterday’s blog post and outlined this one before heading off to dinner. We sat with Jess, Lise, Ryan and Michael which was a solid squad.

After dinner we got drinks with Jim Sr. and Jr., Jess and a few uninvited guests. However some other cool people from our group showed up just as I was leaving to finish writing this and plan our day tomorrow.

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Jokobshorn

Switzerland Day 2 – Sunday February 10th

Dad and I woke up to my alarm at 6:30am. After getting showered and dressed we met up with the rest of the group in the lobby of the hotel for breakfast. Most of the group had decided to hit Jakobshorn as the first mountain since it’s the closest one to where we’re staying.

After grabbing breakfast I went back to the room to finish getting ready, then down to the locker to get our boards and out and over to Jakobshorn. We literally had to walk across the street, down a little path, cross another street and then take the walkway under train station to the gondola.

We were seemingly the first group of people there at around 8:30am. We to the gondola to the top of one section, then took a second gondola to the top.

Snowboarding

Eventually we figured out where to go and rode across to the main part of the mountain. From there we proceeded to take our first run. The snow was groomed corduroy. The low light conditions made the snow hard to read and since you’re above the tree-line, the trail is essentially a wide amorphous blob.

Throughout the day the sun came out intermittently. At around 10/10:30am we met up with some of the women from our group. We ended up riding with them for a bit and then later met up with a couple more. At around 12:30pm we ate lunch outside at the lodge at the top of the mountain.

At around 2pm we headed back out and did a few runs with even more people from our group we’d met up with during lunch. We took a few runs together but then got separated into smaller groups. I ended up with Bret, Erin and Tim. We did a few runs together and eventually we met back up with Dad.

After taking the lift up at around 3pm Dad and I decided to call it a day. His legs were tired and it was getting dark and windy. We took the long windy path down to the base and from there walked back to our hotel, passing a Defender 110 in the parking lot along the way.

Club Hotel Davos

Back at the hotel we laid out our clothes to dry/air out. Afterwards I took a shower and Dad went into the pool. I then went to the front desk to enquire about sledding and to get a second pillow. I then wrote to this point.

Davos Excursion

I was pretty hungry but dinner was not gonna happen till 6:15pm so I decided to go in search of a light dinner. Dad and I walked to the Hard Rock Hotel but the restaurant that we wanted to check out wasn’t going to open till 6pm anyway.

We then stopped into a couple of sporting goods stores as Dad was looking to replace his boots. He found a pair he liked but that was too expensive. We then went into a second store and he was able to find a pair for 40% off plus an extra 20% because we were from the states (or something). After that we went back to the hotel.

Dinner

Dad and I grabbed biers at the lobby bar with some other people from our group and hung out until it was time to eat. Unlike last time, when we had a buffet, this time we had a four course meal; salad, soup, entree and dessert. There was a choice of lamb or schnitzel for the entree but Dad and I both got the schnitzel. For dessert there was chocolate moose.

As Jess was leaving her table, I overheard her say something about going out for drinks. I asked if she minded if I joined them and she said no problem. Initially Dad said he was gonna come but then changed his mind. We met in the lobby about 15 mins later an then we hit the town.

Après Ski

The first place we went to was a bar called Just One. They specialized in shots and had an entire drink menu dedicated to different kinds. The group decided that we were all going to have a shot. I hate hard alcohol but I figured I’d take one for the team.

One of the women we were with asked about one called the B52. We all agreed that it sounded good based off the description and ordered a round. We sat in a small room and when our shots were served, the bartender lit them all on fire. She handed us all plastic straws and told us the drink them really quickly or else the plastic would melt.

We all did it successfully… for the most part. Someone spilled a little bit of theirs and so the table was temporarily on fire. Also, a couple of us, myself included, must have been a bit slow as the shot tasted a bit like plastic but was otherwise tasty.

Afterwards we sat around having beers and cocktails and telling stories. Later someone in the group wanted to check out the casino. It was right down the street so we went there, but, since we’re not in Vegas, it was closed.

We continued down the street and as we did, were bombarded by three drunk Italian women who were around my age. They asked us where Piano Bar was and I told them that that was where we were going.

We came up to a place called Ex Bar and decided to go in since we could hear karaoke from the outside. The girls said, “This isn’t Piano Bar” and one of the guys in our group said, “Yeah it is” and dragged them in with us.

Not two seconds were we at the bar before I was getting a vodka shot shoved in my face. I begrudgingly took it and soon thereafter was handed a bier. Since karaoke is my forte, I decided to put in a song. I sang Crocodile Rock by Elton John. Naturally I took the house down. I was walking up and down the bar, dancing with people, it was a lot of fun.

After that one of the other guys was asking me to sing again and so we did Don’t Stop Me Now. One of the Italian girls started dancing with me and we had a fun back and forth the rest of the night. Eventually we left and on the way out I ran into the Italian bird. I got her number and found out her name was Francesca.

We then went back to the hotel where a solid group of people from our trip were hanging out in the lobby drinking. I went to bed at 12:30.

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Boston to Frankfurt to Zürich to Davos

Friday – February 8th

Melrose to Boston via car (~30 min)

My Mom, Dad and I loaded in the car and got on the road by around 12:40pm and arrived at Logan a little after 1pm. Check in was pretty quick and despite being told we’d have to pay extra to check our snowboards, it ended up being free.

Security was quick/smooth as well and I spent a bit of time looking at our plane before wandering around the Terminal before our flight. I also spent some time writing this before boarding.

Logan Airport (BOS) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) via Lufthansa 747-400 (~6 hours)

Only twice before have I flown on a Boeing 747; it was going to and coming back from Israel on El Al Airlines. I was excited to be flying on Lufthansa, an airline I’ve been interested in for a while. There were only two disappointments:

The first being that I was hoping for a 747-8 instead of the 400. This is simply because I’m an aviation nerd and because it’s bigger (the biggest variant of the 747). Also, the dash 8 is a newer model and thus we’d be flying on a plane that was guaranteed to be one of the “youngest” planes in their fleet. 

The second disappointment was that I was hoping our plane would be painted in the new Lufthansa livery. Not that it matters at all but, again, it just would have been cool or made it feel more special.

IMG_9141Lufthansa 747-400 at Logan International Airport in Boston

I was a bit bummed to be flying to Frankfurt as I’d heard the airport itself is not well laid out and that the ground staff is unfriendly (according to Layovers podcast). Additionally, flying to Germany meant that we were not going non-stop to Switzerland, our final destination.

Our flight was set to depart at 4:20pm and boarding started at 3:40pm. As usual, I did my best to wait until the last possible moment to board in order to spend the least amount of time stationary on the tarmac.

I ended up being one of the last people to board the plane. I do this on purpose to try and minimize the amount of time I sit stationary. However, because the captain said we were going to have a tail wind that would get us there faster and that FRA doesn’t open until a certain time (or something like that), we ended up sitting on the tarmac anyway.

The good thing about this was that the delay allowed me to use the restroom before we took off so I didn’t need to in flight. I looked out the window for takeoff and watched as gained altitude over MA. I then looked at the flight map for a bit and once we were over the ocean I started the movie Arrival.

I watched the first 48 minutes of it and then paused it when dinner was served. I had the chicken with rice, vegetables, salad, a roll, crackers, cheese and a brownie. I then finished the movie, which I really liked and at 7:20pm, I started Bad Times at the El Royale.

When I first saw the trailer for this I thought it looked like it could be incredible or terrible. However, I ended up enjoying it a lot. It felt very much like a Tarantino movie. As was the case with Arrival, Bad Times was interrupted about half way through for a light breakfast of fruit, a muffin and a granola bar.

I was planning on watching Bohemian Rhapsody as well but being that there was only an hour and a half left in the flight and the running time is a little over 2 hours, I decided against it. I ended up filling the rest of the flight by looking at the flight map, watching some of the shorter videos and playing pool (billiards) on the IFE screen; I lost.

We arrived in Frankfurt at around 5:15am local time (11:15pm EST) the next morning. We made our way through the airport to customs and eventually through security to continue to our next flight. After waiting for my bag to get searched, we did even more walking and eventually got to our gate.

Saturday – February 9th

Frankfurt (FRA) to Zürich (ZRH) via Lufthansa A320 (50 min)

I used the restroom and when I got out, found out that our gate had changed. We then walked to that gate before doubling back to grab a proper breakfast. We then hung around and ate until it was time to board which took place at ~7:50am; the flight left at 8am. Once on the plan, I chatted with this older woman in our group while Dad slept.

Before I knew it, we were coming in for a landing at Zürich airport. After collecting our suitcases and our snowboards, we gathered with the group and a little while later boarded the bus that would take us to Davos.

Switzerland Day 1

Zürich to Davos, Switzerland via Bus (~2 hours 15 min)

We were on the bus by 9:45am and probably hit the road by 10am. We arrived at the Club Davos Hotel at ~12:15pm. Once we got our keys, we unpacked and organized the room. I then took a shower and once properly settled, we took our boards down to the ski/snowboard lockers in the car park.

One of the other members of the group -Jessica- was able to show us where the lockers were and afterwards Dad and I tagged along with Jess and Liz to explore downtown Davos.

IMG_9172Downtown Davos

We stopped into a small shop so Jess could get a postcard and then a bank so she could get cash. Shortly after that we went to a restaurant and grabbed a light lunch, I had a sandwich, Dad got a personal pizza and we all shared a charcuterie board. We all had biers and it was really nice.

We then walked down to the tourist center and booked a snowboard tour for Wednesday. After that, we looped back around passing the train station along the way, and eventually up the path that led back to the hotel. Once back I texted Kyra to wish her a happy birthday. I then wrote most of this and Dad went into the pool.

At around 18:15 we met up with the group in the lobby for dinner and to check in on each other’s day. Had drinks with Jim and Jim until around 21:30.

Note to self. A lot of the framing for this post was written on 12/26/18

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Keeping The Momentum

1/20 (Sun) – I had been wanting to go to the new Nighthawk movie theater since reading about it in Time Out magazine. In the article it said the theater was supposed to open in Spring of 2018. Cut to December 19th and it finally opens… not exactly Spring.

I was also anticipating the release of Glass, the third installment in the Unbreakable trilogy. So, on Sunday night, one month and one day after it opened, I made my way out to Nighthawk.

IMG_9041Nighthawk Prospect Park

My interest in Nighthawk came from the fact that I was familiar with their Williamsburg location (though I have still yet to see a movie there). Nighthawk, like the Alamo Drafthouse, is a theater that serves food and drinks during the movie. They also really care about film and are a good mix of an arthouse cinema with modern amenities.

Being such a big fan of design, everything about how Nighthawk is curated appeals to me. From the old style marquee out front to the bar in the lobby and on the 2nd floor to the actual theater itself. There are beautiful design elements that make it an environment that you just enjoy existing in.

Similarly to Alamo, Nighthawk (as least their new Prospect Park West location) curates the content before the previews. It showed an old news reel from the 40s or 50s about Brooklyn as well as showing advertisements for local establishments from the 1970s and trivia and history about Nighthawk came to be. As to the movie itself, it was very good. Not amazing, but a fitting end to the trilogy and I was glad that I saw it.

1/21 (Mon) – On Monday my friend Dilila came over to visit. We hung out and ate pizza. It was good to just catch up and talk as I literally couldn’t remember the last time we’d seen each other

1/23 (Wed) – I went to my friend Adam’s apartment to hang out. We watched Viva La Bam and played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the N64.

1/24 (Thu) – After weeks of chatting on the app and over text, I finally met up with one of the women I had been talking to on Hinge (the dating app) at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. The thing that was even funnier was that one day, while I was in the subway at Union Square, we actually passed each other on the stairwell for the (L) train.

How weird is that? Of all the people in all the places in the city I would run into a person I’d never met before but had been working towards meeting. To make things more coincidental, I had just been reading a book where the author talks about the idea of potentially running into her ex girlfriend.

In any case, it was cool to actually patronize the Roastery, rather than just look at it. Also, because it was a Thursday, it was considerably less busy than it had been the first time I checked it out. Without going into details, the date went well and we agreed to go out again.

1/26 (Sat) – Ever since seeing the documentary Look at the Pictures on HBO I have been interested in Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography. On Friday, the Guggenheim museum opened an exhibit called Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now featuring a smattering of his photography.

I met up with my friend Caitlin who is a member of the museum and got me in for half price. The show was very well curated, though I was expecting there to be even more on display than there was.

The only thing that drove me nuts was when a little boy actually touch one of the photographs. Afterwards, Caitlin and I got lunch at a nearby restaurant before parting ways.

IMG_9061Jazz at Jules Bistro

Later that evening I went to, Jules Bistro, a bar/live jazz spot on St. Marks. I had passed by it a bunch and kept postponing checking it out until finally I decided to just go for it. The space was very intimate and had a nice atmosphere; dark with red lighting. It reminded me of Le Caveau de la Hauchete in Paris.

1/27 (Sun) – The next day I met up with my friend Jess for drinks at the B61 bar at Alma in Red Hook. We also played a bit of pool which was fun.

1/30 (Wed) – After watching the first episode of the last season of Broad City, I was inspired to explore the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Inwood. Upon my arrival I saw that admission was $10. Since I didn’t want to spend the money, I basically just got a pic and then was on my way.

IMG_9067Morris-Jumel Mansion

Side note: once the weather is nice again I plan to recreate Abbi and Ilana’s excursion from, “The tippity top of Manhattan to the tippity bottom.”

My next destination was also inspired by a thing I watched. There is a documentary on HBO called The Price of Everything which talks about the world of collecting art. It follows the perspective of various artists as well as the auction houses, art critics and the collectors themselves.

IMG_9071Sotheby’s New York

Through watching the doc, I found out that Sotheby’s has a gallery in the Upper East Side. So, I decided to check it out. It felt a little bit like going to The Met, except that there was a price tag on everything. I felt a bit awkward knowing that I wasn’t going to buy anything and that I was essentially using the space as a free museum, but oh well.

I then made my way down to Union Square to visit Kellogg’s NYC. I had passed by this place a few times while walking through Union Sq and though it seemed self explanatory, I had to check it out.

IMG_9075Kellogg’s NYC

As I expected, the spot was basically a cereal bar where you could buy bowls of cereal, coffee, cocoa and Kellogg’s merchandise. The space has a couple of TVs with Netflix and play areas for children. Kind of a bizarre thing but I hung out and observed with a cup of coco.

Afterwards I made my way to Red Hook to hang out with my friend Carter.

1/31 (Thu) – I hadn’t seen my friend and former temporary roommate Steve in about a year. So, on Thursday night I went over to his place to catch up. We chatted about everything we’d been up to and then played Rocket League and watched the movie After Hours.

When I got home I had a craving for the movie The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. So, I found it on demand and started to watch it. I got through part of it then tried to go to sleep. When I couldn’t get to sleep I ended up turning it back on and watching it to the end until 2 or 2:30am.

–February–

2/1 (Fri) – The other movie I had a craving for was Sleepless In Seattle. I went to Book Off, a giant used book store that also sells movies, video games and electronic equipment. I searched through the shelves and found a lot of gems, but no Sleepless. Until finally, after almost giving up, I found it buried in a bottom drawer going for $2.50 marked down from $5.99. Sold!

I then went to the nearby Kinokuniya bookstore just to browse. I love going there. Something about the atmosphere and the things they have, particularly all of the cool Japanese magazines they have in the basement, makes it really fun to explore.

IMG_9078Bryant Park fountain

Afterwards I crossed the street to Bryant Park and watched the figure skaters until I got cold.

2/2 (Sat) – Wanting to get out of the house, I ventured up to 86th street and over to Carl Schurz Park. I looked out over the East River to Roosevelt Island and eventually walked down to the Gracie Mansion Conservancy.

IMG_9086Manhattan skyline silhouette from Central Park Reservoir

Afterwards I walked across and over to Central Park. I walked part of the way around the reservoir before spilling out to Central Park West by 93rd Street. I then took the subway home and made a quick dinner before heading back out.

At 7:30 I met up with my the woman from Hinge for our second date, this time at Jules Bistro. It went well.

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