DAY 2 // The time i drowned. Twice. || Switzerland Trip

Saturday, March 11, 2017,

Out of any place in the world, my Naani (grandmother) has always wanted to visit Switzerland. So when I disclosed about my trip, she was beyond excited, a little jealous, but excited. Haha.
The blogpost and clips from the short video will clearly tell you why! 😂


The weather, we have to admit, was beyond welcoming throughout our trip!
So lucky and so grateful! 😁
We had to meet our cohort in the morning to embark on our coach and set off for the Village of Vals.

The morning was nice and manic. With having to worry about how to get your face and everything sorted in an external Toilet and shower was a mission and a half.

I know it's not a big deal for some, but idk man. #HijabiProblems. 🙄

Pretty sure there were other nicer Hijab friendly options in the hostel we were staying in, the Zurich Youth Hostel, but you can't pick and choose on a Student Trip, so hey ho.

It was an experience.

I managed to get ready, ditched breakfast (as always), Mum if you're reading this, don't be mad, love you. I had tons of cereal bars with me, and SK told me there weren't any fruity options available, so I passed. When we met as a group, and were about to leave, (by this time, may I add, I did have food in my tummy, and I managed to find an apple so I had that too) my blood pressure decided to shoot and my body just went haywire. I honestly thought I'd pass out and kept on praying I didn't. I didn't have the time to tell anyone so I just rushed to the smoking zone cum outdoor patio (aqalmand Sanna!) and just tried to breathe and get my heart rate down. My bum froze as I sat down on the marble slabs of benches. Not the brightest of ideas at 8am in the cold February morning in Switzerland!! Although, kind of glad I had my fitness tracker on my arm to give me a general reminder. I type this here so if I have any future episodes, I can refer back to the story with, that time I was in Switzerland... Haha! 😂

So people who know me, know how I always sleep in a moving vehicle, especially on the road, habitual childhood quirk, or curse, yet to figure out. We had been so lucky to have had a dusting of fresh snow and weather system across Switzerland the day before we arrived, so we had some gorgeous views to look at once we got out of the main city of Zurich!
I was in awe throughout the trip, the majestic mountains and snow capped peaks and pretty trees, and reflecting sun rays off pretty lakes, aaah. It all reminded me of our frequent trips to the North of Pakistan like Shogran, Skardu, Chitral, Neelum valley and the list can go on and on. The only thing different and unusual, were the cars on the wrong side of the road! 🤔

The trains just sparked the DDLJ references everywhere, 90s Bollywood Baby!
The views were honestly breathtaking! SubhanAllah! Also, did I mention we had tons of tunnels. Everywhere!

By the end of the trip we just gave up, Lol. Every time we'd see something pretty we would reach for our cameras and before you know it we were in a mile long tunnel with darkness around us. Got to admit though, they had their own charm.
We reached Vals after hours (okay 2 maybe 3?), and a mini 10 minute stopover at a bakery to get something to eat. LOL. More on the food in Switzerland later.

Our stop was an architectural gem, a thermal Spa by Peter Zumthor.
And we got to go inside!

I had contacted them before we set off on our journey, about whether they'd allow me in as I am a Muslim and I would cover from head till my toes, the lady who replied back was gem of a person and told me that due to hygiene and safety reasons I would have to wear a 'Burkini', but otherwise there would be nothing wrong, so I felt a little at ease. -ish.

We dumped our stuff in the lockers, changed into our 'bathing' costumes. LOL. The burkini experience was so weird, I had never worn it before so it felt a little odd, and obviously I got a stare and two, or maybe a hundred, here and there, but I guess we grow immune to it in a way? I wasn't going to go in the water initially and spent time admiring the gorgeous views and staring gleefully at everyone splashing across the warm waters of the spa. After some persuasion from SK and all my lovely friends I decided to get myself into the water after 2 hours. Lol.

They were right, when was I ever going to experience the same thing anytime soon? It was a once in a lifetime experience, kind of, I'm desi, allow the drama. And what an experience it was! The indoor and outdoor pools, the varying temperature, and the sensory madness, the architectural simplicity, the overlooking mountains tops. Everything. Was Art.

However.

I nearly drowned twice, I'm super short, and being grounded at beaches meant I never knew the pool experience, in addition to the whole saga, I don't know how to swim, so being in water as high as your nose trying to tiptoe through the pools, I lost my balance twice and thought I would genuinely drown and die. That was until the first time I held onto the side rail with my dear life whilst I struggled to find my body underwater, and the second time I just started swishing my hands and feet thinking that's how people in the TV do it so it's bound to work! 😂

All was good, until the very end, just when I was about to leave the pools. My friend and I got stared at, a little too much, uncomfortable for our liking, I obviously stuck out like a sore thumb with my head and body covered in black, and some people from the pool complained to the lifeguard/watchman and they approached me to tell how my clothes were 'inappropriate' for the place and unsafe and unhygienic, MEGA LOL. LOOL.

I was not backing off, I didn't nearly drown and come out of the water for these ignorant humans to have a go at me, so I kind of gave the person an earful and threatened to talk to management as I had already contacted them via email!!

I felt a little rude after, and guilty because the person was clearly doing his 'job' by informing me about the locals, but as my sister would put it, Boi, am I complaining about your body and lack of clothing? Sit yo'self down.

Aaanyhoo, the person apologised and we got our stuff, dried ourselves off, bought a couple of postcards as we weren't allowed to take photos inside out of respect of people using the space, completely understandable, and set off to find our Coach and meeting point.
SK had never touched snow properly so seeing all the snow-covered surroundings was a visual treat for her, and it was such a beautifully innocent sight to see, haha, the sheer joy that the snow brought. We made snow angels, mini snowballs and snow fight and set off for the next destination, that was the city of Basel.

Even now, the sun set so beautifully across the mountain range and the journey back was nearly the same heart sinking experience as before. It's different when you're in a car, and bloody scary when you're in a ginormously long coach. Let's say my heart was in my mouth more than few times, and sleep was nowhere to be found. 😂
We stopped in a services station in Heidiland, aaah, the memories from when I was 7!! Got Chips and chilli cheese nuggets as the vegetarian option as nothing else seemed to make sense and the people were waaay to agitated (with our coloured (+ my Muslim) existence probably) to give us straight answers so I said Bismillah and ate.

Admired and pondered over the natural beauty, humans and arrogance, life in general and stared out of the window the whole time on our last leg of the road trip to Basel.

God bless SK for understanding my OCD needs and the need to be near windows whilst travelling, she's a star! 😭

We reached the City, our Hotel, ibis budget which was also surprisingly nice and pretty. Chose our roommates, called dibs on the upper bunk, and set off to find the nearest COOP, supermarket, to find FOOOOD!bear in mind, it's day two and we haven't had proper food on our trip so far. Found one, after numerous failed attempts, bought some fruits, and waffles and crisps, ate on the way back walking to our hotel. Also, the struggle to find a SIM card was real and now it just seems like a stupid idea so I accepted against it.

Also, OMG. I nearly forgot!! Lol! The toilet doors in the hotel we were staying at had no flipping locks on it, and the shower door was a glass screen with frosted sectiongn from your shoulders to knees. I was NOT comfortable using them and I really wanted a hot shower after a tiring day!! God bless SK and YPY who agreed to leaving the room and going next doors to our friends whilst I winded down after a looooong day.

Understanding friends are such a huge blessing, and you truly value them more in instances like these. Honestly, so so lucky to have these people around me. *Insert mushy emo heart* 😭

Day two ended after we hit the sack and slept like babies.
We were half way through the trip and it was anything but boring.
We experienced the taster of Switzerland's urban and rural life, and now Basel waited to be explored.

Until the next post.

Salam,
Sanna.

3 comments

  1. Loved this post -

    - Glad you braved the burkini experience and dipped your feet into the water and well, also didn't drown or die n stuff. Phew!

    - omg, I like the feisty Sanna - glad you told off those half-naked people and put them in their place - no need to apologize for that. So much respect to you for even having to deal with that in general / so often and especially at a pleasant place / on a school trip.

    - Ma'sha'allah what great friends you have!

    - And uff, subhan'Allah, those mountains and the snow - great shots!

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  2. I love the way you write, sister! And the pictures are amazing...that mountains, whoaaa! I really want to go there!
    Salaam from Indonesia!

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