Crashing a gym / Wrong train to Basel

Thursday night I was walking around Oerlikon, the area just north of Zürich where I am staying, to look for a late-night restaurant where I could order some take-out. On my way to the train station I passed a gym called Nord F!t Fitness Center [1] and decided to take a look inside. The look was not really necessary since the workout area was open with floor-to-ceiling windows. I was prepared to meet someone at a check-in desk but there was no such entrance. The front doors led to a small bare lobby then one just entered the gym. I decided, then, with only 35 minutes left till closing (at 22.00) that I would try to get in a quick workout before someone questioned my presence and threw me out. No one said a thing, and I realized just how much I did not know about metric when I couldn’t immediately figure out how much in kilograms I was lifting. I had to convert one pound equals 454 grams for every exercise I did. At 21.57 I left and headed across the street from the Oerlikon train station to the Restaurant China Town for some take-out.

The next day, Friday, I left for an overnight trip to Basel, which lies 113 km northwest of Zürich. I boarded what I thought was the right train–it arrived at the platform at the scheduled time to the minute as the Basel-bound train–yet once the doors closed I knew from the direction it was travelling that it was the wrong train. I admit, I did see a sign that said “6 minutes later” next to the platform clock (which was stuck at 10.07) and should have known that the train I boarded was not an InterRegio, yet in an anxious split second I decided I had better get on since I thought that Swiss trains are never late and this train was here at 10.09 on the dot. I got off at the Zürich HB station ( = Zürich Hauptbahnhof or Zürich main station) and checked the timetable to see when the next train to Basel would be leaving. Fortunately I only had to wait till 10.34 and I could grab the next one. My only worry was that the ticket-checker wouldn’t allow me to ride, or would demand I pay an extra fare to make up for the distance I had already mistakenly travelled (and a return trip mistake at that). There was no problem with paying extra, and I made it to Basel by 11.48.

I found the Basel City Youth Hostel and got there at 12.05. I knew from the published hours that the reception desk was open from 07.00-12.00 and then not until 15.00-21.00. Although there was still someone at the desk when I arrived five minutes after twelve, I couldn’t check in since the morning hours were for room booking and checking out only. New guests could only check in from 15.00 onward. I was spending merely one night there and therefore did not have a lot to carry, but it was bulky as opposed to heavy (extra pants, jacket, towel). So I left with my cumbersome backpack to embark on my first of two Basel journeys: to do a border run in the northeast part of the city.

More to come in the next message about my border treks.

[1] Yes, as bad as the Canadian bookstore !ndigo

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