14:11, Friday 23. August

I’m currently sat on a bench on platform 18 at Zurich HB, waiting for my train that will take me to Munich, where my hostel awaits me. I stupidly got up late, so I don’t have time to go via Innsbruck as I had wanted to. My train leaves here at 1440 and doesn’t arrive in Munich until 1927, going via Schaffhausen and Ulm on the way.

I couldn’t get to sleep last night, so I’m going to blame that on why I was up later than planned. I’m used to the only sound at night being the occasional bird, generally owls, but where I was staying there was a fair bit of noise from cars etc. What can I say, I’m a country girl.

When I arrived in Zurich yesterday, I looked for the beer cafe that my parents and I used to frequent when we came to Zurich many years ago (read: before I turned 12). I bought myself a small helles beer, and sat down to watch the world go by. A man asked if he could sit opposite me or whether it was taken (I have noticed that people are absurdly polite about this here) and I said no, it wasn’t taken.

I then made a passing comment about having been in Geneva and that I’d forgotten all my German, and we ended up chatting for about an hour. He was a Swiss businessman who was from St. Gallen, and had often visited England on business. It turned out he also knew whereabouts Southampton was, as he had worked in Bournemouth for three months a long time ago.

We then discussed how different German and Swiss German were, and the differences between British English and American English. We each finished our beers and went our separate ways.

This was when things went wrong. I was meant to be taking the S-bahn to Dietlikon. Down the escalator I went, and saw that the S12 went there. I waited, it arrived, and we departed. When I arrived in ‘Dietlikon’, there was a problem.

It turns out that there are two places: Dietlikon and Dietikon. Why would you do that to me, Switzerland? Making things worse, they’re on the same train line too. It was back on a train – the S3 this time – and I finally ended up in Dietlikon, the one with an L, where I met the guy who I was staying with for the night.

His name was Remo, and he is a business student. He lives with a flat mate in a rather nice flat, complete with a hammock, a large Bob Marley poster and a very comfy sofa. I was given dinner and joined them outside on the balcony, and tried my best to understand the German that they conversed in. This was a hard task, and eventually they switched to ‘Hochdeutsch’ so I could understand and join in. My German is actually not too bad…

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