On the way back from St. Petersburg, we had a 5-hour layover in Zurich. The Swiss reputation for organization seems well deserved. There is a subway station directly underneath the airport, which takes you to the center of the city in less than 15 minutes, so I decided to take a quick trip into the city to pass the time. Above is a photo of the electronic board in each subway car. You'll notice that there's a digital version of an analog clock in the lower right hand corner, and that it actually is counting the seconds! The train left and arrived precisely on time.
Before getting there, though, I had a small problem at passport control, where they detained me briefly, saying that my passport had been reported stolen (!).
Fortunately, it was a misunderstanding, and they let me go after about an hour. I still had time, though, to head into the city. After looking at my information, the border guard noticed that my mother's maiden name was a common Swiss German name. I told him that my great-grandfather had come to the US from the area of Bern, and perhaps this softened him somewhat. :)
Anyway, Zurich was interesting. Despite the cold and a light rain, there were many people out in the city center, many of them huddling around stands that were selling Glühwein (mulled wine). You can see that the city was extensively decorated for the holidays.
Here is a Catholic church next to a restaurant, which was displaying some lighting on the church. There was no service, but the church was open for people to come in and pray.
Lots of lights hanging over the streets and on building facades.
The tram going by.
A huge moving display on a storefront, depicting various figures walking by on the street, right next to the many actual pedestrians moving through the crowded area.
The airport was great. Besides the convenience of the subway, it also had a fitness center for people with layovers!
It also had enormous moving sidewalks that even went up and down inclines.