On Thursday, June, 30th, we had time to go again to Place Stanislas. It was even prettier than the day before as this time we had a bright sun!
We tried to repeat the same sandwich store from the previous day (called “Made in France” ) but they only open at 11am. So, we went to a nearby boulangerie and bought two beautiful “baguettes avec jambom”! Good!!! 🙂
Buying a bike x Renting a bike: Before leaving home I did some research about renting bikes in Europe. Not all cities have rental stores. When there is a rental store , there are time constraints, as we must wait the opening hour to get a bike and must return before a certain hour (usually at 5pm) to return the bikes. Renting a bike doesn’t give flexibility and it’s pricey too! We would pay at least 25€ / day.
Our trip would last almost two months, so I did the math and concluded that buying a bike would cost less than renting!
One more advantage of buying x renting is that we can use the same bicycle everyday, and get used to it. Renting means keep changing models and sizes and this can be quite uncomfortable, not mentioning the freedom we have when the bikes are hanged in our car and we can simply park the car in a nice place and go got a bike ride!
On a previous trip to the U.K., we left home carrying our folding bikes with us. It was “ok” but traveling with four pieces of luggage (two for carrying clothes and two to carrying the bikes) is not easy. Besides, flight companies charge for the extra checked bag and also for the oversize luggage (the folding bike can’t fit in a standard size piece of luggage). That’s why we didn’t bring the folding bikes with us and opted for buying new ones and discharging them after use.
After leaving our hotel in Nancy, we drove to Intersport in order to get our bikes.
We made reservations over the internet before leaving home, but unfortunately, the bikes were not there! The guy working there told us that the store only keeps reserved bikes for six days (???). This was not written on their website, so it was impossible for us to know about this “rule”. In fact, I guess they simply don’t reserve, they say they reserve only to let people go to their store and when they get there they have to buy what is available.
Anyway, as we were already at Intersport and needed the bikes to continue our journey to Switzerland, all we had to do at that time was to make a decision between the available models. The selection was really small, specially if compared to US’ stores.
The prices were high, with everything costing at least 300 Euros. All the “cheap models” (bikes under 500 Euros! ) were ugly, with almost all components made of plastic, in a very “chinese style” fashion.
As our intention was to use the bikes during our trip and get rid of them by the end of it, we opted for the less expensive models! 🙂
We asked for discounts & discounts & discounts… and we had some lucky because the seller, a very nice guy, was Portuguese! I told him about my Portuguese family origin, and after bargaining a lot we got both bikes for 380 Euros. Not a bad deal, he?
Bikes bought, time to drive to Zurich! 🙂
The distance between Nancy (France) and Zurich (Switzerland) is approximately 350km and the roads are awesome!
The highways in France and in Switzerland are gorgeous! They are very large, post-signals are everywhere and there’s a beautiful landscape! It is really a pleasure to drive on such nice roads! Maximum speed is 130km/ h but we never went over 110km/h otherwise the bikes started to shake. We didn’t want to cause an accident!
We arrived in Zurich at 5.30pm, dropped our luggage in the hotel room and went biking to Zurich‘s Banhoff in order to buy a sim card for my mobile phone. We have been to Zurich many times before, so we can get everywhere in the city center without a map! 🙂
All our previous trips to Zurich were done in winter, and it was really great to visit the city in summer! Zurich is much-much-much prettier in summer than in winter! It looks like another place! Everything is colorful, Zurichsee has amazing colors and there are lots of people on the streets! Definitely the best time to visit Zurich is during summer! 🙂
We bought the sim card for my mobile phone at Swissom. It is MUCH MORE expensive than the prepaid cards in America! In Switzerland a pre-paid card cost 4 CHF a DAY ! That makes 120 CHF by month! In the USA the same service with t-Mobile cost USD 70! OMG!
At the time we returned to the hotel we got a little bit lost. Not totally “lost … it’s only because our hostel is not in the “city center”…. it is near the lake and when we returned we passed the street where we should have entered. After a while we noticed we were too far from downtown and asked for directions (my cell phone was set to FRENCH and I could not understand what I should do!).
Zurich is a very safe city, and after we got directions from someone passing by, we arrived safe & sound at the hotel at 10pm. The sun was setting down and the skies were getting dark.