Einstein Missed

Linda Lou Burton posting from Family Services Lounge, Zurich Airport, Zurich, Switzerland – Yes, there was a reason for choosing a flight with a seven-hour layover. In Switzerland. The reason was the Café Odeon. Making the transition from East Africa’s equatorial region to Iceland’s watery grayness was challenge enough. Why not throw in a quick-flick of European history on the way? We had to stop somewhere in Europe, and when I read about the Odeon, I knew I’d found something so different it would do the trick. This little coffeehouse in downtown Zurich has been around over a hundred years, and its name-dropping list of customers would make any history lover blink.

Politicians, physicists, writers, musicians, dancers – hey, dancer Mata Hari performed in the cabaret there way back before she was convicted as a spy and executed. There was Benito Mussolini, and Lenin, and Trotsky. There was Somerset Maugham, Erich Maria Remarque, and James Joyce. Add Arturo Toscanini. Add Albert Einstein. Yes, he was there. Albert earned his PhD at the University of Zurich, and was living there in 1911 when Odeon opened its doors; they say he liked talking with a crowd of students there, hanging out over coffee. So that was my plan: just luck into the table where Einstein used to sit, and have a coffee (Viennese style), listening for voices from the past.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge,” Einstein used to say. I imagined getting off the plane fresh as a daisy at 7 AM; catching the smashingly modern train that rolls right underneath the airport terminal and whisks you downtown in 10 short minutes; strolling along the Limmat River and reaching the Odeon in time for breakfast, served 8-11:30. I’d have a cappuccino with lots of foam and a plaited roll, maybe an omelet? Plenty of time to get back to the airport before our afternoon flight.

Did that happen? Are you kidding? My wheelchair was waiting as soon as we dragged ourselves off the plane to the ramp after a sitting-up-straight-trying-to-sleep night (and remember, I’m in my night-shirt due to the unfortunate sprite mishap). A kind person pushed me to the Family Services lounge, where Rick and I plopped down and stayed. Hot coffee and cool water right there. Restrooms right there. Peaceful, away from the crowd. Long benches for stretching out for a nap. A restaurant and bookstore just outside the door. My berry muffin was delicious. Rick had a hearty sandwich. No ghosts hovered near; the Euro-techno music kept them away and drove us back to the quiet. Look at the pictures – first what we DID see in the Zurich Airport, and last the Café Odeon, that we did not. Next time, Albert!


Odeon Café Breakfast Menu https://odeon.ch/en/karten/breakfast/

Odeon Café History https://odeon.ch/de/uber-das-odeon/

Zurich Airport https://www.flughafen-zuerich.ch/en/passengers

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