Fortunately, Zurich is not that far from Milan by train, so that when I was visiting the style-conscious Italian metropolis, it was an easy jaunt for me to head north to visit my Swiss friend Andreas (center in photo). And because Zurich is not that far from Hamburg by train, either, my friends Ernest and Klaus headed south for a giggle-filled weekend. Ernest (right), a one-time Texan, had been my colleague at public broadcasting in Boston. Possessed of a European sensibility and a penchant for adventure, he’d left the USA and moved to Germany years earlier, met Klaus (from Austria; left) and settled in. Aside from giggling, the four of us toured the city’s many delights, including the after-dark pleasures of the not-yet-gentrified Barfüsser (allegedly the oldest, continuously operated gay bar in Europe), the red-light, honky-tonk Langstrasse district, and an art gallery that remains in memory chiefly because of its floor made of compressed chewing-gum wrappers. I can’t remember where we all slept in Andreas’ small Weststrasse apartment (the kitchen counter lifted up to reveal the bathtub), but as you can see, we all had such a good time that it didn’t seem to matter.