Zurich, Switzerland

…continued from our adventures in Bavaria…

We dropped off our car in Munich and headed to Zurich!

I have always wanted to travel to Switzerland, ever since I did a project on it in 6th grade. My mind was filled with images of grand views of the Alps with little Swiss Chalets hanging onto every hillside. Steep sloping hills that run into clear mountain lakes. Yes, this is in fact what Switzerland looks like when you get away from the city.

Zurich however, is a city of 1.83 million people. Situated on the northern tip of Lake Zurich; on a clear day you can see the Alps in the distance. Unfortunately, we only had one clear day where you could see the mountains from the city. The Old City of Zurich is ornamented with the large churches, Frauen Kirche and GrossMunster, as well as many clock towers and historic buildings.

Small city trams criss cross through the city and occasionally you will see a fondue train pass by, a one car tram that brings tourists through town while stuffing them with delicious cheese and wine for the low price of 99 Euros a person (sarcasm). We opted to have fondue sitting in a restaurant though. We received a recommendation to try Le Dezaley for fondue, a quaint french restaurant tucked in the corner of an alley in the old city. I don’t think we have ever eaten so much cheese at one time. SOOOOOoooo tasty. The next day we opted to eat healthier to recover from this extravagant cheese feast.  I know, can there ever be too much cheese? We didn’t want to find out. Speaking of food, we also got to eat at the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world.

Friday was a beautiful day sunny, clear, in the mid 40s so I headed up to Uetliberg for a hike. Uetliberg is a small mountain of 2,130 ft located directly outside the city. Once up on the ridge there are hiking trails that lead in every direction. The hike I did was Uetliberg to Felsenegg. Hiking is popular here, you can tell being outside in nature is a way of life. The ridge trail offers great views of the city, as well as the lake and Alps. Although everything was covered with snow, you could sense Spring coming, birds chirping, the snow melting off the trees in the sun. It was nice to be out in nature again. Phelan and I have been talking about how nice it is to feel Spring in the air, the distinctive smell, feel, and sound of it.

That evening we had a great visit with Chloe, a co-worker of Phelan’s who has recently relocated to Zurich from the Bay Area. This gave us a glimpse in what it would be like to really live in Zurich full time. She took us to a place called Helvti Diner for burgers. YUM! Prices were a bit shocking though. Switzerland is an expensive place.

We were hoping for a clear day so we could take a trip to the Mountains, but as stated before we only had one clear day…snow was in the forecast. So we took a train north of the city to the Rhine Falls. This was a popular destination for painters in the early 1900s and is still a sight to be seen. The Rhine Falls are the largest plain waterfall in Europe, with that said, this must be due to the width and amount of water that passes over the falls. It is hard to really be impressed after you have seen waterfalls like Niagra Falls, but they were still pretty. There are several viewing areas where you can get right up next to and in the spray of the falls.

After our trip to the falls we headed back to the city and took a walk downtown since Phelan had not gotten to see much of it yet. Lucky for us they were celebrating Carnival that weekend in Zurich. Marching bands all dressed in brightly colored clothes and face paint would blast out familiar tunes while locals watched drinking their Glühwein. Ah Glühwein, mulled red wine served hot in the winter. It is definitely a nice addition to any cold day while walking around seeing the sights. One of the things that Phelan and I enjoy most when in new places is being where locals are, seeing how they live and just people watching. So this was a nice end to our trip.

After a week and a half of traveling we were ready for a break, and although our apartment hotel room in Hamburg is definitely not home, it was nice to be back in a place that is our temporary home where things are a little more familiar.

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