Friday, October 22, 2010

Europe - Take 1: Zurich

As promised in my last post, here's the rundown of our trip to Europe. Up first - Zurich, Switzerland:

Lake Zurich
We were so excited to go that we got to the airport far too early and sat around for quite some time waiting for our flight to Toronto.  Once in Toronto we had more than a 5 hour layover - yes, it was brutal!  But finally, we boarded our plane headed across the pond, destination Zurich Flughafen (airport).  It was a red-eye and luckily, after dinner was served, I was able to get a decent amount of sleep.  Before we knew it, we were approaching the runway.  The Swiss countryside was easily visible out the window and it was absolutely beautiful - green rolling hills dotted with cute houses, crops and various livestock.  We picked up our luggage and left to find our way to the hotel, via the train system.  It was overwhelming, but we figured out how to get tickets, found the right train line and made our way to the right stop.  Finding the hotel from there was another story, but we made it.

Zurich Hauptbanhof - the main train station
During our 4 days in Zurich, we spent a lot of time walking around the city center which is split in half by the Limmat River.  We walked the Bahnhofstrasse which is an extremely expensive and well-known shopping street.  We couldn't afford anything except for H&M, but we didn't mind.  It made for good people watching!  We also walked the other side of the river which is considered the "old town" if you will.  We saw 2 beautiful churches - one with stained class window by Marc Chagall - absolutely amazing. We also spent time at the zoo, it wasn't the best but we still had an enjoyable afternoon.

Fraumunster Church
Marc Chagall stained glass windows
View of Zurich along the river

Found this guy wandering around the zoo

The highlight for Corey was finding a Fidelity International location and taking a picture.  We managed to get hopelessly lost on our way, but Corey persevered, calmed me down, and we finally found our way.

The highlight for me was the food - oh, the food!  We ate pastries, lots and lots of pastries.  Chocolate filled croissants, fruit filled doughnut-type things, custard filled pastries, cake...ugh, I'm getting hungry.  We ate chocolate, amazing creamy chocolate.  We also had dinner at a traditional swiss restaurant - it was heavy but delicious food.  But the best thing I ate in Switzerland was found at the Sprungli shop - its a very well known swiss chocolatier famous for their "luxembergerli."  They are macaroons: airy, crispy, delicate cookies with delicious creamy filling smushed between.  Ahh, heaven!  They are made with fresh cream so you have to eat them within 48 hours.  If that hadn't been the case, I would have bought far too many than are healthy.

It was interesting for both of us to experience being in a country where not everyone spoke our language.  Switzerland has 4 official languages, none of which are English.  In Zurich everything was in German and most everyone spoke German, while some spoke French or a combination of both.  People were generally accommodating to us, but at times we resorted to pointing at what we wanted.  

Overall, we enjoyed our time in Zurich.  Its a beautiful cosmopolitan city with a ton of history.  The food was great, the shops were cute and the weather was fantastic.  However, the city is expensive, out of control expensive.  For example, the Starbucks next to our hotel sold a grande latte for almost $7!  And that wasn't out of line with what other coffee shops were charging.  I think if we were ever to go back, we would have to wait til we are much wealthier ;-)

Our last day, we boarded a train headed for Munich:

Check back soon for the lowdown on Oktoberfest fun, the Glockenspiel, a biergarten, and so much more!

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