Sunday, September 9, 2012

Visiting a Swiss Miss

Since we have family and friends all over the place, we like to maximize each and every travel opportunity to see as many people as humanly possible. So, when I learned that a good college friend had recently re-located to Zurich, we included Switzerland in our European travel plans.

It was so nice to see my friend, her husband, and brand-new baby girl, and it was also very nice to not have to stay in a hotel after nearly two weeks of traveling. Our hosts graciously opened their home to us, sharing their adventures of the past several months living in a new country (as well as having a new baby!).

Seeing a familiar face was the perfect way to conclude our trip, particularly when our train arrived in Zurich slightly later than expected. After dropping off our belongings at the apartment, we headed back into town for a brief tour of Zurich.

Old Town Zurich across Zurichsee
As much as we had enjoyed all of the restaurants we'd experienced throughout our travels, it was nice to be able to stay in for dinner. Our hosts prepared some traditional Swiss food, including raclette (special grilled cheese) and fondue. I was so proud of Jon for eating--and enjoying--fondue; he even admitted that it didn't smell like burning hair as he always claims.

After swapping travel stories and catching up on Olympics action, it was time for bed. The following morning was leisurely as well, as we waited for my friend's husband to return from work so we could all go hiking. The guys had chosen our hiking route the night before (I was engrossed in Team USA's exploits and had no idea where we were going), so once our lunch was packed and hiking boots were on, we caught the train toward Felsenegg.

We were more interested in an enjoyable hike than a work-out, so we rode the cable car to the top before hiking, where we encountered the infamous lone tree.

As promised, it looks like a computer background
The hike to Uetliberg wound through the woods and afforded some incredible views of both Zurich and the countryside. The panorama was even more expansive once we reached the top of the look-out tower.

After breathing in the clear Swiss air for a while (and enjoying the fact that it was way cooler than Italy), we took the train back down and returned to the apartment to clean up for dinner. Since we'd already had fondue, I was content with my Swiss eating experience, although Jon's ears perked up when he heard that hot stone cooking was fairly common in Switzerland. Luckily we found a place that wasn't too crowded for a weekend night (and not any more expensive than everything in Switzerland seems to be) and each selected a different kind of meat to cook on a stone. Most of us stuck with safe choices, like beef, pork, and lamb. Jon, on the other hand, opted for horse (which we all had to try). It wasn't bad, although a bit gamier like venison.

I was actually quite thankful for the bib as hot stones cause splatter
No reason to stop the eating there, so we walked through town on a quest for ice cream before turning in for the night. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who didn't want the trip to end, so I was all for another excursion. However, we had an early flight to catch, so after indulging in dessert, it was time for just a couple of hours of sleep prior to the long trip back to Memphis.

I am incredibly thankful for all aspects of our trip. I am thankful for the opportunity to visit (and stay with) good friends, the opportunity to see new places, and the opportunity to eat and drink my way through Europe. I'm also very thankful for uneventful travels with mostly on-time transportation and all of our luggage intact and with us (no risk of jinxing it now). Most of all, I'm thankful for a pretty incredible husband to share it all with. Barf.


Abby said...

Yay for a wonderful trip! Loved having you guys and enjoyed receiving the kind note in the mail the other week!

Spoon said...

Thanks again for everything, Abby! Glad the note made it to you.