Chocolate, cheese, and mountain tops.

Written by Natalie November 26, 2014

Destination: Zurich, Switzerland. Finally, the week was over and my travel group, Kayla and Sam, were heading to a new country. I got on the plane prepared to study for my unfortunately timed Monday -afternoon test. It was because of this test that I wasn’t feeling like the week had particularly ended and that the stress of the test would be over my head throughout the excitement of the weekend. Luckily, I had a good seat on the plane and Kayla, who is in the same class and studying for the same test, was right beside me. After take-off when we were allowed to put the tray tables down, our study books came out just as the flight attendants started marching down the aisle. As one of them reached our row and showed us what was in the basket they were offering to the passengers, the day became a little bit brighter. Of course Swiss Air was passing out Swiss chocolate!

And just like that, the flight flew by (see what I did there?) and we were officially in Zurich, Switzerland! The country that is known for delicious chocolate, cheese, beautiful views, and… banking. Now of course we didn’t spend time at the bank, but we definitely spent a considerable amount of time enjoying everything else!

The next morning, we woke up ready to explore. Our destinations we wanted to hit included the National Swiss Museum, taking a ferry on Lake Zurich, visiting the mountains, and generally just getting to know the area. The public transport system in Zurich was fantastic — easy to use and it brought us right to our destinations. We hopped on the tram whenever we needed to get somewhere that wasn’t within walking distance, and this allowed us to see parts of the city that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.

Our first stop, the National Swiss Museum, was where we spent a large chunk of time wandering around the many exhibits and show rooms. The museum was huge, and it happens to be one of the most important museums of cultural history in Europe. Unfortunately, as many other parts of Europe, the front was under reconstruction so we were unable to see the full architecture. Alas, being the art nerd that I am, I very much enjoyed learning so much about Switzerland.

I am still surprised at how well our timing was throughout this whole trip. Anytime we needed a tram, we’d walk up with only a minute or two to wait, we caught the metros just as their doors were about to close, and the rain held off until we were safely inside enjoying delicious sweets and hot chocolate. But I think the most significant memory I have of our impeccable timing — or luck — was when we got to the dock just moments before our ferry pulled up. We had planned on taking a ferry around Lake Zurich to enjoy the beauty of the city and the mountains, yet we didn’t have the means (wifi) to figure out when or where the pick-ups were. Luckily for us, we didn’t have to wait an hour and a half before the next tour, nor did we have to give up time exploring the market area before boarding ship. The ferry around Lake Zurich was absolutely gorgeous, even if it was a bit chilly! The lake is surrounded by beautiful and colorful houses…. and then at the tip are snow-capped mountains. I never really knew how fond I was about mountains until I lived right next to them (in PdG) and traveled throughout them this semester. And of course, we had a photo-shoot with the Swiss flag blowing in the background.

The rest of the evening was spent wandering around the city, enjoying sweets, window shopping, and enjoying ourselves. At one point, we were hanging out on the tram platform deciding what to do next when we saw a one car tram pull up. Confused as to why it was so small, we headed over to investigate. A FONDUE TRAM CAR! Unfortunately, it was too late to make a reservation, but now I have something else to eventually check off of my bucket list! Even though we couldn’t get a spot on the Fondue Tram, we sought out Fondue because when in Switzerland…. you just have to. And my gosh, it was delicious. I could have eaten that all day, everyday. Yum!

The next morning, before having to go to the airport, we decided to head for the mountains. We knew that Switzerland was well known for the beauty it has and it was something we couldn’t leave without seeing. We spent the morning hiking/walking up the mountain, fully clad in our boots and backpacks. The hike was totally worth the view though, so I couldn’t complain. Seeing a panoramic of Zurich and the beautiful green valleys was something I will have engraved in my memory forever! We also got a free box of chocolate for counting the steps up to the top of the tower. Not a bad way to end the trip before heading back to PdG!

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Until next time,