Mittwoch, 3. Oktober 2007

Zürich, Switzerland

This past weekend the whole family went to Zürich! Unfortunately it wound up being an abbreviated trip for Jenny and me, but still a lot of fun! My mom and dad left on Friday as originally planned. We had planned on Jenny missing her soccer tournament for the weekend, but then we found out that if Jenny couldn’t go, the team wouldn’t have enough players to compete. So, I hung around Düsseldorf for a couple of days while Jenny went to Antwerp, Belgium for her tournament. She got to stay with a Belgian family and played other international schools from Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UK. Jenny’s team did very well, winning three out of four games! The only loss was a 0-1 game when the ISD captain accidentally headed the ball into their own goal. Unlucky.

Jenny and I caught the first flight to Zürich on Sunday morning. We were both exhausted, as Jenny had just played four soccer games in the rain at her tournament, and I had run 18 miles for my marathon training. Mom and Tim picked us up at the airport and gave us a driving tour of the city before we wandered by foot through the tiny streets of the Altstadt. Zürich is absolutely gorgeous!! The city is set on two rivers and the shore of Lake Zürich with a view of the Alps in the distance. Apparently great skiing is only a little over an hour away! The buildings in Zürich are much older and more European-looking than those in Düsseldorf (which makes sense since Switzerland was not bombed in WWII) and make it, in some ways, a more inviting city. Just take a look at the pictures!

After an introduction to the city, and a stop for a kebab in the Altstadt, we headed back to the hotel to rest a bit before going out again. Due to the fact that most European hotels have a maximum of two people per room (and we had a group of four), rather than getting two rooms we wound up with the Executive Suite on the top floor of the Marriott. Lots of room, great view, and tons of free snacks! Since my dad stays in hotels sooooooo much, we also had access to the executive lounge off of the lobby which was always stocked with free drinks and snacks – everything from water, beer, wine, soda, hot chocolate, and tea, to sushi, prosciutto, cheese, croissants, fruit, candy, chocolate, etc. I made sure to stop by the lounge on every trip in and out of the hotel!!

We made dinner reservations at a traditional Swiss restaurant in the Altstadt. It was great! We had lots of rösti (kind if like potatoes au gratin, but with the cheese on top) and cheese fondue. Well, at least mom, Tim and I had that. Jenny doesn’t like cheese, so those specialties were lost on her. We tried to find an ice cream store afterwards, as we usually do, but by this point it was late on a Sunday night and not much was open. We did, however, find a candy store still open. They had some of the candies I ate all the time at UQ, so we had to get them. It was surprisingly warm out, so it was nice to walk through the city at night back to the hotel.

The next morning we had a huge breakfast before setting out for Bahnhofstrasse – one of the most famous shopping streets in the world! We went into a couple of enormous, high-end department stores and looked around. I was impressed by the grocery stores and food courts they had on the bottom floors. And when I say food court, I don’t mean a Burger King, Panda Express, and Taco Bell within a hop, skip, and a jump of one another. I mean every kind of food you can imagine made fresh in front of you by trained chefs – Italian, sushi, Thai, Indian, etc. I could be happy there every day of the week! We wandered through the massive, central train station and then headed to Confiserie Sprüngli, a chocolate shop, to try another Swiss specialty – Luxemburgerlis. They are basically tiny burger-shaped sweets. They were good, but I think I’d rather have a plain, old chocolate bar.

We walked a bit more through the tiny streets, got some good views of the city, and found a playground before we had to go to the airport. So, a quick, but action-packed trip! And now that I look back at this entry, a food-filled adventure!

In other news, our air shipment arrived. So, I now have a seemingly brand-new bike to use – thanks, Larry!! We also have more dishes to use in the kitchen, some warmer clothes, and what looks like a lifetime supply of brownies and pop-tarts (since we can’t buy those here). I’m heading back to the U.S. tomorrow for Sara’s wedding and visits on the East Coast. At the same time, Laura will be vacating the East coast to go back to Minnesota for the weekend. Not sure when I’ll get a chance to write next. I’ll be going directly to meet the family in Spain in mid-October before I get back to Düsseldorf, so sometime after then. Miss everyone and hope you are all doing well!!